May 01, 2019 • Category: Hive Management
Supering up is a term you'll hear from beekeepers. Here it is in action.
Adding honey supers is giving the bees a place to store their extra honey. This is what the beekeeper harvests. The average Indiana hive puts up about 70 pounds of honey. That's about two supers. But there is no such thing as an average hive. Some will have five or six supers. Others will have none.
Here's our protocol. And with anything beekeeping, others may do it differently.
-We try to super up around the time the dandelions start to bloom.
-If the hive has two deeps of bees we will super up with two boxes. It gives the bees space and may help to stop the swarming process. One deep of bees still has work to do and too much space doesn't seem to be good for them.
-Our supers have built out comb and we use 9 frames per box. We use a frame spacer to space the frames out evenly. The bees build them out fatter which makes it easier for extraction.
-If we need to used a new box with frames that have bare foundation we only use one box with 10 frames and no queen excluder. Bees don't build wax well above an excluder.
-We use queen excluders. This can be a contentious issue among beeks. It is a post for another time.
It was difficult with the poor weather this year. You don't want to be poking around in the hives when it is cool, cloudy, misty; makes them grumpy. See all the bees on Richard's back? Typically you see that as a rookie. The beek will stand in front of the hive. The bees don't know how to go around you and your back gets full of bees. I think in Richard's case he was just warm. The temperature was in the 50's and they glommed on to the first warm thing they could find.