After-Harvest Hive Management

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Larus, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Larus

    Larus New Member

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    I am getting ready to harvest the honey supers from my hive, and I have a question about what to do afterwards. Right now each of my hives has 2 deeps and 3 medium supers. In a couple of weeks I'll extract honey from the supers and put them back on the hives overnight to let the bees clean them out. But after that, should I leave all 3 supers on and let the bees have the run of all that space, or take the empty supers down and add them back on as they are needed?

    The main nectar flow is coming to an end sometime in August, but there will be another flow in September from the asters and goldenrods (Lord willing). So, they may have use for the space, but if I leave them 3 supers, will they fill only the center frames in each one instead of filling each super to capacity? Also, I don't want my bees overwintering in such a big hive, so I am going to have to reduce the hive eventually, but I am unsure of when and how to do it, and what to do if there are honey stores in the supers I want to take down? Are the bees going to eventually consolidate that honey in the deeps as they backfill their brood chamber?

    I know I am squeezing a lot of questions into one post, but I just wanted some help forming a picture in my head of what my bees will be doing in late August/early fall and what I should be doing to move them towards the overwintering configuration of the hive.

    Thanks very much.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You will likely get a few different opinions on this, but mine would be to add one super back and check them regularly and add as needed, if needed.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Add as needed, empty drawn comb is just an open invite for wax moth and SHB.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    like G3 and almost all southern bee keeper the wax moth is always a issue with supers and shb has made these concern even more pointed. in Madison this may be of less concern.

    I would extract the honey and place these 'wet' supers back on the hive for cleaning up. after a week or so I would then reduce the supers to the number you desired. once the supers are cleaned they are easier to store, make almost no mess and if the wax is still yellow invite few unwanted guest.
     
  5. Larus

    Larus New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. SHB is not a concern around here (yet). But wax moth may be.

    After the wet supers are cleaned out by the bees, should I wrap them in something (like a big contractor-grade trash bag) with PCB crystals for storage, or can I just leave them sitting out in my garage?

    Also, what happens to the supers that I don't harvest? I want to err on the side of caution and harvest only 2 out of 3 supers on each hive, and designate whatever honey is gathered into the third super towards the bees' winter stores. Between now and the end of the goldenrod flow, hopefully they will fill it to capacity. Will they eventually move that honey into the double deep brood chamber, as they backfill it for winter, or will I have to leave the super on over the winter?
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They don't see three boxes. They see one hive. They will fill from the top down.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I can't think of any reason why there should be a different opinion. Listen to Iddee--he's got the best idees. :bow:
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Larus writes:
    After the wet supers are cleaned out by the bees, should I wrap them in something (like a big contractor-grade trash bag) with PCB crystals for storage, or can I just leave them sitting out in my garage?

    tecumseh:
    if the supers are cleaned up and the wax is still yellow they are not very attractive to the wax moth. the standard old school set up for used supers is to stack on a flat migratory cover 5 deep in layers with news paper separating the layers and a handful of wax moth crystals between each layer. I then like to cover with a sheet of plastic which seems to make the crystals last a bit longer. re stacking and adding more crystals is necessary if your season is long enough.
     
  9. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    You might ask the local beeks just how bad the wax moths are where you are. Where I am, they'll find empty brood comb almost immediately, but they don't seem interested in honey supers (that haven't ever had any brood in them). I've always read where the wax moths are more interested in the larval casings than the wax, and that seems to be the case.

    I've never used the moth crystals when storing supers. For any comb that I need to store that has ever had brood in it, I spray with a Bt mist (XenTari), and that has worked well for me.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    My success with BT has been fairly poor. What is Sundance?
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Sundance is a forum member that sells BT.
     
  13. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Iddee:
    Thanks for the info. I didn't intend to get involved in anyone's business ventures. The product he sells could be of better quality than what I bought. :oops: