Is it time for a super?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by litefoot, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    The bottom deep is all drawn with brood, honey and pollen. The top deep is 85% drawn with almost all sugar syrup stores (I probably went overboard with the feeding). The bees slowed their feeding considerably today and I suspect the the alfalfa nectar is flowing. Should I go ahead and get a super on? All the medium frames I have are with bare foundation.
     
  2. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I would super it up!
    No queen excluder.
     

  3. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks, Eddie!......Rats! I just put together the super and the frames and my foundation is too big (6 1/2" instead of 5 5/8"). Checked my online order and I ordered the right size, but was sent the wrong ones. I've got to make a call in the morning.
     
  4. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Yep, that what I do / did.
     
  5. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Might be faster to just trim them down to size. Had the same thing happen to me dealing with Dadant.
     
  6. CarrollwoodBees

    CarrollwoodBees New Member

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    Can you just cut it down? If it's wired wax, tin snips or other wire cutter pliers work. If it's plastic, use a hacksaw. Something is better than nothing. Then again, there is such a thing as foundationless frames.
     
  7. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I trimmed the foundation down as suggested. Actually, I had to trim the CellRite down to about 5 1/2" instead of 5 5/8" because I lost the thin edge of the plastic which would have inserted about 1/8" into the frame grooves. Anyway, I'm glad I proceeded with the super. The alfalfa and clover seem to be hitting pretty well and I see lots of activity, well, at least until today (cloudy, cool and a deluge for about an hour). I tried to have a chat with the bees as I was placing this, my first super, to explain the concept of "paying it forward". Not one of them stopped to listen. Reminded me of my teenagers. This is not the first time I've been regarded as a buzzkill.
     
  8. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I hope you didn't throw away the wax trims. You can use them as starters for foundationless combs. Best bet would be to place them in the grooves and alternate them between the frames with full foundation. Just remember to keep the frames pressed tightly against one another and leave the excess space divided equally between the outer frames and the hive walls. If you've got a good flow going they'll build everything quickly and evenly.
     
  9. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    ^^Very good tip right there. I've taken whole sheets of foundation and made starter strips out of it. I started mixing in some foundationless this season and now I can't tell which are and aren't foundationless unless I look really hard. I glue the foundation strip at the top (1-2" wide strip and then cross wire with stainless steel "wire in a can"
     
  10. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    The way it worked for me when I added the first super. I woudl have wanted it on a month ago. My hive has driven me crazy not wanting to draw that first super. They are finally working on it.
    I also kept feed on the entire time they where drawing the two deeps. They did not start drawign comb on the med super until they had the upper deep packed with honey. I suspect the lower deep is also full to the brim with something. Hopefully brood. pollen and a bit of honey.

    So I woudl add the super but don't panic if they don't draw it right away. I actually started feeding again until they started drawing comb. took 5 days and over 4 gallons of sugar water.

    I woudl just trim that foundation. faster and easier than making a phone call. I also don't use an excluder. I now have a full deep of honey to do that. I hope.
     
  11. rw02kr43

    rw02kr43 New Member

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    Why no queen excluder?
     
  12. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    rw,
    sometimes bees are hesitant to travel through a queen excluder to draw foundation in the first super, especially if one is using plastic, or wax coated plastic frames.
     
  13. rw02kr43

    rw02kr43 New Member

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    I am using wax foundation. But won't the queen get up in there and lay eggs?
     
  14. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    ^^I had the same concern. What my goal was the first year though is to get those supers drawn out regardless of the queen laying in them or not. Once they are mostly drawn out you can make sure the queen is below and then add a queen excluder. Check again in a week for eggs in the bottom and queen cells above the excluder. If there q-cells above you can start up a nuc with them but you'll want them out of there of course. Once all the brood hatches out the bees will back-fill with honey.
     
  15. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Even if the queen lays eggs in upper combs, you can reorganize the frames later on. Put the queen down below and let the brood emerge and be replaced by honey. Just be sure to leave enough for the bees to overwinter on.
     
  16. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    I am not using a queen excluder. When I added my first super, they went right to work on it. Had 10 frames full of nectar after two weeks. The following week, they had condensed it down. The queen had moved up and there was brood & some honey. This past weekend when I checked, they had forced the queen back down into the two deeps. The super has 4 completely capped frames and another three or four that are about half-capped. The center two frames had honey bands across the top and empty cells in the lower half where the last of the brood had hatched out. I imagine they will finish backfilling these cells with honey. May not always work out this way, but this time it worked out ok for me without an excluder.
     
  17. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Update on the super: It's been exactly one week today, so I took off the covers and it looks like the super frames are all mostly all drawn out. I pulled a couple and although none are very heavy, they're starting to fill with honey.

    Problem: I thought I read somewhere that 9 frames were advisable in a honey super, so I just placed 9 frames centered in the middle. The bees, however, are filling in the large gap on one side by building up comb on the top bar of the deep box underneath. Should I arrange the super frames differently or add the 10th frame?
     
  18. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    the nine frames are supposed to be evenly spaced so that they can be drawn out a little deeper than normal. I figure on my scale of operations (one hive) it does not really matter if I have to extract one frame more or less, so I put in 10 everywhere.
     
  19. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    You can only use the 9 frame spreading technique with built frames. If you have any unbuilt frames, even with foundation, the extra space will be used to build combs outside of frames. Only if all the nine frames are already built will the bees extend them.
     
  20. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks everyone. I removed the burr comb and added a 10th frame to the super. I'm going to Alaska for a week and now wondering if I should have been prepared with a second super before I leave on Monday. I suppose I'll be ok as the super frames,
    although mostly drawn, are not very full yet.