Take Honey Super Early?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Alt, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. Alt

    Alt New Member

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    I have only been a beekeeper for 10 months, so please for forgive my ignorance!

    I was wondering why you are supposed to leave multiple full honey supers on the hive in the summer. If my bees fill a super with honey during the summer, can I take it then and give them a new box with frames, or is there a reason to leave it? I know they will need one for the winter, so is that just the best place to store it until they need it? I guess my question is why ever have two supers on a hive if one is full?

    My reason for asking is that its all I can do to lift the supers off to check the brood chamber. I'll be switching to smaller boxes this year, unless its alright to remove the honey super early. But I don't see anyone else doing that, so I expect there's a reason.

    Located in Eastern Ontario, Canada. Cold winters, hot summers

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Without knowing your location, or climate, this one is hard to answer. I am in North Texas, we have a very short flow, I generally harvest one box of honey around July 1st, extract, put the frames in the box back on top of the hive for them to refill. And like you, I can't deal with lifting boxes off a tall hive. Mine may have one brood box with 2 supers at most. (my stand is 18 inches off the ground due to a strong skunk population around here)
     

  3. Alt

    Alt New Member

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    Right, sorry about that. I'm in Canada, North of New York. Half the year is hot, half the year is cold. I always thought you were only supposed to harvest at the end of each year, but it sounds like your doing what I was hoping to do.
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It works for me. If I don't harvest by july 4th and wait for all nectar to be capped (i do not harvest uncapped), the bees eat all the honey when we go into summer dearth. so I try to have fewer hives, so each one gets more honey, I grab the capped at the end of june, harvest, return frames, let them go a little dearth - no nectar - to get the queens to quit laying - treat for mites, then feed as needed until fall flow starts. They keep all but 4 or 5 frames in the fall - I pull some fall honey for allergy customers that are allergic to ragweed, but very little, maybe 5 frames total - 1 or 2 from each hive. Extract and return. Having an extractor really made this easier, and during dearth, in august and september, treat with oav for mites
     
  5. Alt

    Alt New Member

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    Thank you for helping me out! That sounds exactly like what I was hoping to do. Thank you so much for your help.
     
  6. beebuzzed

    beebuzzed Member

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    I am in Missouri, but as far as I am aware there is no reason not to pull a super that is capped and ready to harvest at any time. You will see many pictures of hives with multiple supers stacked, but most likely the reason is the person prefers to do all the work at once or they have stubborn bees that will maybe fill the comb,but not complete capping to ensure It has been cured. Sometimes it will be ready to harvest just not capped because they decide they have other priorities. If they have been full for awhile and you think that may be the case, get yourself a honey refractometer and test some samples to see if it’s ready. Not a bad idea anyway to always check if you plan to sell. I don’t encourage pulling supers too early if your not sure because you would have to cure it yourself via a dehydrator in a small room sorta thing. If it’s all capped no worries in my opinion.
     
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  7. Alt

    Alt New Member

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    That's awesome news! Maybe I falsely assumed I was supposed to keep them on... I need to do more research I guess. Thank you so much for the advice.