When to Add a Super

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Skyhigh, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm full of basic questions it seems... :oops:

    I purchased Beekeeping for Dummies yesterday and in it is mentions a 7/10 rule. Once the bees have filled out 7 of the 10 frames, to add another brood box or super. For some reason, I'd thought it was "when the bees have fully filled 8 frames". Last Wednesday, while doing an inspection, our Flower Hive had nearly 8 fully drawn out frames. I'd definitely say 7 if one considered the inside sides of the two second frames.

    A couple things then... I'm going to requeen the hive this week. It would have been tomorrow (Tuesday) but I didn't count on Columbus Day and no mail service today. So I guess it'll be Wednesday. If I leave them alone for 3-4 days, that'll be Saturday or Sunday. Should I add a super when I check to see that she's out? Should I wait another week? Should I wait longer than that? :confused:

    Also, I've been feeding the hive. It's been steadily taking in 1 quart of 1:1 syrup every day for over two weeks then suddenly cut that in half. Is this because of swarm attrition or that there is a nectar flow and they're just ignoring it now? If I add the super, should I stop feeding altogether or feed a little longer until they've drawn out some comb in the super? AND, when I add the super, should I NOT put in the queen excluder at first or go ahead and put it in while I know the queen won't be up there?

    Thanks!
     
  2. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

    Messages:
    1,322
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    there is a difference between drawing out foundation and adding supers if your adding supers, then when the bees have 7 - 8 frames of a 10 frame hive, capped, or start adding wax on the top bars, add a empty super if your drawing out foundation 7 frames fully drawn is a good rule assuming that a honey flow is in progress, if not and your not heavily feeding they they will cease working on them or worse strip out the foundation to use elsewhere. I always ise a queen excluder to keep the queen in the brood chambers, bees will not abandon brood so if she lays eggs in the honey super they will stay.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I count frames of bees, not comb. When I open the hive and look down, if I see bees on both sides of 8 frames, I add a box. I don't use queen excluders, but if I did, I would let the bees start working the box before adding it. The excluder, many times, will keep them from knowing the ceiling is higher and they can move upward. Once they are using the box, they know they can and will go through the excluder.
     
  4. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    No, they weren't capped and they haven't started adding wax on the top bars (at least not as of last Wednesday.) I'm not real sure what you meant by there being a difference in drawing out foundation and adding supers, though. Would one want to have the bees draw out extra foundation even if they're not going to use it? Or is this for hives that use more than one brood box? Or even for adding supers?

    Definitely not that many bees, though there are some taking care of brood, of course. I figure what capped brood I have will start emerging, at the earliest, tomorrow.

    From your two answers, it's probably safe to say that I don't need to worry about adding a super on just yet. I'll plan on adding it when I check to see if the queen has been released just to be on the safe side, though.

    As for the queen excluder...hmm. Maybe I'll place it and, when I check a week later, if they aren't up in the super, I'll remove it. Kind of a lazy way of dealing with the issue.

    :thumbsup: Thanks!
     
  5. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am at odds about using queen excluder. I have drone brood in my honey supers but not much. My beek buddy told me that the queen will not cross the honey barrier at the top of the second deep so I didn't use one. Maybe I'll make him come over and explain to my queen that she shouldn't be up in the honey supers :)
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I basically follow Iddee process almost to the t.

    the 7 or 8 rule is not something written in stone. the real idea is not to let them get too congested while they are growing. white wax on the top bars means they are actively producing wax likely from a wave of new bees.

    if I was changing out the queen I also wouldn't add any space until the new queen was installed... less space just makes finding the old queen easier for me.
     
  7. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You know, I'm beginning to wish there were just a few stone etched rules to beekeeping! :lol:

    So, without any definites, the consensus is that waiting till sometime after I add the new queen is best. :thumbsup: I'm good with that. (No one better come on now and tell me a horror story about how waiting caused irreparable damage, lol!) And, I certainly don't want to add more frames to go through. I'm already worried enough about finding the old queen.

    So much to learn!
     
  8. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You are in prime small hive beetle country. If you give the hive more than they can cover with bees the SHB will kill the hive in less than a week. There is some confusion between filled out, drawn out, and fully filled. The best reasons to add a super are to prevent overcrowding to postpone swarming and to capture the most from a nectar flow. Neither is as important as keeping the hive alive going into our Florida version of Winter.
    It does not sound like you are picking up much of the Brazilian Pepper so the Citrus will be your next big flow.
    If (I hate to say when) your hive gets slimed, has larva crawling on the comb, or the bees abscond you had too many supers.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As ABK says, keep most area in the hive covered with bees. The other items can vary. "pollen, honey, drawn comb, etc." Bee coverage is what you need to be concerned with.

    The one rule etched in stone: "The bees will do differently each visit".
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    well really Iddee the one rule etched in stone as far as I can tell is... 'the girls will ultimately refuse to pay attention to your rules'.

    both American Bee Keeper and Iddee make excellent points in regards to small hive beetles and excess space*. beyond this... when I have bees in singles I like for them to at least begin working on the two outermost frames prior to placing any space above. although I long ago lost any allusions to telling 'the girls' what to do, I do like to encourage a hive to build horizontal before given the opportunity to go vertical.

    *prior to the days of the small hive beetle you could stack on supers head high with little downside. now this would invariable lead to large problems as properly suggested above by both Iddee and American Bee Keeper. most times in the bee keeping world 'change' means the bee keeper must change their ways for certainly 'the girls' will not change theirs.
     
  11. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can pretty much say my bees are NOT overcrowded atm. As for filled out, drawn out, and fully filled...the outer frames (of the nearly 8) were not fully filled. A little nectar and pollen stores, I think some eggs, but I'm not positive anymore about that one. Six were almost all filled, that I remember. I'm not really sure about the difference between filled out and drawn out. It looked like there was comb built top to bottom and nearly side to side.

    So, maybe I'm way ahead of my bees. Perhaps I should just let them work with this one box till close to the end of the month (that'll put them at being here 1-1/2 months as long as all goes well) and then reevaluate the situation? Time for brood to hatch, their numbers to fill out, etc. As far as "packages" and "swarms" development, is this a reasonable timeline? Or do they often need even more time? (I'm not in a rush for supering. I just want to make sure they have what they need.)

    About SHB... My friend had her first hive slimed and destroyed. But her reason was a "hands off, let the bees be bees" mindframe that she has learned she needs to modify (she's gone from not "bothering" them except once every 6 months to once a month). It is one of the reasons I've decided to do at least a quick inspection regularly (I'm thinking of the 7-10 day timeline I keep reading about). I saw only one in my last inspection. I didn't kill it. :( It moved too FAST. But I'll keep them in mind now. (I'd kind of forgotten.)

    I do have another need for clarification now...When you guys say the frames should be "covered with bees" you mean adult workers doing their thing, right? Not filled with eggs and larva and etc., right???
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Reply #3... ""I count frames of bees, not comb. When I open the hive and look down, if I see bees on both sides of 8 frames, I add a box.""

    Yes, adult bees.
     
  13. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    :thumbsup: Thought so, but wanted to make sure. ;)