When to start adding supers?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by arkiebee, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    We have had a late spring here in Arkansas. The redbuds are just now blooming. The old timers say to put a super on when the redbuds bloom, but we haven't had but a good couple of weeks of flowering bushes, flowers, weeds, etc. and I really think that it is too early. When we moved our hives last weekend, they weren't none too heavy, so I know they aren't "full" of honey, brood, etc. In fact I still have had a feeder on them because we are still having some cool spells. :confused:

    So what is the opinion of you beekeepers out there in beekeeping land? I like to wait till they get their hive body full or almost full first - I still have two hives I want to split, and it doesn't look like I'll be doing that till about the end of the month?
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Forget time or weight of hives. Open the hive. Look down at the frames. If the bees are thick on 7 or more frames, remove the feeder and add supers. If they aren't covering 7 frames, keep feeding.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I agree with Iddee, also if you let them get too crowded you will not have to worry about doing splits, they will take care of that for you.

    G3
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    with some exception I would suggest Iddee primary indicator is absolutely correct.

    you do need to make certain the bottom box(s) are not empty and if you are adding foundation add this early in the season and not late.

    I think you will find out (over time) that the feeder is good insurance at this time of year and keeps the hive growing when the weather fluctuates.
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Also good advice tec. If you add supers with foundation late they may not pull it out into comb, and can even chew it up and use it in other places. When you go back to look at your super all you will find is ragged foundation and wires.

    G3
     
  6. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Thanks guys - I'll check the hives after school today. I have a bunch of new supers that I put foundation in last weekend, so I'll put those on first so they can draw out the comb.

    I wonder about that 3rd hive body I put on that big hive I have. I will pull out some of the frames and if they have pulled comb out on it, I'll certainly leave it alone. So I will NOT put a super on that one yet. I know I will have to split it, but I thought that may be towards the end of this month?? OR what should I look for? I just moved these hives last weekend, so I really don't want to do anything MAJOR to them just yet?
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The main difference between what i said and what Tec said is, he was talking about all hives all season, I was talking about Arkie's hive Apr. 8, 2010. It does make a difference.
     
  8. rast

    rast New Member

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    Another thing I was told one time and seems to help. If/when you have some frames of drawn comb, drop one down in a super of undrawn foundation or starter strips. It seems to get them up there and working faster. They also draw them straighter.
     
  9. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Well I went out when I got home from school and put supers on all the hives but one. I took that 3rd hive body off that big hive because it seemed like the bees were just up there chillin' and not doing anything- so I took it off and put the super on.

    I have one hive that I reversed and the empty hive body that is on top still just has about 6 - 7 frames drawn out, will those bees ever draw out the other 3 - 4 empty frames? They had this on last year? Or should I go ahead and put a super on them now?
     
  10. rast

    rast New Member

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    If they are plastic foundation, maybe they chewed the wax off last year or part of it melted off in the summer. If the outside drawn comb is being used for storage only, no brood or eggs, slide it out one frame space and try dropping an undrawn one where it was.
    6 or7 frames of bees wouldn't be enough for me to super yet. May have a weak queen also.