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Adding the super

Hi all newby tablelands here. My nuc has been going for 6 weeks. Just need to know if the brood has to be 100 percent full before adding the super. Also a question for Gerald what were you adding to the frames in a recent photo I have placed sugary watery in the ceiling and was gone in a couple of days. Shoud I continue to add the sugary water. Thanks Tablelands

To have a better chance of getting Gerald’s attention type @Gerald_Nickel

Your brood box should be at least 80% full before putting on the super, assuming your weather (esp evenings) are sufficiently warm in my opinion. I’d suggest that instead of thinking of the super as being for honey think of it as living space for the bees…if you put it on too early they get cold and catch a chill (so to speak)…if you put it on too late they will swarm and find new digs…but put it on at the right time and they’ll reward you by moving upstairs and leaving you honey.

In saying the above dont forget you need to manage your hive for the winter that follows. This is more important if you’re in a real cold winter weather area. You might find you get no honey in your first season while you build up brood numbers (esp if you need to use 2 brood boxes to over winter)

That’s a great way to help people understand the need for good timing when supering!

Hi Table,

This is my second year/season with my Flow-system. Here’s a little background on our “Maple Hive” …

This feral/swarm colony came thru our Puget Sound Wx n Chilly/wet winter in flying colors. This colony of European/mut bees (mixed) started ramping up/growing (per my in hive sensors) back in at least mid January or earlier.
In mid March I flipped the brood n honey super (so the queen n brood are below) Dawn advises leaving brood above but I flip if all the activity is upstairs in the super.

By mid April the colony had grown/expanded (nearly outgrown) this configuration (the queen had moved up into the super n layed great capped board in the center 3 frames n bees were covering 80 plus % of this upper super and the below brood area… That’s a lot of bees ! Our early maple tree nectar flow was just coming on so I knew I MUST add something or have a possible Swarm Issue way too early ! My local mentor had been watching my instrument reads, still pix’s n video on my F.B. page n also texted me that my Flow-Hive was about to Explode (his words).

Thus it was either another super (a medium or my Flow-Super). Since the lower boxes seemed to be in need of room/space n a local nectar flow was on, I pulled my Flow-super (I had tried to use last season) out of storage. The bees hadn’t stored nectar or honey last season (got my Flow too late in our short foraging year. But they had sealed most of the frame seams/cells with beeswax.

So I sprayed the frames down with sugar syrup (the once only) … If your lower hive boxes are not nearly stuffed n a good nectar flow happen your bees will NOT really move up into your Flow-Super in our region. They’ll only pop up into the Flow-super for a sweet treat like adding a topfeeder but not stay. So addition spray jobs are not recommended.

I hope this somewhat lengthy note is helpful n clearer than MUD ! :grinning:. So the answer is “NO” … I don’t keep respraying !! If they are ready like mine once is ENOUGH ! My
“Maple Hive” (all my six hives have tree names)…

Cheers n Good Luck !

We’ve had our bees 4 weeks now and the have been very busy. I have 8 frames that look like this and fuller. I put the flow super on because I have been reading if you have 80% or better draw out frames it’s ok. But, now that I did it I question myself because it’s still pretty chilly at night in the 50"s or so. Should I take it back off or leave it alone? I only put it on yesterday, April 29th.

Hi Dori - gosh that looks like a lot of drone comb to me. But I’m only a second year beekeeper so let’s see what the more experienced folks say!

About your Flow super, when to put any super on depends on a lot of factors - your location & whether you should really have another entire brood box full for winter survival, the nectar flow right now, and how far into the nectar Flow before possible dearth in your area.

Do you have a mentor near you who can give you the best local advice about supering?

Calling Drs. @Dee @Dawn_SD @Red_Hot_Chilipepper @JeffH…drone comb??

Actually @SnowflakeHoney gave a great answer to this question earlier on…

With those temperatures, @Dori, you probably need a second brood box. Where in the world are you - your profile doesn’t say, and it would be helpful if you could complete it. Nearest big city?? If you do need a second brood box, I would get one and fill that first. Otherwise, you may be ready for the second box, without photos of a couple of other frames, it is hard to say.

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Dawn, is that a lot of drone comb on Dori’s frame in the photo or am I being silly?

Hard to say, but it is so confluent (= continuous carpet pattern of brood), it looks compatible with a queen-right hive. If it is drone comb, I would suggest it is probably on a hive wall side of a frame (number one or number eight if you label frames from edge to edge). I would like to see what frame numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6 look like too before I got worried about it. :blush:

Ah, good to know. Yes I thought the regular carpeting looked proper & also thought drone comb was mainly in the lower corners. But outside wall makes sense…

Yes, one of the outer frames.

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Hi Dawn, I’m in Brier (Seattle), WA. I would love to show you 3,4, 5 &6 but it is drizzling outside right now so no photo taking. My husband did order me a second brood box and it’s on the way. Sounds like I should go pull the super off and put it away for now. Being new I/ kids are excited to see honey. I do realize that having to wait will payoff. How would you suggest taking the super off? I noticed a few bees up there already.

About a mentor still haven’t found one yet.

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Thank you for the extra information, it helps a lot. I might leave the Flow super in place for now, as it looks like your hive is pretty full. I would put the second brood box on as soon as you have sealed it on the outside (hopefully a week or two or less). After that, taking the Flow super off sounds like an excellent idea (at the same time as the second brood box goes on). :smile:

It looks like @Gerald_Nickel is only about 30 miles from you. He might know somebody willing to help. Or if you employ him to service your furnace, he might help with your bees too! :blush:


@Dawn_SD n @Dori,

Guess it might not even be 30 ms. When I worked for the Ole Gas CompNy I to work all over Brier, Lynnwood, Edmond n so on.

Yah ! I’m with Dawn… Keep the Flow-Super but only until your ready to swap the deep 8 frame (done n cured). You’ll need your bees to fell up a double deep around Western Washington to survive our long wet cold winters.

This is my second season so my bees have filled both my deeps with nectar/brood/more. Our local blackberry season hopefully will fill all or part of the Flow-Hive . I’m working my bee population up so they will be ready.

Maximum bees for maximum crop ! All my colonies seem to be building great mixed brood n capped brood. All my queens must be young n good one.

Take care …

Bee class I was helping in on Sunday. I also
Keep learning more technics n have more practice.