Bees removing honey from super frames

Hi, after harvesting a single superframe around 3 weeks ago I did a full inspection a week & 1/2 later, all (sorta) went well, the super outer frames were full of honey, but not capped, the inner ones capped, bar one I harvested, the brood boxes were covered in bees, almost 3 deep in places, plenty of brood, pollen cells & larvae, no queen was spotted & drones murdered on the base board, none in hive, all seems good, but, there was also an empty unused queen cell, so I got rid of it, put the hive back together with a bit of murder, mischief & mayhem, those full supers ARE heavy, the question I have is that today I had look thru the super inspection covers & found both outer frames empty of honey as well as the end frames about 2 deep, would they be filling up the empty frame? Can’t see any brawls on the landing board from robber bees & there still be seems to be some trees flowering, any thoughts? This is the first winter I’m coming into & I’m in NSW.

A sign that winter is coming…

…so they are probably moving honey down into the brood nest, which is going to reduce in size as they ramp down brood production.

I’ve also found that bees will move honey down after I do a thorough inspection. I’m guessing that’s a defensive strategy, getting their stores more concentrated. They might even just be holding it in their honey crops until the danger is over.


It’s possible that the bees are moving honey around within the hive and filling up other frames. It’s also possible that they are still collecting nectar from flowering trees or other sources.

It’s normal for bees to have some empty frames at times, but it’s important to monitor the hive regularly to ensure that they have enough stores for winter. If you are unsure about the state of the hive, it may be a good idea to consult with a local beekeeping association or experienced beekeeper for advice.

Best of luck with your bees and your first winter as a beekeeper!

I had the same questions, last year was my first year with bees. I would check the windows on the super almost daily to see what was going on. I also would see nectar going in the cells but the next day was missing. Keep in mind this was a first year NUC so i didn’t really think i would get any honey. They have done really well this spring here in Ohio and I’ve noticed the same with the super other than most of the nectar they are bringing in seems to be staying there instead of disappearing. Im really hoping to get my first harvest this summer. Im just guessing the get hungry sometimes and take the fresh nectar back???

Maybe, but they also spread out the fresh nectar and then move it as they evaporate more of the water. Since fresh nectar is ~80% water and finished honey is ~18% water.

Where are you located? I’m in Columbus.

It could happen. As busy as the bees are in may and June, things really slow down in July and august and then pick up a bit in the fall with the goldenrod and aster flow - which you might be able to harvest but you may also need to leave for the bees for winter.

I’m still amazed at what these bees do and how they manage things inside!
I’m located about 60 miles north of Columbus, about 7 miles north of Upper Sandusky
So what I’m running right now is 10 frames, 1 brood box with a medium super on top of that. So far the medium has been full of honey and a small amount of brood as I let the queen roam wherever in those two boxes. Medium stays on all winter for food and this year I put a candy board on top of that with a little insulation. Things went very well but it was also a very mild winter. I took off the flow frames in mid November to “pack them down”. This spring has been good so far but a month ago i noticed a large amount of mites in the pest tray! I panicked but I think I got most of them with some Formic Pro. Ill do a mite wash late this week to see how its going. The Nuc i got last year was a hygienic Minnesota-Ohio queen. I hope the large number that was in the pest tray was because they were picking them off each other…As a new beekeeper Im sitting on pins hoping Im doing everything right. Got a second hive and another Nuc coming in 2 weeks. How do you run your setup???

An Update! Went & got a young fella for lifting purposes & removed the super (young fella crying & bleating about the super weight, I don’t feel so bad now!) removed the excluder & pulled one of the center brood frames for a queen stickybeak & said young fella found her straight away, grrrr, young eyes, this was a great inspection as, queen was ID’d, brood frames had capped brood & larvae in cells, other brood frames weighed a ton with stores, the weight of the super was over the top & plenty of bees all over the frames, 1st winter panic over (until Spring) one happy camper & thanks for the replies.

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Haha those things are heavy :grin:

If you can’t get young fella next time, take out and rest a few of the Flow frames in an empty deep on the ground. They won’t settle all the way level but they don’t need to. Also, if you have more boxes of any size you can stack a couple of them offset so you have a taller surface to put the super onto.

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Or else, you can refer to this video: How to Remove Bees from Honey Frames - YouTube Kodi