Should I leave a full Super on into the colder months?

Hi Fellow Beekeepers,

I have what must be a standard question for newer beekeepers.

My Bees have had a bumper season and so far I have been able to harvest about 35kgs of beautiful honey from my flow hive. I will have another 6 full super frames by the middle of April at their current fill rate.

We are just at the beginning of autum here in Victoria and it will start to cool off within the next couple of weeks. I live in country Victoria " up in the hills" where it does get cold over winter. Quite often its around freezing overnight.

My set up is 2 full brood boxes and a 6 frame super. Last winter I had the 2 brood boxes on but no super.

My question is, is it ok to leave the super on the hive for the Bees to access their super honey stores over winter or is it adviseable to harvest the remaining honey and remove the super prior to the weather getting cold in winter? Or perhaps a combination of both ideas?

I am planning to watch their progress in the next few weeks and see if they start moving honey out of the Super. Currently they are filling frames at a phenominal rate.

I am keen to leave as much honey as possible for them but dont want to compromise the hives progress through winter with the super losing precious internal hive heat.

Thank you for your ideas and advice.

Best regards,


Hi @MJ1975,

I tried both in Perth suburbia last winter and one before. Winter temperatures were milder than what you describe. Here is the graph from the location:


I found no advantages in leaving supers on my hives in winter time. Disadvantages were more pronounced. Colonies were weaker after the winter. Not significantly, but noticeably. In colder climates situation could be worse. Another thing - I missed an opportunity to clean frames before the next season.

I did it only out of curiosity, because where I kept bees before winter temperatures were in -20 -30°C range, and such thing simply wasn’t possible. From now on, I am going to keep supers where they belong in winter time - in storage.

I would recommend to drain supers when harvesting ends, clean them and put it somewhere out of light till the next season. Make sure that bees have plenty of stores in top brood box. Bees can do with little, but colonies coming out winter with 4-6 kg of honey still in stores take off in spring more actively than those which “just made it”.


I agree with @ABB, harvest the super and remove it. Bees tend to put propolis on the flow frames over winter, and that can gum up the mechanism, making the next harvest difficult or impossible. :blush:


Hi ABB and Dawn,

Thank you for your replies.

That does sound like a good move taking the super off over winter. Ill leave it on until production dies off and then remove, clean and store.



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