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Should I leave my Honey super on for the winter? Sanford, NC, USA


Ok… Got another question for all my bee experts… So I have been doing a lot of reading and have gotten mixed messages on this… going in to fall / winter should I leave my honey super on or should I take it off? If I take it off should I subsidize with pollen patties and sugar water? This is going to be my first winter with bees and I just want to make sure I am doing it right!


In your climate, I would definitely take it off after the last Fall harvest. If you don’t, they will likely apply liberal amounts of propolis over winter, gumming up the Flow mechanism before your spring nectar flow! :blush:

People in tropical and subtropical climates tend to leave the super on year round, as they never have a long nectar dearth. I think that is where the confusion comes from.

Definitely take it off when you are feeding, unless you want artificial syrup in your next Flow harvest! :smile:


Thank you Dawn!! I love all me bee people on this forum! There is so much knowledge that you all have! Thanks for all the help


It really depends on the sort of winter you have there. The bees will need to be ‘packed down’ if your winter is severe so that there is less room for the bees to heat.
They will also need honey to get through the winter. I would ask advice of local bee keepers as to what you should do to prepare for winter around your location.


So very true Dawn, I had to put on a pair of jeans and a seat shirt for the 2 weeks on my “Winter”. Now is still the middle of winter here but I am back into shorts and a T shirt tending to my hives. Winter should have added to with “freezing weather” or a “balmy winter”, or even a “warm winter”. That would help with the confusion.
Here the bees forage over winter and in the last 2 days I have extracted 4 frames of honey from my traditional hives, the flow hives will be ready in a few weeks.


Just an update on my flow. Situated South West Western Australia. Mild Winters and warm to hot summers.

I decided to leave the Flow super on this winter. I had probably 3 full frames of honey spread across 6 frames. Now August with spring just around the corner and there has not been an great change. The bees seem to swap it around a bit but overall the honey in the flow frames still about the same or slightly increased.
I believe the honey source in the flow super has been a pool to take and add to as required.
I can’t wait for some warm days to get in and look see.
As a sideline to this I have been noting that there is an abundant of different plant sources of nectar and pollen. Maybe not an abundance of those flowering plants but certainly enough to keep the hive strong.


This recent topic may be of interest to help you to decide.


With the greatest of respect to @Faroe, your climate is different. Your bees will very likely focus more on propolis over winter. You deicde, and please tell us all what happens, then we can all learn. :blush:


Many things could happen if you leave the Super on. One: the bees get cold because of empty space. Two: propolising. Three: condensation in the Flow Frames, which could lead to mold, or fermentation, etc.
For colder climates, it’s best to check with locals and see how many brood boxes they use.
Then build up the brood box/es so the bees have enough honey stores, etc, to survive the winter, rather than replying on your Flow Super, patties and sugar water (from my knowledge).
To see how many brood boxes to use (if you can’t find out from a local beekeeper or bee club), you can search this topic based on location:


Remove super

Leave super


Very nice illustration of the concept, Ed @Red_Hot_Chilipepper! Brilliant, just brilliant. :sunglasses: