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Should I remove my super?

I bought a new hive and had a new colony put in in mid December (missing the spring nectar flow). With all the over 40oC days etc, I had only had it 4 weeks and on advice, put the super (flow frames) on top (not realising that they hadn’t fully filled out all the brood box). Since then, I have inspected 3 more times and they have now filled the brood box and I have only on my last inspection found my queen (yay). When I look into the super windows, I don’t see too many bees in there and they have not started filling the flow frames at all. I tried Cedar’s advice and smeared some wax and burr comb on the frames which they have “cleaned off”.
I do believe they will “take care of business” next spring or late August when the wattle starts flowering, but should I remove the super all together till August??

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Hi Helga, when I bought my Flow hive I set it up complete with the Flow super as is right from the start. The bees didn’t use the super for about a year but then (during spring) they filled it steadily and I managed to harvest some honey. So I would suggest leaving the super installed. Patience is all you needJ.

Regards,

Helmut

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Hi Helga,

I wouldn’t remove it just yet, we may get some flow yet this season before winter. In my area (few hours drive south of you), I leave the flow on all year round. If you are in suburban Newcastle then we have a similar climate. If they have filled out your single brood box then I’d probably just leave it on and monitor.

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thanks for that, I just wasn’t sure if I should back up a step and let them worry about building their brood box without having to defend an empty super. I have had A LOT of hive beetles which thankfully are under control now. I will leave it well alone and just wait it out.

Personally, I would leave the honey super off until the bees are ready for it. We need to take one step at a time. We need to focus on the bees filling the brood box first, then add the honey super when we know the bees are ready for it.

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the super has been on since end of December and the brood box is full. They just haven’t started to fill the frames. I have watched them meandering over them and going in and out of the cells which I guess they are preparing them, but just not putting anything into them. Not sure that there is much around at the moment in the way of food but the colony seems healthy.

My apologies, I misread your question. Are you doing brood inspections to make sure that all the brood frames are full? If you are using properly fitted foundation & getting a good worker population building up, the bees will fill the flow frames quickly, provided you have a good honey flow.

A good worker population will also keep beetles under control & prevent them from laying eggs.

I think my mistake in the beginning was using foundationless frames, so it took them a lot longer to build out and grow the population. I think my mistake in putting the super on too soon was why the beetles were so hard to control with the extra space they had to chase them around in. I believe since the brood box is built out now and beetles are very few, their numbers will steadily grow and hopefully by next spring, I will have some honey in the super. fingers crossed.

Helga, seeing as you have used foundationless frames, it’s best to weed out the frames that contain a lot of drone comb & replace them with frames containing properly fitted foundation. That will help build the worker numbers up as well as reduce the risk of beetles laying eggs. They love to lay eggs in brood, especially drone brood if given the chance.

I did notice there were a lot of drone adults when I did a brood inspection on Sunday and wondered why there were so many.

Yeah this is where the problem can start because drones don’t do any defending. They wont stop beetles from laying eggs. Plus they can hinder the efforts of workers trying to stop the beetles from laying eggs.

Don’t they kick the drones out coming into winter so they don’t have extra “useless” mouths to feed? I only noticed a few drone brood cells.

They probably don’t kick them out in our climate. I’m north of you on the Sunshine Coast. Sometimes after a colony has built 5 or 6 frames of worker brood, they’ll start building a lot of drone brood on the outside frames, so just watch out for that.

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So I should take out frames with a lot of drone brood on them? what if there is worker brood there too?? Incidentally, how long do drones live?

Hey Helga, Jeff has given you sound advise and also agree totally about the way you have thought out your errors. all to often are hives set back by the super being added before the colony needs it for extra storage of honey. A colony needs to be busting at the seams in numbers before adding a super, they love a crowded hive. I only fit wired frames with foundation fitted, the bees will build out the frame so much faster and consume less honey and time in making the comb. As your bees are working on the super I would leave it on now, but remember the error when you do a split next Spring.
There is less nectar available in the bush in a heatwave but this Autumn as the temperature drop a bit you might well expect a better honey flow.
Regards

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Thank you. Do I HAVE to do a split?

I strongly advise doing a split probably at the beginning of Spring in you climate. Either make yourself another hive or it is a very saleable item.
Doing a split is done to reduce the colony numbers and reduce the risk of swarming in the hives second year.
Not doing a split can make for angry neighbors and you won’t loose about half the bees from the hive. A split is preemptive bee keeping and good care of your hive.
Doing a split is not as difficult as it sounds if you plan it out well before hand.
Regards

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ok thanks, I will be sure to check it out. Cheers.

Good morning Helga, what I do with such frames is cut the drone brood out before putting the frames above the QX. Let the workers emerge up there. Checkerboard the fresh foundation frames in the brood box. Alternatively, place them on either side.

Say for example, you place 2 brood frames above the QX. Remove 2 flow frames, then place the 2 brood frames in the middle. There will be gaps, put them on either side. This worked for a local flow owner, @Bean19, Anita to encourage bees into the flow super. You will need to place maybe 2 paddle pop sticks on the ledge to elevate the frames so that the bottom of the frame is not resting on the QX.

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This indeed did work for me. When I supered my second hive I did exactly the same thing again and it worked very well. The bee’s, I noted, were much quicker to take to the flow frames this time.Within a week they were filling gaps and building on a couple. I wondered if it was because they were offspring of my original hive and used to them.

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