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Super vs. Additional Brood Box

So, this is my 2nd year of beekeeping. My first colony died over the winter and I purchased a new nuc which was installed in mid-May, so they haven’t overwintered yet. They seem to be doing exceedingly well, quickly filling out the first brood box, so I added another a couple of weeks ago. Again, they’re doing REALLY well and are close to having the 2nd brood box filled with drawn comb. Overall, it’s been great.

Now… at the rate they’re going, it appears that they’ll be ready to expand again soon. I suppose I could add the super, but it seems a bit early in the season. My guess is that they could keep expanding if I let them. So the question is: What’s the best approach? Put the HoneyFlow super on, or add another brood box and let them expand a bit more? I know I could split them, but everything I’ve read says “Don’t split a first year colony”, and honestly, I’m not sure I want to tackle that process yet.

Finally, I’m not in any rush to harvest honey. My biggest concern is setting them up to survive the winter. I’m thinking a 3rd brood box, then maybe splitting next spring. Would love input.

As info, I’m in Oregon.

In your climate, you should probably have 2 brood boxes for overwintering. It seems that you have that now. You shouldn’t need a third brood box. Please make sure that the following are all true before you add another box or Super:

  1. Every frame has fully drawn comb on most of the frame, and
  2. Every frame is 80% full of food or brood, and
  3. Every frame is completely covered with bees

It is actually a bit late for the Super in most areas, unless you have a strong Fall flow from something special locally. Most nectar flows are over by mid-July. Nothing to lose by adding the Super and see what they do with it, if the above rules are all true. They will take to it faster if you smear some burr comb across the plastic frames.

Thanks Dawn,

Yeah, understand that those things need to be true. It just looks like that’s going to happen very quickly.

Thanks for the info. If it does happen, I’ll pop the super on top then and see how it goes.