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Time to add the flow super?


#1

Hi, New beekeper here in southern New Hampshire, looking for a little advice!

Summary of where I’m at with my hive so far:

I have a langstroth 8-frame deep hive with a screened bottom board, it was started from a package quite late in the year (May 11th 2016) but it seems to be doing really well. I used foundation in the first brood box (plastic foundation, rubbed with beeswax) and they built it out with beautiful comb to about 80-90% within 30-days, I have a good brood pattern and lots of pollen cells. I’ve been using a frame feeder so I only had 7 frames in the box, when 6 of the 7 frames were filled I replaced the frame feeder with another frame of foundation and added a second brood box. I then put the frame feeder in the upper brood box and put 7 frames in there, this time I alternated plastic foundation and foundationless with starter-strips (3 foundation, 4 foundationless). I did this on June 8th.

The hive seems really active and happy, not aggressive (only been stung once so far, and I wasn’t wearing a veil and didnt use smoke…so my bad). Today I went to do my ~7day progress check and see if the feeder needed refilling and was amazed to see they’d almost filled out all of the frames in the top brood box too, including beautiful straight comb in the foundationless! I couldn’t be happier! I saw the queen up there laying, so I know she’s not honey bound yet, but I’m worried with the rate they seem to be filling the frames that may happen soon. I’ve been giving them ~96oz of 1:1 sugar syrup with honey-bee-healthy in it about every 7-10 days, they’ve been through 16lbs of sugar since May 11th (surprised they are not a bunch of fat bees! ), there was maybe 16oz left in the feeder and they were still actively taking it, but I decided not to refill it in case I should be putting a honey super on top.

Question:

I hadn’t planned to take ANY honey from them this year as my priority was to grow bees to get them through the winter, but as the bottom box is completely full of brood/honey/pollen and the top box only has 1 plastic foundation frame not fully build out, and two foundationless that are only 2/3 built, I’m thinking maybe I stop feeding and replace the feeder with another frame and possible put the flow frame super on top at the same time? Any advice?

Oh and if I do add the flow frame honey super, I’ve got a pollen patty in there on top of the inner cover too, which they are slowly munching their way through, should I remove that at this point even though it’s still being eaten or just leave it on top of the frames below the honey super?

Thanks guys, sorry for the long post!


#2

Sounds like you have a very strong colony going so far! I would check with local beekeepers on what happens with the nectar flow from here on in your area, how much overwintering space is usually needed & for what size colony. Whether or not anyone uses Flow frames, you can ask about other beeks’ typical supering plans at this time. Take into account that even if they do give you a thumbs up for putting on supers, theirs might be mediums or shallows, and thus will be significantly smaller volume for bees to fill.

Let us know what you end up doing :honeybee::two_hearts: