Understanding the Function of Honey Super Frames
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Before you choose a honey super for your hives, you should understand its function. Bees are orderly creatures, and they need room to build their honeycomb in a structured fashion. If you see honeycomb construction below the box, it might be a sign of a colony that has finished building their hives. Each colony is different, so it is best to choose a box that will accommodate the honeycomb construction.
Benefits of having a honey super
The height of your honey super is dependent on the strength of your colony and the availability of nectar throughout the season. Bees cannot fly in hot or damp weather, which can disrupt the flow of nectar. Additionally, they need a place to collect propolis, a sticky, brown substance that bees gather from trees. Often called bee glue, this substance is an important part of your honey super frame.
Bees will use the super to store excess honey and pollen. If you don’t add the super in time, the bees can swarm. They may not store enough honey to survive the winter. If you don’t add a honey super in time, your bees will not be able to produce enough honey to store for the winter. Instead of wasting precious beekeeping resources, you’ll be able to harvest honey from the frames that contain excess pollen and honey.
Beekeepers who use excluders can prevent the queen from entering the honey super. These devices consist of perforated plastic or thin metal bars that fit over the brood chamber. Bee workers can pass through them, but the queen cannot. With excluders, the queen is confined to a small area, making it easier to identify her. In addition, if you want to re-queen your colony, you can locate her easier.
Beekeepers who use a honey super frame will have fewer issues with weight. Medium supers weigh about 30% less than their deep cousins. When full, they can weigh as much as 90 pounds! A medium super, also known as an Illinois super, is six-five-eighths in height and weighs close to sixty pounds. Its shallowness makes it easy to store honey, but it can also prevent the hive from overflowing.
Structure of a honey super
The structure of a honey super frame is important for two reasons: weight and rigidity. A ten-frame super will typically have nine frames. While it may be lighter, the extra space will make the bees draw out the comb, making harvesting easier. In addition to weight, the structure of a honey super frame should be durable, with a high-quality, weatherproof finish. To determine the structure of a honey super frame, compare it to a standard wooden frame.
A medium honey super will have 10 medium frames. A shallow super will have five frames. A deep honey super requires a deep box. Medium boxes are used in both deep and shallow supers. The foundation of a honey super frame may be wired or plastic. While bees prefer wired wax, many beekeepers choose plastic to protect their bees from moths. The structure of a honey super frame will affect the amount of honey stored in a super.
Plastic foundation frames are available in varying sizes and styles. A 1/8″-deep cell is recommended to encourage the development of worker cells. Some beekeepers spray their frames with sugar water before installing them. Others brush new beeswax into the frames. A plastic foundation has several benefits. It is more rigid than beeswax, and can be inserted more easily. Moreover, the plastic foundation can be easily bent or crimped to fit into the grooves.
A superframe is made of several layers. The bottom layer of the super is called the brood box, while the upper level is called the superstructure. When filled with honey, the frame becomes heavy, and is therefore easier to handle. However, a super can be made of any type of box. And the honey super is a general term for the box placed above the brood box. These three layers of a honey super help the bees collect more honey and produce more wax.
You should be careful when measuring the height of your honey super frames, as it is not the same for every hive. Bees are orderly creatures, and they need a certain amount of space to build their honeycomb. If you find that some frames have no honey, you should try rotating them to the middle position and checking the construction of each honeycomb frame. Generally, you should allow a height of six inches for your frames, but you must also be sure that your bees will be able to reach the frames below.
There are three standard sizes for honey super frames: medium, deep. Medium frames are the most common and can be easily assembled with standard lumber. Deep supers are more difficult to lift and can weigh close to ninety pounds once they are filled. Larger frames are ideal for beekeepers with strong backs, as they are easier to handle and have less weight per square inch of usable comb space. Despite the differences in the height and weight of super frames, each is available in several styles, depending on your needs and preferences.
Medium boxes are six-five-eight inches tall and weigh two-thirds as much as comparable deep frames. Medium boxes are also known as Western Supers and Illinois Supers. Despite their small size, they are compatible with frames of comb. The only drawback to this type of hive is that it requires a longer height. This may not be convenient when honey is flowing strongly. So it’s best to use the smaller sizes first.
One factor that makes choosing the right super important is the depth. Honey supers vary in depth between seven and nine inches. Deep frames are best for extracting up to six pounds of honey, while medium frames hold up to three pounds of honey. Honey supers can also be divided into three different types based on their depth. You can find a standardized honey super box in three different sizes: six five-eight, double deep, and triple deep.
Medium-sized boxes are six and half inches high and weigh about two-thirds of a deep super. They’re also compatible with a single frame of honey comb, so you don’t need to purchase two supers. However, this type of hive is not as portable as a deep one. Medium frames are easier to manage and are generally more expensive than deep boxes. You’ll also find that medium frames weigh closer to thirty pounds than thirty-five pounds.
The Langstroth style hive body is nine-five/8 inches high and holds 10 frames. The Langstroth body was designed with bee space in mind. In southern climes, a single deep box is sufficient. Northern regions often use two deep boxes for larger colonies, because it allows more room for brood. Nevertheless, a deep box can weigh up to eighty pounds when full. Using a bottom board to attach the super to the hive body can save your back if you need to move it around.
One option for hives is to purchase a Langstroth frame with a deep foundation and a medium bottom board. Both types of hive boxes have their own advantages and disadvantages. The Langstroth frames have four basic components: a top bar with a wedge, one bottom bar with a slit, and two side bars. These four parts hold the foundation, which is a thin rectangular sheet of wax embossed with a honey comb pattern.
A queen excluder is a beekeeper’s tool that prevents the queen from laying eggs inside the honey super. These frames should not be used until after the bees have drawn out the brood boxes. This excluder should be placed under the honey super frames, with the support wire facing the brood box. This tool is a vital piece of beekeeping equipment. A queen excluder will prevent the queen from laying eggs in the honey supers, which is why it is a crucial tool to have in your beekeeping arsenal.
The queen excluder function of honey super frames helps to keep the queen from entering the honey super when you are working on extracting the honey. This tool is most commonly used in medium and deep honey supers. It prevents the queen from laying eggs in the honey super, which is not desirable for the production of high quality honey. Queen excluders also prevent the bees from storing pollen near the honey. Pollen can reduce the purity of the honey.
The queen excluder is a plastic or metal grill that serves as a selective barrier between the hive boxes and the honey super. The gaps in the excluder allow worker bees to pass through while the queen is blocked. In addition, the excluder makes it easy for the worker bees to collect the honey. It is inexpensive, durable, and effective, which is why it has earned praise from many beekeepers.
In addition to eliminating the risk of swarming, the queen excluder also relieves the pressure on the brood area. Backfilling nectar interferes with the distribution of the queen substance, which is a trigger for swarming. Bees will not expand if they aren’t getting enough pollen and nectar. A honey super frame without the queen excluder will discourage the bees from going through the queen excluder.