How Fast Do Bees Fill a Honey Super?
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How fast do bees fill a super? This is a very common question, and there are several reasons why. Here, you will learn about top and bottom supering, how fast nectar flows and how long it takes to draw out a super. Also, you will learn what to look for when supering. This will ensure that you have enough honey for your colony.
How much space does a honey super have?
There are three types of supers, varying in size, height, and depth. Mediums are relatively small, measuring approximately six 5/8 inches tall. They’re typically used for honey supers, while deep supers, also known as brood boxes, can weigh over 70 pounds. Both are suitable for beekeeping, although some beekeepers prefer using a medium super exclusively. To choose the right super for your bees, consider the following:
First, choose the type of frame for your super. Choose a frame that fits your honey extraction equipment. Remember that worker bees need four things to survive: pollen, nectar, and propolis. They’ll collect these resources until they run out of food and water. Therefore, your honey super must provide enough space for the bees to store all these materials. Adding a super prematurely may cause your bees to become unproductive or die.
The size of your super will determine the amount of time it takes for the colony to fill it. Bees usually move upwards, but if your super is too small, they’ll migrate outward and rely on the foundation to build their hives. This can lead to a narrow and long colony, which is less than ideal for efficient use of equipment. Moreover, bees tend to collect and ripen nectar more quickly if they’re provided with a lot of space.
How much space does a honey super have depends on how your bees collect nectar. In a deep super, you may have to place 2 or more frames. A deep super takes longer than a shallow or medium super. Bees also tend to take longer to collect nectar in a deep super. Moreover, you should consider the weather conditions in your area. If raining and snowing are prevalent, bees may not move to their next super.
Beekeepers can choose an ideal number of frames for their hives. Some choose to use nine or ten frames, while others use all 10 frames. Using a 9 frame honey super is better for bees, because the comb is wider. This allows the knife to go along the wooden frame and uncap the honey cells. If you want to use a 10-frame super, you must have enough space for it.
Top supering vs bottom supering
While adding a super to an existing hive is not an issue for honey bees, beekeepers are often concerned about super placement. The best way to super is to place the new super directly below the existing super. This method is less work and allows for easy monitoring of the existing super. While both ways are equally effective, you may find that one method works better in certain circumstances.
A hive with a super placed on top of the brood nest is a natural queen excluder. Because the queen prefers to keep the brood together, she will not cross the barrier of honey to lay her eggs. The same principle applies to hives with more than one super. If the supers are located directly above the brood chamber, the bees begin work earlier and don’t have to travel as far to get to the uppermost super.
Beekeepers commonly refer to top-supering vs. bottom supering in honey supers. While most beekeepers use top-supering, bottom-supering is not completely unheard of. The difference between the two supering methods is not statistically significant. Nonetheless, the results are encouraging. In the long run, top-supering may be more efficient for your hives.
The time it takes to fill a honey super depends on the number of bees and the foundation provided. In a good colony, the super can be filled in one or two weeks. In the latter case, the process will take much longer if the colony is weak. In addition, it is not wise to use foundation supers if you are not a professional beekeeper as these require time to fill.
When is the best time to add a super? It’s usually when the honey flow is most intense. A good rule of thumb is to add a super when the bees are laying honey in the comb, and one super when the comb is whitening. Then, add another super when the flow is at its highest. Of course, not all colonies will fill their supers at the same rate, so it’s important to monitor the activity of the bees and the weight of the frames.
If you can give your bees extra space, they will store more honey. If you give them space to expand, they will work until the super is full, often without slowing down. Once they are almost 90% full, you can expect to see some slowdown. Adding extra space will also reduce the swarming impulse. Beekeepers should add a new super at the halfway point or two-thirds full.
By June, most colonies have already grown large. If you caught a swarm, they’ve likely rebuilt and developed into a decent colony. A recent queen replacement may have interrupted a swarm. The spring focus on colony management has shifted to adding supers. That means more attention has been paid to spring buildup, and fewer bees means more honey! And a super is a must-have for anyone who plans on harvesting their own honey.
The height of a honey super will depend on the bees’ foraging ability, the availability of nectar during the season, and other conditions. Honey bees can fly up to three kilometers away from their hives to gather nectar, and honey is the most valuable part of this harvest. Bees use honey as their fuel. In order to collect nectar, bees collect tree resin.
When the bees are filling a honey super, they start from the center and work outward. They will fill the super in layers, starting from the center, and leaving any cells with too little honey uncovered. If the colony is healthy, they will be able to harvest a little honey the first year. However, they should be able to store some honey over winter if the conditions are good.
Time to draw out a honey super
When it comes to drawing out honey, you can’t just add another super to the hive at the end of the nectar flow. Ideally, you should add a new super when the first one is half or two-thirds full. However, if the spring or summer flowering season is over or frost has fallen, it might be too late. Adding a super too early will only weaken your hive.
The timing of when to draw out a honey super depends on the size and type of woodenware equipment. If the super is 10 frames deep, it will take longer for the bees to fill it. Similarly, if you use 8-frame equipment, it may take longer for them to fill it. In some cases, the bees may not be strong enough to fill the super, or the hive may be overcrowded.
The height of the honey super is determined by the strength of the nectar flow and the time of year. In hot or damp conditions, the bees will not fly, and they will not draw out a honey super if it is too tall. Bees also use a sticky brown substance called propolis. Propolis is a glue that bees gather from tree trunks and cracks.
You should also consider the population of bees in your hive. Bees like a dense environment, so the larger the hive, the more honey you will get. If you have too much space in your hive, you could risk attracting pests such as wax moths. Also, too much space can lead to the colony swarming.
When the bees have filled the first honey super, you should add another honey super before the bees have completely finished filling it. The additional space will activate the bees to gather nectar and produce honey. When you add another honey super before the bees need it, you should bait it first. Baiting means placing two partly capped honey frames in the center of the foundation box. You should then replace those two frames with frames of new foundation.