How Many Supers Will My Bees Fill For Me?
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If you’re a new beekeeper, one of your first questions might be: How many supers will your bees fill for me? The answer may surprise you. There are several factors to consider. In general, a super can hold up to 20,000 bees and is much more secure than a brood box. You may want to consider an inverted roof so you can minimize the chances of crushing your bees. Another factor to consider is the time it will take bees to fill a super.
How to remove bees from supers
When it comes time to harvest honey, beekeepers must remove the bees from the honey super. While a healthy colony of bees may be able to produce a large amount of honey, their presence will only make the honey less useful. Fortunately, there are several different ways to remove bees from honey supers safely and easily. There are two primary methods of removing bees from honey supers: chemical and manual.
First, remove the top cover of the super. Bees will typically leave the top of the super within eight to ten minutes if it is on a sunny day. If you have multiple supers, use an uncapping tray or a small receptacle. Using a knife, carefully run your knife under the cappings. Only remove the cappings that are needed and then collect the thickest frames for reuse.
The next step in removing bees from the top of your super is to install a bee escape board. This device tricks the bees into leaving their supers at night, which prevents them from finding their way back. The device requires approximately 24 hours of continuous use and is safe for the bees and not harmful for the beekeeper. The board also makes it easy to remove multiple supers at once, while keeping the bees calm.
A bee blower is the most expensive tool for removing bees from supers. However, many beekeepers have found success using a leaf blower, a shop-vac, and an air compressor on low volume. All of these methods work, though they are not as safe as a bee blower. However, be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves when using a blower.
Inverted roof minimises chances of crushing bees
An inverted roof is ideal for beekeeping, as it reduces the chances of crushing bees. It supports supers by the edge of the roof, rather than stacking them on top of one another. Stacking supers can crush bees, which is a distressing experience for both beekeepers and hives. The liquid remains of crushed bees can cause infections, such as Chronic Paralysis Virus. Other bee diseases can also be transmitted from one bee to another through these ingested fluids.
Honey supers contain more brood than brood boxes
There are two types of bee hives: traditional and Flow. Honey supers are designed to store more honey and less brood than brood boxes do. Flow hives are ideal for beekeepers in subtropical regions and do not need overwinter stores. Traditional beekeeping practices in the US require a minimum of two supers to house the entire colony.
A beekeeper should keep a minimum of 40 to 80 pounds of honey per brood box to feed their bees during winter. In addition, beekeepers may wish to supplement food, a mixture of one part sugar to two parts water, to bring their brood boxes to the recommended weight. Honey supers can contain up to 100 pounds of honey.
A beekeeper should always keep a backup box for artificial swarms. In the event of a natural swarm, a honey super will hold half of the brood. Beekeepers should consider a medium-sized honey super if they are planning to raise more than one colony. A deep super containing up to seven frames contains approximately 70 pounds of honey. A medium-sized super contains about half that weight.
While it is recommended to use one brood box for their colony, some beekeepers find it necessary to add a second for a stronger colony. In this case, the bees will treat the center of the first super as their brood box. It may be impossible for a colony to fill two supers, but a young queen will be able to handle it.
Time it takes bees to fill a super
How long does it take for bees to fill a super? The answer to this question will depend on several environmental factors. When nectar flow is strong, the bees will quickly fill available space. At the most rapid rate, it may take only a few days, but more commonly, it takes about one to two weeks. During slow or weak nectar flows, a super can be filled in as little as one week.
Honey flows differ from year to year and region to region, but a general rule of thumb is to add enough extra supers to last until the next planned visit. During a high flow, the bees can fill a super within one to two weeks, but if they are weak, they may not be able to fill a super as fast. In Northwest Arkansas, for instance, it is common to see honey flows that reach four or five supers above the brood chamber.
The time it takes bees to fill a new super is largely dependent on the amount of honey produced by the hive. The bees may use all of the comb, but they should never use all of the comb in one box. Once they’ve filled the brood box, they’re ready to move up. When adding another super, be sure to bait the bees. Baiting means placing two partly capped frames in the middle of the box of foundation. Bees will move up to the top of the box as soon as they see that the frames in the middle of the boxes are filled with honey.
A beehive can be overcrowded. Overcrowding will cause the bees to swarm. Adding too much space may result in a smaller colony than you planned. Beekeepers who are experienced in supering a colony know that it’s best to pause for a while before supering. If they don’t feel crowded, they may not swarm.
Size of honey super
There are two standard sizes of honey supers, called deep and medium. A deep super is larger than a medium super, and will weigh about seventy pounds when full. A medium super is six and a half inches tall, and will fit the bees of a three-frame hive. Typically, beekeepers use deep supers for brood boxes, but some use medium supers for both purposes.
Honey supers are also called superstructures. This refers to the box that’s placed on top of a beehive during the honey flow. Beekeepers usually leave at least one box in each hive to collect honey and store it for the winter. Beekeepers usually leave a certain number of boxes in each hive, and these boxes can be medium, deep, or very shallow.
Medium boxes are often used for honey and brood collection. Some beekeepers refer to them as “supers.” Honey supers are usually four to five inches high and made from wood or cardboard. For beginners, it’s best to add one box at a time. Then, check your hive every ten to fourteen days during honey flow to ensure that the honey is flowing well. Once the honey begins to accumulate, add another box.
A strong colony should be put on 2 supers during heavy nectar flow. The outer frames in the bottom box should fill completely. Bees can also use the inner frames. Adding an extra super will only prolong the swarming impulse. If you add a super too early, it will not be sufficient enough for your hive to cope with the extra space. The added space will only be wasted.