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  Friday, 16 January 2015
  4 Replies
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Base upon several recommendations, I decided to leave a super full of honey in addition to the two deeps on my hives this winter. I'm sure it was full and capped and in addition warm days in October and early November allowed my to put out some syrup so I think they were pretty well stocked. So far I have seen both my hives send out troops on sunny days as late as a week ago. I am optimistic.
Thinking ahead, it is likely that when the warmer weather comes and I open the hives that there may be some honey/sugar water honey in the super on top of the hives. There may also be some brood.With two deeps, if all the bees and brood were in the top box I assume I would just swap them. The super adds another dimension especially if they are inhabiting the top deep and the super. Questions:
1. I'd like to get that super clear of any of last years goldenrod/sugar syrup honey so I can harvest some lighter spring honey. How? - the frames are to short to spread around the deep boxes but I want the bees to use up these stores so I can start fresh.
2. If there is brood in the super how do I reclaim it? Put a queen excluder under it and wait until the existing brood matures?
7 years ago
Mike - first thank you for regular, thoughtful responses.As a new beekeeper there is a lot of "common sense" that isn't common for me yet. I left the extra honey super on because it was recommended at a workshop I attended at the north yard this Fall. It may sound like heresy to some but maximizing the amount of honey I get isn't my primary goal. They may only be bugs to some but I view this as a partnership. Somehow taking all the steak and giving the bees pop tarts and cocoa krispies to live on in return doesn't feel like a partnership to me. I want to harvest honey but I want to see my hives be healthy and thrive. We recommend eating ray honey to everyone as "healthy" so it stands to reason the the bees should be eating it as well. Idealistic maybe but ... To be honest I hadn't really thought about permanently incorporating the medium into the brood stack but the way you described operations it makes sense. Since I am hoping to make some splits I guess I could find that medium full of brood at some point, pull it off and set a deep on top of it and have a nice split. When the bees move up into the deep then the medium becomes available to use again as needed. I guess I was focused on having different sized frames and them not being interchangeable but I suppose there are all kinds of ways to get around this. Thanks again.
7 years ago
Only two hives now but this Spring .... between swarms and splits I hope to be up to six by summer. Maybe more!!!
7 years ago
It's a wise beekeeper who leaves extra honey for the bees. That honey will be turned into bees come spring.

But to answer your questions...I have all my colonies in 2 deeps and a medium super. I consider that configuration to be my standard broodnest. I like this best as there is always enough volume in the hive for both brood rearing and honey storage.

So, I would leave the hive as it is, and not attempt to remove the medium, or re-use it as a honey super. But, you're right, there may be honey left in the medium come spring, and that honey will eventually take up room needed for brood rearing, and/or honey storage. If when dandelions begin to bloom, do you reverse your hives? This would entail moving the medium to the bottom and the bottom deep to the top. This action by itself will deal with that left-over honey. Because it is located at the bottom of the hive, and because bees really don't want they honey at the bottom of the hive, the bees will move the liquid honey to where they want it, and throw any crystals out the front door. Next year, when your reverse the hive, the medium will go to the top, and will be empty. To me, it doesn't matter where in the stack that medium is located. Bottom, middle, or top...it's more about volume than location. If in the middle of the hive, it's really easy to take a split from a strong colony by removing the medium from the middle when full of brood and bees, and replacing with an empty medium of comb. Great for swarm management.

Yes, if you have a strong colony in the spring, and the medium isn't full of honey...it will be if you left too much honey on in the fall...there will be some brood in that medium. Reversing the hive will take care of it. The brood will emerge...the queen will have moved up and be laying in the deeps, and there will be no brood in the medium. At this point you could certainly re-locate the empty medium to the top of the broodnest to be used as a honey super...but I have to ask, Why?
7 years ago
Hi Don,

How many hives do you have in total?

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