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Author Topic: Adding first Super  (Read 305 times)

Offline Cobby

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Adding first Super
« on: August 24, 2019, 06:34:25 am »
Hi All
Im Located in South West Sydney and as you know, we've had a pretty warm Winter.
I started my hive mid January this year and although it was a slow start, Im pretty happy with the hives progress over winter. There is plenty of brood and capped honey but not as much pollen as I would have expected. But being very new to BK, that is an uneducated observation. 7 out of my 8 frames are close to full and the 8th frame is still pretty empty. Up until last week this frame was the outside frame and i have moved it in one position.
From what I have read, I think the hive is ready for its first honey super. My question is, is it still too cold to add a super and should I wait a few weeks or longer?
Also, what size supers do most people use first? Ideal or full Size?
Thanks for your advice

Offline Bamboo

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Re: Adding first Super
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2019, 08:31:47 am »
Hi Cobby
Personally I wouldn't be rushing to add a super at this time of year unless you can positively identify that you have a decent flow happening. I would take out a full frame or so and replace with an empty one if you are worried about room in the hive and swarming although I think it is way to early for swarms where you are, but like you said you still have an empty frame and I guess you are running an 8 frame hive? Being new I am guessing you would be adding foundation and not drawn comb. Wax comb is resource hungry for bees, what I mean by that is that accepted wisdom (although I have not seen any study that confirms it) says that for every kg of wax produced it takes 8kg of nectar to produce it. So adding foundation will take care of any incoming nectar if you are worried about getting honey bound. Just make sure you have enough brood comb for the queen when she starts laying in earnest come spring.

You are still getting low single digit temps overnight and will for some time yet, adding a  super just doubles the space that the bees have to keep at 36C, creates more space that has to be defended against intruders, SHB, mice, wax moth etc. I would continue to manage your hive as a single till you really get a flow then add a super. You will be able to smell the nectar coming in when you get a flow.

What you add is up to you and what you prefer. I run 10 frame deeps although I am seriously considering 8 frame deeps. A 10 frame deep full of honey is pretty heavy to hoist around the joint or maybe I am just getting weaker!

Cheers

Offline Cobby

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Re: Adding first Super
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2019, 11:17:48 am »
Thanks for the advice. It makes sense. Yes, Im running an 8 frame hive and using foundation in my frames. i'll just have to be patient for now. Its probably a good time to learn some hive management.
Thanks again

Offline Bamboo

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Re: Adding first Super
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2019, 05:58:34 pm »
Patience with bees is essential. Bees will do what bees do when they are good and ready. We (humans) often try and force things to happen the way we want them to happen and it often ends in tears.

Nature has been doing this stuff for 10's of thousands of years, they have worked out a system that works for them that ensures their survival.

I always say to new beekeepers "There is only one real reason to keep bees, and that is because they are fascinating. If you just want honey, make friends with a beekeeper".
With that in mind it is important to understand what a hive is all about and why they they do the things they do.

In nature bees find a home that will give them shelter from the elements and protection from predators. Their only aim is survival of the colony, to do this they collect nectar and pollen. They collect enough not only for the following winter but insurance stores as well, if all goes well and they run out of room in their current home a decision is made to expand the colony and raise another queen to swarm with and start again. The existing colony remains till their queen ages and is no longer able to ensure the viability of the colony so they will raise another queen to replace her and so the cycle continues.

I can't stress how important it is to try understand how things work in nature and then you can start to manage your bees in conjunction with how they would do it themselves. It just makes things easier if you look at beekeeping from the larger viewpoint rather than "I have a hive where is my honey?". Work with the bees and help them, this is management that will benefit you and the bees.

By all means read all you can and learn from the many great books written about beekeeping but conditions vary all over the world, keep your bees according to your climate and resources (nectar, pollen supplies), learn what gums or trees are in your area, when they normally flower and what time of year after a warm stretch, immediately after rain etc. When you start to learn these things you will notice when things change as they seem to be often doing with our changing climate, plants that normally flower in October flowering in August. You become much more aware of our environment. Anyway that is all up to you if you are interested in it.


Your hive should do well as you look to be pretty close to the national park and all the resources that are in there.

Good luck.

Offline Bee North

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Re: Adding first Super
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2019, 07:43:25 pm »

Also, what size supers do most people use first? Ideal or full Size?

Mate i havent been doing this for long but i have learnt a few things.
You think you will only ever have one hive. But bees expand and you become sort of obsessed with them....you end up with more hives!
I suggest you run the same size super as your brood. That way you can swap your frames around and boxes as you need to.
You will get different opinions on size because all sizes work, but having the same size make life easier and gives you more options, especially when you end up with two or three hives.
Patients is hard...buying gear is easy!



Offline Cobby

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Re: Adding first Super
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2019, 12:45:36 am »
Thanks Guys. All good advice that I will keep for reference.
My patience comment was a bit more tongue in cheek with regards to obtaining honey. I'm very much more concerned about whats best for the hive and looking forward to watching it progress as healthy as possible. I'm already looking at setting up a second hive when the weather gets warmer. and already have it all in the shed ready to go.
Do you have any advice as to when is the best time of year to install a new hive? I know I was late with my first.


learn what gums or trees are in your area, when they normally flower and what time of year after a warm stretch, immediately after rain etc. When you start to learn these things you will notice when things change as they seem to be often doing with our changing climate, plants that normally flower in October flowering in August. You become much more aware of our environment. Anyway that is all up to you if you are interested in it.


Your hive should do well as you look to be pretty close to the national park and all the resources that are in there.



Bamboo, You are correct. I back onto the Georges River National Reserve. I'm very interested in learning what resources are in my area ans I know exactly where I will be going this week to get info on the flora in the area. Sylvan Grove Native Garden Education Centre is just down the road from my place.   :grin:

Thanks again

Offline JimW

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Re: Adding first Super
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2019, 03:04:18 am »
Hey Cobby,

I?m in Padstow, and added a super on each of my two hives (double deep brood boxes) last weekend because they were chockers.

I was hesitant to add a super, but a friend of mine with a one year old hive in Panania had them swarm on her about two weekends ago.

I?m no expert though! I also don?t want to have my hive swarm on me again either. They were very busy today with the warm conditions. Due for showers this week though.

Best of luck!
Jim


Offline Cobby

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Re: Adding first Super
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2019, 04:50:03 am »
Thanks Jim.
I'm going to do an inspection on my hive on Tuesday if the weather permits and take particulers on each individual frame so I can analyse more accurately where the hive is at. I'll probably take photos as well. Then I'll probably get a friend to have a look for confirmation. I definately have time to leave adding a super til it gets warmer but I want to do it right