Friday, May 18, 2012

Adding a Honey Super

It has been a couple weeks since I have had a chance to check on my hive. The nectar flow has been tremendous with little spurts of rain here and there. To give you an update on where I am with my hive, I took a picture of the three brood chambers.

Bee Hive
Bee Hive

Here is a time frame of what I have done since purchasing my hive:

Weekly Time Frame
What was done during the week

Week 1

I purchased my Hive Equipment along with a package of bees. Painted the outside of all wooden components. Set up my hive in its location.

Week 2

Installed my package of Bees

Week 3

Removed the queen cage from the hive. Made sure she was released and laying. All was good and experienced my first bee stings of the season.

Week 4

Installed another Brood Chamber

Week 6

Installed another Brood Chamber

Week 8

About to install my first Honey Super

When going out to check on my hive, I was hoping to find that my third Brood Chamber would be filled with eggs and larva, just ready to burst. With that expectation in mind, it was a great sign when I removed the inner cover to find all my frames had drawn out comb. Removing the first frame I did not see any sign of brood or larva within the cells, only nectar and pollen. As I began to move into the center frames, I was finding the frames were mostly honey and nectar rather than laid eggs. This was not a good or bad sign, it just meant that the nectar flow was so good and the queen didn't find any need to continue laying in the upper brood chamber, at least I was hoping so.

Checking My Frames
Checking the Frames

I started working down into my next brood box and I began seeing plenty of eggs and larva within the cells. My queen was present and still laying, she just did not have the need to move into the upper brood box. My intent was to add a honey super onto my hive and after speaking with my mentor, he suggested that I take the center four frames from my upper brood box and transport them into my honey super. With it being mostly nectar and pollen in these frames, it will give the bees incentive to move up and begin to work the other frames in my honey super.

Frames in the hive
Removed Four Frames

Note: If i was not able to transfer these frames into my honey super I would have sprayed my foundation with sugar water to entice the bees to move up.

When talking to another beekeeper, he had mentioned that another option would have been to add a super beneath the brood chamber that was mostly nectar and pollen. He said that this would relieve congestion within my hive. 

I went with my mentors approach and transported four frames into my honey super and replaced them with frames containing foundation. Placed a queen excluder on top of my brood chambers, set my honey super on top and closed off my hive. By placing a honey super on so late I probably will not be able to harvest honey this year. Those frames that do contain honey will more than likely be used as feeding frames.

I can still hope though!


  1. If you're NOT harvesting honey why the "excluder"? She's obviously NOT moving north in your hive and seems content to work that lower box.

    1. By putting on a Queen Excluder, I was containing my queen in the bottom three brood chambers so that she would not enter into the honey super and lay eggs. My third brood chamber had drawn out frames with a few drone cells, very few larva and some stored nectar and pollen. By giving my colony four frames with just foundation, I made room available to relieve congestion and grow my colony. By adding the Queen Excluder, I have confined her to the bottom three brood chambers as a precautionary measure.
      There is no real intent on harvesting honey this year but in the event that the sour wood flow (or other nectar flow) is strong, I wouldn't mind being able to extract two or three frames.