On Honey Flow

* Information taken from: Apiculture: An introduction to Bees and Beekeeping. By Dr. Mark Winston

Top Supering:
Many commercial beekeepers feel that their honey crop does not suffer if they practice top supering, i.e., placing additional supers on top of those already on the hive. They usually do not use queen excluders.

Timing is very important. Empty supers should go on the hive before there are any cappings on the combs already in place. If there are cappings in the lower supers the bees may tend to ignore the empty super above and congest the brood nest. The empty super is best placed under such capped honey in these instances.

In discussing supering it is implied that only one super is added at a time. When a heavy flow is in progress

and when the nest visit may not be made for several days two empty supers should be supplied.

Supers of Foundation:
Frames of foundation should be placed next to the brood chamber during the main honey flow. The super containing 10 frames of foundation is ‘baited’. The two frames next to the wall are removed and replaced by two drawn combs. If these are taken from the brood chamber, take the outer combs from each side. Place the two frames of foundation in the brood nest on either side of the brood not next to the hive walls. It is

important not to place full or almost full supers of foundation directly over a queen excluder. Bees will tend to balk at two impediments and become congested below causing swarm preparations.

How Many Supers:
The number of supers per colony depends on your area. Much honey is lost each year by beekeepers with too few supers. When a standard Langstroth super becomes full of capped honey this usually means a loss in potential production because of shortage of storage space. Better to figure 35 pounds per super (dadant) than 50 pounds in deciding how many supers you require.

Honey combs are used as evaporation trays as well as for storage. Fully capped honey comb during a honey flow usually means congestion, a slowdown in production, swarming trouble and a reduced crop of honey.

Pollination and short flow Situations:
In Some areas there are short intense flows in the spring. Beekeepers in such areas usually add a shallow or dadant super to gather any surplus honey. This can be removed and extracted. The hive is moved to another pollination or honey gathering location and the super added. Care must be taken in these kinds of operations, not to overcrowd the bees, causing swarming. Thus a very special knowledge of your area and the behavior of your hives there is important. * Information taken from: Apiculture: An introduction to Bees and Beekeeping. By Dr. Mark Winston