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Do I add a honey super or not


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I'm a beginner beekeeper with a single brood box, do I add a honey super or do I add another brood box so the hive can grow?

My bees have been in the single full deep brood box for 3 weeks now, there are 4 frames of brood mixed with pollen and honey, they have drawn out 2 new frames of foundation either side of the brood area, 4 remaining frames aren't drawn yet, but have started.

There is a noticeable increase or new bee in the hive as its been over 21 days since I got the swarm nuc.

My question is - at some stage soon I will need to put another box on, should it be a honey super or another full deep brood box? Is it common to put a honey super on a single brood box or do you wait until you have 2 brood boxes full of bees?

My inexperienced thinking is I should put a full deep brood box on and let the colony expand and let the bees store honey in it and not to bother concentrating on honey yet!

Any other thoughts would be great.

Cheers

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When I started I went to a double full brood system. I think it's easier for a beginner to swarm manage this setupz then you can decide if you want to switch to single next year after you've gained some experience.

 

Welcome BTW.

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Looks like you're in the same position as me almost. Take a look at this thread especially towards the end with my posts. NZBF: - Adding a second brood box

Infact if you look at my post history you might find it useful, I don't have any advice since I'm as new as you, but I did ask a billion questions that will probably be relevent to you. Save yourself looking as silly as I did! :D

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Thanks for the link, it was useful! I might wait for a couple more frames to be nearly drawn out, then add another brood box. I'm going to check the hive tomorrow, hopefully there will be a lot more drawn foundation, the first couple of weeks the bees were only going through 1 litre of sugar syrup, in the last 2 weeks they were going though just under 1 litre every 2 days, fingers crossed!

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4 remaining frames aren't drawn yet, but have started.

4 out of 10 = 40% unfilled; or 60% filled: I'd wait till somewhere round 80% of frames filled with brood and stores.

---------------------------------------------

Mirrors on the hive mats

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's a update on my hive, everything looks great to my untrained eye, I've got two brood boxes on and the second box is 90% draw out, I got good brood in the centre and a lot of uncapped nectar around the 3rd and 7th frames and some capped honey on the tops of other frames, is this the time need to but on a Honey super on? There are bees covering all frames ( smaller amount on 1 and 10 ) any help would be great, I'm thinking there no reason not to put a honey super on at this time, but keen to hear what other people's ideas are and if this is what I should do. Cheers

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Here's a update on my hive, everything looks great to my untrained eye, I've got two brood boxes on and the second box is 90% draw out, I got good brood in the centre and a lot of uncapped nectar around the 3rd and 7th frames and some capped honey on the tops of other frames, is this the time need to but on a Honey super on? There are bees covering all frames ( smaller amount on 1 and 10 ) any help would be great, I'm thinking there no reason not to put a honey super on at this time, but keen to hear what other people's ideas are and if this is what I should do. Cheers

No harm in putting one on.

Also consider the location of hive and your next likely visit.

No point putting it off for 3 days and having to make a special trip etc.

When the pallets of hives go into Manuka by Helicopter they have all their supers on from the first day

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Here's a update on my hive, everything looks great to my untrained eye, I've got two brood boxes on and the second box is 90% draw out, I got good brood in the centre and a lot of uncapped nectar around the 3rd and 7th frames and some capped honey on the tops of other frames, is this the time need to but on a Honey super on? There are bees covering all frames ( smaller amount on 1 and 10 ) any help would be great, I'm thinking there no reason not to put a honey super on at this time, but keen to hear what other people's ideas are and if this is what I should do. Cheers

Are you still feeding ?

Probably time to stop, especially when you put a honey super on.

Are you using 3/4 honey supers or full depth ?

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Hi Tudor, I stopped feeding when I added the second FD brood box, I was really surprised at how fast they filled the second box with drawn foundation, because of the weather I checked the hive two weeks after adding the second box and it appairs that they filled the second box twice as quick as the first box when I was feeding sugar syrup.

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now's a good time to decide for the future

* what's your long term plan,

* how many hives do you think you can cope with

* I would consider using 3/4 honey supers above a queen excluder, using manley frames, a 3/4 chocka block can weigh 18 kg +/-

manley frames are 8 to the box, which give a better wax / honey rate and they are way less likely to rattle around when transporting, therefore less honey drip. there is another theory about using all the same gear for brood / supers,

with a double brood box, you could be having to add supers at an alarming rate, so make sure you have plenty on hand ( esp wets ) or you also may find that the hive stores all the goodies in the top brood box, and very little in a super

* if it was me, id wait till the top box is all drawn out, and then do a split

* just remember that you will have to split a brood box eventually, so you have 2 or 3 hives through winter

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Thanks for the advise, my future plan is to have one hive at home which is the double brood box hive I have now and 2-3 at a family property in the bush in the Wairarapa, things are happening so fast I didn't realise I would have to make plans this early! But I am loving bee keeping even more now.

What I would like to do with the double brood box hive is to keep putting supers on as they need it so I get an idea on how much honey they can pack then maybe change thing next season once I have a better understanding of how fast they operate, then in Autumn do a split and either purchase a queen or have a go letting the bee produce one.

If I do a split in Autumn would I likely to have to do another in next spring for swarm prevention?

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Bee keeping is often about the dilemma: honey or boxes.

 

So, if you bring in a honey crop, you may not have much honey to support splits over winter.

Or split, and have strong splits but very little honey to take off.

 

Or a nuc or two with time to get strong before winter ...

 

Your choice with help ...

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