Mountain Sweet Honey

When do you add a honey super?

You have just placed your package of bees or nuc into your deep hive body. Now you wonder when should you place your next honey super? Let’s take a look at the science of beekeeping in a laymans way of thinking.

First, only start your hive in a deep hive body to start with. What the beekeeper is doing, is to help the bees focus on developing comb in the deep super. This will allow the queen to emerge, from the queen cage, on day 3 and have cells ready to lay eggs within. It is also advisable to keep your sugar water feeding at a ratio of 1:1. This will also stimulate the queen to begin laying eggs.

When the bee colony reaches a point when a 10 frame hive reaches 8 frames full of bees, that is when you will add another super. Use the 80% rule in adding each super. After the second super is full drawn out of comb, that is when you can end supplemental sugar water feeding. The second super is also normally considered as the winter feed for the bees during the cold winter months.
If you are leaving on vacation, it is ok to place two supers if you are in a high nectar flow in your area. The only problem with placing two or more new supers is the colony will get unorganized.

Now some news about forgetting your hive during a nectar flow and you have not placed a new super on your hive. Your colony will want to divide by raising a new queen and begin preparations for swarming. This is cost you that season of honey production for that hive.

Moral of this article is get in your hive at least once every 10 days during the nectar flow. Use the 80% rule in adding supers to your hive so that you can give the colony “space” within the hive. If the bees do not have “space” then the bees will swarm from the hive.