Honey Supers

Local question related to beekeeping in the Piedmont Triad area asked and answered here!

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p51d
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Location: Pleasant Garden, NC

Honey Supers

Post by p51d » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:42 pm

When is the proper time in the Piedmont - near Randolph to put honey supers on????

Some of my hives look really active in the morning and not so much in the afternoon.

thanks as always

All the information is useful - I have more surviving hives this year than the last several years.

Jacobs
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Re: Honey Supers

Post by Jacobs » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:13 pm

I'm glad your bees are doing well. I have had heavy losses this winter and just heard a news report on public radio that losses were heavier than normal this winter with some losing as high as 80%.

Our main nectar flow usually runs from mid-April to early/mid June. That being said, if nectar sources bloom early, having some honey supers on at the beginning of to the middle of March might not hurt. In 2017, a very mild winter year, Nancy Ruppert told the GCBA bees were about 3 weeks ahead and she was putting some honey supers on in late February. My neighbor and I did the same. We got an early flow before the late, hard freeze in April damaged a lot of the normal nectar plants. There was enough of the traditional flow to finish out some of our supers, but if we had waited to put them on at the normal times, we would not have gotten nearly the crop that we did. Our crazy weather can do a real number on our nectar flow.

If your hives are strong and can produce enough warmth, you might try putting a honey super on in early March with plans to add more if needed later. Enough of my hives will have a hard time keeping brood areas warm until spring comes. I will be hesitant to super up until they build up and have warmer weather on a sustained basis.

Wally
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Re: Honey Supers

Post by Wally » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:51 pm

I would check the hives and see how much empty comb they have. I would not super a hive that has 20 empty drawn frames, even in May. I would super a strong hive with less than 5 empty frames and open nectar, "indicating a flow", the first day of March. Each hive should be judged individually.

p51d
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Location: Pleasant Garden, NC

Re: Honey Supers

Post by p51d » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:56 pm

Thanks for the information. This is really the first year I have not lost over 50% of my bees so I am quite thrilled.

I thought I was way to early for supers. Several hives appear very busy, especially in the morning hours, less in the afternoon. I checked them - there is not a tremendous amount so they have not gone crazy yet. I see the maples beginning to bud and I remember one session of the meetings one person put supers on to grab maple honey.

I will wait to mid-March. One followup question. The average hive for my area I seldom get two honey supers during the flow (poplar trees). This is common? I have seen pictures of 5-6 supers - never had that happen to me.

Thanks for the info. Always appreciated.

Wally
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Re: Honey Supers

Post by Wally » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:36 am

I have never heard of any "credible" claims of more than 2 supers per hive in this area. In 30 years of keeping bees, I have gotten a second super maybe a half dozen times.

p51d
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Re: Honey Supers

Post by p51d » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:35 pm

Thanks Wally. That makes me feel better. The most I have had is two - once if I remember correctly.

Do you guys use Bee-Healthy as a supplement ???? When feeding ???

Jacobs
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Re: Honey Supers

Post by Jacobs » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:01 pm

I haven't used any of the supplements so far, but I am going to look into them. I need to do something to have healthier bees and stronger hives going into next winter. My historic losses were around 15%, but these past 2 winters have been over 60%.

p51d
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Location: Pleasant Garden, NC

Re: Honey Supers

Post by p51d » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:19 pm

If it makes you feel any better Jacobs - my losses are generally 60 % or higher. I have thought about giving this hobby up and moving to another one.

Thanks for the information.

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