Adding a Super

We added a super to the hive today. The bees were ready for the new addition. Besides getting bees in the first place, I’m considering this my next big milestone.

Went with another deep box, let’s call that “daisy” box (which is the same size as what we will now call our first box – “sunflower” box) so that we could put a couple frames from sunflower into daisy. There are a lot of conflicting views out there on whether to move frames up or not, and so we just decided to go for it. (When it comes to beekeeping, it seems there is a lot of personal trial and error.)

Now, since we were going for it, moving a couple frames up that is, my preference was to take two frames (one from each far side of sunflower) and move them up into daisy. However, my husband seemed to think it was a better idea to take two frames from stage-right since the bees hadn’t begun any comb on the other sides’ last frame. Also, he thought that would be a good thing because they would have the same pattern sitting next to each other up in the middle of daisy. We’ll see how it goes!

While we were at it, we switched our entrance reducer to the wider setting. It took quite a bit of prying with the hive tool to get that little block of wood unstuck from the super. With all the stuff we were doing to the hive, I kind of half-expected the bees to get a little annoyed with us. At first with the switching of the entrance, it seemed like there was a little confusion for them and one did buzz my hat, but all went back to normal once we got the reducer back in place. As for their behavior when we added the daisy super, they didn’t seem curious, annoyed, or anything. Another successful interaction, still never been stung!

I also scraped off the comb that I had noticed on my birthday which they had spilling over onto the tops of the sunflower bars. I just want to keep the tops clean as I’ve noticed it sticking to my top covers as well. This time there was no honey in those little pieces, but I was pleased to see they had been hard at work to cap the frames of honey they had produced recently. Although I won’t be able to give some of my co-workers a little taste until a few months from now, I know it’s a good sign that the bees are capping their reserves. How exciting!

On a side note, earlier this morning, before all of this fun activity, I went out to the hive to watch them come and go and there were a handful of dead drones just outside the entrance again. I even observed one returning to the hive and he got quite the buzz by a couple workers as he went in through the entrance. I also found one alive in the grass near the hive and so I picked him up to look at him (keep in mind that drones don’t have stingers) as it appeared he was having a hard time in the grass – he had just repeatedly been crawling up a blade of grass and falling off again and again. As I held him in my hand and looked at him I could tell there were some white scratches on one of his eyes. Other than that it didn’t appear to be anything the matter with him, although it seemed like his balance was off. He peed a little in my hand too – bee pee! Actually, bees don’t pee because they need to conserve water, so the waste he eliminated onto my hand must have been uric acid. I placed him back in the grass to let nature take its course with him.

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3 thoughts on “Adding a Super

  1. I call it bee “poop”. Its reaaaaally cute when you and your neighbors have thousands of orange spots on your cars, because the bees have to fly directly over them to get to their flowers several blocks away. I remember being exited by those little yellow-orange drops on everything, and then once summer got into full swing I realized how much of a nuisance they are, lol. Enjoy them while you can!

  2. I know! I was laughing so hard – of course it would poop on me, everything else that flies does! Little orange specks – ha! – I’ll have to remember to look around for their pooping path.

    Do you think that’s okay that we took 2 frames from 1 side and moved them up to the middle of the new brood box? I don’t understand how the bees will work with this now that I did that since I replaced those 2 with two new frames AND they hadn’t begun pulling on the last frame from the other side – that makes for three clean-slate frames in the bottom box.
    We are kind of guessing because I know a lot of people planted their gardens late this year due to the longer summer we’re going to have. Since there was so much progress this month, I feel like it’s absolutely going to get crazy once people’s gardens begin flowering, but I don’t know.

    • Yeah, if they’re not drawing them out quickly enough, switch the frame on the edge of the brood space (this frame should be full of only honey and pollen stores) with a new frame. Do NOT disturb the brood space with a new frame, unless its the middle of summer and there is absolutely no chance of frost. I found out that rule the hard way; killed my first colony that way :(.
      The bees will eventually begin to move up into the top box, but to help them you can continue to move the frames on the edges of the brood space up into the top box to encourage the upward movement. All frames must be fully drawn out by the end of the year for the bees to have the best chance of overwintering successfully. Once summer is in full swing you don’t have to worry about potentially cooling the brood nest too much with the placement of a new frame, so sticking an incomplete frame in the middle of the brood nest won’t be too bad.
      You also don’t even have to worry about switching the frames from the top box to the lower box once they begin drawing out the frames properly. If you have two or more frames in the top box that are drawn, and there is no brood on them, you can separate them with an empty frame. The bees will draw out this empty frame faster because of the two drawn frames around it. The bees are slower to expand outwards than they are to fill in the space they think they already occupy. At least that’s been my experience with my Langstroth. I haven’t tried switching frames around with my Warre’ to test this theory yet. I may do that once its consistently warm though…

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