Bees won’t vacate super - again....

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bobba 

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I am trying to clear a super, Hive has brood+1/2 Then 1 super below QE and 3 above QE.

I am trying to remove 1 super, I put a clearer board on yesterday, went to take it off today and its still stuffed with bees!

I had this problem last year and only solution was to put a new super below the one I wanted to clear. So I have done the same again. So hopefully tomorrow It will be clear this time.

I use clearer boards with the diamond shape bee escape, and have about a 3" rim below the clearer board to give the bees space.

I had this same issue last year, but only for the first harvest. In the autumn I was able to clearer 3 supers at once and the bees vacated obligingly.

Yet for the spring/early summer harvest by bees seem reluctant to vacate a super.

Does anyone know why they vacate supers so obligingly in the autumn, yet are so reluctant to vacate in the spring?

Thanks as always.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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never had an issue with clearing them at any time of the year, so can't help you there I'm afraid.
But one question - if you have two shallows below the QX, why on earth don't you just go on to double brood?
 

bobba 

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I have 4 hives. 2 x Brood +1/2 and 2 x Doubles.

I am trying the doubles partly based on your "encouraging" me in the past.

On my brood + 1/2, I let the queen lay in the bottom super, then harvest it at the end of the summer when the bees move down. This gives them more room to make a pyramid shaped brood pattern.

That is the theory anyway.

It worked well last year so thought I would give it another go.

So far this year my Brood + 1/2s are winning compared to the doubles. But its not a fair test as the doubles had to draw an extra brood box. So I may have to run a mix for one more season to get a fair test.
 

bobba 

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I have been thinking way too much as usual...

Could it simply be because I dont have enough supers on the hive?

Last year I added another 2 supers after spring harvest, and the bees filled all the supers and were cramming honey in the spaces between boxes. Perhaps I need to add extra supers sooner.

I think I need to go back to basics and do read up on when to add more supers.
 

B+. 

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I am trying to clear a super, Hive has brood+1/2 Then 1 super below QE and 3 above QE.

I am trying to remove 1 super, I put a clearer board on yesterday, went to take it off today and its still stuffed with bees!

I had this problem last year and only solution was to put a new super below the one I wanted to clear. So I have done the same again. So hopefully tomorrow It will be clear this time.

I use clearer boards with the diamond shape bee escape, and have about a 3" rim below the clearer board to give the bees space.

I had this same issue last year, but only for the first harvest. In the autumn I was able to clearer 3 supers at once and the bees vacated obligingly.

Yet for the spring/early summer harvest by bees seem reluctant to vacate a super.

Does anyone know why they vacate supers so obligingly in the autumn, yet are so reluctant to vacate in the spring?

Thanks as always.
Is it possible that there might be some brood in the super?
If your queen has somehow laid eggs up there, it can be very difficult to get them to abandon it.
 

enrico 

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I have been thinking way too much as usual...

Could it simply be because I dont have enough supers on the hive?

Last year I added another 2 supers after spring harvest, and the bees filled all the supers and were cramming honey in the spaces between boxes. Perhaps I need to add extra supers sooner.

I think I need to go back to basics and do read up on when to add more supers.
It really isn't that difficult, when their is a reasonable weight to the box add another super under it. When it feels like it is filled with lead then think about extracting. I think your problem is the 3inches between the bottom of the bee escape and the super underneath it. I would reduce that. There is a chance the bees are losing touch with the rest of the hive! That's my theory. I allow an inch at most!
E
 

victor meldrew 

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Are you using Porter bee escapes or rhombi on you clearing boards ?
 

WoodenBeam 

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If you’re using a rapid clearer board it is exactly that, on in the morning & pull off in the afternoon otherwise the bees will work their way back into the super. Agree with B+, any brood in the super will halt the bees moving down, also, if the cells aren’t capped this can slow things up.
So in summary, check for brood as a cause, check to ensure capped cells, if using a Rhombus/Forest/any other variation don’t leave on for so long, if Porter escapes leave overnight and all should be good🤞
Let us know how you get on👍
 

bobba 

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Thanks guys,

Am using rhombi. Just one hole in the middle with an escape, nothing fancy.

I dont think there is any brood, its the top super above a QE, but could always be laying worker.

Its capped looking from top and bottom without pulling frames. And is heavy.

When I firsts encountered this problem in the spring last year, I was using a crown board with a bee escape screwed on. And still had the same problem. The 2 problematic ones in the spring had 0 brood and were 100% capped, pictured below is the super that I first one I had this problem with. I tried clearer board with and without eak. The only thing that worked was adding a fresh super below.

I used the same clearer board I am using now to clear 2 hives last autumn, and it worked a charm. 3 supers on one hive and 2 on another. Both times it was left overnight. In the spring I cannot seem to clear one super.

I have switched from Ply supers to Ceder supers. I had just about got the knack of judging if one of my ply supers is full by weight, but this is my first Ceder one, so I am not 100% sure.

Its been raining on/off all weekend, so I had hoped to clear the box, have a quick peep and put it back on if not full.

I struggled to lift it back on after adding a fresh super for the bees to clear into. I was about 2-3" short of lifting power. I had to run inside and get a tool box to stand on.


If you’re using a rapid clearer board it is exactly that, on in the morning & pull off in the afternoon otherwise the bees will work their way back into the super.
Clearer went on at about 2pm yesterday, and I checked 10am this morning. I just went out again to have a peep and there are still bees in the box. Definitely less than this morning, but still a lot.

I have not heard of bees reoccupying supers before, but I have another super to pull soon on a different hive, so will give what you say try.

My next check for this super will be after work tmr, so fingers crossed.


It really isn't that difficult, when their is a reasonable weight to the box add another super under it. When it feels like it is filled with lead then think about extracting. I think your problem is the 3inches between the bottom of the bee escape and the super underneath it. I would reduce that. There is a chance the bees are losing touch with the rest of the hive! That's my theory. I allow an inch at most!
E
From what you say, I think I have been leaving it too late before adding more supers. I blieve I have 2 supers ready for extraction, another that's a fair weight, and finally one below the QE that has 4 frames brood, and looks like the rest is all honey.
 

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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I have been thinking way too much as usual...

Could it simply be because I dont have enough supers on the hive?

Last year I added another 2 supers after spring harvest, and the bees filled all the supers and were cramming honey in the spaces between boxes. Perhaps I need to add extra supers sooner.

I think I need to go back to basics and do read up on when to add more supers.
I think so too - I've always followed the advice of put another super on when the last is full of bees (not full of honey)
if using a Rhombus don’t leave on for so long,
I've had Rhombus clearer boards on for days without a bee returning to the supers, in fact, once two years ago I forgot to remove one at an out apiary and the super was still empty of bees after over a fortnight.
I think your problem is the 3inches between the bottom of the bee escape and the super underneath it.
Nah - my clearer boards have a minimum of two inches, some more - never had an issue with the bees failing to 'connect' with the bees below
 

GuyNir 

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I’m using rhombus bee escape for years (sometimes clearing up to 3-4 supers in one go), never an issue.
 

bobba 

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Is the hive queenless? I had one recently that refused to vacate which was queenless at the time.
I have not seen the queen this season. But there is lots of capped and uncapped brood.

You may shake off the bees from super. It is not a big job.
Firstly its been on/off rain. Also my bees are in my garden (not ideal I know) so I will go for the option that puts as few bees in the air as possible. Also its mainly frames, so getting the first 1 out is a pain. Excuses + excuses, truth is I prefer the clearer board when it works. I think its better for the bees too.

I have been reading up and watching some you-tube videos, and I think I just needed to add supers sooner by the looks of things. Going on JBMs bees approach or Enricos weight method, I should have had another super on weeks ago.

I have just added another super to my other preforming hive. (3rd time today in a bee suit, in the rain with a hissing smoker). It had 2 supers, one maybe 90% full. The other at least 50% full. Both stuffed with bees. I may even put another one on soon. My bees seem to be packing away nectar like crazy, but tacking forever to get it capped. So I may even pop another super soon.

Thanks for all help and suggestions. Right or wrong they have all helped me think things through all rule out various possibility's.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I was of the understanding that you should avoid smoking supers at harvest as you can taint the honey with smoke! Or is that just a myth?
No myth. Ask @masterBK who is a honey judge par excellence 😉
 

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I am trying to clear a super, Hive has brood+1/2 Then 1 super below QE and 3 above QE.

I am trying to remove 1 super, I put a clearer board on yesterday, went to take it off today and its still stuffed with bees!

I had this problem last year and only solution was to put a new super below the one I wanted to clear. So I have done the same again. So hopefully tomorrow It will be clear this time.

I use clearer boards with the diamond shape bee escape, and have about a 3" rim below the clearer board to give the bees space.

I had this same issue last year, but only for the first harvest. In the autumn I was able to clearer 3 supers at once and the bees vacated obligingly.

Yet for the spring/early summer harvest by bees seem reluctant to vacate a super.

Does anyone know why they vacate supers so obligingly in the autumn, yet are so reluctant to vacate in the spring?

Thanks as always.
I've cleared super frames in similar circumstances by having an empty box handy with a cover cloth. Remove each frame in turn, shake off the bees back into the hive and use a bee brush or goose wing to clear any hangers on. Deft movement to lift the cover cloth, cleared frame into receiving box and re-cover with the cloth. Proceed to next frame. A frame lifter is handy for this method as it allows unimpeded brushing off. Invariably one or two bees manage to end up in the super frames but they can be brushed off at a distance from the apiary.
I have spoken to keepers who use a cloth sprayed with bee quick laid on top of the super while still on the hive on a warm day. Evidently the bees retreat rapidly ie within minutes. Not a method I've tried personally (yet).
If one method doesn't work try another.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Does anyone know why they vacate supers so obligingly in the autumn, yet are so reluctant to vacate in the spring?

Thanks as always.
What’s in the other honey supers? Perhaps the bees need the one you are trying to clear?
 

Finman 

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Indeed! Or just smoke them down?
You get a bad smoke aroma to you honey with that. Smoke is gasified tar and it condensates onto cappings..... don't do that.

Take the super on the side of the hive. Soon bees understand that the connection to the hive is cut. They become nervous and suck themselves full of honey and they are very easy to shake from frames.

Do not start to brush bees at once bee cover from the frames. Shake first in front of the hive.
 
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