Partially capped supers?

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thedeaddiplomat 

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:confused:

I was sure I had seen posts about this before, but I cannot find them now, despite a good search. So apologies for raising the question again.

My hives have quite a number of super frames which have roughly half of the cells capped, and the other half full of nectar but so far uncapped. Is it safe to assume that these will eventually be capped, so that a greedy DD can appropriate them? If not, when do you take the supers off anyway, and how do you remove the nectar before extracting the honey?

As a supplementary question, if the bees decide they are hungry and the weather is bad will they go for the nectar first, or will they tuck into the capped honey straight away?
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Many thanks for that - really helpful.

But is there still a chance that they will cap the remaining cells? (Still a reasonable flow on here)
 
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roche 

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I would have thought a very good chance. You could also mix and match from the super frame of one colony to get a full extractable super. I would tend to wait awhile though, as extracting multiple small batches has higher wastage than a single large batch.
 

milkermel 

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thanks dd i am experiencing similar in my rock hive! 2nd deep super (brood) on and most drawn and filled but bottom supper still not all capped guess its a waiting game!!
 

Arfermo 

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Hi DD,
:confused:

I was sure I had seen posts about this before, but I cannot find them now, despite a good search. So apologies for raising the question again.

My hives have quite a number of super frames which have roughly half of the cells capped, and the other half full of nectar but so far uncapped. Is it safe to assume that these will eventually be capped, so that a greedy DD can appropriate them? If not, when do you take the supers off anyway, and how do you remove the nectar before extracting the honey?

As a supplementary question, if the bees decide they are hungry and the weather is bad will they go for the nectar first, or will they tuck into the capped honey straight away?
Capping will still continue a while. No need to remove the supers until September or so when Thymol treatment is due (Apiguard or the newly approved ApiLifevar) when all the supers should be removed. Thymol must be done when daytime ambient temperature is above 15C min. for the 4 weeks the treatment takes. When I say leave the supers a while longer, I hope you took any Oil Seed Rape (OSR) honey off as soon as the flowering had finished? Otherwise you will have lumps of rock to deal with by now.

As regards the frames that are already very nearly fully capped, I often pick them out one by one during an inspection, brush the bees off and put the frames in an empty super until it is full, sticking a lid on it as I put the frames in it to stop bees thumbing a ride, and then replace the frames I remove with either newly combed ones or, if I have any, frames which have previously been extracted and left wet. This keeps the bees busy, especially if I remove any shallow frames from the half brood box which are not contaminated with excessive pollen or brood - invariably the frames farthest from the clustering area. This seems to reduce the swarming instinct too!! At this stage of the season I tend to reduce the number of supers left on anyway.

As for what the bees live on in inclement weather, they will take whatever is there - including sugar syrup if you give them some.

Any use?
 
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oliver90owner 

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As a last resort if you are determined to get some honey NOW and are certain there is nectar in the cells, you could always spin out the nectar(and feed back to the bees. Then uncap the comb and spin out the definitely finished honey.

Personally, of course, I would not bother to do it myself - a good shake is usually enough to determine the quality, refractometer to confirm.

The bees will often reduce the water content (but not cap the cells), if the flow finishes, resuming filling later - when fresh nectar supply becomes available or brooding slows down.

Regards, RAB
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Thanks very much for all this. I will be patient a little longer - wasn't so much a question of taking honey now (though I would not have objected!) - more a question of whether if I waited there would be more to take: which from the sound of it there will.
 

oliver90owner 

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there would be more to take

True, but then again things might depend on what you over-winter on - proper honey or sugar honey. If you are commercial, it might be every last drop one can harvest.

So how much you take should not necesarily be guided by what is capped, or even how much there is present in the hive.

I quite often take the odd super in October if there is a surplus. Just depends on the season.

Regards, RAB
 

goodbobby 

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there would be more to take: which from the sound of it there will.
I would suggest that you just don't be too greedy or impatient as the summer winds out....It would the classic " ha'p'orth of tar" if you deplete coming winter stores from a weaker colony only for it to starve to death during another difficult winter. Anyhow, I see you have 3 colonies so I am sure that you are aware of this important balance. As RAB says "it just depends on the season".
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Thanks for that advice.

I certainly won't let them starve over the winter. Last year, they brought in vast quantities of ivy honey in late Sept/early Oct, and I left each of them with a super of it (in addition to the three or four frames of more digestible stuff in each bb, left from the summer flow and too difficult to try and harvest in my radial extractor). I did not have to supplement this at all over the winter, and started the year with some very strong and active colonies.

I shall do the same this time round, assuming the blessed ivy is its bounteous self.
 

sahtlinurk 

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so you left ivy honey for wintering. did they go through it ok and was there much left in Spring? I have here lot and lot of ivy and last autumn supers were full of that. But i wasn't brave enough to leave it for them as winter food.

Lauri
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Yes they ate it. There was some left in the Spring - by when they needed plenty of water with it!
 

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