Using broods as supers?

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House Bee
Apr 13, 2009
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Staffordshire, UK
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Here goes, daft question number 17 million and something....

First, some background.

As my beeking experience is limited to a season or so, about 12 years ago, I realistically will have to declare myself a beginner.

I've retained some practical knowledge from then, though.

However, I cannot remember much of the theory from my beeking course at Keele University.

I can remember how to handle the hives safely; I have to, I'm one of those unfortunate people for whom a sting means three weeks with swelling, and five weeks with pain!

I picked up a swarm for a local beek last year, so still got some knack!

Now, I'm getting my bee's next Tuesday, I shall be collecting a hive full, or at least quite a few in a hive, from Easybee.

Now my question.

I'm in the position of having some stuff left over from when I had bee's before; it's almost all, new, old stock.

I've several, about eight, homemade brood boxes, and enough frames/foundation to fill five, or six, of them.

However, I've three new, and two used, supers, but only enough frames/foundation to fill one!

What do you reckon, use the broods as supers, or buy more stuff to fill the supers, and keep the broods in reserve, to make up more hive as my stock expands?

How would you be planning to extract honey from brood frames, bearing in mind I'm unsure that they'd fit in an extractor?
What do you reckon, use the broods as supers,

I use supers as broods and broods as supers. No problem.

Supers combs are stronger in extracting if they have had couple of generations brood.

I use not excluder. Queen often uses 3 boxes for laying. If the queen lays in "super" I put those combs in lower boxes.

If the comb is halfull honey, I rise it up, and they will fill it totally with honey.


To white cow: all frames must be compatible with extractor.
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How would you extract brood frames?

By carefully buying an extractor which has the capacity to do so. Simple.

Ah yes!

Sorry, I should have said that I'm not in the least bit interested in gathering honey; I am returning to keeping bee's for their sake, not for any pecuniary advantage.

I've seen the trouble that they've got into in recent years, and the number of beeks that have given up; and so I thought that it would be nice to just keep bee's rather than expect something from them.

The only advantage that I can foresee, is if my bee's multiply enough, I can perhaps supply other local beginners with stock, occasionally.

Most 9 frame radial extractors ,with the addition of 3 inserts will temporarily convert into a tangential extractor capable of extracting deep frames :)

John Wilkinson
Can I ask why broods have to be done tangentially is it because they are supported better in a tang extractor?
Their size is the factor here unless you have a large extractor like my 6 swing basket machine. Then the brood frames just fit into the basket, as the baskets are big enough for two super frames, Manley at that. :)

No No!,
It's a matter of quantity,
Radial extractors for a given volume, will extract more combs than a tangential one !.
As most radial extractors are designed for national shallow frames ,it follows that deep frames will not fit . therefore the insertion of 3 inserts 1 in each third so to speak, allows it to accommodate the extra depth of a brood frame.

Tangential extractors have the disadvantage of having to have the frames reversed in order to extract each face separately :( (twice as much work .)
John Wilkinson
I have 6 basket extractor for langstroth.

The speed of extracting depends on many other things like the heat of honey, quality like dry or wet summer, uncapping speed, sieving speed , number of crystals in honey...

My normal speed is about 200 kg in 4 hours. It is about 10 full boxes. ...The most boring job after these years...

To keep bees and not try get good yields? ... In that case I had stopped 40 years ago. Get stings for nothing.
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Yup, very interesting stuff.

Does anyone know which type of extractor will take Manley supers please?
There are probably more out there but tese are the ones i could find that state they will do manley frames.
On Thornes web site, they've forgotten to tell us how many frames some of their extractors take! (Or maybe I'm being thick and can't see for looking).

Universal is 9 frames. Will only take 6 Manley though.
Mk2 is 12 shallow frames of any type.

I've got a 24 frame Thomas Euromel which will happily extract commercial deeps radially.
my Dartington has brood frame sizes for the supers.... but think of the weight if you are on nationals. How are you going to lift a brood frame sized super off to look at the brood box when it is full of honey......... it takes me all my strength to lift a national super box hence the move the Dartington....
What does a National brood box full of capped honey weigh,50-60 LB ?
An experienced beekeeper told me he no longer used an extractor and preferred to melt both the honey and comb and then let it settle. I think you end up with honey below and wax on top.

The other option is in wired frames and go for cut comb. But as a National brood frame is quite large, it will require careful handling, to counter the effects of gravity!

But as you rightly say Admin, a brood box full of honey is going to be about the same weight as a sack of spuds, not good for your back to lift too high.

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