Adding a Second Honey Super

Well, it looks like we’re going to get some honey this year after all, at least from one of our hives. I was led to believe that foundationless hives in the cold wet climate of St. John’s, Newfoundland — with its short, sometimes non-existent summers — wouldn’t produce extra honey for humans during the first year because much of the bees’ resources are funnelled into raising drones and then back-filling the drone comb before they have a chance to make extra honey in a honey super. So far that’s turned out to be true. We migrated all the foundationless frames into a single hive, Hive #2, and that hive hasn’t done much with its honey super. However, Hive #1, the hive that we transferred all the conventional frames in to, has filled its first honey super. Check out the video and I’ll tell you more about it later:


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How to Move a Hive

What follows is one way to move a Langstroth honey bee hive a short distance. Okay then… Here’s a rough map of our backyard:

The numbered squares represent hives. We moved Hive #1 to location 1a, gave the bees time to adjust to the new spot, then moved the hive to 1b, waited a few days again and then moved the hive to its final location at 1c. Each move was approximately 1 metre or 3 feet and we waited at least three days between moves. Essentially, that’s all you need to know for moving a hive a short distance. (There’s also a video at the bottom of this post.)
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Screened Inner Covers = Good View of The Hive

I’m in love with all the ventilation aids I’ve added to our hives lately. Judging only from preliminary observations, I’d say the screened bottom board is #1 on my Gotta Have ‘Em list. The ventilator rim ain’t too shabby either. But the one I love the most, purely for the This Is So Cool factor, is the screened inner cover. I recommend it to all first year beekeepers because it provides a handy view of the hive that doesn’t require tearing the hive apart or wearing any protective clothing. Check it out:

This is just a prototype. Screen with a wider mesh might be more ideal, but still… I’ve watched the bees quickly fill this honey super since I added the screened inner cover not too long ago, and it’s great to be able to just pull the top off the hive and look down through the screen and observe what’s going on without disturbing the bees. This is exactly the kind of thing most first time beekeepers would love, because you know they’re looking for any excuse to poke around inside the hive to see what’s happening. And it’s good for the bees, so why not?

Note: I don’t see harm in any of these ventilation aids for my hives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at least during the peak of summer. I’m not sure I’ll stick with them over the winter months, though.

Screened Bottom Board & Solid Bottom Board

I added a home made screened bottom board (SBB) to the hive on the left today. The hive on the right has a normal solid bottom board. I took the photo around 8:00pm (about five minutes ago) after a hot day.

It could be a coincidence, but if I were to judge only from the photo, I’d say the bees on the right live a hot and humid hive and the bees on the left are chillin’. I wish I had the materials to build an SBB for the hive on the right.

See the updated Hive Humidity post for more info on all this ventilation business. I’ve seen in the past week how vital ventilation is to a healthy hive. I wish I’d hopped on that train from day one.

Sounds From Inside The Hive

My ventilated inner cover allowed me to place a recorder in the hive without disturbing the bees. The sound might surprise you.

If you can’t play the audio file, you can download the MP3. (Right-click and select “Save as…” or hold down the Alt key and click the link. Mac people, do whatever you do.)

Improvised Screened Inner Cover

THE FOLLOWING WAS LAST UPDATED ON MARCH 18, 2012.

I noticed the bees fanning the humidity from one of the hives today and thought, “I wish I had a screened inner cover for that hive.” So I built one. (They’re also known as ventilated inner covers.) I had already built a rim or eke, constructed exactly like a ventilator rim, but only about two inches high and no holes in the sides. I simply cut an entrance at one end and stapled on some screen. It looks like this:

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