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Why Aren't My Supers Filling?

Inevitably one or more of your hives is going to lag behind when it comes to filling the honey supers, while others are nearing the finish line. Although frustrating, it’s pretty easy to diagnose in most cases. Here are the most common reasons your bees aren’t filling your supers with honey.

  1. The hive isn’t strong enough. This is, by far, the most common reason. If your top brood box isn’t 80% full of bees and pretty full of brood and honey, they aren’t going to put much in your super. They will work to fill up the space below first.
  2. The hive is queenless. While a queenless hive will still bring in and store nectar, their declining population will not bring in as much nectar as a healthy hive with an increasing population. At the same time, a queenless colony has no brood to be cared for, so workers within the hive become foragers at an early age, resulting in a temporary influx of food stores.
  3. The primary nectar flow is weak, hasn’t begun, or is almost over. It’s key as a beekeeper to identify the flowers in your area that your bees produce honey from. When these start or stop blooming, that triggers the start and stop of your main nectar flow. Local beekeepers should be able to quickly tell you what flowers are responsible for the primary surplus nectar flow in your area.
  4. The weather isn’t cooperating. Even with great hives and great flowers, if it’s unusually cold, hot, wet, or dry, some flowers just won’t produce much nectar. Some areas have more resilient flowers than others.

Doing regular inspections of supers will keep you informed on how well they are filling. This gives you the opportunity not only to make adjustments but also to add additional boxes if needed. In this video you'll get helpful tips on inspecting the supers and spacing the frames in order to yield more honey per box!

Do you want to make honey your first year using single brood nest hives? Here's a quick video explaining how easy it really can be.

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