Beekeeping – Adding A Honey Super Box to the Beehive

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Honeybees will fill a honey super box with honey. But how do you prepare the hives in advance of adding a honey super box or know when it’s time to place it on your beehives? Read on, dear friends.

Today I’m showing what we do to prepare to harvest that all-natural sweet honey we love!

It's time to add a honey super box to our beehives. The bees will fill it with the sweet honey we crave! #TexasHomesteader

At the bottom of this post is a list of all our posts about beekeeping. I encourage you to check them out, y’all! But today we’re talking about when to add a honey super to your beehives.

Preparing Beehives For Honey Harvest

Y’all know we bought our very first bees a few years ago. It’s been a blast raising these girls.

But there’s typically no honey harvest that first year as they’re getting established. The honey they make during that first year needs to remain with the hive to see them through the winter.

Honey frames in a honeybee hive apiary in NE Texas. #TexasHomesteader

We overwintered our bees and they came through the next spring with flying colors!

Beehive Split

When the bees get back into high production in the spring, those numbers can go up fast. If you allow the hive to get too full, about half the hive will take their queen and leave the hive.

That’s called a bee swarm. You sure don’t want to lose half the workers (and your QUEEN!) by making them look for roomier diggs!

So we split the hives about 8 weeks ago.  Bibbidy-bobbedy-boo our 2 hives turned into 4!

We split a beehive into two beehives. #TexasHomesteader

After the split we allowed the hives to recover a bit before we inspected them again. About 4 weeks later we cracked into the hives to see how they were doing.

The hives that were without a queen after the split raised a new queen to take her place. And the hives that retained their queen kept on with business as usual.

Queen bee in a new beehive. #TexasHomesteader

When To Add A Beehive Honey Super?

A little background: Each of our hives consist of two deep hive boxes. When the bees have built out about 90% of the top deep box frames with brood, comb & honey we know it’s time to give them what’s called a honey super box. It’s simply a box where they’ll begin storing honey.

The queen will continue to lay eggs in the bottom two beehive deep boxes. But we’ve never had her go all the way into the third box, which is the honey super box.

Then during one of our hive inspections we found that the new empty boxes we added to the beehives during the split were now about 90% filled with comb, brood and honey/pollen.

It's time to add a honey super box to our beehives. The bees will fill it with the sweet honey we crave! #TexasHomesteader

So now we’re ready to add a honey super to the two stronger hives.

Some beekeepers like to add a queen excluder beneath the honey super box. That excluder has holes big enough for the worker bees to pass through, but too small for the queen to fit through.

The excluder will assure that she stays out of the honey super. You don’t want her laying eggs in the honey box that’s for sure!

Then the bees will begin making the honey in the honey super box. Here in NE Texas we Harvest Honey around the first of July.

Harvesting and bottling honey from your own beehives. #TexasHomesteader

What Size Honey Super Box?

Now when these honey boxes are full of honey they’re mighty heavy! Although the boxes are all interchangeable in circumference, they vary in depth – shallow, medium or deep.

To keep things manageable RancherMan & I decided to only use medium boxes for our honey supers.

See the picture below? The yellow frame is how deep our medium-sized honey super box is. Compare that to the depth of the black deep hive box frames.

It's time to add a honey super box to our beehives. The bees will fill it with the sweet honey we crave! #TexasHomesteader

Now don’t get me wrong, they’re still heavy when they’re full of honey. But a medium box filled with honey is only about 60 lbs as opposed to a whopping 100 lbs for a full deep hive box.

Placing The Honey Super Box On Beehive

So RancherMan decided today was the day to add the honey super to those two hives.

It was a very quick procedure. He gave the bees a little smoke to calm them, and removed the lid to one of the hives. Then he placed the medium honey super box on top of the hive and replaced the lid. 

A quick puff of smoke to calm the bees when adding a honey super to our beehives. #TexasHomesteader

He did the same to the rest of the hives and then strapped them all back down. That strap will assure that even if a storm blows through our hives’ lids won’t blow off.

Now it’s time for the bees to get busy building that comb in those honey supers and filling it with that sweet honey we crave!


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Tagged in All our posts about harvesting and using all-natural local honey. #TexasHomesteader A list of all our spring-themed posts. #TexasHomesteader  


…And MUCH More!

See All Our Beekeeping Posts

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2 thoughts on “Beekeeping – Adding A Honey Super Box to the Beehive

  1. Laurinda

    I love following your beekeeping adventure- so fascinating!


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