Friday, August 17, 2012

Tardis Supers

A beehive consists of a set of boxes.   The bees use the bottom boxes to put their brood in.  That's called the brood chamber.  They only need a couple of deep boxes or maybe three medium boxes to keep their brood in.

A beekeeper puts extra boxes on top for the bees to fill with honey.  Those boxes are called supers.   The very same type of box can be used as brood chamber or as a super.  The name refers to what the bees use it for. 

The Tardis is a horizontal hive body.   It's the same size as two boxes side by side.   We love that arrangement because when you take the lid off, it's easy to see inside and you can see all of the brood chamber at once without worrying about accidentally killing the queen when you're taking one brood box off the other.  

The Tardis still needs supers though so the bees don't feel crowded and so they can collect honey.    If it ever rains here again, we will have a lot of goldenrod and a significant nectar flow.   We have acres of goldenrod that should produce a lot of honey for the bees to overwinter on - if it rains. 

Once the frames in the brood chamber are 80% full, it's time to add supers.   This is what the Tardis looks like with its supers.   

The box on the bottom is all one box.  There are two boxes stacked on top, under the lid.  This gives the bees plenty of space for honey but the smaller boxes will be easier for us to lift.  Honey is heavy!

Here's a closer look at the center entrances.   The bees are loving the extra space to come in and out of.   There is usually a cloud of bees waiting in front.  This is a very busy hive. 

Notice they like the left one better.  It's the original one. 

2 comments:

  1. Interesting what bees do with entrances. I flipped my entrance reducer around to the bigger size and without thinking, also flipped it end to end so the entrance went from the right side to the left side. I watched the foragers for a few minutes returning to the spot where the entrance used to be. They could not find the new entrance even though it was only a few inches away and much larger than before!! I'm sure they would have found it eventually but I flipped the bar end to end again to make them happy =)

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  2. I am amazed by all of this. What an cleverly organized thing Bee culture is. I've just read a sci-fi book with an alien culture that made me constantly think, "Robin would know how to take these dudes down. They're just like her bees!"

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