By Dominique DeVito
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Extra info for Beekeeping: A Primer on Starting & Keeping a Hive
As their work progresses, you’ll want to begin checking the hives on about a weekly basis. You could add a super on top of the hive box for honey production. You should ask fellow beekeepers what they’re doing about potential pest problems at this time of year, too. Again, depending on how everything goes, you may even be able to harvest some honey by July, so get ready! Inspecting the Hives And now, the moment of truth—your first look inside the hives. Exciting, scary, confusing—it will be all of these things.
SUPERS Similar to a hive body but not as deep, the super is where the excess honey that you will be harvesting is made and stored. Honey produced in the hive body needs to be left there for the bees to feed on and live on through the winter. Honey made in the super is yours. For a large, productive hive, a beekeeper may want to add an additional super. These can be stacked. When full, they typically weigh about forty pounds, whereas the hive body can weigh up to eighty or more pounds. The supers are filled with removable frames, as well—anywhere from five or ten per super, depending on the size.
This one shows a reinforced rim, thick plywood, and a securely attached aluminum top. Another option for safely topping a hive is this decorative top from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. It is designed to give a more finished look to a hive, and is coated with copper, which takes on a beautiful patina over time. INNER COVER The purpose of the inner cover is to provide insulation from heat and cold by covering the super and limiting air movement. There is typically an opening in the inner cover through which you can feed the bees.
Beekeeping: A Primer on Starting & Keeping a Hive by Dominique DeVito