Questions with Mike Palmer
Mike Palmer Answers Your Questions
Mike Palmer keeps bees at French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans. We are grateful that he has agreed to answer questions on beekeeping in Vermont, his workload permitting.
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Donna Pollard writes:
Last fall I left one full honey super on each of my hives. Apparently one hive didn't need it. They came through the winter really well and never touched the honey super. It's still on the hive. Can I leave it on for them again this winter or should I destroy it and leave fresh honey for them? Thanks for your help.
Destroy the super of honey? Why? There's nothing wrong with it, so why destroy?
I would ask if the honey has crystallized? If so, it isn't very good for winter feed. But, you can save it for feeding light colonies in the spring.
It certainly is frustrating when you leave your bees with a super of honey, only to find it untouched in the spring. I try to judge what the bees need for winter stores, and feed accordingly. To do the best job with many hundreds of colonies, I weigh each hive. A colony in two deeps and a super should weigh 155 by the middle of September. If underweight, feed one gallon of 2:1 syrup for each ten pounds under your target weight.
I believe you may find you can take the super of honey and feed a bit of syrup and have them winter successfully. If you find the colony is very light, requiring fifty pounds or more of additional stores, leaving the full super is appropriate.