Pulling supers from hives

Boy, what a pain! Not only did I have to smell the solution that rids the bees from the supers, I had to smell the Formic Acid that needed to be added to the hives to combat the varroa mite. I knew it would take a while, but being 80 degrees, sunny, and in full bee suit, I was hot. I probably didn’t need to be — the bees are very amenable — but I feel more comfortable in one.

After my sister Jessica helped me put the first application of Formic Acid on the hives, you wait 10 days, then put on the second. Today was day 10. So, I killed two birds with one stone.

A necessary evil to rid the bees that gather in the supers — adding nectar, turning it into honey, and capping it — is a product called “Honey Robber,” and it stinks to high heaven. (Even the bottle starts to implode, the smell is so bad).

It is applied to a solar fume board, so called because you heat the board in the sun, apply the honey robber, and the heat makes it stink even more! It is so bad that, once done with removing the supers, I’ll throw the rest of the solution out and buy new next year. Sometimes I do the same with the fume board — the stink just permeates.

Anyway, you apply the honey robber to the fume board and place the fume board on top of the highest super,

The bees are repelled by the smell and move down to the next super. Add the fume board/honey robber to the next super and the same happens. It takes a while, usually about 7 minutes per super.

Then I added the Formic Acid. It is a strip that I place in-between the two deeps that the colony will live and overwinter in.

They don’t like the smell and retreat into the frames to get away from it.

This procedure — super removal and formic application — was completed on all three hives.

Like I said in my previous post, Hive 2 and Hive 3 were my best performers when it came to honey in the supers. Here’s a look.

I will put them in a small room with a dehumidifier for about 10 days to remove excess moisture. Then I will start extracting, straining, and testing for moisture content. Then, to bottling we go!

It was a busy, but productive day. Time for a drink with my husband, then dinner. Have a good one!

#beekeeping #beekeepinginmn #removingsupers

4 thoughts on “Pulling supers from hives

  1. Beautiful frames of honey! Honey robber and formic is a double whammy for sure. I’ve started using the honey robber that smells like almonds. It has a very sweet smell. I don’t think it works quite as good the other butyric honey robber.


    1. Well, it’s good to know that there is another option. As I so dramatically stated, the smell is pretty awful. I must have spilled some in the bed of my Gator because now my garage smells awful. Had to scrub the Gator down this morning. Silver lining — the deed is done.


  2. Those honey frames look beautiful AND bountiful – good for you! I’m glad my visit came before this laborious and stinky process. The smell sounds just awful. I’m surprised the bees don’t vacate completely because it sounds like the smell permeates everything.


    1. Yes, you would not have liked it as much as you did. Very tedious work. Anyway, you’ll get the fruits of my labor when I send you jars of honey!! And, it is very delicious! (I stole a taste).


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