So, how do you remove frames of honey from your colonies?  

Do you:

talk to your bees before and during removal and thank them for their bounty? 
use clearer boards or gently brush the bees off every frame as you remove them?  
leave them a super to see them through the winter? 
remove most of it and feed?

All of these require consideration and appropriate action.

To start with it depends on whether you are able to lift a super full of honey intact or if you have someone to help, in which case clearer boards with Porter bee escapes are the answer.  But don’t leave them on for more than 24 hours or so or the bees might discover how to get back through the one way system!  

If they are too heavy for you on your own they can be removed a frame at a time, gently brushing each one free of bees before placing in a nuc until a manageable weight has been transferred. These nucs/supers should not be placed direct onto the ground/grass due to the possible presence of E.coli or other bacteria in the soil, but suitably sized trays can be purchased from garden centres and are also useful to stand the supers/nucs on while you are uncapping the frames.

I know of a beekeeper who tells the bees that she would like to remove some frames the following day, and when doing so finds that the frames the bees are happy for her to take have no bees on them. Her belief is that this maintains the balance in the hive of a varied ‘diet’.  Why not try this approach as it can’t hurt and what a pleasure if it works for you too!

But remain vigilant.  Whether or not you leave them with a super of stores, if the weather changes to prevent them foraging, or there is little forage in your area at this time, their food supply could diminish quickly resulting in insufficient stores in the hive for overwintering. Whatever they can acquire at this stage will help them, but having taken some of their valuable supply it is your responsibility to ensure you feed them if necessary.   More on feeding next week.

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