Welcome to the final set of Tips for Beginners for now. Before you set up your apiary at what you consider is a perfect location, rich in harvestable resources, you must make another decision. You must decide which supers you are going to use. As mentioned before I work with LR supers. Conclusively this means that most of my tips for beginners would be applicable to LR supers. As for others I can’t guarantee.
Supers don’t just differ in appearance, but there are differences in how you work with colonies that live in it. In this article will mention few types of bee supers with their pros and cons which, hopefully will help with your decision.
Tips for Beginners – Super Choice
Dadant-Blatt (DB) supers was most used type of super prior to discovery of LR supers. DB supers allow increasing of space of colony, simply by adding more supers atop of each others. Biggest pro of this type of super is that honey ripens faster. This means that it will be ready for harvest earlier than in other types of supers. It’s biggest con is in fact that it’s honey super frames are of different size than brood super frames. Conclusively this means that beekeeper can’t maneuver with them. As a result relocation of the frames from brood super to honey super is impossible. This technique is one of important actions in preparation of a colony for a honey gathering.
Lagnstroth-Ruth (LR) supers are most popular type of super in our times. Just as DB super, LR supers also offer easy expansion of space for colony by adding new supers with frames. Unlike DB super, all frames in LR supers are of same dimensions. Total motility and manipulation with frames, allow most important technique in prevention of unwanted swarming. Working with these supers require good theoretical and practical knowledge. Lack of it can lead to disaster. With unexperienced beekeepers it may happen that by shifting between honey and brood super frames, a beekeeper due to his misjudgment of strength of a colony would cause death of his brood.
Farrar super is also type which allows expansion of space by simply adding new super atop previous one, just as those mentioned before it. It used in countries with developed system of beekeeping. It combines good characteristics of previous super types, and allows combinations of half supers and full size suppers. It’s main downside is price, due to fact that it uses more frames per each super.
Albert-Zdinaric super is type of hive still, just vaguely, used in south eastern Europe by minority of beekeepers. It requires special techniques of adding trapping frames (drone brood frames) for varroa during honey gathering by bees. It’s adequate for nomadic beekeeping. Its very reliant during winter period.
Apart from mentioned supers, those who follow beekeeping literature will find more and more designs which various beekeepers construct as result of their own experience. There are also ISO , Sky and other types of supers. Probably most amazing one, which most of us witnessed on social medias is that one which is based on movable cells. It allows honey harvest without opening supers. On the other hand, some beekeepers prefer more traditional, other less orthodox places in which they settle their honeybees.
My sincere advice is to start with one which other beekeepers in your area work. In this way you would have someone to ask for advice or to share with you tips and tricks about beekeeping. In the end, either way, this is choice which you have to make for yourself.
If you started reading this series from this article, I suggest to go back to first article and make sure to read them all. After them, you will be ready to apply knowledge from other articles from beekeeping.