why aren't my bees filling their super?

The reasons for why your bees are not filling out their super are numerous and nuanced. Sometimes the answer lies in the timing and sometimes you just have picky bees. Read on to find out all the possibilities as well as some practical tips for how to deal with it.

Nectar Flow 

Bees will only draw out new comb when there is a strong nectar flow. If there’s no nectar to make honey with in the super, there’s no point in wasting energy on building comb that will then sit empty, right? So, if you place a super on your hive during a time of dearth, don’t expect your bees to fill it. Unfortunately, the months on the calendar do not always guarantee that there will be a nectar flow. Sometimes flowers will get started blooming late because of a long winter or sometimes things can dry up early in summer if there wasn’t much rain throughout the year. The best way to determine if there is a flow is to watch your bees. If they are building, bringing pollen and making honey then there’s a flow on! It’s also worth saying that some new or weakened colonies will need to be fed sugar water to get established. This essentially creates an artificial nectar flow which should motivate them to build new comb and increase their population. If you are thinking of feeding, makes sure you read my post: Should I Feed My Bees? before you start.


If you are pretty sure there is a nectar flow happening, but your super is still sitting empty, your problem might lie in how you’ve placed the super. Some beekeepers like to place their suppers at the top where they are more easily accessed and some like to place them at the bottom which plays off the bees’ natural tendency to build downward. Regardless of where I place mine, I almost always move a frame or two of drawn comb with it. This will draw bees to the new box and encourage them to build. I find this especially helpful with foundationless beekeeping. Sometimes, the bees just don’t seem to know what to do with all that new empty space. I have even seen them start to build comb from the bottom of the frame up, like a little pyramid! The added bonus to moving frames up (or down) is that you can place an empty frame in the brood nest, which can keep them from getting honey bound and will keep the bees busy building instead of swarming. Don’t go overboard using this technique to force your bees into the super. If after a few weeks they still aren’t building new comb, you may have been mistaken about that nectar flow. It might be best to move the combs back to where you got them so the colony can cluster properly. This is especially true in late summer.

Honey Comb

Foundation vs. Foundationless

On many occasions I have encountered bees that were reluctant to build out comb on foundation. Especially plastic foundation. Instead of trying to convince them to use it, I simply removed the foundation and let them build natural comb. With this obstacle removed, the bees began to draw out comb almost immediately! If you decide to give it a try, make sure you read about comb guides first!


The final thing to consider is the size and strength of your hive. If you have a colony that’s filled all their space, but the population isn’t what it should be, they probably won’t have the resources to fill a super. Before adding a super make sure you have healthy bees! You can gauge their strength by pulling a frame of brood. Your brood frames should be covered in adult bees caring for the larvae, if it isn’t this can be the first sign of a crashing population. You should also check for a healthy brood pattern. A healthy pattern will have a solid swath of capped brood versus the buck shot pattern commonly associated with a number hive maladies. Adding additional space to a weak colony can weaken them further because they will have to defend whatever space you give them and also it can make temperature control more challenging.

To be updated with the latest in the apiculture industry to can visit our beekeeping latest news. On the other hand if you’re starting beekeeping and desire to start professional apiculture today get a copy of our beekeeping for beginners ebook.

Beekeeping can be a full-time profession or a simple hobby. Nonetheless, more often than not, what began as a hobby would turn into a profession. But you cannot simply determine and tell yourself that you will begin to do beekeeping. Before beginning on any avocation or profession, you need to have comprehension and sufficient knowledge on the field that you’re going to enter. Then it is about time to indulge yourself if you really have been putting off your interest in beekeeping for a long time. Bee farming may not appear difficult; by learning the fundamental beekeeping lessons, you can be got off to a good start.

What does a beekeeper have to understand?

First, you should have interest that is full on beekeeping to begin at the right foot. You should have consented to share your dwelling space with the bees. There are possible risks in beekeeping that can damage not only you but your family as well. You then must know the supplies and gear that you will use for beekeeping, if you decide to allow the bees inside your living space. Your focus is not only to make money by selling honey; a good beekeeper should have passion and a keen interest in raising bees.

An apiarist should know the right place for the beehives. The area must have sufficient sources of nectar for the bees to get. If you decide to put your beehives you need certainly to make sure that beekeeping is allowed in your area. There are several areas restricted to beekeeping; you need to get permission about this.

Beekeepers must know whether beekeeping supplies are offered in the place where the beehives are situated. You may never understand when you need to attend a local beekeeping shop; it is best that a nearby beekeeping shop is reachable.

Protective tools and equipment may also be essential for beekeepers to know. Know the appropriate suit to select to keep you from any potential danger in beekeeping.

All the attempts that are beekeeping would be futile in case you are incapable to harvest honey from your bees. The methods should be known by a beekeeper in gathering the honey in the comb; beeswax is also part of the returns in beekeeping.

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