We’ve talked about three different types of supers already. Deep Hive bodies which are usually used as the area for brood, aka the place that the queen lays her eggs. Western supers which are smaller and lighter than deep supers and can be used as either honey supers or brood bodies. And finally Shallow supers which are used only for collecting honey.
But there’s a final size of honey supers far smaller than any others we’ve discussed. Comb honey supers are even smaller than Shallow supers. They are used specifically for making comb honey. Their smaller size allows you to use wax foundation without wiring as there’s less weight on the wax than there would be with any of the larger size supers. That extra weight of the larger supers would cause unwired wax foundation to fall out in the heat or under the weight of the honey but the very shallow comb honey super has none of those problems.
While in theory you could simply use comb honey supers for all honey production do remember that your bees will have to pull out the foundation each and every year with this set up, taking some time away from their ability to gather nectar and make honey. That said, you won’t have to deal with extracting honey come the end of the year!
One thing to consider with all of these types of supers is that having all types means you’ll have to have lots and lots of equipment and lots of backup equipment in case a frame, foundation or super needs to be replaced. This can get to be both expensive and space intensive so if possible, figure out a size or two that you want to use and stick with it. You budget will thank you.
Have you used comb honey supers? How did that work for you?
Photograph by Justus Thane