This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.
Easy Sections… ‘Perfect’ Sections Every Time
This is not my original idea, it was passed to me in the first instance by the late John Inchley and subsequently another beekeeper from Peterborough whose name I have forgotten.
The production of honey in sections has been notoriously ‘difficult’, some books in the past have indicated ‘crowding’ is the way to do it. If you have the bees outside your back door then you may, or may not, catch the swarms that will result.
There is a way that produces well filled sections that have no travel stain and almost no propolis on the woodwork. The best way of getting sections completed well is to have them filled and capped by bees that are working with a sense of urgency.
So Instead of trying to get them filled as the honey comes in, we gather our honey in shallow combs as usual. Then we extract the honey when it is capped (so that we know it is fully evaporated). The preferred time is as a flow is coming to an end, then we replace the supers with two section crates and a Miller feeder on the top of them and fill the miller feeder with the honey we have extracted.
The bees will store this honey rapidly as they have no need to process it in any way, the timing keeps the bees in good spirits as this work is to them an extension of the flow that is petering out.
As the job is completed swiftly there is no travel stain or propolising of woodwork. It works with round or square sections and each one is filled right out to the edge.
It does entail a little extra work by the beekeeper, but the rewards are high… The sections fetch a premium price as they are such good quality.
There is a modification that we can make to our section crates that make them more readily used by the bees… Eugene Killion did some work that indicated that it was beneficial if an extra bee space passageway around the outer periphery of the box was provided to improve ‘transport and communication’. I have taken this a stage further and have fitted such passageways and an additional one into the centre of my section crates This provides a path for the bees to get from the feeder to the lower crate of the two and thus they are not forced to travel over the congested comb surface.
Tried this many years ago and it failed. It’s that simple, and as ever if it sounds too easy… Always worth a try though but with heather I think it was just too late in the year.?