Beginner question – add a super or not?
Hi folks, would greatly appreciate some advice for a newbie please.
6 weeks since installing a nuc. Bees have nearly finished drawing out comb in the brood box but I've just seen small hive beetles. Should I add a new super now as planned to reduce overcrowding/swarming, or keep the hive in one box so it's stronger to fight SHB? It's mid-autumn in a warm climate.
I got my first nuc about 6 weeks ago and put the 5 nuc frames in with 3 new frames into an 8-frame full-depth Langstroth hive.
I am in Sydney, Australia, so we're in mid-autumn, but we get flowers all year round. Average mid-winter temperatures will be 5C – 18C (41F – 64F).
The nuc vendor said that it was a strong colony and didn't need feeding, and to add another super in about 6-8 weeks when the comb on the new frames was drawn out. The bloke at the local bee supplies store said that I should feed them as we've had a lot of rain, so I have had a feeder on the hive just in case.
In last week's inspection I saw that the bees are almost finished drawing out the comb on the last of the new frames, and have good stores of pollen, honey and brood in the other frames. So I planned to remove the feeder and add the super, as I'm worried about overcrowding and maybe swarming.
However, I also spotted my first small hive beetles – two adults running around the top of the frames. This week I plan to install some SHB traps.
My question is, should I still go ahead with putting on the honey super? Or should I keep the hive concentrated in one box to fight the beetles throughout winter?
Many thanks for your help.