The bees can take the 'empty' supers and clean out every scrap of honey. They then take it back to their hive and store it for thier own use in the winter. So the beekeeper ends up with nice clean dry supers to store, and the bees get some more honey to keep them going through the winter.
This needs doing as soon as possible after extraction has finished, or at least it does in my house. The extracted 'wet' supers give off a lovely smell of honey. The trouble is, every bee in the area seems to smell it, and by this stage in the beekeeping year there are not many flowers around, so the thought of being able to help themselves to some honey is too tempting for the bees. The supers become a 'bee magnet' and, if they are still in the house, there are progressively more and more bees in the house as well. This causes marital strife so I need to get the supers out of the house quickly!
The wet, sticky supers go back into the car and then back to the apiary at Hanbury Hall. The plan is to give each hive a couple of supers at the top of the hive. They can then all work on 'their' supers and not end up in a massive fight with all the other hives of bees over a central pile of supers. Once bees have learnt that honey can be found nearby, they start trying to rob the stores of thier neighbours and it all gets a bit frantic.
|Every Hive gets a couple of wet supers to clean|
The plan is to do this quickly so that the bees don't notice the pile of waiting supers to be put back on. However the job took about 20 minutes, and by the end, the bees had found the pile of supers!
|Bees robbing some extracted 'wet' supers|
Still, I have left the bees for a week or so to clear the supers and will be going back soon to take the 'dry' cleaned supers off to store them at home for the winter.