Beekeeping comes with a variety of challenges and a huge learning curve — especially when it comes to supers. Knowing when to add a super, or a superstructure, to your hive isn’t always as obvious as one would hope. Even the most experienced beekeepers can have a hard time knowing when the perfect time to add a super to their hive is.

At Galena Farms, we don’t have all of the answers either, but we do have all of the supplies. When it is time to add a super to your hive, you can find a variety of superstructures to fit your hives’ needs. From wax-coated medium supers to supers without frames, we have everything you need to help your hive thrive as it continues to grow. 

While we may not have all of the answers, we would like to share some information that could help you determine when the right time is to add a superstructure to your hive. Keep reading to learn more and be sure to shop through our collection!

What Is a Super

Before you can decide whether or not to add a super to your beehive, you first must understand the function of a super and its intended purpose. Supers, or superstructures, are extra boxes that generally contain frames. These boxes are added to the top of your hive and allow the bees to store a surplus of honey, pollen, and brood. Supers become especially useful during peak nectar flow periods. 

Signs It’s Time to Add a Super

While knowing exactly when to add a super to your beehive is not as easy as you might hope, there are signs to look for that could help guide you toward the right decision. These include an increase in bee activity, full brood frames, congestion in the hive, an increase in incoming nectar flow, and the right weather conditions.

Bee Activity

If you notice an increase in activity around your hive, for example, bees coming and going more frequently, this could be a sign that they are bringing more nectar into the hive and will require more storage space. 

Full Brood Frames

You may begin to notice that the brood frames in the lower hive boxes become full of eggs, larvae, and capped broods as the colony expands. When most of these frames become occupied, you will want to consider adding a super so your bees have more room to store honey.

Congested Hive

Congested hives are another sign that a super could be the best decision for your hive. If your frames are tightly packed with bees, it could impact the productivity of your bees. This is a good time to add a super. 

Many beekeepers follow the 7/10 rule. This rule states that the best time to add a super is when the bees have covered seven of the ten frames in the existing box or boxes. If your colony is growing, the 7/10 rule could help you determine if it is the right time to add a super. 

Boost in Nectar Flow

During peak flower season, when you bees are collecting more nectar to turn into honey, you might want to consider adding a super to your beehive. This will give them more space to fill and allow them to continue to produce honey.

Weather Conditions

Weather plays in factor in when to add a super as well. While you shouldn’t add a super simply because the conditions are perfect, if you are planning to add a super because of any of the reasons above, you will want to do so when the weather is right. Add a super to your beehive on a warm, sunny day, when your bees are foraging. This will encourage the bees to accept the new space. 

How to Add a Super

After looking for all of the signs to add a super and deciding that this addition is the best move for your beehive, there are some steps to take to ensure you don’t disrupt your beehive in the process. 


Step one for any process is to prepare for the task at hand. In this case, you need to make sure that you have an assembled super with frames and foundation ready to go. You can shop through the collection of supers from Galena Farms to ensure you have the perfect option for your hive. You won’t want to continue onto any of the further steps until you have your new super at the ready. 


While inspections are, or should be, part of your regular beehive maintenance routine, you will want to conduct another inspection when you are getting ready to add the super. Check out the brood frames and honey storage, and take note of the overall health of the colony. You will also want to note where the queen is. If anything seems to be off with your hives, you should hold off on adding your super. But if everything is thriving in your hive, move on to the next step!

Installing the Super

Placing the super is the easiest part. Carefully place your new, prepared super on top of the existing hive, matching up the super’s frames to the hive’s frames. Ensuring that the frames are lined up will help encourage bee movement, allowing your bees to start flowing into their new space. 

Facilitate Access

The new super’s intended purpose is to help the bees store any surplus of honey. To make sure this happens, you will need to place a queen excluder between the brood boxes and the super. This will ensure the queen can’t lay eggs in the new space, leaving it to be filled with honey. If you need to add a queen excluder to your beekeeping supplies, you can find a few options from Galena Farms!

Monitor the Hive

After adding a super to your beehive, you will want to keep a close eye on it for the weeks that follow. Monitor bee activity and honey production to ensure your hive is making the most of its new space. 

Whether you are new to beekeeping or experienced, knowing when to add a super to your beehive can be tricky, but once you learn the signs and the process to follow, it will become a much simpler task and allow you to increase honey production and help maintain the colony’s overall health.

When it does come time to add a super to your beehive, be sure to shop through the collection of supers from Galena Farms! We have a wide variety of products to fit different needs and hives! Plus, we offer a huge collection of beekeeping supplies and accessories to help you make the most of your hobby.