Pollen stores and Over Wintering in Mediums

Some of my hives are still 5 medium supers tall. I decided to reduce them down to four mediums by removing the bottom most super, assuming it would be empty comb. I like to overwinter in three or four mediums with 50 or 60 pounds of capped honey. This equates to the top two supers full of capped honey. If the outside frames are light I don’t get concerned.

I pulled the four upper supers from the first hive and removed frames from the bottom most super (the one resting on the bottom board)  to check that they were empty comb. I was a bit surprised to see pollen stored in these frames. As it was not very much and I use the frames with next spring’s nucs I thought that I would continue my four super plan. I moved to the next five super hive where to my surprise, I found same situation – a few frames of pollen in the bottom super.  I continued to the next hive and found even more stored pollen in the bottom super. Three out three with the same status set off my “what is going on?” beekeeper thinking. I moved to the stack of supers and pulled an outside frame from what was the second super expecting to find  a bit of honey but instead found capped brood in  a very solid pattern. So much for what I thought! The bees were doing just the right thing – keeping pollen next to the brood area and I was disturbing the nest plan. I put it all back and decided that overwintering 5 mediums would be better that damaging what looks like very good hives.

Did I simply over super? Will the bees move the pollen, brood nest and honey up as the Fall progresses? More education from these amazing creatures!

As always the bees do what they want to do with me somewhat in their way and mostly just an observer in the process. I’m going to leave the remaining five super hives as they are and see what next Spring has to teach me about beekeeping.