Honey Super Design Open Source Project 2024

A collaboration project to design or improve on designs for the emerging stingless bee honey industry.

Ben Fitzpatrick, a stingless bee keeper in the Hunter region NSW and President of the Hunter Branch of the ANBA asked if I would be able to assist with development of some honey frames that would work with a honey vacuum.

The outline of the project:

  1. Design a frame where the bees would only create one single honey pot in height for easy access using a honey vacuum.
  2. Be able to stack multiple honey frames on the box, maybe five high?
  3. Be able to access, remove, shuffle any frame in the stack without effecting others.
  4. Be able to access the honey pots without damaging them.
  5. Option to place the frame in to a honey spinner.

After a bit of head scratching and waving pieces of wood around, I had some ideas to start off with. My own requirements for something for the industry is, it has to be simple and cheap for the industry or backyard enthusiasts to take up. People tend not to take up complicated designs or expensive products on a mass scale. Nick Powell designed a “series super” a few years ago that may satisfy most of the requirements so maybe we’re not inventing anything new here, just tweaking some previous designs.

Photos below: A couple of samples so far, two frames of different heights, 16mm and 20mm internal height. 3mm perspex on the underside and a clear binder cover on the top side. The solid perspex provides a hard surface for the bees to attach the honey pots. The flexible binder cover isolates the frame from other frames and when the frame is removed the binder cover can be peeled off, hopefully not damaging the top side of the honey pot. The frame could be cooled down in the fridge which makes the propolis hard and the binder cover will peel off cleanly.

Nick Powell and Doug Irvine have both separately designed slim honey supers in the past. Photo shows Doug using his own frame and custom honey spinner. Here’s Nick Powell’s article on the subject https://www.australiannativebee.com/2018/08/30/series-supers/

Quote: “Series supers should be made to give you one flat sheet of honey pots. Depths from 16mm>25mm work quite nicely. Thicker supers from 25mm to 35mm will receive multiple layers of honey pots..”

Related articles:

Hivecraft - Australian Native Bee Supplies

Native bee boxes available at www.hivecraft.com.au

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