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You will notice that a Langstroth Beehive consists of several wooden boxes.  Different boxes have different functions. The boxes on the bottom are called brood boxes, and the boxes on the top are called honey supers, or beehive supers. Supers are where the bees store their honey.  

If you buy a complete beehive it might come with 1 super, but as your colony grows and makes more honey, you will need to add onto it.  Luckily, you can get beehive supers separately. This article will discuss everything you need to know about supers, including beehive super dimensions and their weight when full of honey.

What is a Beehive Super?

The beehive super is an important part of the Langstroth beehive. The most popular and commonly used type of beehive, the Langstroth hive looks like a few wooden boxes stacked upon each other.  Bees, brood, nectar, pollen, and honey are housed in these boxes. The super is the box that holds the honey. There are different beehive super dimensions, depending on the size of the box.

Beehive supers contain 8 or 10 frames.  Bees build comb on these frames, then will collect and store nectar in the honeycomb cells.  That nectar will turn into honey. The bees will reduce the stored honey to 17 – 18% moisture content before capping the cells with beeswax. Once all cells are capped, beekeepers take the supers to extract honey.  

Beehive Super Dimensions

All boxes in a Langstroth hive have the same length and width.  A standard box is 16″ wide by 19 7/8″ long. However, boxes come in different depths.  The three sizes of beehive boxes are shallow (depth of 5 ⅞ inches), medium (depth of 6 ⅝ inches), and deep (depth of 9 ⅝ inches).  Therefore, the beehive super dimensions can be the following: 

  • Shallow – 16″ x 19 ⅞” x 5 ⅞”
  • Medium – 16″ x 19 ⅞” x 6 ⅝”
  • Deep- 16″ x 19 ⅞” x 9 ⅝”

What Size Box to Use 

A Langstroth hive uses boxes of different depths.  Most beekeepers will use 1 – 2 deep boxes on the bottom for the brood chamber, with medium or shallow boxes on top for honey supers.  The honey supers are where the bees store their surplus honey. However, keep in mind that you will be lifting these boxes to harvest honey, and a medium super can get quite heavy.  

Each box can hold either 8 or 10 frames. The frames are made to fit the size of the box – shallow, medium, or deep.  You must use the same number of frames for all boxes in a single hive. Beekeepers will sometimes choose to use 8 frames simply because the boxes will be lighter. 

When full of honey, you can expect your 10 frame boxes to weigh the following: 

  • Shallow – 40 pounds
  • Medium – 50 pounds 
  • Deep – 80 pounds

When full of honey, you can expect your 8 frame boxes to weigh the following:

  • Shallow – 32 pounds
  • Medium – 40 pounds
  • Deep – 64 pounds

The advantage of using larger boxes and 10 frames over 8 is that it is more efficient and you’ll harvest more honey per box.  However, the downside is that the boxes will be heavy, so you must be sure that you can comfortably handle the weight.  

Recommended Beehive Supers

Shallow

VIVO Beekeeping Shallow Super Bee Hive Box

Features

  • Beehive super dimensions – 19″ x 16″ x 5.5″ 
  • Fits a 10 frame standard Langstroth beehive
  • Frames included, each measuring 19” x 6.4”
  • Interlocking box joints makes for easy assembly
  • All hardware included

Information

This shallow beehive super is made of sturdy pine.  It comes unassembled, however all hardware is included and the interlocking box joints make assembly quick and easy.  10 frames also come with this box, each one measures 19” x 6.4”.  

The dimensions of the beehive super is 19″ x 16″ x 5.5″.  It will fit any standard Langstroth beehive.  This box can work as both a brood box or a honey super, depending on your preferences.  

The pine wood is unfinished, so this box will require paint or varnish to protect the wood from the elements. When full of honey this super will weigh about 40 pounds, so it’s a good, manageable weight for any beekeeper. 

Medium

Little Giant 10-Frame Medium Super Beehive Body with Frames

Features

  • Beehive super dimensions – 19.9 x 16.5 x 6.6 inches
  • Pre-assembled
  • Compatible with any standard 10 frame Langstroth beehive
  • Precision milled interlocking box joints

Information

This super is sized medium, the dimensions being 19.9 x 16.5 x 6.6 inches.  It is fully compatible with any standard 10 frame Langstroth beehive.  It is an ideal size and can be used as either a brood box or a honey super.  

One of the benefits of this box is that it comes pre-assembled.  That means that you can use it right out of the box. No tools or assembly required!  This beehive super is made out of unfinished pine and features precision milled interlocking box joints.  

The 10 frames it comes with is also assembled with pre-installed wax coated plastic foundation.  This is a great super for those who want to skip assembly. 

Hoover Hives Langstroth Bee 10 Frame Medium Box

Features

  • Unassembled
  • Includes 10 wood frames and wax coated foundations
  • Dovetail joints for easy assembly
  • Made of pine wood

Information

This medium beehive super is from Hoover Hives.  I really like the products Hoover Hives puts out, and this is no exception.  At first glance you notice how nice the wood looks, and that is because the pine wood is coated with beeswax.  This is to protect the wood from the elements. That also means that you do not have to paint this box.  

This super is not assembled and does not come with nails.  However, the dovetail joints and detailed instruction guide make assembly easy. Ten frames are also included, as well as wax coated, natural color foundation, for quick acceptance by the bees.  

When full of honey, you can expect this super to weigh about 50 pounds.  Overall, a very attractive and good quality medium super.  

Deep

Complete Hive Body Kit

Features

  • Dimensions – 19-7/8-inch length by 16-1/4-inch width by 9-5/8-inch height
  • Made in the USA
  • Fully assembled
  • Includes 10 assembled wood frames with yellow waxed Ritecell foundation

Information

While deep boxes are not usually used for supers, if you are up for some heavy lifting, this one will do the job. The beehive super dimensions for this box is 19-7/8-inch length by 16-1/4-inch width by 9-5/8-inch height.  You can expect this super to weigh about 80 pounds when full of honey.  If that is too heavy, this would make a great brood box instead.

Mann Lake makes this box, so you know it is made of high quality materials, in the USA.  This box is made of strong pine. It comes fully assembled, so you don’t have to worry about putting it together.  For added strength, each box is also stapled.  

Ten assembled wood frames are also included.  They are fully assembled and include waxed yellow Ritecell foundation.  This box is also painted, it is a great choice for someone who does not want to wait for paint to offgas. 

Conclusion

A beehive super is a box on a Langstroth beehive that holds honey.  It comes in 3 different sizes – shallow, medium, and deep. However, because of the weight, shallow and medium boxes are usually used for supers.  Beehive super dimensions have the same length and width, but the depth varies depending on the size.  

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