Honey Super Lifting - Advice Needed

Hi All

I have recently injured my lower back and lifting full depth homey supers is not helping. Looking for a solution and was thinking of using a engine lift crane on wheels to assist.

The other solution may be to go down to small frames but I think I would need to buy a whole new set up from what I have (10 frame better bee hive)?

Any advice or suggestions from those bee keeper with bad backs would be greatly appreciated.



10 frame full depth Supers are great for the brood box but a lot of people have great success and significantly better honey production using Ideal depth Supers (approx. 1/2 depth)

Sam (RBK) has had great success using Ideal depth Supers that is well documented on this site, as have many others.

Anyway, its just a thought as a fix to your issue as full depth Supers are too heavy in anyones language as I see it.




I use the ideal boxes and frames as I simply cannot lift a full depth super full of honey and I have tennis elbow in both arms also. The only drawback is my cheap little extractor doesn’t hold the frames neatly (but it still works). If I have to move a full depth super I transfer some of the frames to an empty box and then lift the remaining frames and box. It isn’t quick but it is the only way I can manage.

Good luck with your back!

Kind regards,


Sorry, I have come across this post a little late.

I use Ideal supers exclusively on my hives, and I don’t think i’d go back to anything else. Having the shallower frame as a lighter option is only one of their advantages, I also find the fact that they ‘cap off’ quicker a great advantage when honey flow isn’t strong.

You can probably find several hundred posts on here of my Ideal frames, but an example of using them through a full season can be found here:

If you do stay with full depth supers, the methods @Wickett describes are what I have done previously. If you have a spare super, or even a nucleus corflute box (5 or 6 frames), some of the frames can be moved out of your honey super before lifting the box.


I have switched to using two full depth boxes for brood and the winter food. All above are ideals, the most wax melter tolerant (it gets lots hotter than I thought) and electric extractor balance friendly are the wooden ones.

You can get 3/4 height boxes and frames as well as a sort of a mind point. I have two of them, and naturally mixed up the frames between boxes. As you do.



Sorry to hear about your injury, but I’m glad you are determined to keep active.

Perhaps, finding a helper by becoming a mentor. Two lifting together cuts the load.

I’m not sure how long term your injury is. If you’re injury is not too severe and a complete change of equipment is not wanted then maybe reduce the number of frames and use dummy boards.

9 frame spacing would lighten the honey super. Replacing some with dummy boards would be lighter plus insulate the hive and give the bees a hangout.


Many thanks Eric - back is better now and so can continue with full depth, just need to be careful and act my age…

Thanks Roland - apologies for the last reply…

Thanks Fiona - back is better but have to forgo the bees for a couple of weeks to recover. I have certainly changed how I lift and think about it first.

Many thanks - have roped in a mate to help as needed. A cracker of an idea and nice to have some company for a beer once done.