What is a section super?
Instead of building honeycomb in long rectangular frames, honey bees can be encouraged to build comb in small sections. These small sections are usually square or round. In the photo below the square sections are about 4 inches on a side and the rounds are 4 inches across, so the area of the squares is about 16 square inches and the area of the rounds is about 12.5 square inches.
Both square and round sections are put in frames that have the same orientation as a regular frame. In other words, the frames are parallel to each other and run along the length of the super. The frames for each type hold four sections. As you can see in the photos below the wooden frames hold four square sections and the plastic frames hold four round sections. The geometry is similar to a regular frame that holds foundation.
These frames fit into specially designed supers called “section supers”—basically these are just supers sized to hold sections. As you can see in the photo below, a section super designed for squares can hold seven frames of four sections—28 altogether. A section super designed for rounds can hold eight rows of four sections—32 altogether.
There is extra space in both types of section super because the dimensions of a Langstroth hive are a little bigger than the size of the frames allow, but not big enough to hold another whole frame. This extra space is taken up with a follower board and springs. The board and springs keep the sections tight within the box. They also maintain “bee space” between the frames so propolis and burr comb are kept to a minimum.