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Author Topic: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber  (Read 2115 times)

Offline Moonshae

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2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« on: May 25, 2008, 08:06:31 PM »
I'm sure this isn't going to earn me a consensus response, but I'm looking for input. I recently read in BC or ABJ that a queen doesn't need two full deeps to lay in, and that a suburban honey flow, if only 40-60 lbs, could easily all end up in the top deep, and nothing making it to the honey super. The article recommended going with 1 deep and 1 medium for brood, and then supering above that.

I'm in the suburbs, and from what other beeks have told me, our main flow is over by the end of June. In my personal experience last year, this is true, but there's a substantial goldenrod flow in the fall.

I've had supers on my two overwintered hives (double deeps) since the beginning of May. They've barely begun to draw them. If the flow will be over in another month, they've got a long way to go for me to get a harvest. It hasn't been a particularly wet/dry/cold/hot spring, so conditions should be pretty good.

If my harvest is weak at the end of June, I'm seriously considering switching to the 1 deep + 1 medium idea, since if they fill the medium with honey in the fall, the 60 lbs they get there will be enough to get them through the winter.

Presumably, though, the smaller brood nest could more readily lend itself to congestion and increase swarming. But...the risk of swarming + harvest vs no swarming + no harvest isn't really a tough decision. I love keeping the bees, but...I do need to get some honey. :)

Thoughts?
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Offline MustbeeNuts

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2008, 08:30:12 PM »
for what its worth, I am new as well, and elected to use a deep +1 med for hive bodies, then I'll add supers above that as needed. I wanted to change to mediums strickly due to weight and a not so good back.
Each new day brings decisions,  these are  new branches on the tree of life.

Offline qandle

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2008, 09:25:07 PM »
I think the question is whether they will have have enough stores to over winter in this configuration.

Quint

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 11:09:40 PM »
In my climate with Italian bees, that wouldn't be enough for some hives in some winters.  Two deeps (or three mediums) would be about the minimum.  In my climate with Carniolans that would probably be fine if they didn't have too big of a cluster going into winter.  In your climate I would assume the same.
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Offline steveouk

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2008, 12:38:19 AM »
it's my first year as well i put my second deep on 2 weeks ago. However i'm being realistic and not expecting any harvest for this year. the bees are going to get it all. Next year ill take a harvest because they will have drawn all the comb out and it will be ready and waiting for them to fill it

Offline Gware

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2008, 05:59:18 PM »
I bought a 1 deep hive with a medium super and they wintered fine in Ky. I have talked to some old beekeepers and they recommend two deeps for winter and this is how I am going to do it. I however have one hive with a deep and a medium that I will not get changed until next year as I hived a swarm in it because I did not have two deeps and will leave them alone and will change to two deeps next year if they make it. I think one needs to make sure they have plenty of honey for winter as noone knows what kind of weather we may have. I think one beekeeper here just has two mediums and I think this is not near enough space for wintering.

Offline Moonshae

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008, 07:30:22 PM »
In my climate with Italian bees, that wouldn't be enough for some hives in some winters.  Two deeps (or three mediums) would be about the minimum.  In my climate with Carniolans that would probably be fine if they didn't have too big of a cluster going into winter.  In your climate I would assume the same.


Michael, How big of a cluster do you define as "too big" and at what time of inspection? Last fall inspection before winter, say, November? I'm going to be installing NWC queens in a number of my hives, so the Carniolan standard is pretty much what I'd like to know. They'll be in double deeps this winter, since that is what I've set up, but next year I might cut them back.
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Offline the kid

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2008, 08:01:21 PM »
once they get the deeps filled ,,,, then each year they just replace what the used in the winter ....    as its tuff trying to feed in jan ,, been there last winter ,,, didn't like it ....

Offline JP

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2008, 08:07:53 PM »
I like one deep and a medium, I used to do the two deep thing.


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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2008, 10:17:36 PM »
>Michael, How big of a cluster do you define as "too big"

A basketball.

> and at what time of inspection?

Fall, going into winter.  At the time you are cutting things down for winter.

> Last fall inspection before winter, say, November?

Probably.

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Offline Rodni73

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2008, 11:09:20 AM »
This is an interesting topic.  I have seen people use one deep and then medium suppers on top with no problems!  Here in New Jersey, I know a woman who keeps bees but she like to work with medium suppers because they are lighter and easier to manipulate (I am not saying that women can't lift or work with deeps).  Thus, she only use medium suppers and is happy with it.  Any way, I think I will use two deeps and a medium then supper for the harvest depending on the flow and how big the colony gets! However, when I expand next year, I am tempted to go all mediums for the above reasons.

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Offline doak

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2008, 11:33:09 AM »
Two main things apply here.
First year package or nuc started vs overwintered colony.
If you start with a package you will be lucky to get any honey at all in the north if your main flow ends in June.  Unless you have a lot of tulip poplar trees. The honey is dark but mild. Some places have a big July and August flow.
I get all I will get by the first of June. At least thats all I take. What they get after that is theirs for the winter.

A good strong over wintered colony may need two deeps or three mediums.
Watch the early build up and go from there. Enough room will help in preventing the urge to swarm.
I guess
doak

Offline Ross

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2008, 07:40:05 PM »
It all depends on where you are.  Here you can over winter 5 frame medium nucs if you want.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2008, 08:43:25 PM »
Of course the other issue is you have fewer options when you have two different sized frames:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize
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Offline Moonshae

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2008, 09:51:27 PM »
Of course the other issue is you have fewer options when you have two different sized frames:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize

I understand, Michael. I've read your site a number of times, and continually go back for reference. It's wealth of information, as good as any of the books, once you have some knowledge of the basics. I'd like to switch to all mediums eventually, but I'm currently constrained by the limitation of how much equipment I can buy and what I can afford to abandon. I don't trust myself to cut down the deep frames I have. I could manage the supers, but frames are trickier, with my limited skill.

I figure, though, with the one medium, if the queen lays in my medium honey supers, I'll have a place to put the brood frames, and still go without excluders. In my previous beekeeping time, excluders posed no problems, but I had to take them off of my current hives, the bees weren't going through. So, I'll be stuck if the queen decides to move up into them, with double deep brood boxes. If I can spread those deeps among a number of hives, and just keep adding mediums to my hoard, eventually the deeps will wear out and get replaced. Until then, minimizing their role as much as possible seems ideal.
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Offline Rodni73

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Re: 2 Deeps vs 1 Deep + 1 Med Brood Chamber
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2008, 10:51:38 PM »
Awsome reading and suggestions Michael. I also read his website many times and I often use it for reference! :)