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Author Topic: number of brood boxes?  (Read 1214 times)

Offline wildbeekeeper

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number of brood boxes?
« on: May 28, 2009, 09:28:00 PM »
So I was in discussion with a new beekeeper who has 2 hives both from packages.  THey are doing well and are fllling up frames nicely.  He was asking about the need to put on another deep for brood or can he just add shallows from here on out.  I kind of was always of the thought that you keep two deeps for brood and or honey for the hive then add an excluder and then honey supers on top.  Can he successfully keep that hive going by just having one deep for brood and then just add shallows allowing for more space for honey and brood?

I guess what I am asking is that if he would leave one deep on and then just add shallows, will the queen start laying in the shallows until an excluder goes on or will she eventually stop moving up into the shallows and all brood will be lower and the upper shallows will eventually be capped honey......or should two deeps be allowed for brood then add the excluder and then honey supers (which is what I would do)

What do you think or suggest... what have you found from experience?  Much thanks!

Offline troutstalker2

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Re: number of brood boxes?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2009, 09:59:50 PM »

 I don't think the bees care if its a deep, medium or shallow. With my limited experience, Ive never needed more than a deep and a medium for brood. Ive used two deeps but I don't think the needed it. Now that not to say if you had a very productive queen she wouldn't fill two I just have never been that lucky. Some people use mediums for everything, which seems like a good idea since then everything is interchangeable.
  As far as excluders go, everybody has an opinion on if they are necessary or not. I don't find that the queen will go up too far, although I have had them go up a couple of supers past the brood chamber sometimes. You will find a lot of posts on the pros and cons. The queens inclination is to stay in the bottom two boxes. That's been my experience, but I'm only about 2 1/2 years into this journey.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: number of brood boxes?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 12:17:02 AM »
Wildbeekeeper, the answer you're looking for is not in the number of sizes of boxes used but in the total poundage of honey available to the bees for the winter.  If you can get 80-90 lbs of honey for you colony to overwinter on in a deep and a shallow then that's all you need.  Most people use to deeps for brood out of convience and in an attempt to insure the necessary poundage of honey is in the hive buy the back door of volume. 
In PA you should have 80-90 lbs of stores for overwintering, less means running the risk of starvation, but then real cold winters (zero to subzero temps) with prolonged cold spells can mean starvation regardless of how much honey the hive has because the bees can't get out of cluster to get the honey.

I you want a simple guage lift the back side of the hive off the ground.  You should feel at least 50 lbs of stress in you arms, the other 50 lbs is resting on the ground.  Stores, hive, and bees should weigh about 120 lbs.
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Offline indypartridge

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Re: number of brood boxes?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 08:58:34 AM »
Most of us in the north winter our bees in 2 deeps (or 3 mediums). As Brian said, the important issue is being sure there's 80-90 lbs of honey stored for them to overwinter.

Offline Kurt

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Re: number of brood boxes?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2009, 04:43:04 PM »
does anyone ever pick up there hives and put them in a pole barn or anything out of the elements for the winter? I have not tried it but was wondering if I could put 40 hives in my pole barn for the winter.


Offline MacfromNS

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Re: number of brood boxes?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2009, 05:18:34 PM »
I know of some one that puts in around 500 in a shed or barn for the last 10 years so all that work ,it must make him happy.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: number of brood boxes?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2009, 06:25:20 PM »
Well.... of course I never put on any deeps at all... just eight frame mediums... but if the question is how much does a hive need for brood and wintering that varies by climate, but most of the North uses two deeps, or three mediums, or four eight frame mediums.  Most of the more central (TN, NC, SC, etc.) use one deep and a shallow or two mediums or three eight frame mediums.  Most of the deep south seems to use only one deep, or two mediums or two eight frame mediums.

I tend to adjust what I leave for winter by the size of the cluster and the amount of food they have stored etc.
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