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Author Topic: all medium hive  (Read 3611 times)
debshane
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« on: March 06, 2010, 08:22:00 AM »

my wife and i are new to beekeeping.we are thinking of setting up all medium hives.we live the very tip of ne North Carolina.does anyone have any pros or cons of this set up. thanks
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 09:50:08 AM »

For the hobbyist beekeeper I cannot think of any cons to using all mediums as your set up.

They're lighter than deeps and because all the same you have the ease of interchangeability.

You will need more of them to maximize brood nest, so one caution would be to stack them as low to the ground as possible.

Other than that all mediums is a very good way to go.


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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 09:55:21 AM »

The only con I can think of is you have to dig through more boxes to find the queen. If you can be content with finding eggs, so you know there's a queen present, then that con is no longer valid.
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 10:01:34 AM »

The only con I can think of is you have to dig through more boxes to find the queen. If you can be content with finding eggs, so you know there's a queen present, then that con is no longer valid.

This is true; however, with mediums being that much shorter than deeps, they're easier to go through when you're trying to find her.


...JP
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 10:13:34 AM »

if i were starting over, that's the way i'd  go.  humping deeps gets old fast.
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 10:43:23 AM »

my wife and i are new to beekeeping.we are thinking of setting up all medium hives.we live the very tip of ne North Carolina.does anyone have any pros or cons of this set up. thanks

This will be my first year and I have decided to go all medium's also.  I don't have a very good back anymore and like the fact that they will be lighter and interchangeable.
Good luck
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 10:54:13 AM »

This is timely, I hadn't even considered this aspect. Everything that I have read so far shows the typical two deep bodies, and supers on top. I also had back surgery several years ago and should be considerate of weight, even though that idea still doesn't work it's way into my brain and I pay for it later sometimes.
So, I was going to go two deeps and one medium to start with, figuring I would probably need more mediums come July if it turned out to be a good year. So I guess my question is, being this far north, ( we do have winter sometimes ) should I replace the two deeps with 3 mediums to use as brood areas and storage, and then add another medium over them when ready with the queen excluder on top of the third medium?
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2010, 10:58:36 AM »

here i would run 3-4 med over spring/summer and probably 2 over winter.  honey in med is an option, but you can do honey in shallows also if weight is a problem.  use an excluder or not.  that's a choice thing.  most of us don't.  for me, it's just one more thing to mess with.  they have other useses......
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 11:12:34 AM »

Could shave off some more weight by using 8 frame mediums.
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 11:36:19 AM »

could, but maybe not a great idea in the brood boxes.  don't know if it cuts weight in honey supers because they build deeper honey cells.  might make for easier extraction  smiley
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 11:37:26 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions, I am so glad a friend directed me here, I have been devouring books, but this place is the most helpful of all. I believe I can handle the mediums even full of honey, ( I am getting ahead of myself, I hope they will be full ) I also like the idea of having all 1 standard size equipment, it will make things easier I think.
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2010, 12:14:36 PM »

Could shave off some more weight by using 8 frame mediums.


   2-10 frame deeps boxes is 19 1/4" high = 3-10 frame mediums boxes is 19 7/8" high=4-8 frame mediums boxes is 26 1/2" high be for you put on supers. So how high can you reach  huh

  I decided to go all 3- 10 frame medium's for over wintering in 1986 I live in MA. GlAD I did it AND SO IS MY BACK



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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2010, 12:40:33 PM »

The only disadvantage of getting started with medium hive boxes is that many bee providers will deliver only deep nucs.  If you buy packages, there's no issue, but getting a deep nuc means that installing must happen into a deep box.  I did that the first year and then over the winter the bees moved up into the medium boxes above the bottom box.  In the spring, I took the deep off and put on a medium and have gone that way ever since.

I do think if you own a medium nuc box you could provide it to the person from whom you are getting a nuc and they could supply it that way.  I now own two medium nucs (each with two medium nuc boxes) that have served many purposes for me in the last couple of years.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2010, 02:16:49 PM »

.
In Finland many semiprofessional beekeepers keep only medium boxes. The advantage merely is that they are light to handle.
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2010, 02:51:42 PM »

Another advantage is the interchangability of the frames. All mediums means that you can move any frame anywhere in the hive.
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2010, 03:01:56 PM »

Another advantage is the interchangability of the frames. All mediums means that you can move any frame anywhere in the hive.

That is not real problem in Langstroth - medium system either.

But langstroth box full of honey and on the top of 6-box tower, not nice to handle.
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2010, 03:49:37 PM »

I see that Dadant now has a line of eight frame items on their webiste

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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2010, 04:35:13 PM »

I started last year with all 8 frame mediums, and I think if I were starting over I would still use all mediums, but I would use 10 frame boxes -

10 frame boxes would make a shorter stack.

The stack would also have a broader base, and be less likely to tip over.

It would save a bit on hive bodies.

It would be more compatible with "standard" equipment, and more salable if you ever wanted out - also more compatible if you found a good deal on some used equipment.

Boxes of honey would be 25% heavier though so that would be something to consider.
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debshane
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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2010, 04:40:22 PM »

thanks for all the info.we will be installing package bees.when installing package, would we set up two mediums with frames?let them draw them out in comb and then install a third medium to make brood and food supply. or would two mediums be enough brood and food supply. we live in north east NC.mild winters,maybe two to three weeks with temps below freezing at night.thanks again for all your info.
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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2010, 04:46:34 PM »

I started with deeps and transitioned to mediums. I am happy to be able to pull frames from where ever I want.  I even find the mediums heavy when they are full of honey.

I overwinter with 3 mediums each.
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2010, 05:30:57 PM »

thanks for all the info.we will be installing package bees.when installing package, would we set up two mediums with frames?let them draw them out in comb and then install a third medium to make brood and food supply. or would two mediums be enough brood and food supply. we live in north east NC.mild winters,maybe two to three weeks with temps below freezing at night.thanks again for all your info.

You should install your package into one medium (or deep for that matter) hive body.  One hive body will be plenty of room for a while, and it is easier for them to control the temperature and defend the hive if they have less empty space.  Have another one ready to add once they draw out enough comb  to equal 80% or so of a full box. 

A package will seem to draw out a lot of comb really fast at first, and you might think they are going to run out of space, but they might slow up before they run out of space.  See, it will be about a month before they hatch out any more bees, and in the mean time some of the old bees will naturally die.  So the population of a package will naturally go down before it starts to build.

You're gonna have fun.
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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2010, 06:31:57 PM »

If I were using just mediums, I would shake a package (swarm in my case) and watch them very carefully, with the expectation of adding the second medium within two weeks time.

I had a swarm draw 9 of 10 frames in two weeks last season. I added two mediums, then a third, all within 6 weeks time.

Keep an eye on them, that's my point.


...JP
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2010, 10:02:59 PM »

I run all eight frame mediums.  Yes, two weeks is about right to be checking to see if they need another box.
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JP
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2010, 10:22:06 PM »

If I were using just mediums, I would shake a package (swarm in my case) and watch them very carefully, with the expectation of adding the second medium within two weeks time.

I had a swarm draw 9 of 10 frames in two weeks last season. I added two mediums, then a third, all within 6 weeks time.

Keep an eye on them, that's my point.


...JP

I left out that the first box was a deep. The bees had drawn out 9 of 10 frames of a deep in less than two weeks.


...JP
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« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2010, 10:32:42 PM »

You guys have convinced me that mediums are a good way to go, I am just waiting for the seller to get back to me to see if I can get my Nuc on medium frames or not, that is the only thing from making me 100% at this point. As mine will be at the end of the back yard I will be able to watch it closely in order to tell when another super is needed.
BTW, I just spent the last hour looking at your pics JP......EXCELLENT!!....a lot of things that I have read made sense after seeing your pictures.
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« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2010, 10:40:06 PM »

I have hives based on 10-frame deeps, 10-frame mediums and 8-frame mediums.  All are working well for me but i have to admit the deeps are a real burden to lift and it is so much easier to encourage your bees into a new super when all your boxes are the same size and you can just move a full comb up into the center of the new box.  I'll keep my 10-frame equipment but as I continue to expand the additions are 8-frame medium and horizontal top bar based hives.  Both offer easier alternatives for the back and the combination offers two harvests per year, spring for the top bar hives and fall for the Langs.  It should be noted I'm not aiming to maximize the honey harvest and enjoy experimenting  grin

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« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2010, 11:32:05 PM »

Well, to get started I am going to have to use a deep to begin with. The Nucs from my supplier are all on deep frames....I will just have to eliminate that deep over the course of the year.
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« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2010, 12:50:39 PM »

Could shave off some more weight by using 8 frame mediums.

Or you could shave off all the weight and go with Top Bar Hives.  rolleyes
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« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2010, 01:13:22 PM »

The biggest down-side of using all mediums in my experience is that it is easier to find deep nucs for sale than mediums.  This problem can be avoided or dealt with a number of ways...
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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2010, 01:50:09 AM »

The only con I can think of is you have to dig through more boxes to find the queen. If you can be content with finding eggs, so you know there's a queen present, then that con is no longer valid.

I think if you work up to whatever depth you want for the brood box(es), then add a queen excluder sideways for honey supers - no problem. (unless you're splitting. and want to know which camp HRM is in.)
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« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2010, 06:54:30 AM »

Another advantage is the interchangability of the frames. All mediums means that you can move any frame anywhere in the hive.

Yes, but that would be the same advantage associated with using all deeps. Another thing that I think should be considered is cost.  First of all, medium boxes are typically only about $5-6 cheaper than deep boxes and the frames are usually the same price.  So if you've got 3 mediums at $40 each versus 2 deeps at $45 each there is a big difference in cost.  Also, it seems that 8 frame equipment is usually the same price as 10 frame stuff, but you're getting less room for the same price.

Personally I use all deeps and it's the only way to go for me.  I think the biggest thing for me though, is to use all the same size equipment. As mentioned before it makes it a lot easier if you need to move resources around.
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« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2010, 01:42:49 PM »

I have run all 10-frame mediums since I began in 2006. I live in a cold mountain valley in Northern Utah and overwinter 4 mediums. I'm beginning to think that is too many and three should be sufficient for me.
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« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2010, 09:20:11 AM »

i had a conversation with a beek at the local beek association meeting about using all mediums.  there are plenty of pros for the hobbyist, so i wanted to get a seasoned veterans opinion on some possible cons.  he looked at me and said he'd tried it a few times and every time he got the same result - he killed his queens.  for whatever reason, the shorter frames made it easier for him to get into the hive and look around and it afforded the queen less protection from being knocked off the frame, esp. if she was closer to the bottom.

i asked another well seasoned beek who does the Q&A sessions at the local beek association and he said he had a tough time with over wintering - they have to break cluster to move between the boxes.  he lost his medium hives while his deep hives over wintered with no problems.  he also had problems with swarming - he thinks the crossing between boxes led to an overcrowded condition.

sure it's only two people, but these guys have been beeks for 30+ years each and have tried just about everything.  they said since my plan is to only have 2 or 3 hives to just stick with deeps and use mediums for honey supers.  you get more honey per frame so you need less boxes. 

seems only 2 or 3 people are using mediums brood boxes in my area and they seem to be ok - i decided to stick with convention until i have a few years more experience of "traditional" management under my belt. i had to deal with a swarming situation my first year as a beek, i don't want to have to work all that much more to prevent it.  maybe in a few years i'll give all mediums a try, but right now, i'm happy that things are working - ain't broke, don't fix it.
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« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2010, 10:00:33 AM »

If I were using just mediums, I would shake a package (swarm in my case) and watch them very carefully, with the expectation of adding the second medium within two weeks time.

I had a swarm draw 9 of 10 frames in two weeks last season. I added two mediums, then a third, all within 6 weeks time.

Keep an eye on them, that's my point.


...JP
JP has it exactly right on the two week timeframe.

We have used all mediums from the beginning.  The ability to interchange frames is a definite plus, we always have drawn comb to start new packages on (we're starting ten next month).  Plus I can easily handle a full medium of honey, or, in the case of the hive body itself, a full box of frames, brood and bees.  I wouldn't want to have to do that with deeps.

We winter over with three mediums here, up in Maine, we overwintered with four. 

There's an oldtime beekeeper in our club, love him to death, but he insists you won't get any honey if you use all mediums.  I wonder why his wife had to send her friend to us for honey this year???  Wink  I have no idea why he feels that way.
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« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2010, 02:14:42 PM »

Just to ditto all that has been said on this thread, starting or converting to all mediums is a personal choice.  At the present, I have all hives as two deeps but I would not hesitate to go with mediums if I decide to increase.

Three mediums equal two deeps.  Once you get proficient at pulling and examining frames, I would think that it would only take a little longer to inspect 30 frames vs 20 frames.

Interchangeability is a big deal for some people if you don't use excluders.  I don't use excluders even on my deep/medium setups and have not had any problems.  I want to give the queen the run of the place!

There are more suppliers offering medium nucs because of the demand from hobbyists.  I will be raising some medium nucs myself for local sale.

WEIGHT is the big thing for me.  Try setting a hive body with 10 frames full of honey down gently on a hive that's about eyeball high and you'll know what I'm talking about!  Whew!

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« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2010, 09:55:04 PM »

Another option to save the back and make working frames in and out easier is to run 8 frames with two follower boards in the #1 and #10 frame position of the mediums.
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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2010, 01:21:24 PM »

I started with 8 frame mediums last year and I love it. I don't have any complaints.
To address some comments,
The boxes are not too heavy for me, I can find the queen and don't feel like I have to go through a bunch of boxes to find her, the hives are not stacked all that all and you can pull the honey as you go anyway and avoid that, I have found several people that supply medim sized nucs and its great that all my frames are interchangeable.

 I have heard info that claims they overwinter better in 8 frame mediums because they have less space to warm and since they prefer to go up and not side to side to eat their honey they have better access to their stores.
True or not, either way all of mine made it through this past winter.
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