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Author Topic: Size advise needed; deep vs medium  (Read 4545 times)
wisnewbee
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« on: March 27, 2011, 11:45:53 AM »

I'm brand new to beekeeping and would like a little advise. Since I am brand new, I'm going to be starting with all new equipment. I've read books and some forums regarding the use of deeps for the brood hive, and shallows for honey supers. I noticed several references and recommendations to standardise the size and just use mediums for everything. I know 2 deeps equal 3 mediums, and 3 shallows equal 2 mediums. I am concerned about the weight of the deeps, so you can understand my interest in standardising with mediums. Are there any issues of concern in regards to standardising to just 1 size? I know that it will cost a little more to just use mediums, but I don't believe that to be a major issue. I also see a huge difference in the cost of supers and frames from 1 supplier to another. Is it really necessary to buy top of the line supers and frames? Does it make a difference to the bees if the wood is #1 clear pine or #2 select pine? I live in central Wisconsin, so our winters can be long and harsh. If you were to start beekeeping now, with the knowledge you have, what equipment would you use?

The only big advantage I see so far for staying with deeps for brood, is the ability to get a nuc package for startup. Thanks for any and all advise you may bee able to impart my way.

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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2011, 11:57:25 AM »

I think standardizing on one size is a good idea.  Mediums can be used for brood with no problems and are also ok for honey supers.  Deeps are pretty heavy..... A 10 frame deep full of honey weighs about 90 pounds!  Even better would be to standardize on 8 frame mediums to reduce the weight further.  

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm  

We use all long hives (horizontal) but if we were going to use Langstroth hives they would be 8 frame mediums.

 As far as nucs go, you can purchase one shallow ,stack it on top of a medium  and hang the deep nuc frames along with some medium frames from the top box until you get enough medium frames drawn.  Then phase out the deep frames and pull off the shallow.

There is a difference in quality of boxes and there is some junk out there.  The grade of pine is not as important as the quality of the box construction.  Whatever you use, be sure to stain or paint the wood right from the start.  That will greatly increase the useful life of the woodware.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 12:23:03 PM by FRAMEshift » Logged

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iddee
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 01:24:10 PM »

""A 10 frame deep full of honey weighs about 90 pounds! ""

I see this all the time, and it makes me wonder. How many hobbyist beeks out there have ever seen a deep totally full of honey?

I recommend deeps for brood and mediums for honey. When I was in my 30s and 40s I used all deeps. Then I saw full honey deeps. After 50, I use deeps for brood and mediums for honey and have not seen a deep full of honey since then.

PS. A deep full of brood does NOT weigh 90 lbs.
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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 01:51:22 PM »

I use deeps for all my brood boxes.  Don't have a problem with them.     Shallows for honey supers. 
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 02:09:04 PM »

My deeps of brood usually weigh about 65 pounds, not much more than a medium full of honey.  The top deep acts as the food chamber for the colony and it is usually full at the close of the nectar flow but if you use work stands to put the boxes on when doing inspections they are not too hard to handle.

The only drawback I see to all mediums is higher cost in boxes and frames to set the colony up and a little longer time to inspect the colony.  Using 10 frame mediums in your area, would 3 boxes be enough for overwintering or would 4 be better? 

The less expensive grades of wood usually doesn't matter as long as you don't buy the very bottom grade, #2 or #3 pine is Ok.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 02:16:43 PM »

When I was in my 30s and 40s I used all deeps. Then I saw full honey deeps. After 50, I use deeps for brood and mediums for honey and have not seen a deep full of honey since then.

PS. A deep full of brood does NOT weigh 90 lbs.

Since the OP was interested in standardizing on one size, I was looking at the worst case of standardizing on deeps.  If he was using only deeps as honey supers, I think he would eventually be lifting 90 pounds.  I'm 59 and have had some sciatica so even a deep that's half full of honey is more stress than I want placed over and over on my back.   Even a 10 frame medium full of honey lifted from ground level is pretty bad.

Iddee, do see some problem with using only mediums?  They work fine for brood don't they?
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 02:51:24 PM »

If you run all med boxes, and you medicate, you will have to keep your brood box frames separate from your super boxes forever.  To keep contaminating the honey super wax.
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iddee
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 04:05:32 PM »

Three mediums cost more than two deeps.
Most treatments are measured out for deeps.
Most nucs are sold in deeps.
Most damage to backs is done during bending, rather then carrying. I would rather lift and carry one 60 lb box "2 bends" then 2 trips at 45 lb each."4 bends"

I have removed many colonies of ferals and have never seen horizontal bee spaces in the middle of the combs, like different boxes give, so I like to use a minimum number of breaks in the comb. That's why I used all deeps when younger.

Also, with a two frame extractor, I would rather extract 20 deeps than 30 mediums.
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 04:23:26 PM »

All medium- eight frame- everything fits. It definitely makes moving brood around easier. If you have multiple yards and show up with one size equipment (if all mediums) you show up with the right size grin Not so with a mixture of different size boxes Sad   The equipment will cost more- depends on the number of hives you keep.

You already are aware of the down side of purchasing nucs. If the $ is no issue go with mediums.
I run deeps for brood and shallow for honey. I would go with all mediums if i had it to do over again.
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tandemrx
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 06:38:11 PM »

I am with Iddee.  I like the idea of bigger brood areas, but with a bad back I am seriously considering moving to 8 frame equipment (will still use deeps and a mixture of mediums and shallow for supers).  Plus, when doing inspections you might have to re-stack 3 boxes instead of just 2 - that is just more bees getting smooshed  Sad.  I do like that with deeps and mediums I know which frames might have had terramycin or other treatments dumped on top of the frames and that all my mediums or shallows are dedicated to honey collection.

I guess if you make your own nuc (which you may well want to do sometime, if nothing else from a caught swarm, or managing a split or a bunch of other reasons), you could just do it in a 10-frame or 8-frame medium, which I have done, but I like the idea of a 4-5 frame deep nuc for these purposes.  I always keep one of those 5-frame deep cardboard nuc boxes handy for a swarm collection or split or transferring brood frames somewhere.  Awful handy and light - easy to carry without having to deal with separate bottom board.  I don't think anyone makes medium cardboard nuc boxes, but not positive.

So, I still think that an 8-frame deep offers best of both worlds.

It is moving those supers that is the biggest job - you often don't go far with your deeps (unless they are empty  Cry)

You use a frame for brood and they fill it full of pollen and then using those frames for supers is not ideal by any means - so frames aren't always totally interchangeable.

Quote
Three mediums cost more than two deeps.
Most treatments are measured out for deeps.
Most nucs are sold in deeps.
Most damage to backs is done during bending, rather then carrying. I would rather lift and carry one 60 lb box "2 bends" then 2 trips at 45 lb each."4 bends"

I have removed many colonies of ferals and have never seen horizontal bee spaces in the middle of the combs, like different boxes give, so I like to use a minimum number of breaks in the comb. That's why I used all deeps when younger.

Also, with a two frame extractor, I would rather extract 20 deeps than 30 mediums.
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wisnewbee
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2011, 08:31:44 PM »

I thank you all for your timely, and informative answers. You have made the decision much easier for me. I've decided that there is a reason the deep/shallow arrangement is the standard. I will also be using that arrangement. My main considerations were the nuc and extraction issues. Great information everybody.

Wisnewbee
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2011, 08:40:04 PM »

I use all 8 frame mediums, nothing but, but then I also use bottomless hives.  I never have to worry about where to put an extra frame when transferring brood or stores between hives.  If one is inclinded to make their own equipment you get more 8 frame boxes out of a given footage of 8 inch lumber than 10 frame and those odd pieces make nice ends for nucs.

If and when I buy commercial I buy budget (2nds) over premium or commercial grades.  A hobbiest doesn't give his equipment the same beating a commercial beekeeper does his, and so it well last just as long or longer.  You can usually buy 3 budget boxes to 2 commercials and about 2boxes budget for 1 box premium.  The ratio might vary a little bit. 

I've had budget pine boxes last well over a dozen years so I don't consider the expense of more expensive grades worth the cost.  So, as I see it, the only reason for buying the high grade stuff is astetics and if you're into astetics then you're probably into copper clad garden tops.
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iddee
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2011, 09:33:17 PM »

There is a difference in mediums and shallows. I would go with mediums, not shallows. You can find wired wax easier and you get a larger harvest per box. Shallows are used mostly for comb honey, mediums for extracted honey.
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2011, 01:40:38 AM »

>PS. A deep full of brood does NOT weigh 90 lbs.

But sooner or later it will be full of honey.  I have met many a frustrated older woman who bought bees for her garden and now are at a loss what to do because they have a deep full of honey on top and they don't know what to do.

That's not counting the men I know with bad backs from lifting deeps...

But uniformity is the main reason to use all mediums.

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iddee
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2011, 06:54:15 AM »

I hate to sound mean, but a little old lady that doesn't know how to remove a frame at a time shouldn't be keeping bees. There's no reason for a hobbyist to ever have to lift a full deep. A commercial beek should be in shape and/or have hired help if he is using all deeps.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2011, 09:22:24 AM »

The ability to use Interchangeable equipment is a true blessing. 

I use ALL mediums (in my Langs and my Long Hive) and I know some beeks out west who use ALL shallows. 

Since some who have posted above obviously haven't experienced the luxury of using the same size equipment I'm not sure what the debate is or why they even pitch in Undecided

Personally, I don't know a single beek who has gone back to variable size boxes once they've switched (or used) to universal size boxes.  I've only got a couple deeps left, and I use those just for housing caught swarms or as a feed box.

thomas
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iddee
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2011, 10:14:51 AM »

""Since some who have posted above obviously haven't experienced the luxury of using the same size equipment I'm not sure what the debate is or why they even pitch in""

I take this to mean anyone who doesn't agree with you should just shut up and not post. Is that your meaning?
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2011, 10:27:46 AM »

iddee;  Not at all, I think I said it plain enough.  I'm not looking for a fight with you either, so if its your intention please look elsewhere. 

If I somehow misunderstood your assertions above then I apologize, perhaps a more in-depth explanation of your preferred methods would come across differently.  I'm just asking iddee,  I'm NOT telling (and I think you've been around here long enough to know the difference Wink)

thomas
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2011, 10:49:17 AM »

there are advantages to using all one size.  all mentioned above.  however, i use my deeps a lot for swarm catching, cutouts, etc.  much easier to move one box than several.  if your hives are going to sit in one place and you don't intend to haul boxes around for traps or swarms, one size is great.  if you are not very strong, one size (smaller) is great. 

i started with deeps for brood and have continued.  i don't have a problem moving them and if that's all you use for brood, then interchanging frames is not an issue.
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2011, 11:17:52 AM »

Thomas, you need to remember that you are talking to people from those who have never had bees to those with thousands of hives. When you said  "why they even pitch in", I feel you caused some of the thinner skinned ones to decide to just quit posting. You don't bother me, as I'm too thick skinned to let it get to me, but many on here aren't. Just look at the number of members and the number of ACTIVE members. That says many have left. Some likely left due to just such posts.

Please be more careful. Print is easily misunderstood.
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