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Author Topic: Double or single brood chamber?  (Read 3198 times)

Offline OzBuzz

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Double or single brood chamber?
« on: August 23, 2011, 07:40:37 AM »
I'm planning on turning my business semi-commercial with a view of maximizing honey production and brood nest size. I'm going to run an excluder above the brood nest to simplify inspections. What I'm wondering though is how much difference does running a double brood box versus a single brood box really make to overall hive population? Also, do commercial guys operate under the proviso that they're not going to stop every swarm? Obviously if you have 500 hives you can't fully inspect th once a week or even once a fortnight.

Offline OzBuzz

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 08:49:39 PM »
Nobody has an opinion or experience in this?

Offline Koala John

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 09:18:31 AM »
Hi Ozbuzz,
Unlike others I have spoken with, I don't have a strong opinion, as I'm not 100% confident that I am doing the right thing.

I have all of my bees in double brood boxes. I do this because of swarm prevention - I feel that if the girls have plenty of room for the queen to lay, they will be slower to swarm. I don't have much time to spend with the bees, so if I can't get to them for a few weeks in Spring/Summer, I like to think that I have those extra few days leeway before they decide to swarm.

Others I have spoken with go with one brood box, particularly the commercial or semi commercial guys. They obviously save on costs and time by only having to go through one box, not two. Not to mention the ease of transporting hives. People with more time (and knowledge) don't need that leeway as they will be on top of the timing of swarms.

From my point of view, because I don't move the bees, what's the down side of double brood boxes? For me, it's just the need for an extra box per hive, which is no big deal at all.

Cheers,
John.

Offline Mardak

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 04:36:09 AM »
You  may find that strong singles give a good amount of honey versus a medium double of brood. The exception to this rule is where there are very strong indicators of very fertile queen, very good weather, very good nectar and pollen source. You are limited by the seasons length, bringing up numbers in single eight or ten framers is heaps easier than doubles where the one queen has to lay eggs. Splits are the way to go with regular inspections, weekly or fortnightly depending on the factors described above.

Offline Lone

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2011, 10:16:48 PM »
Hello folks,

My experience is also limited, but I had a double brood hive for a while due to a queen going through the excluder.  However, the beek where the hive is reckoned it should go back to a single, and helped me with this once the queen settled down.  Amazingly, even though the queen was a very good layer, the two supers pretty much condensed back to one, so in fact not more than 10 frames contained brood.  I probably do agree with Mardak that it might give you higher honey yields using one brood super as there will be less honey stored in the brood supers and more above.

Lone

Offline OzBuzz

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2011, 10:43:56 PM »
Thanks Guys, i really appreciate your input! i'll give the single brood chamber a shot and see how it goes!

Offline Lone

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2011, 11:56:50 PM »
Oz,

You could do an experiment with a couple of doubles and see if it makes things better or worse. 

Lone

Offline Mardak

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 05:43:52 AM »
I once set an excluder in place between a queen and some queen cells and yes there was another queen later. I put in an opening in the top box to see whether co existence would occur. It did and then I split them and had two strong brood boxes.. Still using the boxes as the queens are only two and three years old and laying patterns were good last season.

Offline Koala John

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2011, 12:29:43 AM »
I was thinking more about this on the weekend. For a few reasons, I haven't been able to open one of my hives for some time. It is a double brood box. I got into it this weekend and found that they have piled a heap of honey in, the super is overflowing, and they are backfilling the brood chamber. No evidence of swarm cells, but they were probably only a week or two away from starting the process. In my opinion, if I had one brood chamber they would have already swarmed by now as the queen would have nowhere left to lay. This is probably more a comment about my beekeeping skills than the benefit of a double brood chamber! I do feel that double brood chambers give me more leeway to make mistakes. Based on some of the comments above that may be at the expense of less honey, but that is not an issue for me at the moment, I could use a little less honey right now!
Regards,
John.

Offline Lone

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2011, 10:56:22 AM »
I've been able to split my prolific breeder hive twice, and that was after putting it back to a single brood super. These were my first ever splits.  Maybe that has helped prevent swarming, or maybe I just haven't checked it in a while... Uh oh, it's officially Springtime.  That was the hive that regressed back to about 2 frames of bees after I requeened with a dud bought golden italian, and didn't take off till it superceded.  I wonder if good queens skip a generation like baldness, but that would be another thread.  Coincidently, this queen is bald.

Koala, you could always pull honey frames from the brood boxes, and send it up this way.  If you accidently send up your victorian queens I'll be careful and acclimatize them in the freezer  :)

Mardak, that is interesting.

Oz, I'm hoping you can do some experiments with your ever multiplying hives. Not enough bees survive here for playing with them.

Lone

Offline OzBuzz

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2011, 02:22:07 AM »
I'll have a play and see how they compare Lone - i'm certainly interested in how the professionals run their setups... especially when it comes to inspections during swarming season... how is it physically possible to inspect 500 - 1000 hives every week during swarm season?

Offline ozbee

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2011, 07:29:53 PM »
 a single brood box will out do a double by far . reasons are as spring approaches the outer frames that are full of honey are replaced or scrapped and . the queen has abundant space to lay ,even more than a double as doubles pack honey into the frames again and the brood nest is choked again . secondly you must have one hell of a truck to carry double brood frames around.  if you want to get out of hobby mode and make a income you have to set yourself  in a pattern of best return  for time and effort as you have far less time  per hive . imange requeening  two chambers than one

Offline bernsad

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2011, 09:50:16 PM »
a single brood box will out do a double by far . reasons are as spring approaches the outer frames that are full of honey are replaced or scrapped and . the queen has abundant space to lay ,even more than a double as doubles pack honey into the frames again and the brood nest is choked again .
Newbee here so I haven't had enough time/experience to play with these things but "as spring approaches the outer frames that are full of honey are replaced or scrapped", are you suggesting the frames are replaced by the bees or the beekeeper? And if they are cleaned out by the bees why would they not do the same in a double brood chamber if they required the room?

Offline westmar

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Re: Double or single brood chamber?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2011, 01:52:51 AM »
hi 
   i run doubles 8 frames deep,find them allot better out her for me in the bush.come out winter better for me.allready taken a super honey of my doubles blue top iron bark.there is more work in them takes longer go through.the queen can take some finding at times you got double the bees to work.