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Author Topic: Ok am I missing something about Hive Size?  (Read 1719 times)
RHBee
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« on: July 04, 2012, 06:28:14 PM »

I'm kinda new at this but I am reading that some beekeeps are letting there hives fill 3 or 4 deep boxes.
I thought two deeps were a maximum. I know that doing a full inspection on two deeps is time consuming enough. Looking for the queen, cleaning burr comb, looking at the brood pattern, looking for any number of problems. The rules I have been following are when 7 of 8 frames are drawn out add another brood box. When two brood boxes are full add honey supers. If the population supports it split the hive at least until the end of July. Feed if needed to get ready for winter. Make sure at least one honey super full for winter stores.
 I started in March with 1-3lb box and 2 5-frame nucs. I now have 3 strong hives, 1 nuc w/queen cell and 2-8 frame splits. I live in South Carolina. Help me out guys. Am I way off base.
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 09:58:39 PM »

In the Palmeto State as well as the Cotton State bees do face hard times.  Now is the time to think ahead or plan for that in our areas.
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Vance G
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 10:06:52 PM »

What you have been told probably works for your area.  Here, I have to split early to keep them from swarming and then when the swarming impulse dies down, pile on the boxes for them to fill with honey.  Many use deeps for supers as well as hive bodies.  The Unniversity of Minneasota and some others advocate wintering the bees in three deeps.  I pile on deeps for supers or mediums if I have them when the flow is on.  I give them lots and lots of room and sometimes they amaze you and fill it.  I pull down to two boxes before the last of the flow to ensure the bees stuff enough honey in the bottom two deeps that the two boxes and bees weigh at least 125 pounds.  Beekeeping is local and i think this is an appropriate way of doing things.  It may not be for you and your climate.  Listen to the folks close to you. 
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mikecva
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 12:00:15 PM »

Welcome to the insanity of beekeeping.

 I am at a point in my life that I use only mediums because of the weight. I use 3 mediums for the brood boxes (~ 2 full boxes). Then more for the supers. You might not get honey this year but if you do I suggest you inspect your brood boxes to make sure the bees have a full supply for the winter. (if the draw out comb then you are ahead for next year.  -Mike
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Finski
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 03:52:47 PM »

I'm kinda new at this but I am reading that some beekeeps are letting there hives fill 3 or 4 deep boxes.
I thought two deeps were a maximum. I know that doing a full inspection on two deeps is time consuming enough. Looking for the queen, cleaning burr comb, looking at the brood pattern, looking for any number of problems. The rules I have been following are when 7 of 8 frames are drawn out add another brood box. When two brood boxes are full add honey supers. If the population supports it split the hive at least until the end of July. Feed if needed to get ready for winter. Make sure at least one honey super full for winter stores.
 I started in March with 1-3lb box and 2 5-frame nucs. I now have 3 strong hives, 1 nuc w/queen cell and 2-8 frame splits. I live in South Carolina. Help me out guys. Am I way off base.
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 03:56:56 PM »

I'm kinda new at this but I am reading that some beekeeps are letting there hives fill 3 or 4 deep boxes..

Fill with what?

Last summer I had a hive on balance. It had 5 Langstroths and 3 mediums.
It brought 170 kg in 5 weeks and draw 4 foundation boxes.

Best week was 7,5 kg a day during 7 days = 50 kg in one week.

I count honey kilos, not boxes.
But under 5 box hive is not good forager.
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Dimmsdale
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 04:08:22 PM »

Finski,

When you say 5 boxes, are talking about deeps?

Thanks!
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RHBee
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 04:30:11 PM »

Finski,
I mean three to five 10 frame langstroths of brood. I understand what you are saying but doesn't that many hive bodies get tall and hard to handle?  I am using 8 frame deep for brood and 6 1/4" boxes for honey supers.
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 04:45:12 PM »

Another thing we have to clarify with European b-keepers here is that 'Langstroth', even though we are talking about the same Reverend, is not the same dimension boxes on the sides of the pond. i do not know in Finland but in my native France, Langs' are not what Langs' are in US.
 Secundo, remember, when a hive brings 50 kg a week, it is 50 kgs of nectar, not of honey. It is excellent nevertheless. I'd love to have a hive that brings 110 lbs nectar a week. But i am not under the latitude that usually brings these quantities (Sasketchewan, Alberta, Montana may be...)
So latitude dictates beehive 'attitude'. What is true for hive size in Finland or Alberta, may not work in MA or SC.
But what you are doing Ray sounds right seen from my perspective. I like to drive my hives on 3 deep equivalent or 2 and 1/2 equivalent for overwintering. That is 27 to 30 deep frames. Bigger than traditional even in this area.
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Finski
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 06:09:52 PM »

i do not know in Finland but


 Secundo, remember, when a hive brings 50 kg a week, it is 50 kgs of nectar, not of honey.


We have same dimensions as USA

NOTE, period was 5 weeks, not one.


It was honey because honey came all the time and weight rised all the time.  You mean that I extracted water 170 kg from hive.

When yield stopped to rains, according you point balance should colapse down, But the  figures stayed there.
.

 remember,

Don't teach duck to swim....


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Wolfer
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 10:18:31 PM »

I guess my queens are lazy be cause no matter how many boxes I have on the hive they very rarely lay eggs above the second deep 10 frame. I own an excluder but never use it.
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2012, 01:52:10 AM »

I guess my queens are lazy be cause no matter how many boxes I have on the hive they very rarely lay eggs above the second deep 10 frame. I own an excluder but never use it.

That is normal amount of laying.

This year I have a queen which had in the middle of willox blooming 20 frames of brood. Nursing that hive is quite painfull. Topmost boxes are above my head.

But now in July most of my hives have about 10 frames.

.I must carry more hives to canola. I put together smaller hives like 3+3 boxes.

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David McLeod
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2012, 07:22:53 AM »

Some really good posts so far. I'd like to add that not only is all beekeeping local but the size of the brood nest is local from colony to colony. Depending on the strain, health and genetics of the queens some queens will fill two or more boxes with brood and others (most in this area) are quite content filling just one deep. Of course you as the keeper must decide which of these queens is your preference.
For pure production you should want one of the prolific queens that fill box after box, more bees equals more honey. I have found though that all things being local my feral genotype bees are not the prolific layers that the italian stock queens I used to run are. The ferals seem more so than any other I have fooled with to be uniquely adapted to my locality and produce brood in accordance with our flow filling one deep wall to wall going into the flow and maintaining that as long as there is a flow but very quickly shutting down when the flow is off. For instance right now most of my colonies are actually backfilling the brood nest since we are in a dearth. The italians would still be churning out bee after bee right now and swarming would be a concern. Back then it was not uncommon for poorly managed colonies to throw multiple swarms per season and swarm themselves out. The ferals on the otherhand have the tendency to throw one swarm a season and put up a reasonable amount of honey on our spring flow.
My management is alot easier, too, with ferals vs italians. Italians I ran double deeps and would do reversals early in the season and follow that with splits (the deeps got seperated onto their own bottom boards and another deep added mid summer) as the flow ebbed and even then often needed to pull frames for nucs or splits to keep them in check, but I could expect those boomers to pack on the honey to the tune of three shallows minimum (spring flow) usually much more. My ferals on the other hand need just one split early on (three to five frames pulled and set up in a nuc) to keep swarming at bay and still produce a couple shallows/mediums sometimes more regularly on the spring flow.
Just a side note, I can really see the difference in this heat we have been having. If I still had the italians I would expect to see some massive bearding going on in my yard but that has not been the case. Very little to no bearding going on right now with my ferals. They seem to have just the right number of bees to continue the limited foraging the season allows without a bunch of idle bees hanging out the entrance. 
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RHBee
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2012, 11:06:26 AM »

I want to say thanks for all the good information. I guess what I have been told is true "Ask 10 different beekeepers a question and you will get 15 different answers and more than likely they all are correct". I understand that more bees in the hive equals more honey production. I understand that others perfer different style hive bodies. I also see that different climates require different techniques.
I guess what you all are saying is that there is no set way of managing these creatures. As long as they thrive and the beekeep is able to support their growth all is well with the world. In the end it all depends on what works for you and the bees we all love.
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Ray
wayne
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2012, 01:13:13 PM »

  I have 10 hives in the home yard. All came from swarms or trap outs.
  In this heat I can look at the bees and tell which are old ferals and which swarmed from another beeks yard. Aside from the size and color the ferals, as mentioned, seldom beard.
  Our winters usually run wet and cold from late October to early April so the bees need enough stores. Two deeps and a medium usually get a feral hive through with plenty to spare.
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2012, 03:39:46 PM »

   Aside from the size and color the ferals, as mentioned, seldom beard.
  .

Such hives make beards which make most honey.

Ferals are very same bees as tame bees. Just escaped to nature. Freal bees have not special powers. Like wild animals often, they have lost of diseases because no one take care about them when they get disease.

Bees have 32 diseases and pests. Draw from that.

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RHBee
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« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2012, 06:31:09 AM »

Quote
Ferals are very same bees as tame bees. Just escaped to nature. Freal bees have not special powers. Like wild animals often, they have lost of diseases because no one take care about them when they get disease.
Finski,
  The Russian strain, that has been introduced in the United States, are nothing more than feral survivor stock from Russia that have learned to deal with the Varroa Mite better over a couple of hundred years. From what I understand man didn't selectively breed these bees. It was a matter of survival of the fittest. I think what Wayne is talking about is that, feral bees may have become acclimated to local conditions and may deal with them better.
NOTE-- I'm not trying to start an arguement, only stating the facts as I understand them. Smiley
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David McLeod
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« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2012, 10:28:18 AM »

Thank you, Ray. I put myself on a timeout before I responded to that post because the ferals that I am seeing are definitely not the same as "tame" bees.

Finski, I may not be an biologist or entomologist but I have made my living not from bees but from observation of everything around me. As a professional trapper I took to heart an old timer's advise to "let the animal tell you where it wants to be caught". This power of observation is very highly developed for me and I will swear on a stack of bibles that here in the southeast we have a type of honeybee that has distinct behavioral traits that are different than the honeybee I became familiar with years ago as a keeper of "standard commercial italian" honeybees. I cannot show you the DNA to prove my thinking but many of these bees that I am cutting out of folks walls and trapping out of trees are definitely different than what I can buy from the package and queen operators. It's the little things that singly would mean nothing but when you add it up shows a distinct trend of difference. It is a repeatable occurance that has me convinced that our "feral stock" bees of unknown origins are not the same as our "tame" bees of known origins.
Past this point I can only offer conjecture and opinions as to the whys and wherefores of how this has occurred. Please review all of my posts on this subject and you will see that I am always very careful to qualify my statements on the matter as I am by no means a bee expert just a beek that watches my bees very closely and as all things beekeeping are local I can only speak to my locality. I would assume that is the case in Finland as well and maybe you are not seeing the same as I am in your locality, which would stand to reason as I doubt your bees have been subject to the same mass migrations of populations of both honeybee subspecies and human nationalities. Again this is just conjecture on my part. So in your locality you may indeed be correct that your ferals are indeed the same as your tame stock.
Now in defense of "my" ferals. These are not the magic bullet or superbee we beeks have been so questionably been trying to develop over the centuries, they are a bee just like any other but with certain distinctions. Mainly they seem to be uniquely adapted to their locality in regards to seasonal pressures, in this they excell, and I and many others are seeing they also have some resistance to the various pestilences that have decimated our bees over the past thirty years. It is this latter trait that has really caught fire among us beeks. Are they the final answer? Absolutely not as there will never be a perfect answer but they do live on in spite of colony after colony dying all around them and that alone is worth listening to. In many ways they are actually inferior to the commercial strains of honeybees available. For instance mine tend to be runny on the comb, they tend to not put up as much of a surplus as pure production strains, propolis production tends to the heavier side than standard italian stock but not as excessive as carnis or caucasians, the queens while good layers do not lay nonstop irregardless of season which is a less desirable trait for commercial operations, temperment while usually very calm can be variable and overall there tends to be slightly more variability from colony to colony.
Probably the only real thing I can positively attest to is that they live as I do not treat my bees for mites, parasites or disease and other than cutouts failing to thrive or robbing I have yet to have a deadout in the last several years. How and why I do not know as I do not do mite drops, sugar shakes or any other testing methodology I just keep bees that live. If anyone wants to come look at my bees they are more than welcome as I am slightly proud of them and if anyone can show me proof positive of why they live I would be glad of it.

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beek1951
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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2012, 06:39:24 PM »

Being in Texas, I'd say let them fill as many deeps as they can, but where you are, with colder weather, two deeps is about all they will handle. I mean, where the temp drops often to freezing, they are not gonna be moving their brood cluster all over four deep frames. In my area they might. Here we have ten stacks. 4 deeps and 6 supers and all different combos depending on the strength of the queen and colony.
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Biddybean
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2012, 09:24:38 PM »

I really like this thread, lots of good info and an example of how there are many ways to do the same task the right way. I keep a hive in my back yard (my first) and I've been observing a feral hive in a high part of a tree in my front yard for 7 years. The feral hive has swarmed once that I know of in April 2010 and beards most of the year.

What I've learned in my short time bee keeping is that I can worry, fret, poke and prod, but the bees are the ones who know best about what they need and how to deal with their hive. We can only try to anticipate and help them along.
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Finski
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« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2012, 12:03:38 AM »


When I drink coffee. I move again 6 box hive to outer pasture 20 km away. There are rape field which have winter shelter. There are woods which protect at least some parts of fields .

I have 20 hectares rape 2 km away from my cottage yard. But I will loose 70% of my yields for long distance.  It is wide windy area too as I saw yester.

If weather is favorite (not too warm) that hive will catch 80 kg or 100 kg in 2 weeks.


I just tell hat you may ruin your whole years work with this kind of thing.

A feral hive with some boxes... I have nursed them 30 years.
If you like them, you like.


Feral = non breeded, non selected.

.
Do nothing - is it some advice...
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