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Author Topic: Half height or Ideal?  (Read 886 times)
Wombat2
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« on: February 12, 2014, 12:21:48 AM »

Due to advancing years and dropping strength I decided to use full depth brood boxes and half height supers. Just purchased my 2nd and 3rd hives and looking to stock up on more frames (make my own supers) and find only one supplier stocks half height but all have Ideal.

Am I bucking a trend or is there something I should know as a newbie?
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David L
yantabulla
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 02:54:23 AM »

David, 

I can sympathise with you when it comes to lifting heavy supers.

The problem that I can see with having a full depth brood box & half depth supers is that you can't easily lift brood frames up out of the brood box to manage swarming and replace old brood comb.  The ability to swap brood combs out to the brood box is a good management tool that you would not want to loose.

I lift two to three brood combs up above the queen excluder every year and replace them with foundation/drawn comb/foundationless frames.

You could also achieve the same thing by starting a few nucleus hives every year I suppose so your proposed method can still work for you.

If you want to have shallow supers you could try having a brood box and a full depth super then your shallows on top of that.

Others will suggest that you just have shallows all the way including the brood box which allows you to swap frames throughout the hive in the same way as if everything was full depth.

Uniformity keeps things simple particularly when you start building your hive numbers up.

This subject is discussed pretty regularly on the forum if you do a search.

Yanta


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Simon
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 11:04:54 PM »

You could just use all ideals if you like ...or all half height if that's what you want.  I'd go for ideal size if I was the one deciding because it means that frames and boxes are readily available off the shelf new as well as second hand.  Plenty of people are doing just that and it means that your full boxes will be lighter but some will be a bit closer to the ground and you'll have a few more frames to go through (probably want three ideals for brood, maybe four half height??)  Also, all your frames etc will be interchangeable and it becomes much simpler to cycle out the old ones like Yanta explained.  The main problem is changing your existing full depth hive parts over to the smaller size, but I think that could be achieved in time by moving your full depth boxes up until they becomes a full honey supers ready to extract.  Oh, yeah, get yourself a low stool to sit on while you go through the bottom box.

Simon
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NewB
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2014, 08:14:54 AM »

Ideal size boxes are a lot easier to buy than half size boxes, and the difference between the boxes is very little. Go for what is easy to buy in your area.
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kanga
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2014, 10:59:07 AM »

and find only one supplier stocks half height but all have Ideal.

Just checked the websites and Burnett Beekeeping Supplies, Quality Beekeeping Supplies & Guilfoyle Beekeeping Equipment all list half depth frames in their catalogue.

Kev
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alfred
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2014, 12:02:21 PM »

What is "ideal size".
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Simon
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2014, 08:35:29 AM »

Alfred, Australian Ideal supers are around 5 3/4" high.  I believe the they are similar to the US Shallow supers.

Simon
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alfred
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014, 12:08:11 AM »

Thanks!
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Johnny253
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2014, 09:42:56 AM »

Hi Wombat, I have a few thoughts here.

What sized supers do you have, 10 frame? If so, maybe you could consider 8 frame supers. Or there may be other ways that you could eliminate lifting heavy supers. Shallower supers are not the only answer and different sized frames may create other problems. I don't see the need to lift heavy supers full of honey for a hobbyist beekeeper. When I take honey I remove individual frames from my full depth honey supers, shake and brush the bees off and then put them into sealed plastic crates on a mobile trolley that is wheeled to the extracting room.

If you do decide that shallow supers are the way to go, maybe you could use 'Ideals' or whatever size you choose in all boxes of your hives.

The other thing you might want to consider is the extraction process. Two 'Half Depth' frames would probably fit in your extractor where one 'Full Depth' frame will fit. If you can put in twice the number of half sized frames then you won't notice much difference in the extraction process apart from an increased number of frames to uncap. If you go for 'Ideals' then you will probably only be able to fit the same number of frames in your extractor as with the 'Full Depths'. Consequently with an increased number of smaller frames, you would need to run your extractor more which could be a problem with a manual extractor.

All the best, I'll be interested to hear what you come up with.
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