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Author Topic: Looking for methods/advice on cleanly making transition to all medium equipment  (Read 552 times)
RHBee
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« on: March 01, 2014, 07:37:11 AM »

I have been wanting to remove all deep boxes from inventory. I have not because everything I come up with seems to involve cutting exsisting comb to fit medium frames or cutting down deep frames to fit medium boxes. I have a problem with this because every frame I use has both vertical and horizontal embedded wire. I'm sure that I will destroy more comb than I'll salvage.
The best methods I can come up with involve either the use of a queen excluder or simply shaking the bees off the deep frames into supers populated with medium frames with foundations. The queen excluder method makes me worry about the queen being abandoned and the shaking method makes me wonder if the bees would abscond.
I would appreciate advice. Every method I can come up with has its drawbacks.
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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2014, 07:43:11 AM »

Why not consider a slowly but surely approach.  Try to slowly get all of your deeps on top.  I guess it depends on your current setup, but add mediums under your deeps.  Bees will slowly move down into the mediums and fill the deeps with honey.  Harvest the deeps and you are good to go.  No cutting.  No shaking.  No loss of brood.  It may take quite a bit of time however. 
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2014, 07:49:45 AM »

And once your queen is located below the deeps, put the excluder between the deep and medium equipment.
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RHBee
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2014, 08:40:57 AM »

Thank you both. What I didn't know was that the bees would move down. I'm not in a hurry. Out of curiosity though,  how long might this process take?
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2014, 08:50:29 AM »

I guess that depends on how many deeps you have.  You may need some "bait" to get them to move down.  I have had bees move down without issue and bees that have not moved down very well.  If you have any mediums with brood then you can put some brood in the new mediums.  Anyways...it may take a few seasons.
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hjon71
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2014, 09:06:29 AM »

I'm a new beek, and I have read/watched about every resource available and still second guess myself most if the time huh
An option would be to swap a few medium frames into your deep boxes to get some frames drawn before you make the switch. That would open a few options later, or be the "bait" as Bush_84 put it, should you go that way.
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T Beek
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2014, 09:20:36 AM »

Thank you both. What I didn't know was that the bees would move down. I'm not in a hurry. Out of curiosity though,  how long might this process take?

We only have room for about a dozen hives in our fenced bee yard, but it took two seasons to fully convert all of them, probably could've done it in one season but we didn't really know what we were doing  laugh.

This is what we did;

IMO; Spring time is an excellent time to begin the conversion because bees are 'usually in the top (s) of whatever boxes are above, leaving bottom boxes relatively empty.  You're right that 're-using' comb from deep frames that has wire embedded is problematic at best.  We didnt try to save it.  We just cut the wires, melted the 'cut' portions down (for later candle making) and installed the larger portions into medium frames, and tried not to think about those that were sacrificed  Cry.  Darn wires  angry

We also held several of the 'empty' Deep brood frames aside to place inside some swarm traps.  A single Deep with several "old" brood frames is very attractive to swarms…so we keep a few around.

Other than Swarm Traps, we use Deeps almost exclusively for our Vent/Feed/Insulation boxes on all hives.  One can place a lot of Sugar, syrup, or insulation inside - or provide a substantial amount of relatively controlled ventilation with a single Deep placed above the inner cover.
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T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2014, 09:25:00 AM »

I'm a new beek, and I have read/watched about every resource available and still second guess myself most if the time huh
An option would be to swap a few medium frames into your deep boxes to get some frames drawn before you make the switch. That would open a few options later, or be the "bait" as Bush_84 put it, should you go that way.

This can and does work…..but if a flow is on you'll end up cutting 'fresh, beautiful, white comb' from the bottoms of the mediums anyway……..it can happen over night.  When a flow is on bees will make every effort to "fill" any and all voids.
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RHBee
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2014, 09:50:40 AM »

I thought about the checker boarding of medium frames in deep boxes that would require more boxes. I have several all medium colonies already. I'll speed the process up by using some open brood frames from them as bait. It's going to be a little work and require patience but I have a better understanding now.
I appreciate the responses. As always you folks are there to lend a hand.
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Ray
rober
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2014, 10:53:06 AM »

if you have a local club you might be able to trade some frames with another beekeeper
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sterling
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2014, 10:58:50 AM »

If you already have medium brood frames put a medium box above the deep with a couple drawn brood frames in it. the queen should move up into the medium and lay, when you have open brood and the queen in the medium box put an excluder below the medium box. The brood will be emerging in the deep. the bees will move up to the mediums where the queen and brood is. the deep will be empty of brood so take it out of service. You will have to add medium boxes when the queen gets up there laying.
This can be accomplished in one brood cycle.
If the deep comb is good I would not waste it. You can cut the wires without doing too much damage with wire cutters and put it in medium frames after the bees leave it.
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Thershey
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2014, 01:09:19 PM »

Really happy to see this question asked, I sent Michael Bush this very question just yesterday.  My scenario is slightly different in that I just started my first two hives mid-last summer, both wintered well and are getting busy but they are both single deep hives at this point.  I have just a few built out medium frames so I worry that if I entice the queen up/down and exclude I may squeeze them too tight SO my plan is as follows unless/until one if you veterans steers me in a wiser direction.

I'm going to add one medium on top of each deep now and feed one to one syrup.  Once the medium is drawn out to 70% ish, I will split the deep and exclude the queen to the upper medium.  My hope is that I accomplish two important things (growing my apiary while moving towards mediums) while minimizing the concern of over squeezing a full deep into a single medium and forcing a swarm.  I realize I will still have two deep nucs from the splits but my hope is that I will be able to add mediums with some freshly drawn frames checkered out of the original hive mediums as they grow.

Fire away please, crazy, on target, suggestions. Thank You
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sc-bee
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2014, 01:42:34 PM »

If you already have medium brood frames put a medium box above the deep with a couple drawn brood frames in it. the queen should move up into the medium and lay, when you have open brood and the queen in the medium box put an excluder below the medium box. The brood will be emerging in the deep. the bees will move up to the mediums where the queen and brood is. the deep will be empty of brood so take it out of service. You will have to add medium boxes when the queen gets up there laying.
This can be accomplished in one brood cycle.

That is what I was thinking...... let them draw the first medium out and when she runs out of room she will cross into top. Put an excluder between deep on bottom and mediums up top. Don't forget to add another crack or exit up top for drones. The brood will emerge in deep below and then remove it and place it away from hive for them to rob remaining honey. Then you will have empty deeps to dispose of as you please.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2014, 10:13:45 PM »

You can usually pull an entire box of deeps out in early spring that will already be empty.  You can pull any empty deeps out and replace with mediums.  They will draw some comb below the bottom bar but it won't have wires and you can cut it out later and tie it into frames.  Once you have some medium brood combs you can put the deep brood combs above an excluder and let them emerge before pulling them...
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2014, 02:14:54 PM »

Just remember when using queen excluders to be sure to have an entrance above and below the excluder as it also works as a drone trap.
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