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View Full Version : Shallow vs. Medium Super



SweetPeaApiary
06-01-2004, 07:01 AM
I am getting ready to buy some more supers and am trying to figure out if I should go with only using mediums or if I should stay with the traditional deep brood/shallow supers. I have 2 hives right now with the traditional setup. If I get mediums, I would then have 3 sizes of frams, but it might be good to have some drawn mediums if my new hives are completely mediums. (No plans to add hives this year.) Any thoughts?

Michael Bush
06-01-2004, 08:01 AM
If you want to standardize all your boxes, mediums are hard to beat. If you want to stick with deeps for your brood, there is nothing wrong with shallows for supers, although you'll spend a little less time extracting if you have mediums.

I'm afraid between my old equipment and buying used equipment there will always be an assortment of boxes around. But I try to only use the mediums for brood and I only buy mediums for supers, so almost everythng I have is mediums. I cut all my deep frames down a couple of weeks ago. I cut almost all my deep boxes down. I can add to the medium boxes and make them mediums, but it's not easy to change a shallow frame to a medium, so I'll just keep using the shallows I have until the frames all break and then I'll add to the box and put mediums in them too.

In spite of this I think I have four or five deeps somewhere with brood in them. It takes some time to retire them all. But my life is simpler with almost all mediums.

John Russell
06-01-2004, 08:30 AM
I was faced with this choice myself this spring. Like M. Bush, I buy most of my stuff used, or I make it myself. The one thing i keep in mind though when looking to purchase or build new is : How screwed up do i want my back to be come October?
First 3 years I used nothing but deeps for everything. Lifting those suckers at 80 pounds a shot; OY!
Now I build shallows, as it also helps fine tune my supering when the flow is petering out.

J.R

Louise
06-01-2004, 09:41 AM
I just went from deep/shallow set-up to all mediums. I'm still transitioning them out, but my problem was wanting to swap frames (between hives and within them) and being unable to because they were the wrong size for the box.

Your situation may become more aggravating if you have 2 different sized hive set-ups. You won't be able to swap frames between your hives at all. If your long-term plan is to go to all mediums, I'd start now, but if you are just wondering what to get for your third hive, I'd probably try to stay the same as what you already have.

Michael Bush
06-01-2004, 07:25 PM
It is a very big advantage to be able to put drawn comb that you extracted in the brood chamber or whole frames of honey in a brood chamber for winter stores. Having all the same size frames makes this a breeze. Having different sized honey supers and brood chambers does not help.

That's the reason I go for all one size.

I do mediums because of my back.

I'm thinking of starting to just buy 8 frame boxes to be even nicer to my back. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif

Daisy
06-01-2004, 08:08 PM
I'm still using both. Too cheap to not use the deeps.

I leave the deeps in place for the most part. The brood chamber isn't as heavy as the honey stores anyway.

When the deeps are filled with honey, I just lift out the frames of honey (in the evening before dark) and put the frame on an empty deep that's sitting on my red wagon. then I pull the wagon to the porch. Cover them in black plastic to get them warmed in the sun. Next day, I put the frames back into the hive.

Alot of trouble but I don't have many hives...

Daisy
06-02-2004, 07:01 AM
Well I left out a couple important points/steps

I do extract the honey before putting the frames back... and I do it in the evening so the girls abandon the frames to go inside for the night...

Sheesh!

Midlife is rough on the mind... Not to mention the fact that I'm a near blonde.. and some gray.

Sharkey
06-02-2004, 08:33 AM
Hmmmm,

It seems to me that some of you are extracting honey from brood frames. May I ask for what purpose? It is VERY bad to extract honey that has been exposed to medication if it is to be used for human consumption. Some have noted that they are medicine free, so those don't matter.

If any of you are medicating your bees, then I urge you NOT to extract this honey. There doesn't seem to be any reason that I can think of to extract it. If you are going to feed it back to the bees, why not simply leave it in the frame and give it back to them ??

Michael Bush
06-02-2004, 11:02 AM
>It seems to me that some of you are extracting honey from brood frames. May I ask for what purpose?

Frees up a honey bound brood nest.

>It is VERY bad to extract honey that has been exposed to medication if it is to be used for human consumption.

None of my honey anywhere in the hive has been exposed to any medication.

>Some have noted that they are medicine free, so those don't matter.

Exactly.

>If any of you are medicating your bees, then I urge you NOT to extract this honey.

I agree, but if you think bees don't move honey between the brood chamber and the supers, you haven't paid much attention to what the bees are doing. If you medicate it IS getting into the honey in the supers.

>There doesn't seem to be any reason that I can think of to extract it.

Gives the queen somewhere to lay. Prevents swarming.

>If you are going to feed it back to the bees, why not simply leave it in the frame and give it back to them ??

With all the same size frames and no medication, I can just move it up to the super and and move an empty drawn frame into the brood chamber instead. So I don't need to extract anything to accopmlish this. But if you run deeps for brood and smaller boxes for supers, it's sometimes the only way to open up the brood nest.

Sharkey
06-02-2004, 01:08 PM
Hi Mike,
Seems you may have taken my post as somewhat aimed at you personally. I even tried to make sure that it was noted that medicine free hives were not subject to my points.

Having said that..... you are correct, and I have even done it myself, freed up honeybound brood frames, BUT..... I only fed the honey back to the bees.

I am not too sure about the moving of honey from the brood chamber to the supers. Never heard of it. I will do some investigation into that. Seems it would present a bit of a problem, but at least at a very reduced rate.

Thanks,
Sharkey

Michael Bush
06-02-2004, 03:43 PM
I think the intent is that it is at a reduced rate. But all the reports of tests for chemicals in honey seem to prove that some DOES make it into the supers.

Besides a lot of it gets into the wax (in fact builds up in the wax) and I've seen the bees take dark cappings from the brood chamber to cap honey in the supers.

Bees have no concept of a barrier between the contaminated and uncontaminated parts of the hive. It's all just a hive to them. They move honey, reuse wax, and otherwise rearrange things to suit their current need.

Branman
06-03-2004, 04:29 AM
Back to the original topic, SPA, it depends on how much you are willing to lift. I use two deeps and mediums for supers. The deeps get VERY heavy when full of honey, but at my age its okay for now. If you have back problems then you might want to reconsider MB's suggestion of all meds. For ease & convenience, I think MB might have hit the nail on the head with the 8 frame deeps/supers.

Michael Bush
06-03-2004, 06:27 AM
Brushy Mt. does have 8 frame deeps, but I'm buying 8 frame mediums. A full 8 frame medium is about 48 pounds which is about right for lifting.

But the 8 frame deeps would certainly be lighter than the 10 frame deeps.


[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited June 03, 2004).]