My first post here. I live in Northwest Florida. I have been in bees a couple of years now. Have about 8 hives. My question/concern is:
Seems nobody down here uses double deeps. Yet I know that many in the north and other areas do. Seems to me that it would help prevent swarming and insure that the colony had a good supply of food for the winter.
Anyone have any comments about why this is so ?? The old beekeepers around here just sort of shrug the question off. Maybe they just aren't sure about the reason. I know _I_ sure am not.
It's Not The Destination, It's The Journey. We Cannot Change The Wind, But We CAN Trim The Sails.
Up here in Michigan we usually use 2 deeps in order to make sure th bees have enough honey to get them throuhg the winter. Some folk are using 3 mediums instead because we have many women, children and older folk who have toruble lifting the deeps. What do you use down there, 1 deep?
Up here in Canada I once used only doubles.
Now, I run singles until after the main flow, and then add another brood chamber so they can pack it with honey for our vicious winters. It was explained to me that the queen will just lay in the center 4 frames of both broods anyway, leaving the outer frames for honey. So with single, she'l use 8 out of ten, hence, the same size brood nest anyway. Swarms are stimulated more from being honey bound, so super early, and bait when you do. This has freed up equipment when i needed it, and I have not had any swarm increase at all.
Hope this helps.
I used to run three deeps but got tired of lifting them. Now I run four mediums, sort of. I don't use an excluder and the queen often lays in four medium boxes. But sometimes she only lays in two. Why limit her? As for overwintering, it depends on the size of the cluster what I will leave them. I try to be generous with stores without giving them too much room to heat.
If you want more info on leaving extra room, search on "Unlimited Brood Nest".
Around here we only use one deep. Our spring to fall flow(s) is VERY long. Pine trees start in January (but not really counted on for good honey), but the mixed Clover is right behind it at the end of January and Spring Titi right behind that a couple of weeks and it IS a big deal. :-> Then there are major and minor flows until the goldenrod gives it up sometime around the middle of November.
So I am thinking the reasoning is: Why go to the expense of twice the deeps if they only have to survuve 2 - 3 months with out a flow ??
I think that is the only thing stopping me from doing the double deep routine. Maybe I will just put a medium super on top of the deep and then the excluder and see how that does. My bees are VERY crowded in some of the hives, and I am NO good at finding the queen in order to split them. I sure wish I was. I would have about 16 hives right now instead of eight.
You don't really need to find the queen to do a split. You could split the hives equally, let them sit side-by-side a couple of days to balnace out the foragers and then search one for fresh eggs. The one without eggs gets a new queen.
In North Carolina I ran double deeps up through last year. This spring the bees still had lots of honey from last year so I decided (except for my eperimental hive) to go with a single deep and a medium super. The bees are doing very well and the hives are easier to work.
I am not sure why you think you have a 2-3 month winter dearth. Maybe you live farther north enough to have a good winter, but down here in Sarasota, the winter is always so mild that the bees might have a total of 14 days on not being able to fly and work. Citrus blossoms somewhere between late December to early February, so there is you major winter flow. You should have the same or similar patterns. I would go ahead and use the double deep, not for any other reason that to call what's in those two deeps the bees tith. Let them have the room and feel comfortable with a good store of honey. The only thing it will do is relieve maybe some of their stress by not being "on the edge of survival" all the time, but have stores well saved up. It will not hurt your honey production to let them keep this surplus, though of course the first year you let them, you will show a loss because its the first year you don't remove it all.
I run top bar hives, and although I am just starting as a commercial beekeeper this year, hopefully with high growth, I plan to only take what would be the equivilent of leaving them with 2 deeps. My hive design is similar in volume to 3 deeps.
Scot Mc Pherson
Foundationless Small Cell Top Bar Hives
Yes, here all the folks I know use only a single deep. I think it has to do with economics and practicality.
Our nectar flow is over a VERY long period of time.
Around the first of January, the pines start, though that is not a major source of good honey. But hot on it's heels, at the end of January begins the mixed clover and a couple of weeks later a big flow starts, the spring titi and something will be on and off till the last one in the middle of December, the Goldenrod.
So the time when there is NO flow is very short here..... relatively speaking.
But you guys have given me an idea. Maybe I will use medium supers as a brood chamber. Sort of a compromise. Some of my hives are VERY crowded. I am NOT very good at finding the queen, so I have not made nearly as many splits as I would have liked to do.
Thank You All,
I use double deeps and somehow ended up with billions and billions and billions of bees. I think my two hives swarmed at least 3x each. I plan on expanding to triple deeps soon.
that's right dbland. Forget looking for the queen....
well for me anyway...
I split my hives last week. I jes laid a foundation right next to the hive, and started building a new hive next to it. Close. Heck, I even put in the little brood nest and added new frames.
Those bees are going like crazy right now. No signs of swarming either.
All is Good. Whereever there is no queen, there'll be one soon enough.
The only way a queen will be created is if there are fresh eggs in that particular hive and there are enough nurse bees to get the job done. Saying that where there is no queen, one will be made is oversimplifying matters.
The point you seem to be missing is this. Although having a double deep won't hurt production. It can help production tremendously. You can have up to double the number of bees (more usually 50% or so more) which gather more honey on shorter period of time. Its worth having hte extra deep.
All I was saying abuot showing a loss, is the first year they store up in the 2nd deep. You could always save your bakery grade honey for that, such as Brazilian Pepper Tree.
I just polled everyone at the annual Georgia Beekeepers Institute, and I'd say 95% said they use single deeps. I and another guy who just started were the only guys running two deeps. Since we're farther north of you guys, I figure its no problem to run a single deep for you. One thing I do like about the second deep though is those brood frames with a ton of honey/pollen on em in the second chamber are choice for making nucs/splits. Plus I plan on extracting the outside pure honey frames(no meds here a la Michael Bush so don't worry guys
[This message has been edited by Branman (edited June 06, 2004).]