Greetings . . .
I dont remember, in the 2 yrs Ive been reading this forum, any discussion of "shallow" supers.
I have some ready-to-go next year (w/ deeps). Most w/ wired foundation, a few w/ "cut-comb" foundation.
What are some pros & cons?
Dave W . . .
A NewBEE with 1 hive.
First package installed
>I dont remember, in the 2 yrs Ive been reading this forum, any discussion of "shallow" supers.
What do you want to discuss?
>I have some ready-to-go next year (w/ deeps). Most w/ wired foundation, a few w/ "cut-comb" foundation.
I don't understand what you're saying exactly. You have some shallows with wired foundation and surplus foundation? I don't understand the reference to "(w/deeps)". I wouldn't put the foundation in until just before you need it. Foundation will warp sometimes and the longer you wait to put it in the better off you will be.
>What are some pros & cons?
Of shallow supers? Vs what? The obvious advantages of shallows is weight. A full shallow weighs a few pounds less than a full medium. If you're doing cut comb the shallow is just the right height for the size boxes they sell to put them in. You can raise comb honey on mediums but you have a little left over at the top or bottom. This is not always a disadvantage. It means if the bees didn't draw it all perfectly you have a little more fudge factor built in and you can just crush that leftover part up or eat it yourself.
For extraction, shallows work fine. I've extracted a lot of it with no wires in it. Of course my 18 frame extrator full of mediums is more honey than 18 frames of shallows. For the same amount of honey I have to uncap and move more frames. I also have to move more boxes.
My only reason, really, for going to only mediums (a nice dream I may someday accomplish) is that standardization is nice. If a queen lays in the supers it's not as big of a problem if the supers are the same size as the brood. Also, if they are all the same it's easy to beef up the week hives with some frames of honey. Of couse I still have a lot of old equipment around that is deeps and shallows and I will have to use it sometimes when I'm out of equipment.
I started this past spring with 2 packages. I wish I could of found people and resources like this site before I bought my equipment. I did not realize a deep was so heavy. And the bonus of being able to exchange all equipment just using one size. I am going to use the 3 deeps that I have but do not plan on buying any more. I am going to buy all mediums from now on. Not overly heavy and of a size that the brood chamber can still be kept in 3 boxes. Shallows are lighter but I want to keep everything the same size.
standardization is the key. It will make your life alot easier
Deeps: Great for brood, too heavy for honey supers.
mediums: Great for honey, IMHO too small for brood chambers.
Shallows: Great for cut comb. Too small for extraction, imho.
Alot of people want cut comb honey, so if you have the equipment (shallows), there is alot of demand, and a premium pricing.
There is a 7 5/8 super that I haven't tried, but which sounds like it would be perfect for both brood and honey.
Why do you say mediums are to shallow for brood?
My hive with 1 deep and 2 mediums did better than the hive with 2 deeps and a medium. I have to get rid of the deeps because of my back. I just would like to know why you said what you did. The 7 5/8 is called western I believe. I have thought about using them but then again I want to keep everything the same. Since I am almost the same as starting there is not much to change. I plan on cutting my deeps down to mediums/western next winter. The deep frames will be used in a long hive that will be in place by spring. As to the cut comb I am making a TBH so I should be able to have cut comb and comb honey.
(I like beeman 202's thinking.) I could tit for tat his reasoning and the next guy could do the same to me. But if you take each box size or configuration, and look at the pro's and con's of each, you could list several items for each. Now if you only have one size box, you may say you have simplified or standardized everything, but you also lost both the pro and con items of the boxes you now don't have.
I work deep, mediums and shallows. If perhaps I had one hive, than maybe all one size might be better. But as soon as you have multiple boxes, that one "pro" of having one size means less and less.
Configuration for standard pollination set-up, boxes for cutcomb, deep frames for nucs, swapping mediums for food when deeps might be overkill, and so on, could be argued that having different sizes allow you to tailor things to your needs.
Personally I have bought alot of different sizes at sales, other beekeepers and such. I'll use them all somehow. Can't imagine me saying to my wife, "just load the mediums, I dont want the deeps or shallows".
I find myself in Bjorn's position for the same reasons. I buy used equipment, I have used equipment and it's not all mediums. However, I only buy mediums when I'm buying new, now. I don't currently have any brood in deeps, but if I run out of equipment, I will probably use some of the ones I already have. But I will, as time goes one, cut down the deeps and build up the shallows until someday (probably 20 years after I'm dead) get to all mediums.
I was brought up picking up every penny you see on the ground so to discard my deeps that I have is not going to happen any time soon. But I am going to buy mediums from now on when buying/building new equipment. If my long deep that is going in use this next spring work out like I am hoping it will I will be using long hives with deep frames and using medium supers. I just don't want to have shallows, mediums, westerns since they are all so close to the same size that it would make it hard to exchange combs and such.
I was wondering why he said mediums were to small for the brood chamber but thought the westerns would work as this was the opion stated.
Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey believed (and probably still beleives) that Deeps (9 5/8") are too shallow for brood and that Dadant deeps (11 5/8") are the correct size. So did Dadant. I tend to agree that that is a size that the queen will lay the whole brood nest in one box. If you are going to split up the brood nest, what does it matter if it's threee boxes or two? So Deeps are too shallow for brood too, but most people are using them.
I said mediums were too shallow for brood because:
In my climactic area (western central Wisconsin), the queen lays eggs in an explosive way, filling two deeps with brood in a short order. While I have only been beekeeping for a short time (21 years), I have found that the deeper the frames, the happier the queen who wants to "explode" her brood nest. Sure, I could use 3-4 mediums, but that means 30-40 frames/foundation instead of 20. As far as lifting, I find lifting a deep that is 30 % honey and 70% brood is not too heavy. If moving for pollination lifting a hive that consists of two deeps is no heavier than lifting a hive that has 3-4 mediums.
Bottom line: I believe the queens likes the deepest frame possible to lay in, and our deeps (9 5/8) is the deepest standard equipment available, although non-standard equipment may be out there that is deeper.
Here is another thing that I think might make you frown:
1. BREED OF QUEEN IS IRRELEVANT (ALMOST).
The biggest factor in the success or failure of your hive is not the queens breed, but rather it is:
How the queen was raised and bred.
Location of hives
Condition of brood comb
Little disruption (manipulation)
Condition of honey supers/comb.
No skunks/bears eating bees.
I run 250 hives, with almost all the breeds of bees represented. Honey production/lack thereof is usually explained by the above variables, but breed has never shown to me to have an effect on honey production. IMHO.
>While I have only been beekeeping for a short time (21 years), I have found that the deeper the frames, the happier the queen who wants to "explode" her brood nest.
There is some truth to this. With medium PermaComb my bees build the comb across the gap between the boxes and the queen happlily lays it all as if it's one big comb anyway. Of course, I have to break them apart to get to the bottom boxes. With regular frames she has to jump one extra gap, as opposed to two deeps boxes, to lay three boxes of mediums full and it may slow her down a little, but I don't see a lot of difference in the end result.
> Sure, I could use 3-4 mediums, but that means 30-40 frames/foundation instead of 20.
True, and medium frames cost the same as deep ones and have less room on them.
>As far as lifting, I find lifting a deep that is 30 % honey and 70% brood is not too heavy.
True, but often the top deep box ends up full of honey, especially in the fall. Then it's a backbreaker.
>If moving for pollination lifting a hive that consists of two deeps is no heavier than lifting a hive that has 3-4 mediums.
True, but I never lift a whole hive. I move them a box at a time.
>Bottom line: I believe the queens likes the deepest frame possible to lay in
I think this is basically true. But the queen will lay in whatever is available to the extent that the nurse bees can care for the brood. I had a hive move the entire broodnest into a hive top feeder that was only 2 1/2" deep and the queen happily layed that full. If the bees prefer deeper combs, someone should have told that bunch about it. The bees obviously didn't consider shallow combs a major disadvantage and since lifting a full box of deeps is for me a major disadvantage, I prefer to avoid being in a position to lift deeps.
>and our deeps (9 5/8) is the deepest standard equipment available, although non-standard equipment may be out there that is deeper.
I guess I still think of Dadant deeps as standard. All beekeeping suppliers used to stock the frames and foundation, but it has fallen into disues and now you can only get frames from Western Bee. Still, I use standard deep foundation in it (and leave the gap at the bottom for whatever the bees want to do with it) and I have no problem getting excluders etc that will fit a Lanstroth size box of Dadant deeps. Or even a double wide (with two excluders on it etc.)
If it weren't for lifting I'd definitely run all deeps.
>Here is another thing that I think might make you frown:
>1. BREED OF QUEEN IS IRRELEVANT (ALMOST).
I'm not sure how much individual genetics (as opposed to breed genetics) affects things, but otherwise, I agree. Some queens are awesome compared to others, but I can't classify them as only being from one breed. I have a lot of breeds of bees (most everything commonly used in NA except Caucasians) and haven't noticed that much difference in production based on breed. As you say, though, there are a lot of other factors.
I'll expand this even more. I haven't noticed that much difference in temperament based on breed. I've seen gentle and rowdy bees of all races.
beeman 202, you sound like a practical beekeeper.
>>True, but often the top deep box ends up full of honey, especially in the fall. Then it's a backbreaker.
Does not bother me at all. Ha Ha, more money for me.....
I have a weight limit of 40lb lifting ability. A heavy medium is pushing my limit. So deeps will have to be long hives so I can handle the frames one at a time. Many have had good luck with long hives. I am even thinking of using a TBH as the brood chamber with standard mediums for the surplus honey. So for me it is a total weight problem with the deeps.
The other thing about a long hive is you don't have to lift off four or five supers AND a deep box to get to the queen. You just open up the front to find the queen and the back to get the honey. http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/index.htm click on the pictures to get more pictures and descriptions. I probably won't do the top bars in this hive anymore. I had problems with the combs collapsing. I am going to try them in Medium supers to see how that goes. Also in slope sided smaller TBH.