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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Waynesville, NC
    Posts
    52

    Default Honey in the brood chamber

    I inspected my bees the other day and I think I've made it through the worst of winter. I got down in the brood chamber and started cleaning the frames of propolis so they're easier to pull and inspect later. Anyway, I noticed a lot of honey in the chamber. More than I would have thought. I left 1 super on top this year and I'd say they ate probably 1/2 or a little more but there were still lots of open cells full of the stuff down below. Is this normal? Where will they lay the brood? Will they move the left over honey to the super at some point?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Brady, washington
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    do you use two deeps? and a few frames of honey on the out side is ok. but if you only use one deep as a brood chamber then you might want to ask some one who runs with just one.
    99.99% of questions can be answered by Just reading books.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Waynesville, NC
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    I run one brood chamber. I've toyed with the idea of running two but most beekeepers around me just run 1.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,311

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    You have no brood?? It's well past time for substantial brood. When the colony is filling the brood nest with nectar It's a pretty good indication of hopelessly queenless. I regret the bad news.
    Walt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Waynesville, NC
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    awesome

    I'm going back in today so I'll check again. I hope I missed something.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    Quote Originally Posted by D's_Bees View Post
    I run one brood chamber. I've toyed with the idea of running two but most beekeepers around me just run 1.
    interesting... Even 60+ years ago when some were still keeping bees in skeps, it was understood that managed bees needed at least two deeps for brood nest. I wonder what kind of a) swarming problems they have, and b) what kind of honey production they have. I have an old edition of Walter Kelley's book, How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey and if I remember correctly, inside the front cover is a full page picture of an apiary in KY where the beek runs two story brood nests "in an area where most beekeepers use one deep for the brood nest..." and this beek has bumper crops compared to the neighbors. I'll have to dig that up later, and get the exact information.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    "Where will they lay the brood?"

    Why are you asking ? You already know the answer ! There is no place to lay brood if the box is full of honey.

    If you are going to run only 1 deep for brood then you must be diligent about keeping the box open for brood. Pull the honey out and replace with drawn frames.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Brightwater,Nelson,New Zealand
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    We have in the past 3 seasons moved from a double deep brood to a single but only in the honey flow, we still use double deeps for pollination.
    We dont get the type of flows that you guys can get but we have doubled our kilos per hive since switching to singles best thing we ever did.
    Cheers
    Kiwi

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,311

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    Re single vs double deeps:
    Elected last night to not further branch this thread on this subject, but have strong opinions on the subject. Having started with one deep and a shallow, moved to double deeps, added a shallow above the double deeps, and reverted eventially to the single deep and shallows, I think my opinions are well founded. Check out the article at the end of the list in POV. There are a couple of items of persuasion not included there, that could be added here if there is any interest. Note that a deep and shallow is adequate for wintering in most areas of the southeast.
    Walt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    What technique do you use for reducing to a single box?

    With a double brood box coming into the flow, there will be too many frames to fit into a single box and I was wondering if you experienced any queen cell raising in the second now queen free box?

    Its also a time of large bee numbers and queens can be harder to locate.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    Ok, found the information I referred to in my post above.

    The back cover of the 1971 edition of Walter T. Kelley's How To Keep Bees and Sell Honey has a very nice photograph of a small frame house on a gentle downhill slope, with about 12 bee hives visible in the photograph. The caption reads: "This apiary, which contained 30 colonies, produced over 7,000 pounds of surplus honey during the spring flow of 1948 in southern Kentucky, a territory where ordinarily bees are kept in one-story brood nests and only one shallow super is supplied. This shows the desirability of large brood nests and plenty of super space."

    Now admittedly providing only one shallow super would restrict a honey harvest, and 1948 must have been a bumper year, but... even half of a 234 pound average crop is still 117 pounds per colony average. If I was serious about running one deep brood box vs two in your locale, I'd be tempted to test it - run one hive with one deep, another of the same race of bees with 2 deeps, and compare the harvest at season's end.

    If you do that, report back at season's end. I imagine more folks than just me would be curious as to your results. The reason i asked, I tried one deep last year on two hives (ran out of equipment) and got next to nothing off those two colonies.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,475

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    I've been running almost exclusively single deeps for more than 4 years. My standard configuration is: deep, QE, upper entrance (key to success), as many supers as needed. I get 2-3 supers on the spring flow and even more with the cotton flow. This result is nearly exactly what I used to get running double deeps. I run between 15-20 colonies with this configuration.

    Last edited by honeyman46408; 03-26-2010 at 09:58 AM. Reason: unnessary QUOTE

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    So are you saying that your queens are trapped? I.E only entrance is on the other side on a QE? Does this help with swarming?
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 03-26-2010 at 06:47 PM. Reason: UNQ

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,475

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    No, I didn't say that I have only one entrance above the QE. At minimum you need some type of drone exit/entrance, but I typically keep a small bottom entrance open at all times.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Brightwater,Nelson,New Zealand
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    In reply to Liam what do we do with the top brood box when reducing to singles.
    We double queen our 2 deep hives with either queens or queen cells then split them off with their own bottom board and lid.
    After 40 odd years of always doing honey in double deeps most of them run as 2 queeners we decided to give it a go and we were totally unprepared for how well they did.
    We found that our single deeps were completely full of brood all 10 frames and the only place the bees had to put the honey was upstairs in the honey super, we use 3/4 boxs here.
    We would easily get a box of honey more on a single than a double times that by 2 because we make 2 hives from 1 and thats a heck of a lot of honey.
    We take the honey off and winter them as singles hard down in one box no super on top.
    We find that once the honey comes off they pack the brood nest out with honey which shuts down the queen from laying so much so they go into winter with a nice tight brood nest with their winter stores close by and with the smaller amount of bees wintering over the stores last into spring.
    Early spring we go round and unite the singles back into doubles killing the old queen from last season and leaving the younger queen that was last seasons split.
    We will never go back to doubles thats for sure.
    But then what suits our operation wont suit others the best thing is to keep an open mind about things and experiment.
    Cheers Kiwi

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    Thanks KiwiBee

    That sounds like a v productive strategy that would transpose to here v easily.
    It also sounds like it negates autumn feeding.

    When do you time your split? If the split is done too easrly, would the queen right colony potentially become swarmy? And if done too late, would the queenless split not generate a queen in time for the flow?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Brightwater,Nelson,New Zealand
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    Hi Liam I forgot to add that when we 2 queen we more often than not will have a 3/4 honey super on top of the single deep at the bottom. Directly on top of the honey super is the split board with the entrance facing back if it's a queen cell intro or to the front if it's a caged queen intro.
    We do this around mid october if using a Queen intro or earlier if using a cell. Our main flow is in late December thru to mid Feb.
    In winter we have frost but no snow and usually a fair amount of sunny days ( sunny but not that warm! )
    Cheers
    kiwi

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Brightwater,Nelson,New Zealand
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    Just something else I forgot to add, another advantage in having a single deep as your working hive is that if a double deep isn't very strong the bees tend to fill the top deep with honey and not move up into the honey box whereas with a single even a weak hive will give you a box of honey.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    Thanks Kiwibee

    I have extracted some of the honey in the second deep box by taking out the outer capped frames. This approach would be time consuming for several hives though and your method would make this unnecessary.

    I would worry about my bees going swarmy if they were split 2 months before the flow and confined to a single brood box.

    Last year, I made up a nuke on a spring flow that filled all available space whilst they were waiting for the queen cell to mature then get mated.

    I was thinking was that your thinking was by splitting the double boxes just before the flow, the second queenless hive would generate more foraging bees as all of the emerged brood won't have new brood to care for and there would be more foragers.

    Is my thinking flawed?

    I'm thinking I may have to compare your 2 queen system to the double broox box split method.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,620

    Default Re: Honey in the brood chamber

    I don't understand why you recombine the splits in the spring just to re split them later?

    I have just started bee keeping and was told by locals that all I need is a single deep box. I have one hive that is swarmy, I have split it twice and I may have to do it again. I have a med super on top and need to add anther one soon. They still keep trying to swarm. I was wondering if I added another deep box if they would stop trying to swarm.

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