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  1. #1
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    May 2013
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    Default Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Getting old, I keep a few hives in the backyard. Just a hobby for me. Dad and Grand Father kept bees many years ago.

    I have my mediums ready to replace double deeps on the hives.
    But where do I put them on existing hives to get the queen to move into them?
    All advise welcome.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    on top as bees tend to move up. after the queen starts to lay in them put a qx under the mediums then eventually move the deeps above to be cycled out.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    There are many different ways to approach this and it's been discussed here before, so if you search the archives you will find more information in past threads.

    I went through the same process when switching over to all mediums from double deeps. The easiest way from my perspective is to slowly replace the frames next spring when the colony is strong, expanding, and drawing out new comb. It takes time and a little patience but you should be able to complete the switch next year.

    Next spring first go through both deeps and remove some mainly empty frames with no brood to begin the process. Keep the top box with 10 deep frames for now. Use 2 medium boxes to replace the lower deep box. Put the deep frames with brood in the center of the 2 mediums and fill in on each side with new medium frames, in both mediums boxes.

    When you go back for inspections continue to remove deep frames in the lower boxes without brood and replace them with new medium frames. Medium frames can be inserted now in the center if the colony is heavily populated with bees, and the deeps moved toward the outside of the boxes. If necessary, switch deep frames around from the upper and lower boxes to keep deep frames with brood in the upper deep. Eventually you will have all medium frames with drawn comb in the 2 lower medium boxes. If you like, you will be able to cut down the deep frames with comb that you remove and make medium frames out of them, accelerating the process.

    At that point reverse the boxes, putting the upper deep on the bottom board and the 2 mediums above it. Make sure the queen is in the mediums and insert a queen excluder above the deep. Be sure to provide them with an upper entrance too. In 3 or 4 weeks the deep will be clear of any brood and you can work on removing it from the colony at a later time. As long as the colony continues to expand upward add a third medium to the top, and the three mediums will now be your overwintering set up.

    You might find that they will draw out an extra medium super or two if you have a good spring flow and the colony stays strong. As they move up into the upper boxes you should find stores from the deep will be moved up or consumed, making it easier to remove it mid season.

    I know it sounds like a lot of manipulation but my goal is to make the transition while working in tandem with the bees natural tendency to expand aggressively in the spring. If I abruptly pull off too many drawn deep combs, and leave them with foundation before the wax makers are at their peak, there might be a greater chance they will feel crowded and prepare to swarm.
    Last edited by Mike Gillmore; 12-31-2015 at 11:28 AM.
    To everything there is a season....

  4. #4
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    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    You should probably wait until spring. If the mediums haven't been drawn out, you should either feed them or wait for a flow. Check to see that the bees are in the top deep, remove the bottom deep & place 1-2 mediums on top of it. Repeat as they move up & build out the mediums.

    10 frame mediums are a joy, compared to deeps. 8 frame mediums are ~ 15% lighter ( that's what I'm transitioning to).
    Last edited by Colobee; 12-31-2015 at 11:58 AM.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Tom,

    I'm in the midst of the same transition into all mediums and retiring all of my deep equipment. Am doing it to reduce the weight because I've had surgery on both shoulders and lower back and am 76 years young.

    Assuming that your colonies are currently in winter mode now with 2-3 deeps. (The transition may take several years.)

    If two deeps: in the Spring, the bulk of the bees will probably be in the upper part of the upper deep. Thus you can pull and retire the lower deep, move the upper deep down onto the bottom board (BB), and put one of your brand new mediums with foundation in the frames on top, then your IC and OC.

    If three deeps: Again assuming that the bees are in the uppermost deep, pull the bottom most deep and retire it, put the top most deep on the BB, and the middle deep on top of it, and your new medium with frames of foundation at the very top of the stack, plus the IC and OC.

    I think that you will find that the bees will move upward into you new mediums and draw the comb, and maintain the lower part of the hive for brood rearing. The following year(s) you can repeat the process and retire additional deeps. You may be able to trade your retired deeps with drawn frames to another beekeeper or you can cut the deep box down to a medium height on a table saw and reuse it in your own apiary.

    Steve

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Very well said, Steve. That's what I meant, but your description is much more complete!
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Yes, when empty, remove the bottom deep and retire it. Move the top deep down and put medium on top, over an excluder. Make sure the queen is in the top. The next day, move the bottom deep to a new stand, let them raise a queen and get brood going, then sell it as a full single deep hive. Keep adding mediums to the hive you are going to keep. This way you have income to pay for the mediums with frames and new tops and bottom boards you'll need to do all of this. This is what I'm going to be doing here this year, as I also need, like you, to get back to all mediums. I am going to 8 frame mediums, as I now run all 8 frame equipment.

    You could also do this, moving both bottom boxes to new stands with top and bottom boards, and let them both raise new queens and sell both of them. Equalize out frames between the two when you move them so they both have equal frames of eggs, open larva, sealed brood, and stores, and empty comb.

    Good luck and profits to you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    I also transitioned from deep brood boxes to mediums in this manner, but I had been using mediums for honey storage so removing the bottom deep towards the end of winter early spring and placing drawn comb in mediums on top of the remaining deep was quite painless. the next year the remaining deeps were removed in most of my hives. After my working of my 35 hives plus the harvesting it took me about 2 months to get my back sorted out so I built some Slovenian AZ hives and am now transitioning from medium langs into the 18 AZ hives in my bee house.
    Johno

  9. #9
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    May 2011
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    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    What about selling the existing deeps as going concern colonies instead of doing tricks to depopulate the frames?
    Frank

  10. #10
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    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Johno,

    Since it is a little bit off topic, how about sharing a photo of your AZ work with us here and then starting a new thread about your AZ work? Not that any of us need any more "projects", but I think that there would be some interest.

    Steve

  11. #11
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    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Creek Steve View Post

    Assuming that your colonies are currently in winter mode now with 2-3 deeps. (The transition may take several years.)



    Steve

    if he uses mediums for supers, no way it takes 2-3 yrs. when coming out of winter remove any deeps that don't contain brood. Place supers on top wait till the queen moves up then place queen excluder between deep and the now medium brood boxes. with a little feed at the right time and a good yr for flows and you wouldn't even hardly miss a beat in the single season.


    even quicker would be to set a couple mediums down with comb in place of the old one and set a queen excluder on top. shake every frame off in front of the hive with a ramp to the entrance. place the deeps over the queen excluder for brood to hatch out. Watch for queen cells and cut them out to make splits if any occurs. Then either use the deeps for one last honey harvest or pull them and set them out away from the yard to be robbed.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Come early spring, remove all empty frames. Juggle things between hives if you need to for the purpose of getting the boxes to come out even. Later when there is a decent supply of nectar coming in, remove all the deep frames of honey and pollen. When you have some good brood going, cut one or two combs out and tie them into mediums and put them and the queen on the other side of the excluder. When the queenless side has emerged, pull all of those frames. In the meantime, if you really need to, put mediums in the deep boxes, or deeps in two medium boxes with the remainder filled out with mediums. Play it by ear...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #13
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    Sep 2014
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Alternatively, you could reduce the number of deeps lifted by just going with a single deep and a single medium. Seems few around here rotate with this combination.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    You can run the deeps through the table saw and get a medium and a shim pretty quick and easy if you don't have any other use for them just check where the corner screws are first so the blade doesn't hit them and take the wood off the bottom to save the frame rest , I cut down my frames also but its a little consuming and a little scary watch the fingers !!!!!!!!!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    I'm all mediums now and transitioning to deep/medium combos.
    I'm not going to make a huge fuss about it. I am going to make nucs like I normally do. The only difference being all the nucs will draw out deep comb. So it'll be deep foundation on top of medium nuc boxes.

    Instead of cutting up comb or taking a table saw to anything, why not make deep nuc bodies. And make up some sweet nucs. And just super with medium nuc bodies for new comb on medium frames.
    Now you have drawn medium comb, and nucs to sell 2017.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    I think Tom has just a "few" hives in his backyard, as a hobby. We're all trying to get him to expand.... guess that's the natural progression (obsession) for most.
    To everything there is a season....

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Expand. Expand. Even just a little. I drew out almost 2000 frames last year. It was awesome.
    But even if you make a few nucs, they make sooooooo much comb

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunday Farmer View Post
    Expand. Expand. Even just a little. I drew out almost 2000 frames last year. It was awesome.
    But even if you make a few nucs, they make sooooooo much comb
    This group sounds like a bunch of junkie bee dealers.
    Zone 8a - Elev.~ 1,100 ft. Sandy, OR.
    Apiculture: A culmination of animal husbandry and alchemy.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Tom06- has lots of options now.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Georgetown, Kentucky
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    Default Re: Going to all Mediums, My back hurts

    Thanks for the replies. As I live in a subdivision, expanding is not really an option for me. I am under the radar now. If I keep expanding, someone will notice.
    Right now I give honey to my close neighbors and no one has complaints.
    I am going to use my existing deeps as bait hives on a bee tree I found. I want the bees that are living untreated.
    I will most likely just keep 2 hives at the house and have friends that will let me keep 2 at their house.
    Happy new year
    Tom

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