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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Hive Size... What give and how big?

    This is my first year. I have a happy swarm working away at building a colony here in Southern California (Zone 10B).

    My primary goal with this project is:
    1) entertainment for me
    2) pollinate my garden and fruit trees
    3) Make enough honey for a my wife and I (just a few quarts a year, 6-8 max.)
    4) Not annoy the neighbors, even though the hive in the tree trunk up the street is the one they should be worried about.

    Is it possible to keep a small hive? Currently I have a 10 frame large box. I know I'll have to add a supper etc to it but I just don't have any need for 82 billion bees in my back yard. So the question is, how small can I keep things and still keep them happy, and what strategy can I use to keep things small and simple? I'm not offended by swarming, or developing Nucs to pass on to others.

    Or option 2, should I just not be afraid of having a 5' tall hive in my yard and supper up?

    Thanks all, I'm learning a lot here!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,056

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    You can keep them in a 5 frame nuc as long as you keep giving away the splits. Most beekeepers in Florida actually have one hive in a residential area, ten frame.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    995

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    I would go with option 2. You will have a lot of happy neighbors when you start sharing the honey!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    You can keep them in a 5 frame nuc as long as you keep giving away the splits. Most beekeepers in Florida actually have one hive in a residential area, ten frame.
    Are they able to harves some honey or does brood get mixed in with everything?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    If I were you I would probably keep the deep brood box and add two supers and I would pull the 1st honey super
    when it gets capped and leave the other and the brood box until the next year and reevaluate my position then. It would all depend on where the swarms go that would influence my decision. Otherwise you will accomplish your goal with the 3 box hive in my opinion and its free so its worth its weight in gold.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,056

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    Residential areas are great for honey. They are not usually sprayed with chemicals. There is more than farm and forest so more blooming. People like something blooming all the time so they are bee friendly and people like diversity so again bee friendly.
    Bees naturally keep brood in the lower brood super until winter when they move up. Honey is naturally above the brood when it would be best to extract. Hobbyists/niche' pollinators are less likely to use an excluder, unless they buy a beginner's kit with a lot of junk they will never use.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    Would a hive plus 2 supers have appreciable more bees than just a hive body alone? Is there any necessary requirement for a colony to be big or could nuc(s) theoretically work? Also consider we have mild winters and blooms nearly year around.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    missouri
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    would probably have atleast a few supers and quit worrying about how many bees the hive may have, those tall hives are mostly honey and dont actually have anymore bees as one with a couple of boxes may have. basicly adding more boxes doesnt usually mean that the hive will have more bees they just have more space to store honey. if you want to keep it small may have to extract atleast a couple times a year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Hive Size... What give and how big?

    Quote Originally Posted by bejay View Post
    would probably have atleast a few supers and quit worrying about how many bees the hive may have, those tall hives are mostly honey and dont actually have anymore bees as one with a couple of boxes may have. basicly adding more boxes doesnt usually mean that the hive will have more bees they just have more space to store honey. if you want to keep it small may have to extract atleast a couple times a year.
    Perfect, thats what I needed to hear.

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