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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    southwest colorado
    Posts
    133

    Default Hive configuration

    As i dont have any sources of local knowledge , I was hoping for some help/opinions from others in similiar situations . I live in southwest colorado at about 7100 feet . We can have cold winters and they usually last from late november to early april . I am curious , with my situation would I be better to go with 2 deep hive bodies or 3 medium hive bodies? I like the idea of keeping equipment the same for interchangability , but I also like the idea of keeping my colony alive through the winter . Any opinions as to which configuration would work best? Also , is my understanding correct that once things are up and established , that the honey supers will recieve the lions share of the handling? Thanks..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    As long as you leave enough stores for winter I don't think there will be much of a difference between two deeps or three meds. I run two deeps but that is altogether a personal preference. Working the brood chamber is mostly done in the spring (spring cleaning and swarm prevention) and in the fall making sure every thing is in order for winter, winter stores ect. During the spring and summer I only go into the brood boxes if I see signs of a problem. Hope that helps!!
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,525

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    The only disadavantage of using all mediums is that it increases equipment cost quite a bit. Frames and foundation and even boxes are pretty much the same price and three does not even replace two really. If you do not remove bridge comb in the fall and allow the bees to store honey between the frames as they often do, I can't think of a single way that the mediums are inferior for wintering and do indeed allow the bees to cross between frames more readily.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    I don't know what is best and why. I just know that when I kept hives in Florissant (8100 feet or so), I used double deeps quite successfully. The key is to be sure those deeps are really jammed with stores. Personally I chose not to use mediums. I was worried that the winter cluster would be hampered by the breaks between the boxes, but that's just me.

    FWIW.

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    Jim,

    I'm at 6,800 feet on the Front Range and plan to phase into all mediums starting this year. Age plus shoulder and back problems is my incentive. I make much of my own woodenware so i am able to tweek things as I see fit. I typically go into winter with the following "stack" : screened bottom board, slatted rack, double deeps, medium full of honey, quilt box loaded with wood shavings, and outer cover. The screened bottom board has limited air circulation with rags, the lower entry is 1" X 3/8", and a similar upper entry on the bottom of the quilt box. I wrap all four sides of the stack with 2" rigid styrofoam and cover with black tar paper and another piece of foam on top of the outer cover. No moisture problems and my quilt box is designed to feed fondant ot sugar syrup throughout the winter by only lifting the outer cover. I have lost only one colony so far this winter and it was the one that had an exceptionally high might drop count of 10 V-mites in 24 hours. Definately my error.

    Hopefully by next winter my stack will consist of three mediums plus the other woodenware.

    Regards,
    Steve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    southwest colorado
    Posts
    133

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    Steve , do you have any pics that you could post? Thanks all for the opinions and info.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    P1040070.jpg

    Jim,

    I'm not sure just what you want to see, but here is the winter look. The gallon paint cans on top are full of sand as dead weights. If you are more specific about what you want to look at I may have pictures.

    Where are you in SW CO?

    Regards,
    Steve

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    southwest colorado
    Posts
    133

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    Steve , I was curious what design you were using for the quilt boxes . I am near Durango , are you familiar with that area? This brings up another question for me also . If you eliminate all condensation , how do the bees get anything to drink? Thanks..............

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    Jim,

    Post #7 picture was during 2011-12 winter. Perhaps this shows more/better. It is winter 2012-13 pre snow.

    SteveP1050868.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: Hive configuration

    Jim,

    I'll PM you tomorrow. The quilt box is still experimental but I'm on Version 3.2. And, yes, I am concerned about removing too much moisture.

    Steve

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