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  1. #1
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    Default Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Having read and partly understood various posts on management of hives to minimize swarming while maximizing bee production and honey production I must admit I still have as many questions, if not more, than when I first starting reading the threads.

    I may have this wrong and hope to be corrected if I am.

    (1) it seems Walt checkerboards above the brood nest by alternating honey filled frames with empty frames in 2 superd boxes. Are these boxes the same size as the underlying brood boxes or smaller like honey supers? Does he use one or two brood boxes below the checkerboarded boxes? Does he use a Queen excluder. Does he checkerboard before the flow when the spring brood is starting to expand?

    (2) Ian overwinters in one box...how much feed is each box over wintered with?
    His strong over wintered deeps are given a second box. This box gets filled. The 2 boxes are separated into 2 hives. The Queenless side gets a queen. Second boxes are put on. The boxes grow then the queen is retricted to the second box by a queen excluders and honey supers are put on. Is the upper brood box removed or left above the excluder and below the honey supers?
    What happens to the weak single deeps that come out of winter?

    (3) Bernard's single deeps seem to spend their lives below a Queen excluder. The idea is they form an open space above the excluder fooling the hive into thinking they are not prepared enough to swarm even though there are filled honey supers above the open dome. Again how are these single deep boxes provided for over winter?

    (4) others open the sides of the brood nest to encourage brood expansion. Move the outermost filled frame to the outside and put an empty frame in its place thus getting more brood frames. Is this in a single or double brood boz system, with or without an excluder.

    (5) I have no idea what Tim does but at 65 yr, 64 " tall, arthritis and heart disease I have no desire to have a 7 ft high hive!

    (6) others seem to demaree the hive. I think that involves keeping the Queen to a single deep under an excluder with plenty of space to lay in. Then 2 empty honey supers and above that a brood box containing open and capped brood. I think it is supposed to deter swarming while keeping the hive full of bees to gather honey. After the upper brood has emerged that brood box is put back down below the supers.

    I am new to beekeeping. Most of my hives have been 2 deep brood boxes with dadant honey supers above. No excluder. I have noticed that the outside brood frames are usually empty. The brood is on the central 4 frames with pollen then honey outside them.

    I am interested in trying using single deeps with excluders to confine the brood nest but am i correct in thinking one allows groth initially before confining the Queen to the lower level? If so what are the season cues for timing of the move down? Also I like that Ian's method allows for hive increase each season.
    Comments and musings would be greatly appreciated.
    Also we plan on trying to raise a few Queens this year. How best to orchestrate and make up cell starters and finishers when managing hives along the lines of Ian and Bernard?
    Thanks😳
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    No advice on when best to use these various techniques? ...or when not to?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    I only know about Walts checkerboarding and it works.

    read all of his articals.
    Paul 15 years 15 hives TF

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post

    (5) I have no idea what Tim does but at 65 yr, 64 " tall, arthritis and heart disease I have no desire to have a 7 ft high hive!
    I'm not sure which Tim this was directed toward, but at 67 yrs. old & 72" tall, beginning signs of arthritis, elevated BP, enlarged prostate and bit of pain in one hip, I have no desire for tall hives either.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    I like single 10deeps with excluders. But, I'm in Florida so take that into account.

    But, Ian here on BS is in Canada and he runs singles too with excluders. But, he is able to winter in doors I don't know if that is an option available for you. If I lived in Canada I would try and copy Ian he seems to be quite successful.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    DOes he have a publication of his work...I think read somewhere that he did. I would be interested
    Quote Originally Posted by Graperunner View Post
    I only know about Walts checkerboarding and it works.

    read all of his articals.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    I am in Canada but it is not as cold here in the winter or as warm in the summer. I am interested in how folks feed single deeps over winter and as they brood up in the spring. I also do not have acres of yellow flowers for my bees the idea of getting 2 hives from one and a honey crop is very appealing but don't know if it is feasible in my locale. Perhaps I will try it with one hive ss I have one hive that is a single deep with honey dadant of stores above.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim KS View Post
    I'm not sure which Tim this was directed toward, but at 67 yrs. old & 72" tall, beginning signs of arthritis, elevated BP, enlarged prostate and bit of pain in one hip, I have no desire for tall hives either.
    Just because the brood chamber is three deep boxes tall doesn't mean you have to stack honey supers higher than what is comfortable. And those honey supers don't have to be medium depth and heavy, they can be shallows and less heavy. And you can take them off more often and put them back on again.
    "Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
    Mark Berninghausen



  9. #9
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    And you can take them off more often and put them back on again.
    Since most of my hives are very local to me at this time, this is actually what I do. Each year i try to get the girls to draw out another super and fill all they have with honey. But I have to take off the spring honey as soon as it's ripe as we have a pretty good sourwood flow in summer here that I like to get.
    Thomas Bartram - 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post

    (2) Ian overwinters in one box...how much feed is each box over wintered with?
    His strong over wintered deeps are given a second box. This box gets filled. The 2 boxes are separated into 2 hives. The Queenless side gets a queen. Second boxes are put on. The boxes grow then the queen is retricted to the second box by a queen excluders and honey supers are put on. Is the upper brood box removed or left above the excluder and below the honey supers?
    What happens to the weak single deeps that come out of winter?
    "Second boxes are put on. The boxes grow then the queen is retricted to the second box by a queen excluders and honey supers are put on. "

    ... the queen gets shaken down to the bottom box to live out the rest of the year...

    "What happens to the weak single deeps that come out of winter?"

    I assess my hives first thing out of the shed in the spring. "strong" "Meduim" and "weak" They all get moved into common yards. All the strong get doubled up to be split off later in spring after the queens arrive. The Medium hives are left in singles and worked through as queens arrive. Most get requeened. All the hives are equalized and if I end up leaving the yard with extra strength, I make up nucs. After the split, all my hives (except the weak) will be equil strength and they all get doubled up with a super. Growth up into the second and shaken down as the flow begins.
    hope that helps

    "Ian overwinters in one box...how much feed is each box over wintered with?"

    I pack er full as the brood hatches mid to late fall. About 5 gallons of syrup. ONe full box full of sugar syrup going into winter. It gets me well into April.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Try reading the material at pedersonapiaries.ca and frenchbeefarm.com They both run singles in cold country and the Pederson's winter outdoors I believe. Their material might answer some of your questions. TO answer your question about feeding. Both run excluders over the singles and state they need to feed immediately after pulling supers because the single is full of brood and their are no stores and the bees could starve if not fed.

    Well I am 64 years old, fat, 70" tall, suffer from non specific idiopathic cardiomyopathy, ingrown toenails and bad breath and I would love my hives to get 8 feet tall! I can back a pickup up to them and take off and put on supers.

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    I am in Canada but it is not as cold here in the winter or as warm in the summer. I am interested in how folks feed single deeps over winter and as they brood up in the spring. I also do not have acres of yellow flowers for my bees the idea of getting 2 hives from one and a honey crop is very appealing but don't know if it is feasible in my locale. Perhaps I will try it with one hive ss I have one hive that is a single deep with honey dadant of stores above.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Ian thank you. I figure the Queen excluder goes over the bottom box...my typo error..but do you take off the deep above the excluder before putting on supers or are all your boxes the same size.
    Do you think you manage with a single deep without sugar bricks because your bees are in a constant controlled indoor environment? I ask because so many seem to say the winter hive should be 2 deeps packed with honey plus a sugar brick. I worry about starving my bees but yours look and perform very well. Perhaps 2 full deeps plus sugar bricks is over kill.
    What do you mean by the hives sre equalized? If you move frames or bees from hive to hive don't they fly back home and does the "new" hive simply accept them as theirs? Things that must seem so simple and obvious to experienced beekeepers are quite perplexing to those just starting out.
    Thanks.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    I would love to be able to maneuver my truck around my hives but if I drove it across the lawn my family would be horrified. IF, and that is a big if, my hives were ever that productive I think pulling boxes off as they filled would have to be my solution. So far I have never needed more than 4 dadants above the 2 deeps....and I had to harvest them frame by frame
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Not sure I understand what you mean by taking deep off over excluder.
    Single comes out of winter, large doubled up, then split off in a month or so to make two gives, then both hives get doubled up with a super to allow queen brood nest growth, then she is confined down in the bottom after three weeks and on the Start of the flow.
    It's all about population control and managing the movement of the queen to maximize population for honey and to prevent swarming. All done by manipulating the boxes rather than by the frame

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    My neighbour winters outdoors in singles. Without sugar blocks. Not even sure I know anyone who does that anymore

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    I am reading management methods as outlined on the Pedersen apiary site. Lots of interesting info. Amazing how they manage hives withheavy duty equipment and how detailed they keep track of eack hive when they have hundreds of them.
    One statement caused me to smile. They harvest their honey supers using what they call the tipping methopd. They remove a full super of honey and tip it on end along the pallet. They immediately replace an empty super on the hive. They leave the bee filled honey super tipped on end along side the hive. They say the bees make their way back into the hive and they come back and collect the honey super. On pne occasion I left a honey filled super beside a hive. It was shear caous! Bees from every where zeroed in on those frames...the air was black with bees....uncapping and running off the honey! Why would this not happen to the Pedersen hives?
    Also they feed alot when the honey is removed...like over 25 lbs to a single deep!
    They also said they don't treat for varroa because in about 600 hives they have none...is that pure luck or what?
    There is interesting stuff on that site....thanks.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    (4) others open the sides of the brood nest to encourage brood expansion. Move the outermost filled frame to the outside and put an empty frame in its place thus getting more brood frames. Is this in a single or double brood boz system, with or without an excluder.
    The outermost frames are moved up into a new box on top to make room for the new empty frames. Done to trigger wax makers to build comb, done before and during swarm season. Makes more room in and around the brood nest for the queen to lay and uses up excess nectar in making wax.

    It can be done with a colony overwintered in a single (usually a first year hive) or double (an older hive). As I usually raise queens and do a split after the main flow around the summer solstice.

    I don't use an excluder, so the brood nest can fill 3 deeps. Usually up to 6 frames of brood in each box. The idea is to have queen laying at maximum.

    A queen excluder could be used on top of the second brood box.

    When wanting to do a split, you can do a few OTS notches on a couple of frames and move the frames to the top of the hive with a frame of pollen. (So it's actually less effort if the brood nest reaches up to a third brood box.) Because of the distance from the brood nest and the OTS notches they will raise a few queen cells. One week later, check the queen cells and cull them down to the best two or three. Then do the split. So the original hive has now raised the big, healthy cells, but the new queen will now emerge in the split.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    WVBC, tipping works very well during first pull. Zero robbing as flows here are STRONG! The smell of pollen and nectar keeps them from noticing anything other than heading back out to the fields,
    But later in the season guys usually switch methods.

    A little while ago a sat beside a beekeeper at a meeting who told me he tipped right to the end... Yikes. Whatever works, right?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    Matthew, can I dig into your experience a bit on the three brood box management?
    You mention 6 frames of brood per box, 18 brood frames. Is the hive setting up that expanded brood nest or is that a manipulated brood nest to elivate population and congestion? And how long is the hive managed in three chambers?

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Musings on one vs two brood boxes and use of excluders

    I wouldn't say I have a lot of experience with three brood boxes, as I've only done this for a couple of years, just that they can get up to three brood boxes.

    What I have seen is frames in the top box are not full frames of brood, there is a lot of feed on the top of them. This box usually has less than 6 frames with brood, but can get that wide at the maximum brood rearing period. I can't tell you what the bottom box is like at that time, other than I can see capped brood looking down though the second brood box to the bottom box.

    I don't move brood frames, just insert new frames beside the outside edges of the brood nest. So it's up to the queen as to whether or not she starts laying in the new frames. So the hive sets up the expanded brood nest.

    During the main flow the brood nest is pushed down, so little brood is left in the third brood box by the end of it. I can then use those brood frames that have now been filled with feed for a split, as they often have pollen in them as well. Or pull out frames of solid honey from down in lower boxes and swap them out.
    Last edited by MattDavey; 01-15-2015 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Clarification

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