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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    I'm sure this varies depending on available storage space, but I'm wondering how much gear you like to have ready in advance, and how you decide how much to maintain.

    How many extra boxes with frames do you like to have ready?
    How many for brood, how many for honey?
    If you use wax foundation, how far in advance do you put it into frames?
    Is there a ratio of gear-in-use to gear-on-hand that works?

    Last year, I found that I was caught at times without gear ready, and it really screwed me up. I was busy with work, and then I needed gear, and I had to find time to build it and get it in place. I hated that feeling, and I want to avoid it in the future.

    So I'm interested in your thoughts on the subject.

    Thanks,

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    My first season keeping bees was last year. I had enough equipment on hand for the two hives that I was planning on keeping. Then I started getting swarm calls and was building boxes and frames through most of the summer. I'm building 4 mediums this winter and half a dozen more bottom boards. If I use up the bottom boards I'm going to be donating swarms to other beeks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,582

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    I like to keep at least 6 complete hives (6 mediums tall) going into spring as a minimum. Typically I also like 6 additional inner covers, top covers and bottom boards.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    With 30 hives all in double deep configuation (some with super of honey still on) I usually have 15-20 complete deep hives ready to go. I generally have usually 30-40 nuc boxes for splits, mating boxes, and swarm traps. I generally try to have 3 mediums boxes for each overwintered hives so I have about 80-90 mediums all with drawn comb.

    I have a freezers full of deep honey and pollen frames for spring splits and still have 10 mediums supers of capped honey in the freezer.

    You can never have to much equipment. I buy frames by the 100's. Usually have a hundred or so sheets of every size foundation.

    Yeah. when you get bigger than backyard beekeeping it gets nuts without going into legit business.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael B View Post
    ...I usually have 15-20 complete deep hives ready to go...
    I have a freezers full of deep honey and pollen frames for spring splits and still have 10 mediums supers of capped honey in the freezer...
    Michael B:

    "deep hives" - Do you mean deep supers with frames? Or 15 - 20 of your complete double deep hive set up, meaning 30 - 40 deeps with frames?

    "freezers full" - How many freezers? What size do you find works well for that purpose?

    Thanks again,

    Adam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    15-20 single deeps for spring expansion with bottom boards, inner covers, and outer covers. I build all my own equipment so I can make boxes in a day or so as needed.

    I have two maytag 20cf chest freezers. I can stack boxes with frames an all right on top of each other.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Plainfield, NJ
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    Wow...I thought that I was prepared with enough equipment to complete the 4 hives that I have and no more. I never thought about having enough equine by for emergency Splits, swarms and raising NUCs.

    Thanks for a very enlightening thread

    Chris in NJ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    Getting caught without gear is really frustrating, and I want to avoid it in the future. At the same time, it's hard to store a huge amount of gear that you're not using.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    Adam, the answer to your question must reflect your plans for expansion, and the type of expansion you wish to pursue. I have about 40 hives counting a dozen nucs that I am over-wintering. I preassemble and paint as many deep boxes as I have nucs, since I expect to need them fairly early in the season.

    The issue you are dealing with (I think) is being prepared for the unexpected. My answer for that is to precut extra boxes and stack them, ready to assemble. My frames and foundation are ready to assemble as well. I could throw a box and frames together in less than a half-hour, and put it into use without painting it if I was in a real hurry. Counting assembled and unassembled, I have 100% boxes in reserve as I currently have in use. It is amazing how many boxes you will use if you have them available.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    495

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    with 2 -3 existing hives, and with the possiblity of catching 2 swarms plus splits.

    I like to have enough frames built for 2-3 deeps. at least 10 frames of drawn comb that i can work in with starter strip frames in 5 frame nucs or 10 frame boxes if I do a cut out.

    I like to have 3-5 honey supers with half drawn frames, other half starter strips or foundation set.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    hendersonville nc usa
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    all i can aford

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Grey County, ON, Canada
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: How Much Gear Ready in Advance?

    I run double deep brood chambers and deep supers. I think it's pretty well a minimum to have three supers per hive if you're trying to maximize honey production. In addition to that I make 5 deep supers for each split(Two brood chambers and three Honey supers). As others have said though depending on how fast you can extract more is always better, 3.5 to 4 deeps per hive is nicer... Guess it depends on what the average honey flow in your area is like too, up here it can come in pretty fast and crazy (occasionally 10 lbs in a day) and then end just as quickly so you have to be ready for it or miss the boat.

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