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Thread: number of boxes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    65

    Default number of boxes

    I use either 3 mediums or 1 deep and 2 mediums all year as the colony space. Should I reduce this brood space? Am I losing out on honey production volume by allowing so much space to be filled in the Spring before they get to making honey in supers? A guy was saying he runs all his hives into winter with one deep and one medium. I guess his theory is that as the nectar starts flowing, he forces the bees to start storing in supers earlier?

    Having my set up does not seem to reduce swarming activity and I still feed'm into winter.

    What setup do you use throughout the year and when wintering over?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: number of boxes

    I am a hobbyist in the High Desert and I provide them double deeps year round. For me it's not about harvesting honey.

    Regarding how much honey stores to leave is a regional thing specific to your immediate climate. Bees need the honey to eat throughout the cold, non-nectar season. If you do not leave enough stores, they will starve. I do not believe there are drawbacks to leaving too much.

    Regarding the amount of room that you leave. You have to provide for the amount of bees you have going into winter, any empty space gives the bees more area to police and maintain. Leaving unguarded boxes could lead to winter damage from pests and such.

    These are good questions and I am looking forward to seeing some of the replies you get.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Honey Hive Farms, Winfield Missouri
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: number of boxes

    Honey Hive Farms,

    Our farm set up is pretty basic, we get x2 9 5/8" hive bodies full before we put a super on.

    NOTE:
    If the super is getting used later in the year close to winter we force them back down into the two hive bodies
    If there is several frames in the super and its the first year for the hive and the super has its first year of drawn out frames we let them keep the honey for the winter.
    Watch the room if you give them to much room that isn't good, they really do better and are stronger in a smaller space or the correct amount of space.
    We also make sure all the drawn out frames are in the bottom first, brood in the middle and x2 honey on each outside then move up into the second hive body and do the same, and so on.
    Make sure you vent your hives in the winter as you do not want moisture in your hives

    Hope you do well
    Tim Moore
    Honey Hive Farms "Saving the world one bee at a time"
    www.HoneyHiveFarms.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    961

    Default Re: number of boxes

    I use a double deep configuration, also.

    If you reduce the brood space available to the queen, you'll need some strategy so she doesn't run out of space. Some beekeepers run a single deep with an excluder, but usually they lift capped brood above the excluder to ensure the queen does not run out of space to lay and swarm.

    More brood/bees mean more honey (if they don't swarm). Swarming is what usually takes a lot of honey out of a hive, so you need to keep on top of that.

    Edited to add: I recently made a blog post about different hive configurations used to overwinter. You can find it here: Fall inspections: Finding the right size box for your bees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Excelsior, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: number of boxes

    I am a new beekeeper and have two 9 5/8 hive bodies. I live in Minnesota so the winters are cold. I've read that 8 frames in the top hive body should be full of honey and two to four full frames should be in the bottom hive body (on the sides). Is it OK to move the frames around so the hive is set up with the correct number on the top and bottom and in the correct position?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    961

    Default Re: number of boxes

    DaveC, what is the current composition of the frames in the 2 boxes?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: number of boxes

    Swarming is one of the issues. Even with all the space and close monitoring and removing queen cells, when I leave them alone to bring in the nectar it seems most will get into that swarming pattern but not during peak flow. My hives do not starve out but I'm not sure all the space is an overall good strategy. I may set up a few with double deeps in the spring when I do splits and see how that works out next winter.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: number of boxes

    GREAT Examples--Thanks!

    After 5 years at this, I think I'd really benefit if I could find a Master Beekeeper to coach me. Problem being, when I need coaching, they are all busier than me.


    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    I use a double deep configuration, also.

    If you reduce the brood space available to the queen, you'll need some strategy so she doesn't run out of space. Some beekeepers run a single deep with an excluder, but usually they lift capped brood above the excluder to ensure the queen does not run out of space to lay and swarm.

    More brood/bees mean more honey (if they don't swarm). Swarming is what usually takes a lot of honey out of a hive, so you need to keep on top of that.

    Edited to add: I recently made a blog post about different hive configurations used to overwinter. You can find it here: Fall inspections: Finding the right size box for your bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    961

    Default Re: number of boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Ode1891 View Post
    GREAT Examples--Thanks!

    After 5 years at this, I think I'd really benefit if I could find a Master Beekeeper to coach me. Problem being, when I need coaching, they are all busier than me.
    I know how you feel . As far as swarming and honey collection is concerned, check out Doolittle's A year's work in an out-apiary; or, An average of 114 1/2 pounds of honey per colony in a poor season, and how it was done. This is the link to the hard copy on Amazon. You can also find it as a free e-book on google books. Here is the link.

    I also recommend C. C. Miller's 50 years among the bees. Hard copy from Amazon here and free e-book here.

    Those should get you on your way to increase your honey harvest. You also might want to investigate how to keep the brood nest open as described by Mr. Bush on his webpage and checkerboarding (I have no personal experience with that, though).

    I hope all of this helps you get on the right track. You have all winter to get a plan into place

    Maria Donnelly

    Edited to add: I almost forgot Brother Adam and Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey!

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