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  1. #1

    Default Need some Southernly Advice

    Hey there! I live in central Alabama and I'm starting with four 8-frame hives (from NUCs) using small cell Italian bees with each hive starting with two deep brood boxes. I have also built 12 medium supers in optimistic anticipation of my first year. My goal is to expand to eight hives next year.

    I've been reading a lot lately from all over suggesting southern beekeepers only need to maintain one deep for their bees to happily make it through the winter. Is this true? If so, it would seem I would be able next spring to take Michael Bush's suggestion to do an "Even Split". This way I wouldn't have to make any more deeps and just use mediums for honey supers from that point on. So my question is this. If you raise bees in the South, do you have any suggestions for this beginner trying to plan for next year?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    DesAllemands, Lousiana
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    I use them all from single mediums and deeps to double deeps and tripple mediums and they all winter just fine. They winter verry well in one deep. The only downside to using only a single deep for the brood chamber is that i find they swarm alot easier. I think they just dont have enough room to expand in early spring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lee County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    I'm in east Alabama, just an hour an a half from you. For several years I've kept two colonies with one deep & one medium for brood. I keep a queen excluder on the top mediums. It's always worked just fine & I haven't had a swarm yet.

    This year, I'm changing to two deeps for brood. I'm hoping to do some splits & believe that I can get splits better with two deeps since there should be more brood. This may not answer your question other than to say that you can be pretty flexible.

    BTW, I usually end up having at least four medium supers (9 frames in each) sometimes five during the honey flow so you may want to consider building more when you can.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    Why not use all the same size boxes so you can give them two brood boxes for spring build up and then just move frames to consolidate things going into winter? Makes it easier if you want to move honey frames into the brood box for overwinter feed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Forsyth county, GA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    I have a some hives on all mediums 3 mediums going into winter, and the my deeps are 1 deep and 1 medium super.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    Here in Houston I have 3 hives on 2 10 frame deeps that made it through with plenty of reserves. I am going to start 2 hives with all med. 10 frames (3 for brood chamber) starting 6 April when my packages are ready for pickup. To me it seemed that my hive size did not go way down so my Spring build up was pretty fast, but I would rather have plenty of room for brood chamber rather than be on the iffy side. One of our local commercial beekeepers lost nearly 30% of his hives (Dickenson, TX) but I have not heard why yet.
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    What Alblancher said. (I know SF may not qualify me to give Southern advice but I was born in Charleston SC so there you go)!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    Great feedback!! Thanks to everyone! I agree, using three mediums for the brood was probably the way to go. However, since I've already made the plunge and bought the 8 deeps w/frames from my local bee supplier for my initial hives (before I found out how easy it was to make them), I'm stuck with including those into my plans for now. But I like the idea of using one deep and one medium for my potential "even split" configuration next year and then gong to all mediums if I decide to expand even more in the future.

    Charlie B: I was raised just up the road from you in Santa Rosa back in the 60's when Willie Mays and McCovey ruled Candlestick. I love SF!! But, of course, it's probably changed a little bit since then ...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,371

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    A single 10 frame medium will winter just fine in northeast Texas. Even 5 frame medium nucs will winter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by barberberryfarm View Post
    Charlie B: I was raised just up the road from you in Santa Rosa back in the 60's when Willie Mays and McCovey ruled Candlestick. I love SF!! But, of course, it's probably changed a little bit since then ...
    If you're ever out this way, we can sit down with the rooftop girls and have a glass of Mississippi Mud
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  11. #11

    Default Re: Need some Southernly Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    If you're ever out this way, we can sit down with the rooftop girls and have a glass of Mississippi Mud
    Sounds like a plan!

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