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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7

    Default Need input on hive Setup!

    Hi, I want to preface this post by saying that I am relatively new to the beekeeping world.

    I am located in southern Ontario, and I am slowly getting prepped for opening my hives in the spring.

    I have 3 hives. I need input on what I should do with them.

    2 of the hives are made up of 3 medium supers.
    1 of the hives is made up of a 1 deep super and 2 medium supers on top.

    This is the way they were wintered. I inherited these hives and I am wondering if it is ok to leave a hive arranged with 3 medium supers.

    I planned on converting the hive with the deep super, by putting another deep super on top (and getting rid of the two medium supers that were previously on it).

    Should I switch all 3 hives to 2 deep supers, and then just use medium supers on top for the honey I am going to harvest?

    Any input on hive setups would be greatly appreciated! Also, does anyone have a ballpark date when beekeeps traditionally 'open' their hives around here (I know it is greatly dependent on weather, but still.. just a ballpark range)


    Thanks!
    Last edited by JoeCool; 04-04-2013 at 04:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hartford County, CT
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    Hey Joe,

    Just stick with the mediums! There are lots of advantages to use nothing but mediums. They're easy to move, and all your frames will be interchangeable, both within each hive and between different hives, so you could steal brood, honey, whatever. If it were me, I would work on phasing out the deep and stick with all mediums. Check out Michael Bush's website and his section on using all mediums. www.bushfarms.com. And temps should be above 50 to open the hive, the nicer the day the better. Maybe late April where you are? Not sure on that one. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    I think the way you set them up is up to your preference. Some folks think the deeps are better due to the fact that there are less breaks between frames (one between two deeps vs two between three mediums) while others say the bees don't seem to mind and it is easier to move things around when all frames are the same size. What is important is that they have enough stores to overwinter successfully and I'm not sure what that is for you.

    I've run all mediums and warres so far but will try deeps too this year for fun. I'd open the hives anytime you have that is sunny and mid 50s or higher but someone closer to you can give better info on the normal timeline in your area (I'm still learning my timeline but am using blooms to gauge things rather than the calendar per se).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    All three hives overwintered with three supers each (2 have 3 mediums, and one has 1 deep and 2 mediums).

    So is the general consensus to run the two hives with 3 mediums, and swap out the other two medium supers on the other hive to a deep super?

    I'm new at this, so I need help and people's experience on this subject!

    Thanks for your help

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    My hives all overwintered in three medium supers. For small scale beekeepers and hobbyists I really think its best to standardize hive body sizes, that way its really easy for your hives to share frames of brood or honey between them and its less equipment for you to store. I would try to encourage your bees in the hive with a deep to move their brood nest up into the mediums and then get ride of the deep so you don't end up with a mix of equipment to manage.

    Its also much easier to lift and move mediums than deeps and you can also go foundationless with mediums so there are two more advantages.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, NY
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    I'm semi-close to you (30 miles south of Rochester NY). I have popped the top cover a couple times this year to take a quick peek, but haven't done a full inspection yet. I believe most people around here overwinter in 2 deep bodies. However, there are people who overwinter in 3 mediums instead. I'm not sure it makes much of a difference. Do whatever your back can handle. I don't have a problem lifting them now, but I'm only 29.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    If it is perfectly fine to use 3 medium supers in your set-up, instead of using two deep supers, then why do people encourage 2 deeps?

    A beekeeper once told me to not go to 3 medium supers because the hive would likely swarm. Is there any truth to this?

    The original reason these became '3 medium super hives' was because they were originally 2 mediums, but I figured with the length and coldness of winter here in southern ontario, the bees would need the 3rd super full of honey. Just a bit of background

    All three of my hives successfully overwintered, if anyone is interested in that !

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeCool View Post
    If it is perfectly fine to use 3 medium supers in your set-up, instead of using two deep supers, then why do people encourage 2 deeps? Two deeps would be the traditional way. Using 3 mediums is a newer development. Nothing wrong with either way. I use all deeps myself.

    A beekeeper once told me to not go to 3 medium supers because the hive would likely swarm. Is there any truth to this? Doubt it seriously.

    The original reason these became '3 medium super hives' was because they were originally 2 mediums, but I figured with the length and coldness of winter here in southern ontario, the bees would need the 3rd super full of honey. Just a bit of background I believe 3 mediums give about as much space as 2 deeps.

    All three of my hives successfully overwintered, if anyone is interested in that !
    HTH

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, NY
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeCool View Post
    If it is perfectly fine to use 3 medium supers in your set-up, instead of using two deep supers, then why do people encourage 2 deeps?
    2 deeps is cheaper than 3 mediums by a couple dollars (at least where I buy my stuff). It is what most people use around me, so that's just what I went with.

    You made a good decision putting that 3rd medium on the hive for overwintering.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    As long as everyone thinks it is perfectly fine to run 3 mediums, then queen excluder, and then honey supers, I will be leaving the two hives as a 3 medium hive.

    I will possibly try to convert the other to a 2 deep hive.

    Any other input out there?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeCool View Post
    As long as everyone thinks it is perfectly fine to run 3 mediums, then queen excluder, and then honey supers, I will be leaving the two hives as a 3 medium hive.

    I will possibly try to convert the other to a 2 deep hive.

    Any other input out there?
    Joe, like someone has said, it's really up to you. I run 3 mediums or 4 when needed. I don't use a excluder. I want my queen to lay as much as she wants. If there is some brood in box 4, they will clean it out & fill it when they are ready.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    As far as hive health I have never heard any evidence one way or another, its mostly just a matter of logistics. Its easier to stock one size of frame and one size of hive than to stock two sizes of each.

    You can also standardize with all deeps or shallows but a deep filled with honey would be incredibly heavy and shallows would start to get expensive.

    If you don't care about standardization then just leave each hive the way they are, both are reasonable set ups.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Default Re: Need input on hive Setup!

    Seems like you not mind the heavy super filled with honey. I have seen many use 2 deep to over winter in your area and the rest is medium for the extra honey storage. If you use all deeps then it is really heavy 90 pounds I think when all full of honey. DDMMMM D=brood box, M=honey box
    The medium is lighter to carry but still heavier than the smaller honey supers. So if you have a strong back then you can use all the deeps. But going in for the long term is better to use equipments that is easier on your back. Don't want any back injury or a dislocated disc back there.
    Just try to lift the deep and you will see how it feels when all full of bees and honey. Many older beekeepers use 8 frames nuc that is easier on
    their back now. It really is your own preferences since the bees don't care much as long as they have a home to live in. If equipments not your concern then do what you like to do.

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