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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Portage County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Transition from deep to medium, 1 month old hive?

    I truly wish I had read Mr Bush's The Practical Beekeeper - Beekeeping Naturally before I got set up for my 1st season as a new beekeeper, as I would have approached things differently. One of which being to standardize on medium hive bodies. I spent last year working with a friend and his hives on my property, which were all in deeps, and I hadn't read enough prior to ordering this season's equipment to know there was a different way to proceed.

    In any case, I installed 4 packages into deep bodies within the last 4 weeks. The colonies are all doing well and despite our peculiar Wisconsin spring, 3 of the 4 will be ready for their 2nd brood boxes within the next week or so.

    I have 10 deep and 10 medium bodies and 100 deep frames and 100 medium frames in total, so I can go either way, but I would like to start transitioning one colony to mediums, and leave the rest as I'd originally planned - 2 deeps for brood, then medium honey supers (if lucky enough to get there!). By transtioning only 1, I will not be in danger of having to buy more equipment mid-season, and I will hopefully have a chance to get a feel for the all-medium methodology through to next spring.

    So, to transition this one colony, this is my plan - Step 5 is where it goes pear-shaped in my head, I feel sure to fail:

    1) the first of my colonies to fill (80%) its bottom box will become my Medium Body colony - that's me assuming its my strongest, fastest growing hive.
    2) Set up a new bottom board, with 2 Mediums on it, next to the current hive. Place medium frames in top and bottom slots 9 and 10
    3) insert the 8 deep frames into the top medium - they will have some empty space below them - so this would be slots 1 through 8
    4) replace covers and move hive onto the spot where the original hive was (do I lean that original equipment there for a while, or take it away?)
    5) in theory, the bees will make the outermost frame (1) become a full frame of stores - once that happens, remove that frame, shuffle 2-8 into positions 1-7 and drop 2 more medium frames in to the top and bottom boxes next to the other mediums.
    6) after some time (maybe not even this year), all the deep frames will have been removed.

    So, its step 5 that puzzles me. Does this actually work? I guess it must because I've read about it in Mr Bush's book and here - just worried, I suppose!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Transition from deep to medium, 1 month old hive?

    That seems like a reasonable idea, however complicated.

    I have converted existing frames from deeps to mediums with a table saw before. This can get quite messy. I really don't want to do that again.

    There was a thread about this very recently, though I don't remember where it was. The suggestion, as I understand it, was to take a couple of frames out of the existing deep hive body and replace them with mediums from time to time. Continue doing this until your deep frames are rotated out of the hive. Then, move the frames into a medium hive body. You can add another medium box if you need to make up for lost space.

    The bees will draw comb on the bottom of the frames, but it can be removed easily enough.
    Try it. What could happen?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    468

    Default Re: Transition from deep to medium, 1 month old hive?

    I'm in the same boat, but I decided to keep the deeps as the bottom brood chamber. I'll take the top from double deeps when I do splits. So all deeps will be singles and at the bottom, and eventually phasing out the deeps as hives or equipment fails. All new hive bodies and supers will be mediums. I just can't see the work of migrating to mediums for the sake of it. I can handle a single deep at knee height for the first brood chamber. Thou my ultimate goal will be to have a single size, and all mediums.
    Robbin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: Transition from deep to medium, 1 month old hive?

    You need to think creatively. First, think outside of the one hive you're working on. You need to have boxes full of combs, but you can shift combs to another hive if you have a frame or two extra. You can also do a cutout if you have a frame or two of deeps you want to put in a frame or two of mediums. I probably wouldn't cut out the whole hive, but this resolves those issues of one and two frames. Also you can put one medium frame in the deep box between two deep frames and, while they will build comb on the bottom, you will now have a drawn medium frame and you can cut the comb off the bottom and tie it into another medium frame later. You can also keep in mind that come spring you'll probably have an entire empty box of combs. Also, if you move brood above an excluder where the queen can't get to them, you can wait for them to emerge and remove them. This is doing it artfully. You can do it brute force and that can work, but is more stress on the bees and more stress on you. You can do a cutout and have done with it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Portage County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Transition from deep to medium, 1 month old hive?

    There are so many ways to skin the cat. I had considered also that if I just put a medium on top of this deep, let them fill that, then by spring they'd have vacated the deep bottom and I can rotate that out of the hive. Would I need to let the build up 2 mediums above the 1 deep to have an adequate brood nest in that scenario?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Transition from deep to medium, 1 month old hive?

    I'm in the same row boat also , kind of forced into it with ordering nucs that I found out later were all deeps . As much as I like the simplicity of all med. I like the idea of only two brood chambers instead of three med. brood chambers , this has been done for many many years and I thought it worked good .I guess for me it would come down to which setup do the bees overwinter in the best , two deeps or three med. or one deep and two med. , unless I build more deeps I'm going to put two med. on the one deep . Anyone have any thoughts on which setup the bees overwinter in the best in northern climates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,070

    Default Re: Transition from deep to medium, 1 month old hive?

    Here is what I have seen in my new hives.

    You will eventually place additional boxes on these deeps. When you do the queen will move up and make her nest in the upper box. At this time every single new hive I have going has done this. the queen is in the second or even the third box up. and the bottom box is empty, being filled with nectar or pollen. So plan one would be to get the queen to move up. remove the deep once it has no brood in it or move it to the top to let the brood emerge (Make sure their is no young brood the bees will make queens from)

    Plan two the one I expect to follow if I decide to purge all deeps from my apiary. it requires more work and more equipment but generates income.

    Simply put every hive will eventually get split. deeps will be split into hives that will be sold. Pretty much simple as that. I have sold two hives in the past few weeks for over $300 total. With that I can go replace the equipment and quite a bit more.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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