Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Montgomery county, MD
    Posts
    24

    Default Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    I have one colony that I started in a deep because the nuc I got was in deep frames. I want to try to get this colony into mediums. so I put a medium over the deep and fed (started a little late this year in this group) and they have built out comb on foundation and filled the medium with sugar water. the deep is the brood box and they doing fine there. question is, if I move the sugar-water filled medium under the deep, will they move the sugar water-honey up and start using the medium ( now on the bottom) as part of the brood area? or will I just mess them up? I want to eventually get to all mediums with this hive.

    I know many prefer to have everything the same size for interchangeability, and I get that, but I'm an experimenter and I want to try mediums and don't care if I have to have multiple sizes and configs. im a hobbyist in it for the fascination.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,036

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    Possible, though not likely this season. However, if you leave it on top, by Spring they will, most likely, have moved the brood nest up, into the empty space in the Medium, created when they use those stores during Autumn/Winter/early Spring.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Mendham, NJ
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    next spring move the queen into the medium and put a queen excluder above the medium. in 3 weeks there will be no brood and you can do as you please.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,429

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    I would try to get another medium on top filled preferably with honey but sugar honey will work. If you don't you might find brood in some part of the deep at the top come spring. I would not switch boxes in the fall. I suppose you could add the boxes in the spring but I think manipulation in the spring slows them down.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    Early spring would be the time to do something. Odds are a lot of comb will be empty and you can pull all the empty deeps. You can harvest all the deeps with honey in them if there is a flow by then, and pull all the deeps with pollen if there is pollen coming in. Then see what you have. You may have emptied the deep or there may be just a few frames. You can cut these down on a table saw or do a cutout of any brood and tie it into medium frames.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    It's useful to have multiple sizes available. Far more useful than some sort of strict "single size" obsession. Most nucs come in deeps, and filling out a nuc is going happen again and again in your beekeeping career. Cut-outs, wild comb usually fits into deeps better. Single deeps are a useful unit for shaking out colonies, equivalent volume in 2 mediums but you have 20 frames to sort through looking for that elusive queen instead of just 10. With 20 frames, most of the time I have to start over (again and again) because the queen escaped to another level just as I spot her.

    Yup, you'll always be one frame or one box short of the supply you need, but that is true even if you burned all the deeps.

    My typical config is bottom deep with multiple mediums above (so perhaps I am just attached to my 'normal') I sort and restack the mediums, but rarely dig into the bottom deep, unless it is to pull queen cells/brood for a split (into a 5 frame deep nuc). Likely a problem with this "hands off the bottom deep" approach is the comb gets old and black, unless I deliberately rotate it. I have a lot of AHB "vigor" in the wild mutts, and leaving their bottom box undisturbed keeps the colonies on less of a hair trigger. You can dig into the top and smoke them down, but if you open the bottom box, watch out. Nice to leave them a 'safe room' so they don't come after me.

    I think the deep gives you some surge room at the critical February-March brood explosion (my climates dates). The winter empty deep will suddenly fill top to bottom with brood (always a welcome miracle). In a medium system, you have fewer cells (and the honey/bee bread crown reduces it more), you are more likely to get queen cells off the bottom bar between levels of Mediums in the initial build up -- you have to be more attentive to get room on with the mediums in that critical build up. In my climate, with its summer drought, the spring is compressed and critical to the whole year.

    All the practical advice is true -- give the colony headroom, the cluster will move up to where the hive is warmest, and you can pull the empty and abandoned bottom box in the early spring.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 09-12-2013 at 09:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,611

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    Move the deep to the top. next season it will be a box of honey. You know what to do with that. I keep all my hives a deep brood boxes and then all Med supers. it is a pain at times but it also makes it so I can add frames to my hives of either size when I need to. Every hive I own has at least one deep and one med on it at all times. Even my 5 frames nucs.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Montgomery county, MD
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    I forgot to mention that I have three other hives, all two deeps (for brood and whatever storage they want) and various numbers of shallows (for honey). This medium experiment is just for me to see what the differences might be if I use a different configuration. I know there will be too many variables and the N is too small in the equation to be able to say that one configuration is "better" (for the bees) than another, but I would also like to know if its better for me, in terms of lifting, shifting, etc.

    It seems that most of you dont think the bees will do so well if I switch the full super to the bottom now, under the current brood box, if I am understanding correctly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    My experience is the brood cluster moves up from November to February (my climate) and then the queen is pushed down by the need for room. You are more likely to have the queen in your top box this winter.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    I regularily deal with a similar but opposite issue. I'm tryin to always convert mediums to deeps. As a matter of discipline, when I do cutout jobs, I only use medium frames. Someone else mentioned the feral combs fit well in deeps, but not always. I was having issues with deep combs warping under their own weight before the bees could attach the tops. But I digress.

    Point is, I prefer to always have a deep on bottom, but always brings cutouts home as mediums. Just placing on (top or bottom) a deep box with foundation seems to have no effect. The bees seem happy to just maintain the status quo in the medium, and would simply use the deep for a space to sleep. Granted we were in dearth and a wasn't feeding, so I shouldn't expect too much comb being built.

    What I do now, and it's working well, is a move half the medium frames into the deep box. Yes you have excess space off the bottom of the mediums, and the bees could draw natural combs here resulting in a mess later. But what they tend to do instead, is start pulling new combs in the offsetting deep frames with foundation starter strips. Just as soon as they start drawing the deeps, I move the mediums back up to their respective box, and place in more deep frames with foundations. I also feed now during the time to make sure they have every resource (aside from manpower-bee power) to build more comb.

    This requires an extra 5 medium frames on hand to place in and maintain bee space while the 5 medium frames are on loan to the bottom deep. If I forget to put in medium placeholders (like i did recently) I get "punished" with natural combs drawn from the bottom of the inner cover, and then have to do a cutout within the hive.

    Long story short, trying moving a couple medium frames with brood into the deep box to coax the queen up there. If the offsetting frames are full of sugar water though it might not do any good. Best of luck!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,429

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    Quote Originally Posted by agastache View Post
    but I would also like to know if its better for me, in terms of lifting, shifting, etc.
    This experiment has been done many times and few have anything negative to say about it. If your concern is you must have at least one deep you can make a 3" spacer for the very few times you will need it. I made two and I haven't used them yet.

    I would never use a deep as a honey super that is just asking for back problems.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Montgomery county, MD
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    Definitely NOT interested in using a deep as a honey super, just trying to get the brood down into the mediums so I can take the deep off the top. I thought if I moved the brood box up, they might move up honey (or sugar-honey) from the medium (bottom) to the top (currently brood box), thus eventually clearing the brood out of the deep. I hope this makes sense, but from the responses I've received (thanks!) sounds like its a little more experimental than would be wise at this time of year.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,429

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    Quote Originally Posted by agastache View Post
    I have one colony that I started in a deep because the nuc I got was in deep frames. I want to try to get this colony into mediums. so I put a medium over the deep and fed (started a little late this year in this group) and they have built out comb on foundation and filled the medium with sugar water.
    You are confusing me. How did the medium get on the bottom?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,595

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    I started out all mediums and I recon I will stick with it, but I can surely see why deeps for brood and shallows for honey was the tried and true standard - if it ever really was. There is Always a thread on here about someone going from deeps to mediums or vice-versa. I think it's more about human nature to always be looking for a new angle than it is about bees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Montgomery county, MD
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    well, my actual question was really whether bees would move honey up to the top of the stack if i put it under the brood box. my title was not clear on that. The ultimate goal was to get rid of the deep box. but I think I got my answer, and I think it was "don't count on it". so thanks!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,036

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    It might happen, if you can be sure that your temperatures won't go below 50F, day or night, for several weeks. Otherwise, the honey will become too cold for the bees to handle, easily.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,429

    Default Re: Trying to convert from deeps to mediums

    Quote Originally Posted by agastache View Post
    well, my actual question was really whether bees would move honey up to the top of the stack if i put it under the brood box.
    If there was a whole lot of bees with nothing to do they would probably do that. You said you are feeding so I think they won't waste their time moving honey if they have a source of nectar, even if it is fake nectar.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads