Shallows vs Deeps for honey
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  1. #1
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    Default Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I would like to see what others think about using shallows vs deeps for honey, pros and cons if possible. What are the benefits of using shallows. I had been using only deeps until this year. I see many honey houses have a mixture of deeps and shallows. Thanks.
    1. Weight is one reason. Easier to handle.
    2. What about brood?
    3. etc.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I'm sure many others will say this, but I use all (8-frame) mediums for everything. Interchangeable, you just keep a bunch of them around and then you always have the right-size box for whatever you need--splits, a new home for a swarm, brood box, honey box, whatever. And mediums are easy to lift even if you are old and arthritic, like me.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I personally know 4 commercial beeks. One swears by the 8 frame 7.25 boxes and that is all he uses, they all agreed it was the easiest to work to make splits from.
    One swears by the deeps (9 5/8) 8 frames. He says it houses the bees better, and he doesn't want to deal with different sizes of boxes and frames.
    The other uses shallows on top of deeps. all 10 frame stuff. Claims better colony housing, less boxes needed for colony and more honey per box.
    And the last one, says a box is a box as long as the bees are happy and make honey.

    I started with all 7 1/4 stuff. But the cost of a colony is basically $25 per box X 3 to start. I am currently switching all of my new stuff to 8 frame deeps. I see little difference in splitting 2 deeps versing to mediums. I personally like the 8 frame deeps because when I pull them, even though they are slightly heavier, if seems I get a tad more honey per box and the cost of them with frames is about $27 so the cost is more cost effective for me. And lastly, my bees seem to like the deeps a little better. That may be my thinking.
    The end consensus from all of them is, the bees don't care what they are housed in.
    One thought, the bee inspector stated, that a colony is better at cooling a hive sitting in the sun than warming a hive sitting in the shade.
    Now, in conclusion, the box is your preference.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    The bees are very adaptable and will live an about any hollow space that isn't outrageously too big or too small or has way too big of an opening. I use all eight frame mediums mostly for interchangeability and weight, but it also gives me smaller increments to work with so I can do things like split by the box and manage by the box. Larger boxes don't give me that flexibility.

    But most of it comes down to this: after working ten frame deeps all day I am always injured and have to heal for a couple of weeks. After working eight frame mediums all day, my back aches for a couple of days from the work. I guess it depends on how much you dislike pain. I really dislike pain...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I have been using only 10 frames deeps (9 5/8) for brood and honey. I am Ok using deeps for brood chamber, but for honey I am trying to decide if I have to switch to shallows. Driving around, also on the internet (honey houses) I saw many beekeepers are using shallows for honey, others are using deeps only, or mixture, probably 50/50 from what I've seen.
    Last edited by happybees; 07-08-2015 at 11:06 PM.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I use mostly mediums, because they are just a lot less clumsy.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I use 9 5/8 for brood chambers and 7 5/8 for honey supers. Deeps seem to be better accepted by almond producers and the 7 5/8 boxes hold a fair amount of honey. Deep supers are too heavy for my enjoyment--getting old!!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    You can get a shallow filled and off sooner, which may be important if you are trying to produce varietal honey from a relatively short bloom.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    If you are in it for the money, and have a good back, all deeps are the most economical to purchase and use. A full deep is definitely not for a girly-man, but it takes less effort to extract a barrel of honey in deeps than anything else.

    Crazy Roland

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    A full deep is definitely not for a girly-man, but it takes less effort to extract a barrel of honey in deeps than anything else.

    Crazy Roland
    Nothing to disagree with there. All deeps makes the most sense for really big operations in terms of efficiency, assuming no girly men are on the payrolls. Lol.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    What about brood in the honey supers when not using an excluder? I have heard that queens prefer deeps and don't like very much shallows. My friend was telling me this.
    On the other side if I have brood in the 3rd level a deep box, I just move the frames in the 1st or 2nd level, which are also deeps, but if I have brood in the shallow (3rd level) what do I do, pass it through uncapper?
    Last edited by happybees; 07-08-2015 at 11:57 PM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    Quote Originally Posted by happybees View Post
    What about brood in the honey supers when not using an excluder? I have heard that queens prefer deeps and don't like very much shallows. My friend was telling me this.
    On the other side if I have brood in the 3rd level a deep box, I just move the frames in the 1st or 2nd level, which are also deeps, but if I have brood in the shallow (3rd level) what do I do, pass it through uncapper?
    A light combed shallow or medium on top of a double deep brood chamber isn't very attractive to a queen unless there is some drone comb in it. We always give those third story boxes a quick check from underneath and leave on any brood we find. If we are stripping the last boxes then we utilize a "community" brood box and remove it later in the fall.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    We run 10 frame deeps with 6 5/8 supers for honey. That's the way grandpa did it so we continued to do it that way. Easy to pull 6 5/8 all day. All deeps may be the way to go in some areas but down here in Florida we like the flexibility to leave some fall honey on the bees. Leaving a 6 5/8 super on the bees is fine for the winter but it is hard to leave them in double deeps. Way to heavy going into winter and coming out seeing as how we don't really have a winter lol

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I strongly suggest that you try and pick up a full deep super as the 3rd or 4th box up BEFORE you decide to go that route. I know I can lift 90 pounds so I went with deeps. Lifting 90 lbs the is already chest or shoulder high is an entirely different thing. My 30 year old son who is 6' and works in a warehouse can barely do it... Now try to do it 30 times in a row...
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    And now you pry that 90 pound deep loose on four corners and go to pick it up on a warm day and you end up lifting TWO 90 pound deeps because it stuck right back down...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey


  18. #17
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    We use Deeps, mediums, and three quarter supers for honey. Personally prefer the three quarter but really doesn't matter which box when the flow is on and the money is flowing in.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    We prefer mediums to deeps because of the weight but increasingly are running more deeps primarily because of their extracting efficiency. Yes, full deeps are plenty heavy but there is a bit of an art to handling them as well. If they are fairly low, break them loose standing at either the front or back of the hive scoot them ahead a half inch or so then tip them almost vertical, give the burr comb a a few moments to drip off, then leaving them almost vertical, lower them to rest the top of the end of the box on your hip, keeping the weight as close to your body as is feasible (we use cheap canvas nail aprons to protect your belt area from propolis) and use your legs to handle most of the weight. As was pointed out earlier, the higher they are the more difficult it becomes in lowering them to a good carrying height.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    I tried (unsuccessfully) keeping bees 30ish years ago, and I'm thinking about giving it a go again next year. Back then I used what my neighbor was kind enough to provide, but now I'm reading up on the whole medium/deep/8/10 thing.

    What is surprising, given how closely studied bees are, is that there doesn't seem to be any academic literature on the subject. The closest thing I've been able to find is a study from Florida in the 50's comparing deep and deeper. (http://journals.fcla.edu/flaent/arti...ew/56224/53903) The conclusion was that it didn't matter as far as production, but it was a very small study, in one climate, and didn't look at mediums.

    While it probably doesn't matter much to the bees one way or the other, it would be nice to know with some degree of certainty, as opposed to anecdotal experience, exactly what trade-off you're making for your own convenience.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Shallows vs Deeps for honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbin View Post
    I strongly suggest that you try and pick up a full deep super as the 3rd or 4th box up BEFORE you decide to go that route. I know I can lift 90 pounds so I went with deeps. Lifting 90 lbs the is already chest or shoulder high is an entirely different thing. My 30 year old son who is 6' and works in a warehouse can barely do it... Now try to do it 30 times in a row...
    I found lifting it off ok, putting them back on is the hard part....

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