Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2015
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    Default Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    Up until now I have been running 2 deeps and a medium. Because I didn't have drawn supers I assumed that is why my bees hesitated to use them. This year I had enough drawn or partially drawn frames to fill several supers.

    Even though we had a tremendous Locust season and are still in the flow my hives still aren't using them much and are instead filling the top deep rather than using the drawn comb in the medium supers. Today since it is also warm enough I decided to put the super in between the two deeps on one hive. That hive had almost zero brood in the upper box, but had several frames of capped or uncapped honey. I will see if they will use the medium. It was probably a bad idea to isolate the small amount of brood, but if they manage to fill both boxes I will consider it a win.

    I had been using double deeps because I would consider my location to be northern, but maybe my local climate in the river valley in zone 6b would allow a single deep/medium configuration?

    Any feedback?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Gloucester County, New Jersey
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration


  4. #3
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    I'm in 6b and my standard configuration is a single deep and mediums; my overwinter configuration is a deep and a medium of stores, I can also overwinter in single deeps if it's a medium size colony. Obviously there can be exceptions but as a general rule they will expand into the first medium in the spring but will back fill it as the flow tapers off and brood rearing slows. I don't use QEs.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  5. #4
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    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default

    I can see saving a lot of time inspecting with a single Butte chamber if you inspect every frame but there are more efficient ways to do it. He appears to get an unbelievable amount of honey from one brood box so I wonder what my bees are doing wrong. Also for you single brood box people how do you manage swarming? Aren't you giving up a lot of time to manage that? J

  6. #5
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    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    The medium under the nearly full honey box should work to your advantage. Nurse bees should keep tending the young in both boxes and the hive will fill top to bottom. I am moving away from having two box sizes to only using mediums. Much easier to manipulate the movement of frames to keep swarming at bay. Also easier to lift. I'm even thinking of trying 8 frame boxes to provide a more natural width and move concentrated movement of heat. I have heard of people north of the mason/dixie line using all mediums.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  7. #6
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    Mar 2015
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    Ocala, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    I tried the all medium thing a few years ago. For myself I found it was way more equipment and work to inspect. Hope it works for you.

  8. #7
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    Jan 2015
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    After thinking more on it, I am going to slip a medium in on another hive tomorrow. If it works as I hope, I will have a deep and a medium full. If it doesn't I will have a mess but I can't learn without trying.

    I will also try a single deep/medium on a few this winter. I have very good results with wintering 5-over-5. Since I use 8 frame gear my last batch of splits will be my test mules. I was going to try wintering a few 5-frame singles anyway.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Laurel Hill, Fl
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    I went to all mediums like Mr. Bush suggested. One size frame for the entire apiary. Love it! Never had a problem. I still have one deep out there. I've only pulled them when hives have dwindled or crashed.
    This one is always booming, got 5 med supers on it right now slam full of honey. So it stays...
    Last edited by Robbin; 06-11-2018 at 08:04 PM.
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  10. #9
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    Jan 2015
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    My issue with all mediums is that even though the frames are the same size the comb is different. Slip a honeycomb into the broodnest and I imagine you will wind up with a frame of drones.

  11. #10
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    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    If you are using foundationless, I'm told they will adjust the size of the comb to fit their needs. I'm noticing some very large cells on the far side of several fl frames, but they have only used those for honey.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  12. #11
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    Nov 2006
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    Indiana, Clay County
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    I am in the same zone appx as you and run double deeps with a medium honey supers. Best setup for me. I overwintered in single deeps last yr cause d crappy fall flow but that usually is not the case. I need 2 booming boxes of bees coming out of winter cause the nectar production is so marginal here, even in a good yr.

    regards
    Brad
    Dad always said " Smart like tractor, strong like bull "

  13. #12
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    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    with 2 1/2 and 3 deep configuration, you really need young Italian queens that are laying fools, they force the workers to push the nectar and honey up into the supers.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  14. #13
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    Aug 2009
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    Upperco, Maryland, USA
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Honey View Post
    Interesting concept. I could never find time to dedicate so that I pulled frames for nucs to de-congest brood space in that one box. I have enough trouble preventing swarming using 2 deeps and a medium. With only the one deep I fear I'd be sending off swarms faster than they'd be able to recover. Still, I might try this once to see how it works for my management style. Nothing to lose in trying with a new NUC this summer.

  15. #14
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    camden, tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    Quote Originally Posted by Ode1891 View Post
    Interesting concept. With only the one deep I fear I'd be sending off swarms faster than they'd be able to recover.
    If I saw it right... It looked like there was a queen excluder on the bottom of the hive as well. I didn't watch to the end and don't know if there was anything said about it but that would seem like a management problem where drones are concerned. Not sure what else that might bring about.

  16. #15
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    Jun 2015
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    Baker City, OR USA
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    I was experiencing the same thing with 2 of my hives. I put a new deep on top of the bottom deep, put the queen excluder on top of the new box with drawn frames and I too will find out what happens. I now have my honey bound deep and a medium above the queen excluder on both hives. Both honey bound boxes had brood in them and as hindsight I probably should have put the brood frames in the new deep but I didn't. We shall see.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Garden City S, NY
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    I’m a newbie and stumbled upon that video while learning about this process. Given my time constraints i decided on a single brood box system. Started with a 5 frame nuc in a deep at the end of May. Once they drew out the five empty frames and were using them I added an excluder and a deep on top of that. They drew out those frames and filled it to 80% with nectar. I then added a second super, a medium below that and now that’s about 80% filled with nectar. So my current configuration is a deep/qe/med/deep. I’ve since harvested 5 frames from the deep super and now I’m waiting for them to cap the medium frames. Per the video, I can remove the supers when ready to harvest the rest, treat for mites, then feed them into fall. The idea is as fall approaches the queen will slow her laying and this creates space in the brood box for more honey and pollen storage. By winter the box should have enough honey for them to survive. I’m going to keep some honey frames in case they need it.

    My only question is how do you know if they have enough? He didn’t specify what amount is enough. Pretty sure his thinking is that the bees will know and as the population dwindles they’ll store more and more which is why feeding is essential.

  18. #17
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    May 2016
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    Default Re: Rethinking 2 deeps and medium super configuration

    Alison went to all mediums with the exception of one colony that refuses to give up their one deep box on the bottom. Lifting deep boxes is difficult for her and it's just easier to be standard on one size. The four colonies that overwintered in a three medium format did well for her, but we are a little farther south than you are.
    Humble assistant to beek Alison as well as family purveyor of luxury Bee condominiums and Paparazzi activities...

  19. #18
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    Apr 2018
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    Pleasanton, CA, USA
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    Default

    I’m currently trying several brood configuration. Two 10 frame deeps, two 8 frame deeps, and one 10 frame deep. My 8 frame deep never moved up to Ross Round Super, instead the top brood chamber is almost exclusively full of honey. My 2 10 frame deeps did eventually move up to the regular medium super but it took them almost 2 months before they did; again the second brood box is almost exclusively honey. My one 10 frame deep (split hive from 8 frame) I just put a medium super on top because that was what I had on hand. The medium super was also completely filled with honey and almost no brood. So I’ve placed an excluder on top of the deep and bees are continuing to fill out new super placed inbetween. Next year I am switching to all one deep brood box as it seems my bees only uses bottom chamber for brood.

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