Number of boxes ?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
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    86

    Default Number of boxes ?

    I do not get bee publications anymore and I have not been to any meetings at local associations in a few years. From what I am seeing on this forum it looks like a shift in the number of boxes used. A standard colony for me is 3 mediums and a 4th if they need room. Or 2 deeps with a third but its a medium box if the colony needs room. Most of my established healthy hives have the extra boxes this year.

    It seems that many people here use one deep? Did I just see a couple odd posts or is the trend going towards using fewer boxes?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    I use 2 deeps. A single box requires too much attention to make sure they don't swarm and to make sure they have plenty of stores.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,981

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    I put out the question of "What are the pros and cons of 3 deeps" a few years ago and got a lot of replies from people using various combinations and management practices.

    My son runs about 50 hives in Eastern Ontario and is drifting toward more single deeps rather than double deeps. He feels he can produce more honey per dollar of equipment required but as ericweller mentions they do need more attention to fall feeding and especially watching in spring that they do not starve in a cold snap.
    Frank

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,132

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    Frank, I am like eric in this regard. For a commercial beekeeper that is essentially in the apiary every day, I can see a cost benefit, but for those of us that are backyard beekeepers and maybe get into the hives once or twice a month, a single box seems like a recipe for disaster. I run two deeps and a medium and it is still hard at times to keep them from getting honeybound. JM2C.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,981

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    Yes getting honeybound and swarming could be more of a risk. I think of Rolands method and he does a regular moving up of capped brood and moving down emerged frames or drawn comb from above on a regular 10 day interval if I remember correctly : All deeps even for honey.

    On the other extreme people run unlimited brood nest and just keep piling on the boxes. I dont think that is entirely fool proof to prevent a honey dome occurring and swarm out even if upper boxes have plenty of room. I guess it depends a lot on how fierce your honey flows are.

    When I switched to running Snelgrove division boards that pretty well got rid of swarming concerns and functionally makes a one deep configuration for most of the summer and either raising a new colony above the supers or combining back to winter as a two deep.

    Old Man Time is forcing me to rethink things though and all 8 frame mediums is starting to seem like a good idea!
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    4,132

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    One aspect that does not seem to get mentioned by the single box crowd is having enough drawn frames for splits. Not to explain the obvious, but pulling even three frames for a single split reduces the available space by 30%, leaving very little room for the queen to lay. By running two deeps, I can pull three 3-frame splits from a single hive and still have more comb in the parent hive than a single deep does to start with.

    At 58, I still swing big wrenches for a living. When the time comes, I like the long langs.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,291

    Default

    I don't see a large trend towards less boxes. 2 deeps or 3 mediums for wintering is most common. However, I do believe the use of all mediums, 8frame and double nucs has increased.

    Keep in mind certain posts can be incredibly biased towards a particilar method. Some techniques or tools catch on with beginners with just a few hives. That do snt mean it's well adopted or necessary, judgement is sometimes made without proper experimentation and sampljng. For example there are many folks who swear by robber screens. That they are a necessity. I never used them and most sideliner/commercial don't use them either.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
    Posts
    1,119

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    There are a few vocal beeks using the 1 deep box method, but I don't see a trend.
    Recommend you keep doing what works for you.
    Never ask a barber it he thinks you need a haircut.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    asheville, north carolina, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hops Brewster View Post
    There are a few vocal beeks using the 1 deep box method, but I don't see a trend.
    Recommend you keep doing what works for you.
    I use mostly 8 frame 1 deep and 1 medium. I use 2 deeps if I am planning on making splits from it. Wouldn't the choice be somewhat location specific? I am in western North Carolina.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,943

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Frank, I am like eric in this regard. For a commercial beekeeper that is essentially in the apiary every day, I can see a cost benefit, but for those of us that are backyard beekeepers and maybe get into the hives once or twice a month, a single box seems like a recipe for disaster. I run two deeps and a medium and it is still hard at times to keep them from getting honeybound. JM2C.
    I run single brood chambers not much different than Roland honey production is high, swarming is none to zero, and I'm not in my outyards daily at least not the same ones. Honey bound and swarming what's that? I believe Roland does his manipulations every 10 to 14 days if I'm not mistaken, mine are done 5 days then 7 days flow dependent. Roland is in WI and overwinters in singles I'm in TN and overwinter in singles. I don't spend a ton of money on winter feed and I'd bet Roland doesn't either. People really have difficulty wrapping their heads around running single brood chambers. Cost effective you bet little to no money spent on feed, no production lost to swarming but a lot of deep boxes needed for honey, mediums would not be cost effective for me.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,132

    Default Re: Number of boxes ?

    In the don't knock it till you've tried it category, after I get my 2019 splits done, I am willing to give it a try with a few hives. At this point though, I am still having trouble wrapping my head around how it is better and not just different. Part of the fun with beekeeping is trying out various ideas.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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