First year everything - Can I single?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Columbus, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default First year everything - Can I single?

    Ok - first post here so try not to pull out your stingers...

    New Hives; new foundation; new bees; new keeper; attending classes; looking for a mentor - I have two 10 frame deep hives that I have set up on 34 acres (alfalfa; soybeans; corn; wildflowers; etc all around for 15 mi radius). Wooden frames with black acorn foundation; BeeSmart screened bottom boards; BeeSmart outside covers; two additional deeps for expansion (if needed?). My 2 packages will arrive in mid to late April here in Indiana. I'm considering using Medium supers and possibly using my 2nd set of Deeps as new Brood boxes in another year (maybe). My first of MANY questions is: Can I plan on keeping the bees limited to a single brood box all year and through the winter? I have no idea how fast they will grow and expand - and for right now I'm not looking to jump into Splits and do not want 20 hives to manage until I know what I'm doing, or at least think that I know something. I just want two solid hives that are healthy and strong to get through winter. I may get some honey but its not really my target goal for year one. Am I going to overcrowd a single deep and invite swarming/absconding and is this approach reasonable? Zone 6b I think...

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Welcome to Bee Source. I'd plan on using the second deep or a medium for stores to get each hive through winter. Here in Alabama we don't have your winters but I usually go into winter with at least deep and a full medium of honey on top. Two deeps going into winter are even better. Good luck with your bees.
    "Sometimes the best action, with bees, is no action at all."

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Schenectady, NY, USA
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    I encourage you to start by having a brood nest of no more than one deep plus one medium. Start your package in the deep alone and feed, feed, feed to draw out the frames. When seven frames are well drawn add a medium on top. Again, feed to get the frames drawn. When all frames are drawn reverse the boxes so that the medium is on the bottom. Then you can stop feeding and let the bees multiply and store honey for the winter. By October your top box (the deep) should weigh 80 lbs or more. If it does not, feed some more.

    Good luck

    Lloyd
    Lloyd Spear

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    910

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    I would not restrict a hive to a single brood box. The hives will want to swarm due to the limited space. Plus, in your area, overwintering is possible in a single deep but you will need to be watching to make sure it doesn't starve out in the spring. Springtime is when stores really get used up.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Columbus, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    ..... By October your top box (the deep) should weigh 80 lbs or more. If it does not, feed some more.

    Good luck
    Lloyd
    Not trying to be really dense here Lloyd - how do I weight the box to know if its 80lbs? I don't think I'll be dragging the bathroom scales out into the woods.... or do I? Thanks

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Columbus, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Thanks Eric... I was thinking that if the new Packages got well established I would leave a medium super on along with a sugar feeder during the winter to help with feeding.... is that enough?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    910

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Quote Originally Posted by Champy View Post
    Thanks Eric... I was thinking that if the new Packages got well established I would leave a medium super on along with a sugar feeder during the winter to help with feeding.... is that enough?
    Sure, lots of beeks do a deep and a medium. That is common where I live. My preference is to use only deeps for brood chambers and use mediums for honey supers. It simplifies organization, frame storage and frame swapping.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Fox Lake Il
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Champy,
    Best thing is to read,read, read about beekeeping. Get Beekeeping for Dummies, and Beekeeping Handbook from Amazon. Go to Honey Bee Suite website and read as much as possible on it. That is plenty to get you started correctly and will answer most of your questions. Enjoy your bees. Good luck.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    St. Michael, MN
    Posts
    692

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Quote Originally Posted by Champy View Post
    Not trying to be really dense here Lloyd - how do I weight the box to know if its 80lbs? I don't think I'll be dragging the bathroom scales out into the woods.... or do I? Thanks
    Yep. That's exactly what you do. Or, you got down to the thrift store and buy a second hand one for a few dollars and use that. Set it on some plywood and tilt the hive onto it and gently hold it balanced on the corner so all the weight is on the scale.

    Or, you can do like I do. I bought a game scale from Cabela's and made a small claw which attaches to it and hooks under the edge of the hive to raise it just barely off the stand. I weigh each side of the hive and add the two weights together to get the total weight. I find that's more accurate than weighing front and rear of the hives.

    BTW, I'm wintering 3 of my hives in singles this year up here in MN. As of a week and a half ago they are still alive, but winter isn't over yet!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Columbus, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Thanks Cyber...... yep I been reading Backyard Beekeeper and Beekeeping Handbook; already worked my way through most of the HB Suite beginning stuff; watching a ton of YouTube videos by others; visiting other knowledge sites like UofGuelph / Bushfarms / etc...and just now navigating my way through this forum (yikes there is a ton of stuff). I am also attending our State Beekeeper Assoc conference next week and taking their Beginner Beekeeper course along with my wife. Doing my best to build up a game-plan well before the Packages arrive - knowing full well it may change just because anything can happen - and probably will.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    262

    Default

    In zone 6b you can not feed sugar syrup in the winter. Bees dont take syrup below 50 F. Check with your local beekeepers but feeding in the north east for winter is a September to mid October activity. My new hives stored 50 lbs of syrup in 2 week to bring my hives to 150 lbs. 100 lbs hony and 50 lbs equptment for 2 deeps. It is remarkable how they suck that stuff down.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Columbus, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: First year everything - Can I single?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Madsen View Post
    In zone 6b you can not feed sugar syrup in the winter. Bees dont take syrup below 50 F. Check with your local beekeepers but feeding in the north east for winter is a September to mid October activity.....
    Thanks Alex - I was not intending to feed syrup over winter (Dec-Feb/Mar here), but was intending to put a sugar cake/patty in there during the coldest months. Is that the right approach?

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    262

    Default

    Winter feeding of sugar is a topic of great debate second only to religious beliefs and TF beekeeping. This is my first winter and I am in the camp of dont feed unless the bees are running out. As of 3 weeks ago each hive had about 45 lbs of honey. I will check again next weekend. If you are curious on wintering teqniques I recommend Mike Plamers video on keeping bees in the frozen north.

    Overwintering Bees Panel Discussion with Michael Palmer, Harry Fulton and Kim Flottum
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSjlwKfjM1U

    Michael Palmer HCBA 3 26 16 Session 1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=JOa_SOWVdmk

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