We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out
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  1. #1
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    Feb 2020
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    Default We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    This will be the first year with bees for my wife and I. We both are on first name basis with all the staff at our back doctors plus I'm a bit long in the tooth. With that in mind, the decision was made to go all 8-frame mediums. Two 8-frame medium hives all painted and awaiting our nucs. Each hive presently has 3 mediums but from what I have now read, we need another medium inorder to have a three medium brood box plus a single super. No problem.

    And then it got complicated. We live over the hill and a little bit past younder which complicates finding nucs. I finally found a supplier within driving distance but only 5-frame deeps available. So, back to the drawing board. I wore out my search button trying to figure out how to install the 5-frame nuc in our 8-frame hives. The more I read, the more I became confused. Remember that we both are starting out from zero knowlege. My wife said for me just to get a pair of deeps ( we are starting with two hives) and forget about it but one of the posts that I read discussed (I think) stacking a pair of mediums, placing the deep frames from the nuc in the top medium and allowing them to extend down a bit into the lower medium. Did I understand this right? Lots of empty space down below. I'm guessing that I would then fill the 3 upper and the 3 lower spaces with my medium frames. If I am good so far, what happens next. What gets filled in and where and what has to happen for me to pull the deeps one at a time? Walk me through what happens in the brood box with this arrangement. Dumb question but we are starting from scratch.
    Sometimes I wonder what happened to the people who asked me for directions.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    My opinion here; I would buy two deeps for the nucs. Don’t use a queen excluder, have an unlimited broodnest so the queen can lay up into the mediums. Feed them to encourage wax building. I do hope you have a mentor around, someone with experience, you can learn much from them. Make sure they can overwinter hives successfully. Enjoy it with your wife, its a good hobby to do together.
    Proverbs 16:24

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    I agree with cloverdale;

    Let the bees expand from the deeps up into your mediums. You should be able to harvest honey from a few outer deep frames and some of the medium frames in the fall. Come spring the queens and most of the bees will be up in the medium boxes.

    With a bit of guidance you should be able to buy 2 queens in the spring for the deep boxes and sell them as single colonies if you decide to stay with all mediums. They would command a good price. You should not have to handle the deep boxes much that way.

    It might stretch you knowledge a bit but it really is not very complicated and I am sure you could get lots of guidance here on the forum.

    You are starting out on a very interesting venture!
    Frank

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    4,600

    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    I'll third the motion. Get the two 8-frame deeps and use them as the lower brood box in your hive. The box will not get that heavy as little honey actually gets stored in the bottom. This recommendation is also based on the fact you need to buy at least two more boxes anyhow. The "let it hang" method does work but is a lot of extra trouble.

    Just about fell out of my chair when I read your tag line!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Wimer, Oregon
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    143

    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dyer View Post
    This will be the first year with bees for my wife and I. We both are on first name basis with all the staff at our back doctors plus I'm a bit long in the tooth. With that in mind, the decision was made to go all 8-frame mediums. Two 8-frame medium hives all painted and awaiting our nucs. Each hive presently has 3 mediums but from what I have now read, we need another medium inorder to have a three medium brood box plus a single super. No problem.

    And then it got complicated. We live over the hill and a little bit past younder which complicates finding nucs. I finally found a supplier within driving distance but only 5-frame deeps available. So, back to the drawing board. I wore out my search button trying to figure out how to install the 5-frame nuc in our 8-frame hives. The more I read, the more I became confused. Remember that we both are starting out from zero knowlege. My wife said for me just to get a pair of deeps ( we are starting with two hives) and forget about it but one of the posts that I read discussed (I think) stacking a pair of mediums, placing the deep frames from the nuc in the top medium and allowing them to extend down a bit into the lower medium. Did I understand this right? Lots of empty space down below. I'm guessing that I would then fill the 3 upper and the 3 lower spaces with my medium frames. If I am good so far, what happens next. What gets filled in and where and what has to happen for me to pull the deeps one at a time? Walk me through what happens in the brood box with this arrangement. Dumb question but we are starting from scratch.
    "We both are on first name basis with all the staff at our back doctors plus I'm a bit long in the tooth."
    DavidZ

  7. #6
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    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Quote Originally Posted by Apis Natural View Post
    "We both are on first name basis with all the staff at our back doctors plus I'm a bit long in the tooth."
    Well, I understand that line very well indeed, and for me that would have been the most important consideration to have taken into account when choosing a hive. So - my personal choice would have been a Long Hive, set at a comfortable working height.

    However, if you have selected a vertical hive setup, then I'd actually recommend the biggest and deepest box you can find - something along the lines of a 12-frame Dadant perhaps, or a 10-frame Langstroth Deep, and plan on never lifting it, unless completely empty, and even then with 2 people doing the lifting. From then on, only ever plan on lifting out one frame at a time. But even so, you will undoubtedly need to stoop in order to do this, which is why my own personal preference would always be for a Horizontal Long Hive, should there be a realistic prospect of the colony developing into anything approaching the substantial sizes to be found in some regions of the United States. (something which is fairly rare here in Britain)

    With regard to upper boxes, my personal recommendation would be to fit pairs of half-width boxes over the wide brood box - in the same way as the Dartington/ Omlet-Beehaus Hives fit 4 narrow boxes over those Long Hives in order to reduce the weight of supers for reasons of safety and convenience.

    Just a two-pennyworth of an opinion from someone who's 6'4" with a history of minor back issues and who'll never see 70 again ...
    LJ
    Last edited by little_john; 02-02-2020 at 09:36 AM.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  8. #7
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    DavidZ

  9. #8
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    "There are no dumb questions...only dumb answers".

    Either method suggested up until now will work, but on balance I'd go with buying the 8-frame deeps. Buy two, one for each hive. Your brood nest should eventually be a deep with a medium below it. So, the medium will eventually be on the bottom board with the deep above it.
    Start by putting the five frames you bought in a deep, with one undrawn frame on one side and two undrawn frames on the other side. Put a medium ABOVE the deep, and feed sugar syrup until 'almost all' frames are fully drawn, in the medium as well as in the deep.
    When almost all frames are fully drawn, switch the deep and the medium so the deep is on the bottom board and the medium on top. Stop feeding. Add a queen excluder on top of the medium and when that is about 50% drawn add another medium on top of that. That should do it for the first year.
    Your bees should overwinter just fine with a deep and a medium. I am in upstate NY where our winters are long and cold and I use the same configuration, but with 10-frame equipment. My losses run under 15%.
    Good luck.
    Lloyd Spear

  10. #9
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Quote Originally Posted by Apis Natural View Post
    Me too!
    Proverbs 16:24

  11. #10
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dyer View Post
    I finally found a supplier within driving distance but only 5-frame deeps available.
    Just buy packages, you can put them in any equipment you want.

  12. #11
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Stack two 8 frame supers together and install the five deep frames from the Nuc. Install a third super with 8 indrawn frames and let bees build upwards. You may need to move center deep frame to hang in center of top brood to better get bees working in drawn frames. Add a fourth super when third is 80% drawn. Bees will move up and you should be able to remove 5 deep frames and lower two medium boxes.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Gould, OK
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    135

    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Another option would be to add a 3" spacer under the medium box. This will make it large enough for the deep frames. Yes you will have extra space under three frames. You can leave the space open and the bees will fill with comb. After the bees start to lay eggs into the upper medium (box #2) you can move the queen into this box and put a queen excluder between the deep frames and the box with the queen. This will let the brood in the deeps to hatch out. You can scrap any wax on the other 3 medium frames so they can fit like normal. After this you can remove the deep frames and the spacer. The spacer can be used as a feeder shim later to make room for patties or mountain camp feeding later on. Keep learning and having fun.

  14. #13
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    Yuba County, California, USA
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    I'm going to suggest a different plan of action.
    I run 8 frame mediums throughout, and would not want to have deeps any more.
    If I was in your situation, I'd put the nucs on top of 2 stacked 8 frame mediums. Cut out a board for a lid over the portion of the top that isn't covered by the nuc. A 2x6 cut 20 inches long should cover it. Let the bees build down into your equipment. The nucs will end up being all honey over time as the bees move the broodnest down and store honey up.

    2 medium 8 frame boxes are plenty of room for the broodnest to get established, so I'd start with putting the nucs over the top of 2 different hive stacks of 2 medium 8 frame boxes. Good luck whatever you do.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
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  15. #14
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Quote Originally Posted by dr4ngas View Post
    Another option would be to add a 3" spacer under the medium box. This will make it large enough for the deep frames. Yes you will have extra space under three frames. You can leave the space open and the bees will fill with comb. After the bees start to lay eggs into the upper medium (box #2) you can move the queen into this box and put a queen excluder between the deep frames and the box with the queen. This will let the brood in the deeps to hatch out. You can scrap any wax on the other 3 medium frames so they can fit like normal. After this you can remove the deep frames and the spacer. The spacer can be used as a feeder shim later to make room for patties or mountain camp feeding later on. Keep learning and having fun.
    In combination with the above scheme, Some sort of slatted rack or spacer under the medium frames only would prevent random comb built on bottom of those frames. Lots of ways to skin that cat!
    Frank

  16. #15
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    As I see it, the main problem isn't how to get the nucs installed - but rather what happens to these hives when their colonies mature. Being in the South, I assume Texas is a productive beekeeping region (?) - if so, then if 8-frame equipment is used, at least 2 deep brood boxes will be required to house a mature colony (perhaps three 8-frame mediums ?), which - bearing in mind the OP's comment about back problems - raises the issue of lifting the upper box(es) for inspection.

    There are ways around this of course, such as employing some kind of hive lift, but that's quite an investment for someone with just one or two hives.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  17. #16
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Bees move upwards a lot better than downward. I would not recommend at all putting Nuc on top and trying to force bees down onto indrawn comb. You’re playing with causing swarming.

    If you have comb above and a drawn frame with brood in it, bees will work upwards. There will be little comb drawn below.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  18. #17
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    In combination with the above scheme, Some sort of slatted rack or spacer under the medium frames only would prevent random comb built on bottom of those frames. Lots of ways to skin that cat!
    I have not really had a problem with comb. I use a lot of medium frames in deep equipment, because I bought too many medium frames and not enough deeps! So I started just sticking them into the deep boxes. The bees build off the bottom sure enough but it is easy to slice off. I suppose if I had a lot of hives and wanted to extract with a machine it would be a problem, but for just a handful of hives it is not.

  19. #18
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    I think your wife had the right idea, you never going to need to lift those bottom deeps as a whole
    however given your growing season, as others have noted just go with packages.. if you'r not going to be running deeps why pay for that drawn comb
    rays advice is sound as well as long as you copiously feed, and move the queen to the 8f under an QE.. but that's dependent on a the nuc being in a box with removalabul bottom board.. not a pro nuc or jester as the case will likely be.

    We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out
    10 years in and I say that every year
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  20. #19
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    One thing that I have found that really helps is to use cleat handles instead of the recessed handles. Recessed handles force you to grip a box with your hands and arms out away from your body. Cleat handles run the entire width of the box and allow you to position your hands so that you can lift the box closer to your center of gravity, which really helps reduce the strain on me when lifting the box.

    When I got back into beekeeping time off due to relocating across country I decided to go all medium 8s due to geezer back. I quickly ran into the same problem. I decided to make my bottom brood boxes 8 deeps. It hasn't been a problem for me. The bottom brood deep box is lighter than a medium honey super since it doesn't have a huge amount of honey in it and I rarely have to pick it up anyways. In the spring I move the queen down to the bottom box and put on a queen excluder, letting any brood in the mediums above the QE hatch out. I wait until the brood emerges and they have back filled the cells with honey. Then I remove the excluder. The queen won't cross the honey boundary and then I can get their food boxes filled. They go into winter with the brood at the bottom and plenty of food above them. Having all the brood in the bottom also makes fall mite treatment easier. The QE must come off for winter. They'll move up during the winter and I'll have brood on the medium frames, so I repeat the following spring.

    A medium frame is 64% of the comb area of a deep frame. So you need 16 frames, or two medium boxes, to equal one ten frame deep. Four 8 frame mediums is the same as two ten frame deeps. I can winter just fine on one 8 frame deep with one medium, in fact a number of my hives are set up that way right now and I was in them yesterday and they are doing great. Where you are in a warmer climate the bees will be more active in the winter and may need more winter food. Best to ask local beeks how much they need for winter and then you can use that 64% figure to convert to how many mediums you need.
    Zone 6B

  21. #20
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    Default Re: We had it figured out until we didn't have it figured out

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    Just buy packages, you can put them in any equipment you want.
    This is my favorite solution to your problem. I am probably in the distinct minority, but I actually prefer packages over nucs for beginners. Even though I sell nucs.

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