Observations on Single Deep Brood
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  1. #1
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    Thumbs Up Observations on Single Deep Brood

    This is my first season with a trial of single deeps for brood. The single deeps are putting honey up in the supers much sooner than the double deeps. Brood frames have very little space taken up by honey in the upper corners. Brood is right out onto frame 2 and 9 and on some colonies onto the inside of outer frames. It is quite a different arrangement on the brood box frames.

    One of my double deeps was used for a Cloake board setup to raise some grafts so had excluder between boxes for a week and a bit and the bees have turned the upper box into mostly honey storage. I decided to let them continue; I can handle a deep of honey in a pinch!

    I did knock down a few started cells in a couple of colonies. One probably was supercedure, not swarm, and they now have one of my grafted cells all thinned down but the old queen still laying. One other colony I knocked down queen cells twice and they have not replaced them. Starting to refill emerged drone comb areas with honey. I plan on checking them about every 5 days but it is quicker with only single boxes to check.

    I know for certain I will have to feed them immediately when I pull supers off and should be prepared to feed them a bit in the spring but it does look like better honey yield.

    The use of the Snelgrove board will be different but since I think grafting is do-able for me, I will not be using the division board so much for increase. Will have to live with this through a full change of the seasons and see how I like it then.
    Frank

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    I am trying single deeps for brood the 1st time this year and I am digging it.. I often have poor yeilds were I am at and end up pinching a few caped frames out of the brood chamber/ my nucs

    so far so good, while its been a poor year I am looking at a better harvest then most (can't coun't the chickens yet)
    Haveing the queens below has been great for queen rearing and I can use just about any in the yard as a finisher

    Or a starter for that matter, walk up to any, pop the top, smoke a bunch of nurce bees up out of the brood chamber, set it to the side, put the brood chamber on a new stand and place the top chamber on the old stand... 24 hours after placeing the grafts put it back the was it was.

    most impressive has been the 4x4 or 5x5s with common deep supers. I have one that was started as spring nucs and its 4 tall right now.. every 2 weeks I go threw and rotate 3-4 brood frames above the exculder.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Williamsport, PA
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    I'm also trying out single deep configuration this year and so far like it very much. I had to get into one over the weekend because I wanted to graft from the queen. I saw eggs so I grabbed the frame. When I got it inside there was very little already hatched. Both sides were covered with eggs and a little capped brood and honey. It's almost like they are hatching out and entire frame and laying it up at the same time.

    Another thing I'm experimenting with is 3 5-frame nucs pushed together with a queen excluder on top and 2 8-frame honey supers. I was inspired by Ian's 3 6-frame setup which I also have going. 6 frame arrangement is kicking butt with honey production. I wanted to try 5 framers because I already have all that gear vs 6 frame/10 frame gear. They were started later so I won't be able to compare until fall flow.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    I'm experimenting with is 3 5-frame nucs pushed together with a queen excluder on top and 2 8-frame honey supers
    ohhh.. I hadn't thought of 8f equipment, I like it


    (edit) just went out and tryed it
    The iceing on the cake is my main mateing nucs are 8 1/2 frames with a removal center divider so I get 3x3 w/2 feeders... 4 of them sit very nicely on top of 3 of my 5f nucs, a 10f QE overlaps the division boards so the left and right queens could access the 2 chambers on each end and hole cut in the QE would alow the queen in the center to acess the other 4 to get them layed up....
    when its time move 4 combs from each nuc up to the 8f deeps leave the queens in the bottom with 4 fresh drawn to lay in and place the minis on there own stand or run as a 8 way

    oh that's hot, thanks for the tip..
    Last edited by msl; 06-29-2020 at 08:06 PM.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ohhh.. I hadn't thought of 8f equipment, I like it
    I find 5 frame nucs winter best for me. That's the other reason I'm experimenting with this. Everything I'm doing is a variation of single deeps this year. My only boxes that are doubles are grafting colonies and one that I keep at my mother's house she likes to watch.

    20200629_182422.jpg

    Frank, you, and I have actual winters. My understanding is that further south singles don't work because they never completely shut down for winter.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    I just went thru my last double deep colony and re arranged things to make the upper box a honey super. It has only seen oxalic acid last fall. There are a few frames with mostly capped brood that will be above the new excluder location now, but that will have emerged by the time I get around to extracting.

    I will have a similar box from one other colony that will have honey from previously brooded frames. I am curious to see how much, if any, difference there is. Some folks commonly make no distinction about segregation of brood and honey frames. I prefer not to mix them and certainly dont want deep supers of honey on a regular basis. (A medium of honey is plenty heavy enough for me.) In any case this couple of boxes will extract separate and be my personal use.

    I will have to rethink my winterizing plans. I put a medium super of undrawn plastic foundation under several single deeps last fall when I took supers off. I see Roland and a few others who winter singles with a box of undrawn or empty comb underneath. I found that the bees partially drew them out but did not brood or store anything in them. Just a hangout. I moved them out this spring before the queen moved down into them. Gave me some started comb for supers.

    Just one idea I am rolling around in my head but so far have not seen any glitches in it. Anyone???
    Frank

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    I have never read about undrawn frames under the brood for winter. I will check that out.

    I use a shim year-round that is 3/8" on one side and much deeper (2"?) on the other. In the summer the 3/8 side is down and in the winter the deep side is down so I can put a sugar brick on. Then, I put a medium on top with a piece of foam board on the bottom and pink glass above. You can see the 8-frame shim in the picture I posted. I also have them in 5 frame size.

    That's what works for me but may be wildly inappropriate for someone else. I will look into the undrawn frames underneath though.

  9. #8
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    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
    I have never read about undrawn frames under the brood for winter. I will check that out.
    Me neither, but I don't see how it can hurt. Normally I overwinter just single boxes with insulation on top, but nothing underneath. This empty box underneath could give them more space in the fall when I have to reduce them from 3 boxes to 1... I will try on some hives this winter and see if there is any difference.

  10. #9
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    May 2011
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    Our no fly condition can be 6 months. Sometimes a few slight thaws but not dependably. Lots of bees die off and drop. The can accumulate and backup even into the frames. This can freeze and may not be easy to rake out. A bit more space down there does not seem to be a problem. Excess space at the top of the cluster would increase the surface area for heat loss.

    I have seen pretty severe bearding after pulling supers. At the same time you will need to feed perhaps 4 gallons of syrup as a single deep brood box will have proportionately less honey stored on its frames compared to multi story colonies. Also somewhere in the box there needs to be room for nearly a football sized cluster. Some of them can fit between faces of capped stores but not like the room in empty or undrawn comb.

    Now in a month or so of mildly cold autumn weather the cluster will shrink due to die off of old foragers, and some stores will be consumed, space will be tight for a while. This is little bits I have gathered listening to Roland, Ian Stettler and others, plus my own hunches. I dont think the under box is essential but when you start pushing a much colder climate it might be a bit of insurance.

    Not so many years ago the northern states universities were recommending triple deeps and many Canadian beekeepers used to blow the bees into the snow and buy new packages in the spring. My son runs about 40 colonies in Eastern Ontario with quite a few singles. He gets similar survival as the double deeps but has had to feed in the spring and has lost some chilled brood. There are some management differences.

    I am just getting my feet wet on this idea. So far I am pleased. One single colony is looking like it will give me more honey than I have ever had from a double deep. The summer is not over though and we all know how quick things can change.
    Frank

  11. #10
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    Jun 2016
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    One aspect of single deep management: spring population explosion. In my neck of the woods, my Dadant extra-deep hives will be full of bees by early April, but with 5 or so frames of capped brood - that means in 2 weeks, 10 more frames of bees!!!

    You'll want to plan on having another deep for each overwintered deep to be added about mid April, to handle the explosion in population (or whenever it is for your area). Or to have 2 honey supers to add.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    One aspect of single deep management: spring population explosion. In my neck of the woods, my Dadant extra-deep hives will be full of bees by early April, but with 5 or so frames of capped brood - that means in 2 weeks, 10 more frames of bees!!!

    You'll want to plan on having another deep for each overwintered deep to be added about mid April, to handle the explosion in population (or whenever it is for your area). Or to have 2 honey supers to add.
    I am hoping that with my colder climate the expansion wont be quite as explosive. Dandelions not fully booming till third week in may.

    I just now have a dadant depth box of freshly drawn wax foundation frames with a queen just starting to lay on them. A brand new fresh start from a clean slate. Sure is pretty. A single brood box that size should drive quite a population of bees! I will just have to learn how to drive them.

    Here is a pic of the frames about half drawn a week ago. They were drawn below the active deep colony. A little slower but they get drawn clear of brood or nectar when there is a flow and the queen and honey business is happening above.

    Other pic is my hive hoist that I can lift a whole colony with to swap bottom boards or undersuper. Slow but someone handicapped for lifting could manage a few hives. I only partially fit that description but alas it is probably a work in progress!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by crofter; 07-04-2020 at 04:21 PM.
    Frank

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    I don't think the explosive growth is a problem. A queen won't lay where she can't lay and the younger bees as they approach forager age seem to move up into the supers. By the time successive rounds are hatching there are more foragers. I think one of the positive aspects of single brood boxes is that is pushes house bees out the door and there isn't as much storage in the brood box.

    Just like young foragers can regress if needed, I believe the house bees start flying sooner. But that is just my undocumented opinion after running them this year.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
    I don't think the explosive growth is a problem. A queen won't lay where she can't lay and the younger bees as they approach forager age seem to move up into the supers. By the time successive rounds are hatching there are more foragers. I think one of the positive aspects of single brood boxes is that is pushes house bees out the door and there isn't as much storage in the brood box.

    Just like young foragers can regress if needed, I believe the house bees start flying sooner. But that is just my undocumented opinion after running them this year.
    It is amazing how many bees are in the supers. With 4 mediums or a deep and two mediums supers there are a way more bees than would ever fit in a single. There does not seem the reluctance to start working thru the excluder; they probably get booted up there at a very tender age.

    This is very much an undocumented conjecture but the colony just seems to work differently. There may be some warts appear on the situation later on but for now it is interesting in deed.
    Frank

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    Crofter -m Welcome to the club. The bottom box in winter is normally drawn comb for us, but a box with no frames seems to work the same.


    Crazy Roland

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Crofter -m Welcome to the club. The bottom box in winter is normally drawn comb for us, but a box with no frames seems to work the same.


    Crazy Roland
    Roland, when do you add the bottom box? Right before winterizing, after feeding is done or before that and allow them to store some syrup in the bottom? Thanks!

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Salisbury, NC, USA
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    Default

    I ran single brood for the first time this year. It was very different. I started mine too strong and cut cells out all spring. I used the cells fir splits and to stock queen castles. My flow was bad. Cold wet spring. Knowing the queen was in the bottom box made inspections faster. You could really tell the bees that had a tidier house than others by the amount of honey in the brood chamber. Some had basically none. Some had honey around the brood. My biggest issues were starting them too strong which was a bear to manage swarming. Second was having to feed right away when pulling honey off. I then fed a little too much too fast thus plugging the brood nest and more swarm cells. I've got most back in doubles now. My plan was to winter singles which is no issue here. Now I'm not sure what to do. It made mite treatment easier too. I dont know which way to go. 😁

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    dekster - ussually the most empty super goes below for winter, then feed goes on.

    Crazy Roland

  19. #18
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    Sep 2016
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    Default Re: Observations on Single Deep Brood

    love the lift crofter, need to come up with something like it. I found out today 4 deeps is my limit... 5 was a stretch

    lift deep1 (2).jpg


    but given that stack was powered by 2 spring nucs, I ain't going back.. this is a far cry for 12-15# yields from topbar hives a few years back
    lift deep3.jpg
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

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