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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a 1st year beek. I have read and heard from many beeks to use 2 deep boxes for brood and once they fill the bottom brood they will move up and start filling the upper deep.
I had an expierenced beek to my house recently to check on a nuc and they recommended only using 1 deep for brood than a queen excluder and another deep for the bee's honey.

My goal is big strong hives.-- I don't really care about the honey. Should I say that I'd rather have bees than honey.

I'd love some advice. I know everyone's will differ and that's ok.
Thanks,
Julie
 

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Since your goal is big strong hives add the 2nd deep as part of the brood chamber. If the queen has more room to lay that generally translates into a more populous hive.
 

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Hi Julie,
In the fall the bees will start putting honey in the upper deep without an excluder. As they fill the upper box with honey the queen will move down into the bottom box.

In the spring if you have too much honey you can extract some. On the other hand if they don't have enough in the fall you'll need to feed.
 

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I agree that the strongest hive most likely will have two brood bodies. Earlier this year there was a great letter from an old timer in Bee Culture magazine who talked about only using one hive body then supering above it. I started the year with three hives that survived out of five and have split several to now having seven hives. Some of the hives are small nucs that i have now transferred to a single body and they are coming on. I am going to experiment some this summer with one body as well as my normal two deeps.

One of the beauties of beekeeping is experimenting. It is fun to try new things and see what happens. Read and talk to other beekeepers. Your learning curve is pretty steep starting out. Heck after four years my curve is still steep.

I have learned so much this year experimenting with splits. I read and reread articles and books this winter and then tried it with great success. My queens have been so superior to the tiny queens that typically come with packages.

Best wishes in your beekeeping. Pife
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much for your input. I went into my package hive this afternoon. I had put a queen excluder on the bottom brood box 2 weeks ago. I installed the package at the beg of April. The brood box hive was completely full of brood. Frame 1 thru 9 every side of every frame was FULL of brood. I took the queen excluder off to give her room to go up. There were no swarm cells but the hive was testier than usual. The queen was going strong. Found a ton of eggs
I don't want to do split at this point. I have 4 hives and I prefer 4 booming strong hives than 5 or 6 ok hives.
Thanks again for your input,
Julie
 

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In your climate, as in mine, the queen will run out of laying room in one deep. If you want really strong hives you need at least two deeps for brood. Now, in your area you have lots of eucalyptus and other forage through the winter. The bees WILL FILL that second deep with honey between Thanksgiving and the end of January. You will have to deal with it by the first of Feb.

Fuzzy
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry, I'm not sure what do you mean by deal with it by Feb? What I will need to deal with by Feb?
Thanks,
Julie
 

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Good Question.

I live in a really cold climate but I run three deeps all the time. My bees came out of winter very strong without feeding. I think they need more room than we give them in two deeps to over winter around here. Some have said the extra room inhibits them from swarming. I would agree so far. It took them a while to move down into the bottom deep after winter but this might have given them the impression they had more room even though the hive was packed with bees. It is more work and cost in the beginning but so far my impression is that it is worth it. Good luck.
 

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Julie,

"What I will need to deal with by Feb?"

If the top brood box is full of honey at the end of Jan ( about 90 lbs of honey ) then as the temps warm a bit in Feb the hive will swarm out because they don't have enough room. So you will have to "deal" with it by removing the honey and replacing the frames with empties ( new ones or sticky ones from extracting ).

In our area, san jose & santa cruz the bees will work 350-365 days a year. They don't need feed, they need room.

Fuzzy
 
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