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Discussion Starter #1
Starting out my bee keeping this year. Located in the Peidmont area of NC (Fayetteville area).

1) Does a final box count for a hive look like 2 Deeps for the hive, followed by a queen excluder (when the hive matures) and the honey super on top of that?

2) For the purpose of standard gear, is there any compelling reason not to use a deep for a honey super? [I know weight will be an issue].

Thanks
 

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This is actually a great question from us (the beginners) to yes "you" - the seasoned veterans.

Many books do indeed state and/or suggest that there be two deep hive boxes for a beginning hive just as the above question inquires, so the top box will be the food stores for the bees during the winter months.

I have often wondered this same question, here in North Carolina, is it really neccessary for the second box of the starter hive to be a deep brood box or can one use a shallow honey super box for this foodstores. I mean it really doesn't get cold enough in my opinion to suffice for utilizing such large boxes for honey stores.

But then again I am a beginner in this so whom am I?

Please, seasoned North Carolina beekeepers inform us correctly on this issue.

Thanks a million. I am guessing that perhaps the authors of the books stating such are possibly those persons that reside in the more northern states, i suppose.

Chris
 

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The reason for 2 deeps is not so much room for winter stores. By winter they are normally using only the top deep anyway-the bottom will be mostly empty. It's because the more populous a hive is, the more honey it will bring in. 2 deeps with the queen laying in most of them results in many more bees than 1 deep and one shallow. A few years ago, I had a hive so strong that they were using 2 deeps and 1 medium and brought in 5 supers of honey. I've read of other beekeepers having that much or more for hive bodies at times. In the spring, if one were to set up 3 hives each with the same beginning strength: one with 2 deeps and the other 2 with one deep and one shallow, the one with 2 deeps would normally bring in more honey than the other 2 combined.

With 2 shallows as honey supers, you can add the second as the first one is 2/3 full. If your honey flow is not great enough, you may not need the add the second shallow super. If you put on only one deep at the beginning and the bees do not fill it, you will have all the frames filled partially. The rest of the frames will be partly empty and partly filled with unripe honey. Unripe honey causes stomach aches. Shallow and mediums as honey supers justs gives you much more flexiblity to adjust as conditions warrant.

I hope I explained this well.
 

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Weight or a weak flow are the biggest deterrents to deep honey supers. I have used deeps, mediums and shallows over the decades. Weight is not such an issue since frames are removable and I usually do to brush any stragglers off before heading to the extractor. They make this cool tool called a hand truck. If you make a simple base to hold the super and catch any drippings at the same time, it will make handling honey supers easy. I have seen pictures of Canadian hives with stacks of deep supers 20 high. Now that would be something to watch lifting and carrying those down a ladder!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So, If I've got this right...

1) Having 2 deeps for the hive body is a good thing, more bees, better overwinter, stronger hive benifits?

2) Using a 3rd deep for the honey super may result in partially filled frames and uncured honey?


I appreciate the input, and would love to hear more!

Thanks
 

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You should be able to fill one deep between now and Fall. Super depth, like hive color, or foundation color means a lot to the beekeeper and nothing to the bees. Having several sizes of equipment is more of an issue especially when you get a few hives. If all your supers are the same depth you can rotate frames from honey to brood to reduce diseases and chemicals in the comb. Replacing combs before five years goes a long way to keeping your hive healthy. Comb is a chemical sponge. Even hives in organic orchards pick up toxic chemicals. It is common to use all medium Illinois supers when you get a dozen hives or more. Three mediums is like two deeps. Use what you have and the bees will get it done!
 

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I'm up in the mountains, and here the minimal suggestion for wintering is 2 deeps and a medium. A few beeks in the local group have switched over to just using medium, and that's because of the beek's physical limitations. A full deep can weigh about 60 pounds.

My plan is to run all deeps for the brood & mediums for honey. But you're still talking upwards of 45 pounds for a medium.

And a suggestion for a simple base suggested by AmericasBeekeeper: Home Depot sells black tubs used for mixing mortar. The $4 one is *perfect* for holding a super and you can catch all the drips, too.
 

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If I could start over from scratch or was rich, I would go with all mediums for the reason America's beek said.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate the input, I will stay with the Deeps, as I have 15 Deeps for 5 hives. Most of which are stacked inside awaiting the construction efforts of the bees to fill out comb and brewd. But I'm ready to keep stacking.

My goal right now is to make it to next spring without loosing any hives. So I'll feed them till they don't take it. Give them new boxes when 8 of the 10 are filled.

Oh the hard part... be patient too
 

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Just to add from previous post. Beek around here (north of Charlotte) normally run 2 deeps for the brood chamber. For us the flow ends in the middle of June. They bring in nothing for a couple of months and then some years gradually bring in some early fall honey. If I leave partially filled honey supers on after June 15, within a few weeks they will have eaten or moved down the remaining honey in them. I take off all capped/cured honey and put wet excluders back on and leave them because the bee population is so great at that time. The flow may be different in your area, but part of the fun is learning how to manage for honey flows. Beekeeping really is localized. For instance, a nearby farmer who plants the right variety of soybeans can mean a big crop in the fall.
 

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What is a wet excluder?
My bad. I need to read what I've written before I hit "Submit reply". I meant to say wet supers above the excluder. Supers that I've extracted that are still wet with honey I put back on for the bees to clean up.
 
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