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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just ordered bees and they're arriving early next week. I have a beehive a neighbor donated to me that I've sterilized and refurbished. The beehive has 2 boxes. I have waxed frames for one box, but not the 2nd box. My plan is to introduce the bees into the first box. I have an inner cover separating the 2 boxes with a hole in the middle. My plan was to put the sugar water in the 2nd box and let the bees come through the hole in the middle of the inner cover separating the 2 boxes so they can feed off the honey. But if I do this, when do I introduce the frames into the 2nd box?

My question is: should I only start with one box and once the bees become established, add the 2nd box with the frames in the second box? I am not clear as to whether I should (or should not) start the hive with 1 or 2 boxes.
 

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If your boxes are deeps, yes one box. One medium should hold a 3lb package, but not for long. Install the second box when the outer two frames start to get drawn out (80%).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If your boxes are deeps, yes one box. One medium should hold a 3lb package, but not for long. Install the second box when the outer two frames start to get drawn out (80%).
Yeh, they're both deep boxes. I'll start with the one then. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think this is where it gets confusing on these forums :) After researching this more, I'm finding examples, like here:

http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/bees-honey/how-to-set-up-a-beehive.htm

They show setting up a beehive with 2 boxes to start out (both boxes have frames in them). Then I see a lot of examples with starting out with just one box. Is there any reason I should not just start out with the 2 boxes since I already have them as long as both have frames in them?
 

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Ya, just one box, they’ll start doing stuff like moving upward instead of filling out sideways. And with too much room your giving the vermin a chance to infiltrate the hive (small hive beetles, wax moths, ants, etc).
 

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It is also easy to maintain the temperature of 1 box. Brood needs to be kept warm. The warmer the space the more they brood that can be raised (up to a point).
 

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It is also easier to defend a single box. If they are in the lower box and robber bees are coming through the top, it is too far from the cluster to defend. The same happens if they are in the top box. The bottom entrance is too far from the cluster and they have to keep their resources near the cluster. With a single box, the top and the bottom are right near the cluster and easy to defend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, I'm sold. One box it is starting out. Glad to see there's a general consensus among the community here on the forum. Thank you, I greatly appreciate all your help with this.
 

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OK, I'm sold. One box it is starting out. Glad to see there's a general consensus among the community here on the forum. Thank you, I greatly appreciate all your help with this.
ha thats probably the last time you'll get a general consensus here. You are approaching the hobby in the correct fashion. research, question, decide for yourself. the reason this forum is so great is you will get all sides to the story AND the reasons why people do it.

Using the second box as an enclosed feeder is a good idea if there are no natural nectar sources in your area. Otherwise not needed.
If you are getting a package of bees you can also use the second box temporarily to cover the package. I hate shaking bees. Just seems wrong to me for some reason. So I take the queen out and put her in the center of the frames in the first box in her cage and then just lay the package down and get out. they all follow her down and you can take the cage out in a few days when you go back to check that she was released.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Using the second box as an enclosed feeder is a good idea if there are no natural nectar sources in your area. Otherwise not needed.
If you are getting a package of bees you can also use the second box temporarily to cover the package. I hate shaking bees. Just seems wrong to me for some reason. So I take the queen out and put her in the center of the frames in the first box in her cage and then just lay the package down and get out. they all follow her down and you can take the cage out in a few days when you go back to check that she was released.
I think that's a smart approach. My only concern is having to take the top box off after coming back in a few days to check to make sure the queen got out. I don't want to disturb the setup any more than I have to. I've seen some people use the approach you mentioned.

Overall I'm much more confident after getting the feedback from the community. I think my strategy is this:

  • Shake the bees into the bottom box
  • Put the queen in her cage in the frames as I've seen on multiple videos
  • Add the inner cover on top (which has the hole in the middle above the queen's cage
  • Put the telescoping roof on
Regarding feeding them, I'll probably go with a front feeder so I don't have to disturb the hive by taking the roof off. I want to avoid bothering them anymore than needed.
 

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front feeders are always trouble. If thats all you have put it inside the hive not the front. bees don't care if you add or take away an empty box. i just moved a hole hive from a 2nd box into the first box by moving frames. just make sure you always keep brood nest/pollen frames in same order. At least till you are more experienced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
front feeders are always trouble. If thats all you have put it inside the hive not the front. bees don't care if you add or take away an empty box.
Few questions for you:

1.) Why are front feeders trouble?
2.) How long can I leave the 2nd box on with the feeder insider before it's time to take it away entirely? I want to avoid having them start building a hive in an empty 2nd box.
3.) I guess a similar question (and something I need to research more) is how long do I feed them once I add them into the box?
 

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Few questions for you:

1.) Why are front feeders trouble?
2.) How long can I leave the 2nd box on with the feeder insider before it's time to take it away entirely? I want to avoid having them start building a hive in an empty 2nd box.
3.) I guess a similar question (and something I need to research more) is how long do I feed them once I add them into the box?
they promote robbing. other hives or wasps will smell it and once they are on that your hive will be next. I don't know why they sell those types. you can put a large plastic container filled with straw and sugar syrup sitting on top of the frames in the first box. Or a one gallon zip lock bag with a few pin holes on the top side.
Assuming you don't have any drawn frames its not much of a concern imo. If you find they start drawing comb on the ceiling you can just cut it out and put it in your frames.
For feeding a new package like that put on a gallon and see what they do. If they suck it down give them another. eventually they will stop and be bringing in nectar. The feeding gets gives them resources in case there are a few days of rain. Put food coloring in your sugar water so as you are inspecting the hive you will be able to see what cells are nectar vs your feed.
 

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I think that's a smart approach. My only concern is having to take the top box off after coming back in a few days to check to make sure the queen got out. I don't want to disturb the setup any more than I have to. I've seen some people use the approach you mentioned.

Overall I'm much more confident after getting the feedback from the community. I think my strategy is this:

  • Shake the bees into the bottom box
  • Put the queen in her cage in the frames as I've seen on multiple videos
  • Add the inner cover on top (which has the hole in the middle above the queen's cage
  • Put the telescoping roof on
Regarding feeding them, I'll probably go with a front feeder so I don't have to disturb the hive by taking the roof off. I want to avoid bothering them anymore than needed.
be careful if leaving the bees access to the top box. They sometimes seek the high ground to start comb building. when you check back to insure the queen is out, verify they are in the bottom box. if you use 2 boxes, feeding in the top one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
they promote robbing. other hives or wasps will smell it and once they are on that your hive will be next. I don't know why they sell those types. you can put a large plastic container filled with straw and sugar syrup sitting on top of the frames in the first box. Or a one gallon zip lock bag with a few pin holes on the top side.
Assuming you don't have any drawn frames its not much of a concern imo. If you find they start drawing comb on the ceiling you can just cut it out and put it in your frames.
For feeding a new package like that put on a gallon and see what they do. If they suck it down give them another. eventually they will stop and be bringing in nectar. The feeding gets gives them resources in case there are a few days of rain. Put food coloring in your sugar water so as you are inspecting the hive you will be able to see what cells are nectar vs your feed.
wow, all great information. things I hadn't considered before, especially in regards to the front feeder. thanks for sharing that info. will most definitely put the sugar water inside the first box. love the idea about the food coloring. that's a really neat trick as well.
 
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