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I am newer to all medium hives and 8 frame hives in the last 10 years only. So.....we found this year at a marginal site, that has done better than I expected early on, an unusual scenario. Because of good eucalyptus bloom and properly timed mite treatment, the two hives were full of bees brood and honey. But normally I find the bees have moved up and away from the bottom box over winter and prefer to store honey above the brood. But this time both of these hives had substantial honey and some brood in the bottom box and the bulk of the* brood in the two boxes above, with only some honey. So I am trying to understand what made them store so much honey in the bottom? Anyone have experience with this happening? The hives do have slatted racks.
 

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odfrank:

No one else has bitten, so I thought I would share my meager experience with all eight-frame mediums without QE's and with slatted racks.

Last winter I started with four colonies in stacks ranging from three to five tall. At the first cold snap, all four set-up shop in the topmost box.

By early December, two of the colonies failed due to PMS. Following this, I experimented by removing the capped nectar from the deadouts and added surplus to the top of the two remaining colonies.

To my surprise, the clusters immediately moved up into now new top-most box and stayed there all winter, only moving down as they consumed the stores in the top box.

This year I have seven eight-frame medium set-ups ranging from three to five tall. All seven started winter in the topmost box and remain there to this day, with the growing cluster extending down into the next box below.

Obviously my climate in Western Kentucky is much different than yours, but it makes me wonder whether colonies in 8 frame medium set-ups go about closing out the season in normal fashion (i.e. top down) but tend to set-up the cluster near the top and move down as winter unfolds due to?

I can only speculate whether possibly the narrow aspect ratio of 8-frame versus 10-frame (i.e. one less outer frame per side) means that the cluster is more directly impacted by the skin losses of the boxes and thus makes the top of the stack more appealing to the cluster?
 

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I've been keeping bees since 2014 in 8 frame mediums. Every fall I move the box with the most brood and queen to the bottom box. They would move up during the winter, then in spring I would do this again. I plan on 3 boxes for brood and anything else above them would be supers. I've raised bees in Norfolk Virginia and now in Gould Oklahoma for a year.
 

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@dr4ngas:

I finally transitioned to all mediums (mine are 7-frame). When in the spring do you move the box of frames with the queen and the most brood to the bottom?

Phil in central Maryland
 

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Is the honey in the lower box capped? I find my bees, in a heavy flow, use he lower section as a terminal for storing stuff, uncapped, before moving it up. I would be tempted to add a super above a QE and wait to see what happens. Good Luck
 

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odfrank, how do you set up entrances? One at the bottom, or top, or multiple entrances? Airflow might make a difference. Just speculating from my own lack of experience.

My 4 hives are all right against the top and have been all winter, but that is due to poor flows last fall so they had essentially no stores and are subsisting off the sugar I put on the top. Sounds like your situation is different though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
3/8" high wide open bottom entrance. 1 1/2" wide inner cover slot.

odfrank, how do you set up entrances? One at the bottom, or top, or multiple entrances? Airflow might make a difference. Just speculating from my own lack of experience.

My 4 hives are all right against the top and have been all winter, but that is due to poor flows last fall so they had essentially no stores and are subsisting off the sugar I put on the top. Sounds like your situation is different though.
 
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