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Hey guys,

As our girls here in Aus are getting busier and busier, I was wondering what he best box configuration would be to a build up my colonies and b get a good honey harvest.

At he moment I am running 1 brood with two honey supers and they are pumping. I was thinking of moving the queen excluder up a box and run a 2 brood 3 honey setup.

I am also thinking of providing an additional entry for the honey boxes, where should his be located?

Many thanks and have a great weekend!
 

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Hi there Bueff. I think this one is really hard to get a useful answer from across the globe. Best starting point would be to have a look at what beekeepers around you are doing. Then refine from there if needs be. Just ask at your closest beekeeping supplies store if you do not know any other beekeepers.

I’m in Perth, started with 1 brood box and 1 super and am trying out a double full depth brood box this season. Another ’keeper not too far has 1 full and 1 WSP brood boxes, but most around me only use just one brood box. I’m suspecting that due to the pattern of the flow in my area two brood boxes are going to be too much.

I’m semi urban and bees will still find something to forage on in winter, but not too much so I just want to make sure that I will leave enough honey for them over winter.

I’m not a fan of top entrances and most in Australia just have a single bottom entrance. I also like to keep things simple as much as I can.
 

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I don't know how to use a queen excluder for long periods. The brood nest size and whether its expanding might be important for deciding where to put the excluder. A mistake will cause a swarm. My goals are to not have to harvest much honey, and to make lots of splits. Ideally, hives will be split before they get big enough to make honey supers.
 

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I let the colony tell me what it wants. Some really have a hard time taking the hint and won't move above an excluder, others do it just fine.

But running one deep is always easiest and makes a lot of sense.

 

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LOL...this is definitely on of those "ask ten beekeepers a question and you'll get 11 answers" threads !!!
I'm going to have to disagree. My beekeeping experience tells me you get 21 answers from ten beekeepers. But that's only after they brag about how long they've had bees, and how many they currently have. And I've been doing this since I was a child with my 40 hives, so I'd know!
 

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Haha ;) thanks guys, I stick with one brood and two or maybe 3 honey supers, much appreciate you advice.
Bueff, so what did you have last winter and how did it work.
In general, IF:
in spring you have a 1/2 box of honey left then you could have been smaller.
In spring if you had to feed or had couple starve outs bigger may be better.

A deep and a Medium would be 1.6 ish brood boxes, this may be a good size if 1 is a little light and 2 is a little much.
Can also consider 2- 8 Frame deeps which at 16 frames would also be 1.6 10 frame deeps. (I have both 8 and 10)

My locale is colder and I have 3 deep or 2 deep 1 medium and few 2 medium 1 deep, just depends on how they progress, as each Queen has an optimum brood nest size.
As well IF you like to do spring splits then the bigger hives allow this easier, For example in the past, I have made a 5 way or 6 way split on the 3 10 frame deeps in the spring under the right conditions.

I would reach out to close neighbors, especially if they have a 50 or more hives and ask what works for them.
keeping is much about locale, here in Texas or Manitoba one would do things different.

and like mtnmyke I had 40 hives and started in middle school with bees :)

GG
 

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Bueff, so what did you have last winter and how did it work.
In general, IF:
in spring you have a 1/2 box of honey left then you could have been smaller.
In spring if you had to feed or had couple starve outs bigger may be better.

A deep and a Medium would be 1.6 ish brood boxes, this may be a good size if 1 is a little light and 2 is a little much.
Can also consider 2- 8 Frame deeps which at 16 frames would also be 1.6 10 frame deeps. (I have both 8 and 10)

My locale is colder and I have 3 deep or 2 deep 1 medium and few 2 medium 1 deep, just depends on how they progress, as each Queen has an optimum brood nest size.
As well IF you like to do spring splits then the bigger hives allow this easier, For example in the past, I have made a 5 way or 6 way split on the 3 10 frame deeps in the spring under the right conditions.

I would reach out to close neighbors, especially if they have a 50 or more hives and ask what works for them.
keeping is much about locale, here in Texas or Manitoba one would do things different.

and like mtnmyke I had 40 hives and started in middle school with bees :)

GG
GG "In spring if you had to feed or had couple starve outs bigger may be better." I used this method to standardize my brood chamber. All hivs are the same size now, medium+deep+medium. But that is only one variable, volume, while others come into play. So far I am having great success with this approach and far less work. I soent 42 years preparing to be a beekeeper ;)
 

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Hey guys,

As our girls here in Aus are getting busier and busier, I was wondering what he best box configuration would be to a build up my colonies and b get a good honey harvest.

At he moment I am running 1 brood with two honey supers and they are pumping. I was thinking of moving the queen excluder up a box and run a 2 brood 3 honey setup.

I am also thinking of providing an additional entry for the honey boxes, where should his be located?

Many thanks and have a great weekend!
Good choice running a one box brood nest if your goal is a colony operating at peak efficiency and a bumper honey harvest. Forget the thought of moving the QE up a box as it does not meet with your objectives.
Another entry is not necessary.

Doing some queen 'laying math' will provide you with the maximum space (frames) necessary for the queen to lay unimpeded for the style of hive you use- so there is no real confusion as to the required area required. Only confused beekeepers.
The matter then becomes one of how you prefer to manage your bees given available time, equipment, goals, resources etc.
Some checks of the brood nest during buildup are required to be sure the queen has empty comb ahead of her to lay in and that the bees are moving through the QE storing nectar in the supers. It may require pulling a frame or two of wet nectar out and replacing with comb or foundation, it may require pulling a frame or two of brood and replacing them with open frames. Either of which, or both, can be used elsewhere in the operation to reach your goal. Once the brood nest begins to operate properly, sometimes right off the bat other times with some help as above, things will move along swimmingly and few if any rechecks are necessary for the remainder of the honey making period.

Make sure she has empty space ahead o her during buildup especially, the bees are moving nectar through the QE. Super early and super often.
 

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I'm going to have to disagree. My beekeeping experience tells me you get 21 answers from ten beekeepers. But that's only after they brag about how long they've had bees, and how many they currently have. And I've been doing this since I was a child with my 40 hives, so I'd know!
I got ya beat, I was sitting around the house a couple of month ago, at 60, drinking shots of Knob Creek with beer chasers and decided to got to the pet shop and buy some gold fish. Next morning I woke up with a buzzing sound....
 

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GG "In spring if you had to feed or had couple starve outs bigger may be better." I used this method to standardize my brood chamber. All hivs are the same size now, medium+deep+medium. But that is only one variable, volume, while others come into play. So far I am having great success with this approach and far less work. I soent 42 years preparing to be a beekeeper ;)
Robert,
I have been following your postings, I have 4 of my hives in the M+D+M configuration, for this winter. Want to see how they do.
Most are D+D+M so we are close on how we configure the hive for winter.
I like the M on top because in the spring I can move some bees and honey up to start a super (also M) and also do some of the OSBN tactics, and get M comb drawn.

But I have a weakness for the triple D ,, :)

GG
 

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Good choice running a one box brood nest if your goal is a colony operating at peak efficiency and a bumper honey harvest. Forget the thought of moving the QE up a box as it does not meet with your objectives.
Another entry is not necessary.

Doing some queen 'laying math' will provide you with the maximum space (frames) necessary for the queen to lay unimpeded for the style of hive you use- so there is no real confusion as to the required area required. Only confused beekeepers.
The matter then becomes one of how you prefer to manage your bees given available time, equipment, goals, resources etc.
Some checks of the brood nest during buildup are required to be sure the queen has empty comb ahead of her to lay in and that the bees are moving through the QE storing nectar in the supers. It may require pulling a frame or two of wet nectar out and replacing with comb or foundation, it may require pulling a frame or two of brood and replacing them with open frames. Either of which, or both, can be used elsewhere in the operation to reach your goal. Once the brood nest begins to operate properly, sometimes right off the bat other times with some help as above, things will move along swimmingly and few if any rechecks are necessary for the remainder of the honey making period.

Make sure she has empty space ahead o her during buildup especially, the bees are moving nectar through the QE. Super early and super often.
clyderoad,
I love Beeks that think like you.
They do the math and try to out think the bee.
Here is the Empirical evidence I have observed.
average queens will be fine with your setup. Splits from average queens make more average queens......
Great queens will fill the 1 box nest, and swarm. your very best is lost potentially.
2 Queen hives ditto, often supersede and both are present. (found 2 of 20 this year, it happens more than most folks think)
New keepers find the musings of "1 brood box" keepers and emulate the size but fall short emulating the management as they are yet not "tuned" for it.
THEN all the great queens are lost by them and end up in my swarm boxes. :)
I split from the Queens that need 2 or more boxes and seem to get a fair amount of the same quality back.

I would agree the medium nest queens are easier to manage. However I have a preference for the truly egg laying machine queens. I am a bit more hands off as a manager so keeping ahead and moving frames and the stuff to optimally manage a great queen in a 1 box brood nest is too mush futzing for me and I loose the best queens.

if it works for you carry on. for a "new" keeper the extra box can be a buffer to lack of timely management tactics.

GG
 

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clyderoad,
I love Beeks that think like you.
They do the math and try to out think the bee.
Here is the Empirical evidence I have observed.
average queens will be fine with your setup. Splits from average queens make more average queens......
Great queens will fill the 1 box nest, and swarm. your very best is lost potentially.
2 Queen hives ditto, often supersede and both are present. (found 2 of 20 this year, it happens more than most folks think)
New keepers find the musings of "1 brood box" keepers and emulate the size but fall short emulating the management as they are yet not "tuned" for it.
THEN all the great queens are lost by them and end up in my swarm boxes. :)
I split from the Queens that need 2 or more boxes and seem to get a fair amount of the same quality back.

I would agree the medium nest queens are easier to manage. However I have a preference for the truly egg laying machine queens. I am a bit more hands off as a manager so keeping ahead and moving frames and the stuff to optimally manage a great queen in a 1 box brood nest is too mush futzing for me and I loose the best queens.

if it works for you carry on. for a "new" keeper the extra box can be a buffer to lack of timely management tactics.

GG
Try to out think the bee? No, no. More like learn from them and then put the learning to use in management to meet goals. If you want a efficiently operating brood nest to consistently maximize the honey production of your colonies (the OP's goal) look closely at single brood box management. Single brood box management makes all aspects of management easier not just the obvious ones, that includes seasonal transitions as well, the results are obvious.

I've found that most who dispel the success of the scheme have not given it a honest try and are quick to blame the system instead of the lack of correct management given or lack of understanding. None of this is new and has been described and debated since the late 1880's, possibly earlier, and because of this I can only add why I do the things I do and how I do them.

If your one box brood nest configuration fails you it is because of poor or incorrect management not because you have 'truly egg laying machine' super queens.
There are past discussions on beesource by beekeepers from different parts of the globe describing the benefits and the management necessary to be successful. It will be a helpful search to understand the why's and to dispel some of the myths so widely held.
 

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Hey guys,

As our girls here in Aus are getting busier and busier, I was wondering what he best box configuration would be to a build up my colonies and b get a good honey harvest.

At he moment I am running 1 brood with two honey supers and they are pumping. I was thinking of moving the queen excluder up a box and run a 2 brood 3 honey setup.

I am also thinking of providing an additional entry for the honey boxes, where should his be located?

Many thanks and have a great weekend!
Hello, I am at the mid north NSW coast, having driven the girls 2400km south from their far North Queensland home. Up there I ran two deep brood boxes and added honey supers as needed. They always had something in flower year round, and despite the increased amount of rain, didnt ‘winterise’ so never had to condense them. Now they are in NSW and came into drought, then fire, then rain and they are doing splendidly, I did down-size them for winter, as they reduced their numbers. Now since July, have had three swarms, one I managed to capture and it is doing super well. I have a ‘super-hive’, she’s always been amazing, she has two full deep brood boxes, Q excluder and two ideal honey supers, we’ve had one extraction and think to do another in two weeks. One other is also a two full deep, the rest are one full deep and one ideal brood chambers, Q excluder and then honey supers. I’ve never had a problem with the girls not going above the Q excluder. I’ve just rearranged one of the double brood chambers as they were honey-binding her, and needed to give more room. If a super gets full is and I’m not ready to harvest, I undersuper. The girls will tell you what they need, but despite visiting them between 7-14 days depending on the individual hive needs, I’ve never been able to keep them happy in a single deep. They all have vented bottom boards, single front entrance. I did try no Q excluders and the Queens laid in a tall football shape all the way through six boxes...making it difficult to find the Queen, and make sure the honey frames robbed did not contain any eggs/brood, etc. So, as everyone has said, no rule of thumb, listen to your girls and trust your instincts.
 

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Hey guys,

As our girls here in Aus are getting busier and busier, I was wondering what he best box configuration would be to a build up my colonies and b get a good honey harvest.

At he moment I am running 1 brood with two honey supers and they are pumping. I was thinking of moving the queen excluder up a box and run a 2 brood 3 honey setup.

I am also thinking of providing an additional entry for the honey boxes, where should his be located?

Many thanks and have a great weekend!
It appears from the photos that you are using Langstroth hives. 1) 2 brood chambers are the normal number of brood boxes for established hives. If you use 1 box, there is a risk that your bees will swarm from lack of space for the queen to lay. Or, she will start laying eggs in the honey super. Queens need space to lay. Also, don't use a excluder unless you have a reason to use one like knowing where the queen is located if you plan on replacing her or you're preparing to split the hive and need to know where the queen is located in the original hive. Many queens have died because queen excluded were not removed before cold weather sets in because she cannot move upward within the cluster and freezes to death.

If there is a bee club near you join a group to learn from the local experienced beekeepers. Your local climate has a major impact on when to inspect your hives throughout the year.
 

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So, as everyone has said, no rule of thumb, listen to your girls and trust your instincts.
Well, that's the problem. I am stressing more about the bees now, than I did while I was raising my children. My instincts back then were adequate.
 

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Well, that's the problem. I am stressing more about the bees now, than I did while I was raising my children. My instincts back then were adequate.
Totally normal....I was a basket case bringing them down from Queensland. We tend to overthink it. Give them more space as they need it. Once she’d plenty of room to lay, add your Q excluder and honey supers. But as has been said, when they slow her down for winter, remove the Q excluder.
 

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I was a basket case .... We tend to overthink it.
Count me in. My first couple of years were a horror show complicated further with faulty equipment, and I almost gave up.

I think overthinking is a good sign. Part of the fun of keeping bees I reckon. They’ll do fine when they settle in an upside down rubbish bin, yet we always want to tweak this and that to get it ‘perfect’.
 
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