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When we had our bee school, much of what we were fed was merely taken as gospel, and no one wanted to ask questions, or at least they didn't know that they didn't know the questions to ask :)

One thing that was stated, rather matter of factly, was that everyone should use Langstroth equipment. Then we were told that we could either use medium or deep at our own discretion, but for where we were your brood chamber should be 2 deeps or 3 mediums. Either one would be fine, and it was either a flip of a coin or whatever to make the decision. And the same thing was said for 8 frame vs 10 frame.

First of all, does that include winter stores in the 2 or 3 configuration. Or should the statement be 2 or 3 plus, during winter, you should have xyz on top full of stores?

Now, I have the question, because math. I assume for a particular area bees need a specific amount of space, because queens may lay a similar amount of eggs in different area, but colonies will want to have some amount of pollen and honey near the brood at some point. In addition to that, 3 mediums is 2.5 deeps. and 10's vs 8's are 20% more. So there is a large difference just based on "flip a coin" or "whatever you prefer".

from 2 deep 8 frames to 3 medium 10 frames is a good 25% difference if my head math is even close :) So there must be a good answer besides whichever one suites your aesthetics?
 

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Question 1. The two deep 10 frame bodies is the comb space required for adult bees and the winter stores in most beekeeping areas. The amount of food the bees can put in that area is sufficient to go through winter and into the first spring nectar flows, or into settled weather when they can be fed. How the beekeepers acheives that amount of comb space is up to them based on their needs.

The number of medium boxes is stated to be three because you can't put on two and a half medium boxes, so the number need to give the minimum comb area equal to two deeps is three. The same for other sized boxes, they must meet or exceed the required comb space.
 

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When we had our bee school, much of what we were fed was merely taken as gospel, and no one wanted to ask questions, or at least they didn't know that they didn't know the questions to ask :)

One thing that was stated, rather matter of factly, was that everyone should use Langstroth equipment. Then we were told that we could either use medium or deep at our own discretion, but for where we were your brood chamber should be 2 deeps or 3 mediums. Either one would be fine, and it was either a flip of a coin or whatever to make the decision. And the same thing was said for 8 frame vs 10 frame.

First of all, does that include winter stores in the 2 or 3 configuration. Or should the statement be 2 or 3 plus, during winter, you should have xyz on top full of stores?

Now, I have the question, because math. I assume for a particular area bees need a specific amount of space, because queens may lay a similar amount of eggs in different area, but colonies will want to have some amount of pollen and honey near the brood at some point. In addition to that, 3 mediums is 2.5 deeps. and 10's vs 8's are 20% more. So there is a large difference just based on "flip a coin" or "whatever you prefer".

from 2 deep 8 frames to 3 medium 10 frames is a good 25% difference if my head math is even close :) So there must be a good answer besides whichever one suites your aesthetics?
the answer is it depends. on where you are, what race bee you use etc.
the 2 deep 3 medium is a good starting point. so start there pull back a bit if you wish. In my locale I have done ok with 2 deeps and a medium or 3 deeps.
I would think in florida 1 deep may work fine. These numbers are Empirical data.

Concur with AR .5 boxes is not all that doable. + or - 10-20% can be tried, so pick a starting point test it , adjust , etc.

There is no answer that would work for everyone in the USA. Also depends on how much buffer you want. If you plan to feed early spring then maybe less, if you do not plan to feed maybe a little more.

So yes flip the coin and the adjust from there, If they all starve out you should add space. If you have 50LB of honey left then maybe can pull back a little.
Russians can be more frugal
Italians can brood up even if blooms are not present, so add in the Race vector as well.
Books are a starting point, Hopefully you then let the bees tell you what is best.

IMO you should have asked your question in Class....:)
BTW "most" of the classes,, training ,,and innuendo is based on Lang type hives, so hence the recommendation.
Why say you need 2 deeps when they then recommend a top bar. so they need to standardize on something.

GG

GG
 

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When I started keeping bees around 36 yrs ago I was taught to keep bees in triple deeps. We never heard of 8 frame equipment or TBH's. We made honey and didn't pollenate. We used the concept of unlimited broodnest management. We called it a food chamber back then. But the theory was to have 2 deep boxes for the queen to lay and a box of food on top to weather out any dearths or poor conditions or bad years. We didn't have tons of cash back then to just drop on sugar to feed. So colonies were left with a box of honey/ pollen on to ride out the tough times. This isn't practical for a pollinator to move such colonies. Well just remember today's recommendations are based on commercial beekeepers that are mostly pollinating, moving bees, and have different goals then honey farming. You use the tools that fit for you. If you can't lift 10 frames deep boxes (brood chambers) then use mediums or 8 frame deeps or 8 frm. mediums. You match the equipment to you not what everyone else is doing. Why? Cause there not there to do your work. If you never want to lift use TBH's or a long hive type. TBH's if you wanna keep bees on the cheap and long hives if you like frames and such. Every hive above can be done foundationless if that's your thing. And none are more natural than another. But lang's are more refined than TBH's but they all provide a home. Its your job to tailor things to you and your expectations.
 

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I certainly agree that type of bee is a huge difference. I have one colony that has overwintered twice on double 10 frame deeps. I just removed 6 frames of unused capped stores. I fed to a gross weight of 125 lbs and that is a way too liberal for these bees in well insulated hives. Two other colonies went into winter on a deep over mediums partially drawn mostly empty mediums. Not fussy about 2 sizes of brood frames but that works for volume if hives insulated and near zero mite loads.

I dont see why they will not winter on single deep 10 frames but will be trying a few that way next winter. My son in eastern Ontario runs quite a few singles but having a lot of Italian genetics finds they need a little more attention and often need a bit of feed in the spring.


Italians might need 140 lbs gross colony weight in my climate and still be near hungry before first forage comes in. They sure will make bees though, which is dandy for selling nucs and pollination but not my choice for a small beekeeper in the north. If you are surrounded by such bees you dont have a lot of choice though without jumping thru quite a few hoops.

Any thoughts to the idea that 8 frame deeps waste less honey in mostly unused frames 1 and 10 positions. Make more efficient use of brood area?
 

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When we started out with bees we were told you need two deeps to get a colony thru the winter, so we set them up as two deeps, 10 frame boxes, didn't even realize there was such a thing as an 8 frame box. The next year I had a late swarm, left them in a single box because they had only built out that much. They did fine. The following year we were learning about nuc's, so, we took a few nucs into the winter, 5 frame boxes, 2 high. They did fine. the year after that I tried 5 frame single box, and they did fine. A couple years later, I was at a conference and a speaker was talking about wintering colonies in mating nucs, single medium box divided 4 ways with 5 half size frames in each quadrant, so I had a couple of those made up, but using deeps rather than mediums. Bees winter fine in those too I've found in the few years we have used them.

I was at a talk a few years back, old time beekeeper was telling us about his recipe for wintering bees. Box size is irrelavent. What matters is, the box you have them in needs to be FULL of bees, and packed with winter stores. It also needs to be void of mites. If the box has bees in all of the seams., stores in all the frames except the one right in the middle, and there are no mites in the box at the end of September, they will winter just fine.

I have come to the conclusion over time, he was right. Looking back at the years, we've had success and failures of colonies in virtually all the configurations listed.
 
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