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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or does it need to be a 10 frame to allow for more space? I was thinking about trying my next hive with a single brood chamber but all I have at the moment is 8 frame hives.
 

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Should be fine, queen will only lay in what’s available. It’s more important that they have enough space for honey so they don’t backfill the brood box and eventually swarm.
 

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Was just discussing this elsewhere. I even did math! 1 frame deep can hold 7000 cells. So for 8 frames that gives you 56000 cells. A queen can lay from 1500 to 2000 per day. And a worker bee takes 21 days to exit the cell. So at best 2000 x 21 = 42,000. That means that all things being perfect you can have 42000 brood and still have 14,000 cells left over for communication cells, wire where the queen doesn't want to lay, and pollen and honey. But you not quite so much that you can have one frame full of honey and pollen at each end of the box. So, I think with a prolific queen, it would be tight, and mildly uncomfortable, but do able. With the idea that during spring build-up they are allowed to lay into the "winter" super if they so choose, and when the flow starts, you would stick the QE back in between making sure the Q is below. Once the brood above the QE are hatched, they will backfill that with honey, and should have enough space below to fill with brood even if laying at max rate. I am considering trying for single chamber but it feels (intuitively) that 10 would be just that much more comfortable, especially if they want to have that resource honey wall on both sides of the brood. If you search youtube you will find quite a few doing single chamber, some with as few as 6 frames each. These people are as far as Canadia doing it as well. I do believe the key is getting past the spring build up without them thinking they have run out of egg laying room.
 

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Yes. You absolutely can. I do at present. I am in AG zone 6B. However I do not run a single brood box year round and I do not overwinter in a single 8. I have overwintered multiple colonies on a single 8 deep with an 8 frame medium above (two colonies came through last winter with stores left over in the medium) with all frames filled but prefer to overwinter with 16 deep frames. I think that in moderate climates its harder to overwinter on a single deep. In very cold climates the bees are less active in the hive, and in warm climates they can be out foraging late into December and be back out before winter ends. We had an early spring this year so they were able to forage earlier than normal. Last year my colonies on 1 deep 1 medium needed supplemental feeding to get to the flow. There are some other things you should do. If you can, still run double deeps because at times you might need to move a frame of capped brood above the queen excluder and let it hatch out so that you can open the brood nest if necessary. During the spring build up I let the brood nest expand into both boxes. Then I confine the queen below so that they will fill the second box with winter stores. On about half my hives I've already confined the queen to just the bottom box and will be confining them all probably by June. I've found that when the QE is on they seem less likely to store nectar in the bottom box, I don't know if concentrating the brood nest makes them more aware of the boundaries or not, its just the observation I've made and it might be entirely anecdotal and biased. I don't run enough hives to do a properly sized experiment. Once the second box fills with honey you can remove the queen excluder and the brood nest will remain in the bottom box. When I prepare for the fall mite treatment I make sure all the brood is in the bottom box with a queen excluder so I only have to treat the one box. After treatment ends I remove the QE for winter so the cluster can move about both chambers for winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the great info. I feel like I might give it a try once I see if the split I made comes through.
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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"Can you" Yes
"Should you" depends.....
flow , winters, race of bee, management style

Give it a whirl, you will likely learn lots

GG
 

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8 will even work depending on the configuration. I overwintered a mid August swarm in a 4 over 4 resource hive in 6a. No room for error though. They must have at least 3 frames of honey overhead, insulation and fondant in my opinion.
 

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8 will even work depending on the configuration. I overwintered a mid August swarm in a 4 over 4 resource hive in 6a. No room for error though. They must have at least 3 frames of honey overhead, insulation and fondant in my opinion.
4 over 4 is not 8 side by side. the volume is less of an issue that the comb depth IMO, here in mich 12-18 inches is the least I would consider.
If he does not have Nucs , one could change the config to 4 over 4 with insulated dividers.

I would recommend the OP reach out to local keepers and ask what works.

GG
 

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Vigorous queens during a great nectar and pollen flow will have a hard time staying in there. We occasionally pull brood from those great ten frame hives to keep them in. I am sure you can do it in 8 but it there is more to it than throwing on an excluder.
 

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I think allot has to do with the type of bee you keep also. Keep the type of bee that are strong brooders and they may starve to death. Russian bees would do excellent. Along with many carniolan strains. You should match your equipment to your management style AND the type of bee you keep. The type of bee I keep could easily over winter in an 8 frame box. BUT sometimes winter drags on and on like this year where I had snow not long ago. In those years you might wish for a different set up. Also with single boxes you need to rely on feeding allot, especially after you harvest, as the start starving quickly. With covid and sugar being tougher to get, local Walmart still almost never has 25# bags of sugar. Have to really think about how you will keep bees going forward.
 

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I have overwintered plenty of 5 frame Nucs in PA and never lost a single one.

I think this video may answer the question you are asking as well...https://youtu.be/C_oYsyB1PvM
I have huge respect for Paul and love his videos, but Paul's climate is a lot colder than mine. The warmer climate means bees are more active here in the winter yet its way too cold for forage, which means they eat more of their stored food. In an 8 frame configuration, if we have a cool spring then they'll need most of 16 deep frames, with the second box completely full and a well established honey dome in the first box, to make it to the flow. This year their stores easily got them there. Last year it snowed till June, and they needed a lot of help from sugar. That underscores why beekeeping is regional and is why I use single brood chamber only part of the year, mainly to force them to completely fill the second box.
 
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