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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a couple of hives in eight frame medium boxes and want to change them to ten frame mediums. I started a couple of caught swarms in the 8 frame equiptment because it was a little easier for me to move the swarms in my SUV. The "problem" is now one of the hives is 9 boxes high and I am out of 8 frame equipment. My question is what is the best way to move to 10 frame boxes? I have plenty of 10 frame boxes available. What is the best way to arrange the frames? Is there anything I should avoid? Thank you for any advise.
 

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Going to a 10 frame from 8 isn't too hard. You basically have time at this point for the bees to rearrange what they don't like. So here's what I'd do. On your first brood take out all 8 from the old and put into the new, separate the center and drop two frames from the second brood into the center. Continue to do so till you get to the Honey, then for your last box just place the honey frame to the outside putting your brood if there is any into the center of the box. They will fix anything they don't like, one of the keys to it though is making sure the outside frames stays to the outside.
 

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I wouldn't do that. Put the 8 frames in the 10 frame box as they are and add a frame on each outside for brood chamber. Throw the honey frames in any way you want and or remove some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Going to a 10 frame from 8 isn't too hard. You basically have time at this point for the bees to rearrange what they don't like. So here's what I'd do. On your first brood take out all 8 from the old and put into the new, separate the center and drop two frames from the second brood into the center. Continue to do so till you get to the Honey, then for your last box just place the honey frame to the outside putting your brood if there is any into the center of the box. They will fix anything they don't like, one of the keys to it though is making sure the outside frames stays to the outside.
Thomas, thanks for your reply, have you seen any problems with altering the brood chamber in this way? They do have significant stores in the lower boxes in the hive.

Dane
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wouldn't do that. Put the 8 frames in the 10 frame box as they are and add a frame on each outside for brood chamber. Throw the honey frames in any way you want and or remove some.
Brian, I am limited on drawn frames as they are all in current use. Using your suggestion, would you use foundation this late or should I extract some frames and use those? Also I have some brood in each of the six lower boxes. How would you get them to consolidate some.
Thanks for you suggestions.

Dane
 

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If the hive is strong they will deal with whatever you do. Try to arrange things so that there is some space between any funky combs - but even then if you have some that are right together they will trim the combs to fit. Just keep the brood contiguous and it will be fine almost no matter what else you do.

If you want to really minimize the impact - which i wouldn't worry about too much - I would just use honey frames - either full or empty - from the top of the hive to fill in the sides lower down. That is what those frames are likely to end up being anyway. You could also just use frames of foundation with the realization that it may not get drawn out until next spring - but that would not be my first choice because the foundation is likely to be chewed up before it gets drawn.

Alternatively you could slap a strip of wood or two on the bottom of a 10 frame super and keep stacking them up - which at this point in the season is exactly what I would do.
 

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Ah, if you have brood in six boxes I suspect you put them on too quickly and that explains why the hive is so tall. If you are nearing the end of a flow I would wait it out until they consolidate the brood nest before I did anything. I have a feeling you are going to end up with an empty bottom box or two. When you know you have two full honey boxes pull the top one off and extract so you have equipment ready for a fall flow should that happen.
 

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If there is much honey in the lower boxes, after your transition, most of the honey should be in the boxes above the brood nest.

But, for me, I wouldn't be going the direction you describe. Have you already experienced a winter with your current configuration? If not, how do you know the 10-frame configuration might work better for you than the 8-frame?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If there is much honey in the lower boxes, after your transition, most of the honey should be in the boxes above the brood nest.

But, for me, I wouldn't be going the direction you describe. Have you already experienced a winter with your current configuration? If not, how do you know the 10-frame configuration might work better for you than the 8-frame?
Joseph,

I was able to overwinter the two hives I started with last year in 10 frame medium equipment, I insulated the hives and made custom outer covers with insulation and cross ventilation. We had a long severe winter so I feel lucky both hives over wintered well. Losses in my area were around 65%. I only used the 8 frame equipment because it was all I had on hand and it is easier to transport caught swarms. The one hive that I would like to move to ten frame boxes started out in two boxes of foundation and now have filled out around 60 frames and filled two supers with capped honey. I don't want to lose this hive if I can prevent it. I now have 10 hives and am trying to standardize equipment so I can better manage things. any suggestions/advise is greatly appreciated.

Dane
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ah, if you have brood in six boxes I suspect you put them on too quickly and that explains why the hive is so tall. If you are nearing the end of a flow I would wait it out until they consolidate the brood nest before I did anything. I have a feeling you are going to end up with an empty bottom box or two. When you know you have two full honey boxes pull the top one off and extract so you have equipment ready for a fall flow should that happen.
Brian,
I kept adding boxes because they were drawing them out like crazy and as a newby with only two hives, I wanted to get as much drawn comb in inventory as possible. Now with 10 hives, I am still behind with no drawn comb in reserve and I am concerned that the 8 frame equipment is not the best choice for a mature hive for our winters. I have been trying to stay ahead of them by extracting a few frames at a time and recycling them back to the hives. Big learning curve going from two to ten hives. Wasn't planning on having to build and assemble equipment all summer. Now I know what February is for. Appreciate your suggestions.

Dane
 

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Dane,
It sounds like you are going forward with well thought-out plans. I believe those are the best type. It is good to have a reason for what you are doing. That way, if things don't work as expected, you can usually relate the results to the plan and have a good chance of determining what may have precipitated the actual results obtained.

For ease of manipulations, it is recommended to use only one depth of super and corresponding frame size. That way frames/combs can be moved from any super to any other super, for serious or frivolous reasons by we beekeepers.

I personally endeavor to primarily use all 8-frame, medium depth, equipment, throughout my operation, and 5-frame medium depth nucs. Though I have various other configurations, for the experience, and for comparison/contrast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If the hive is strong they will deal with whatever you do. Try to arrange things so that there is some space between any funky combs - but even then if you have some that are right together they will trim the combs to fit. Just keep the brood contiguous and it will be fine almost no matter what else you do.

If you want to really minimize the impact - which i wouldn't worry about too much - I would just use honey frames - either full or empty - from the top of the hive to fill in the sides lower down. That is what those frames are likely to end up being anyway. You could also just use frames of foundation with the realization that it may not get drawn out until next spring - but that would not be my first choice because the foundation is likely to be chewed up before it gets drawn.

Alternatively you could slap a strip of wood or two on the bottom of a 10 frame super and keep stacking them up - which at this point in the season is exactly what I would do.
David,
Thanks for your reply. One of the reasons I want to go to 10 frame equipment is the tough winters we have. Not sure if the 8 frame is a smart choice with our long cold winters. I plan on over wintering a couple smaller colonies in 8 frame to see how they do, but with this large colony I thought the 10 frame may be a better choice. I just don't want to do anything to put this colony at risk.

Thanks for your suggestions

Dane
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Joseph,
Thanks for the feedback. I also decided to use all medium equipment when I started last year. One of the challenges is the vast majority of bee keepers in this area only use deeps for brood chambers so I am bucking the local norm. I do believe mediums work well even in our winter environment and they are definitely much easier to lift.

Because I am new, I like to get as much feedback and perspectives as I can and then draw a plan of action based on all the information.

Thanks

Dane
 

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I am concerned that the 8 frame equipment is not the best choice for a mature hive for our winters.
Dane, I don't feel there is any advantage to the 10 frame for over wintering but I don't know. If the hive doesn't crash from mites and you don't strip it of honey I see no reason for it not to make it except messing around with the bee's game plan at the wrong time. I am not in favor of QE's but you could have thrown one on when the hive was 4 boxes high and then extract honey when it got to 6 so you don't run out of drawn comb. And again that is not what I do.

I found when you are expanding your apiary you are always short of drawn comb but when you stop expanding you will have more than you need. So I guess you are still expanding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I found when you are expanding your apiary you are always short of drawn comb but when you stop expanding you will have more than you need. So I guess you are still expanding.
Brian, I am definitely there right now. Two hives to ten is a lot faster than I expected to expand. I didn't plan an getting as many swarm calls as I have. It really put me behind the eight ball as far as having enough equipment, especially drawn comb.

Dane
 

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I put on a 3rd box this week. hopefully they draw and fill that and make me feel better about it.

Is that in NH or RI? I have a 5 frame nuc they could go in :D or 8 frame if i made another bottom board. I need to build another 5 boxes this winter. trying to decide what i want to do about frames.
 
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