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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I asked a member of the (very traditional) local beekeeping club where I could get nucs in medium frames. Without saying it, he clearly thought I was crazy and grossly misinformed to want to go all-mediums.

I asked him to explain his concerns, and he said this: That by putting the queen in a medium instead of a deep, she would have a smaller space to lay brood in, and once out of space in the bottom super, would need to go to the one above, prematurely interrupting her work, and impacting efficiency of brood laying.

I'd be interested to hear the response of those here.


Thank you
spock out
 

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My father-in-law keeps bees in Oklahoma in all mediums (Russians). He loses several swarms a year (!) and collects between 300 and 400lbs of honey, so I don't think that brood production is much of a problem.

I suspect that using all mediums becomes an issue in colder climates - as bees might have more difficulty moving up during cold weather (more 'gaps' to cross and smaller spaces upon which to cluster if the colony is larger).

I am in the north - so I stick with deeps, although I am considering using a deep/medium setup sometime.
 

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The traditional lang hive has two deeps for brood production, she has to cross boxes regardless of whether she is in mediums or deeps. In my experience it doesn't matter.

The gap she has to cross is only 3/8th on an inch. I have seen brood chambers in feral colonies that were split up by headers and she have to cross up 8 inches and over the top of the header. The bees don't really care. Beeks often over complicate things.
 

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It seems irrational to use all mediums. A good strong hive will need two large full supers to do well in the winter. It is ok to put a queen excluder on top of the two hive bodies and then use the mediums for honey. You would have swarms and more swarms if you use mediums. A strong colony of 50-60,000 bees need the two full size hive bodies to keep their cycle going. Think about it for a minute. Queen is laying, workers are putting up pollen and honey, young bees are emerging, it is just a bee cycle. Then once in May, I split all of my hives. I place a queen excluder in between the two large hive bodies. The bees will split themselves into top and bottom. I pull the top super, queen it and put a second hive body on both and a cover. Move the new hive to the other bee yard. Those old beeks like Dadant, Kelley etc.... didn't just say, "Well, I think I will make 9 5/8 frames and an 10 11/16 hive body today" The research went into it. Trial and error. It is now down to a science. They bees do better with xxx space. Ric
 

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It seems irrational to use all mediums. A good strong hive will need two large full supers to do well in the winter. It is ok to put a queen excluder on top of the two hive bodies and then use the mediums for honey. You would have swarms and more swarms if you use mediums....
Make sure you are using 3 mediums for brood and all problems should be addressed. My bees tell me that it certainly is ok to overwinter in three mediums. The queen seems to have little problem crossing the gap because I would always find her working in a different boxes each inspection.

I must be doing something wrong because I haven't seen any more tendency to swarm than with 2 deep brood boxes.

You need to contact a nuc supplier very early if you want medium nucs as they seem to be spoken for very quickly. I'd contact them the summer before to reserve medium nucs if possible. This year I was only able to order deep nucs.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Responses seem split into two camps:

1) Those that have tried all-mediums, and like it.

2) Those that feel that the idea is outlandish.

I'd be interested in hearing from those that have tried all-mediums, and found for some reason it didn't work for them - And why they went back.
 

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>1) Those that have tried all-mediums, and like it.
>2) Those that feel that the idea is outlandish.

A lot of beekeeping things are like that. There are those doing a particular thing and succeeding and loving it and those who have never tried it but know all the reasons it can't possibly work... ;)
 

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My bees do not seem to care they are in all mediums. It makes moving comb and replacing equipment a lot easier. It is just one less thing to buy, assemble, paint, and keep track of.
 

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I have some double deep brood chambers and some triple medium brood chambers. I have only had bees for five years but I haven't seen a difference. The race and age of the queen seems to have more of an effect on brood production than the box size.

My biggest brood producer is in all mediums, but I doubt it has anything to do with the box size. It probably has to do more with the genetics of the swarm I caught, dumb luck, and a small (non)statistical sample size (4-6 hives).
 

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my 2 cents is.....I run deep brood chambers, BUT know plenty who run combination deep/med...AND those who run all mediums...my experience with all 3 systems says..........as long as the bees have room they really dont care what size box and frames you use just like they dont care what color you paint their home. There are pros and cons to running all mediums but I think the positives outweigh the negatives especially for a new beek...go with your gut and have fun:thumbsup:
 

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I think if I had to look for negatives, one would be that a complete inspection requires pulling 10 frames more than double deeps. Might be a concern for a big commercial operation. I don't know. Also requires one extra hive body and 10 frames more than the DD hives. Not real issues for me.

Main issue is that some old-timers look at you like you have two heads, but who cares?

Wayne
 

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Mediums are easier to CARRY... they are not easier to WORK.

It is twice as hard to find the queen when you have to look at twice the number of frames. I would say deeps for that reason alone are better.

Its not just about efficiency... More frames to look at means more squished bees, more robbing and ultimately more angry bees. These things matter big-time to hobbyists (and it seems like the idea of using all mediums is directed at hobbyists and newbees lots of the time).

But mediums are easier to carry, I'll give you that, they just aren't easier to work.
 

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It seems irrational to use all mediums. A good strong hive will need two large full supers to do well in the winter. It is ok to put a queen excluder on top of the two hive bodies and then use the mediums for honey. The bees do better with xxx space. Ric
#1 Many beekeepers are getting away from queen excluders and running unlimmited brood space.

#2 Over wintered Nucs are in far less space than 2 deeps and often do just fine.

I am not opposed to deeps or mediums, just opposed to having both. I could just as easily run all deeps as I can all mediums if I choose to. The advantage for being all medium for me is that I always have the right size frame and box regardless of what I need.
 

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I asked a member of the (very traditional) local beekeeping club where I could get nucs in medium frames. Without saying it, he clearly thought I was crazy and grossly misinformed to want to go all-mediums.
Beliefs will change through time. Here is one old timer’s opinion.

Man cannot teach bees anything,
but he can hinder them by placing complications in their
hives. All other things being equal, the best hives are
those possessing the least complications ; and the best beemaster
is he who takes the most hindrances out of their
way.
A. PETTIGREW 1875
 

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I will be selling a few MDS nucs this spring to service my customer's needs.
One of my goals for next year is to send up a load of 1 full depth brood chamber with a MDS on top for almond pollination.
The truck will be easier to load, lighter to transit and the frame count will be met or exceeded..
Ernie
 

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I was helping a friend go through his deeps looking for queens. I do this all the time queen rearing, but on mediums. I was surprised at how tired my arms were getting and I then realized that deeps are harder to hold up while looking for queens than mediums... I don't usually have any trouble finding queens in either one, and I don't think they are harder to find in mediums. But if you think you need to find a queen (I can only think of a few instances where I think I need to) you can put an excluder between every box and come back in three days and look for eggs. and you'll know what box she's in. Then you only have to search that box. :)
 

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I am not opposed to deeps or mediums, just opposed to having both. I could just as easily run all deeps as I can all mediums if I choose to. -bluegrass
Excellent answer, and well worth repeating. I've tried both. I see little difference to the bees in the two. Interchangeable equipment is very, very useful. Mixing adds a level of possible frustration.

Pick one, and run all of that depth -- that's my advice. If you like mediums, run all mediums. If you like deeps, run all deeps.
 
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