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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wanting to build more equipment and weighing options out. Last winter I built all of my own equipment and did 8 frame mediums. I have been happy with this choice but at this point I am rethinking it before I invest more time and money. I am looking for thoughts about deeps for a couple of reasons. brood boxes. Wintering Larger brood nests The interchangeability that I currently have is great, would the advantages of large boxes be worth sacrificing this? I currently have 18 med boxes with wooden frames and all the other parts in 3 hives. 11 boxes now in use balance in storage all made from cypress. My intentions this summer is to build up my number of hives following the methods of M. Palmer Thanks Tim
 

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To make any recommendations I would need to know your goals? Honey production? Nuc sales? Pollination? Hobby, sideline, commercial ? Anything else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry guess my question got lost in my explanation.
Is it worthwhile to have large and medium boxes for wintering and the larger brood nests they provide and lose interchangeability?
I already have a lot of medium equipment as stated above.
 

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If I went the medium route years ago. Interchangeably would be one of its major points. I use all deeps. Keep about 100 shallows for cut comb. So I would just roll medium equipment. Just remember the equipment is for you to handle the bees. They could care - less.
 

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Before jumping in head first, try both ways and see what you think. With personal hands on experience you will be able to make an educated choice on which way to go. Try just a couple hives this year with all deeps and keep them through a full season and into the following spring.

There are pros and cons any way you go, mediums, deeps, or a mix. Sounds like you are handy in the workshop, so you can always change in the future. Mediums can be used for supers if you decide to transition to deeps, and the deeps can be cut down or sold off as nucs and replaced with mediums if you want to go the all medium route. There are many beekeepers who have transitioned one way or the other based on their own needs or preferences. The only way to really know for sure is to try both.
 

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Due to weight considerations, my hives are intended to result in three (3) 8-frame deeps for brood/over-wintering, and use of 8-frame mediums (as possible) for human honey surplus. Box inventory is easily recognized/maintained, and you learn to visit your apiaries with adequate number of boxes/frames of the correct size. The three (3) deeps for over-wintering is predicated upon the UofMinnesota’s northern climate concepts (adequate honey stores), which also allows for easy spring splits. As you are aware, lifting a medium is far more enjoyable than lifting a deep, but most of the brood box inspections can be accomplished with movement of a single deep box as the hive grows (2 deeps after spring split; 3rd deep added later for winter honey storage). The larger brood frame is the advantage - it should be more efficient for the bees to maintain the correct temperature in one area as compared to maintaining the temperature for a comparable amount of brood in two (2) mediums, but each brood area separated by the two (2) frame sticks and one (1) open bee space between the frame sticks. I wonder — could optimal brood space be larger than a deep (as now understood/constructed)? If the frame was larger, would the brood still occupy the middle/bottom with the two (2) rainbows of pollen and honey?
 

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There are certainly opinions in every direction on this. I find the uniform frame size a major benefit. I have 1 deep body that was given to me last year. I can't include it in my plans easily with 20 all medium hives.

As far as frame size, some say larger contiguous space is better and deep frames are not enough. If this is true, then you get to a point where physical handling is an issue. How big is big enough for a single comb? At some point in the logical problem you reach a logistical problem and have to stop.

I haven't seen that comb size influences the colony size; overall space does. I have removed colonies from a very wide variety of spaces. Some were in old tires or trees with barely 5" x 5" per comb. Some were huge sheets nearly 24" wide by 6 feet tall. Many available spaces only have a 3" wide or high space and they use that dimension instead of the wider combs that could be possible.

I've gone from KTBH to long deep to deep/medium mix and currently enjoy the flexibility of all mediums. I settled on using 8 frame width and have too much equipment to change. I wish the standards were different, but I'm sure there would be issues with anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Some great points, thankyou. Last winter after doing a lot of homework the answer seemed obvious to go with total interchangeability. I now realize this answer was for my benefit and possibly not the bees. Everything seems to be working well but I am willing to make adjustments if it's better for the bees.
 

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I am in the process of finishing up buildng boxes for next year. I went all deep's this year to try to expand and get as much comb drawn as i can. I went into winter with 6 Colonies 3 in double deeps 2 5 over 5 nucs and one single nuc. I am finishing up 6 Palmer style Double 4 over 4 frame boxes for colony growth and the other 22 boxes are 10 frame deeps. I have a few mediums and 2 ross round supers to use as well but if this year works out i will probably order another 40+ deeps when they go on sale.
 

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I started with traditional 10 frame deep brood box's and med supers until I found how heavy deeps were 80 pds !!! so I cut down my deeps to med. and love not having to make different size equipment I always have what I need to grow there all the same frames and box's. Interchangeability from the top to the bottom of the hive all the same especially when manipulating box's and frames in the spring for swarm control , pulling empty bottom box's in the spring and able to put them on top and get the broodnest back down where there suppose to be.Bee's seem fine with this set up I wintered over this year with five 10 frame mediums on all hives they have plenty of room and i can pull that bottom empty out this spring and get the broodnest on the bottom as bee's are always working there way to the top especially over winter , It would be easier to get it right now though than have to go through what alot of us did and that was cutting down deep box's and deep frames !!! the frames are a real pain watch your fingers on the table saw with them .Good luck
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Personally, I think the bees prefer contiguous comb which is why the Dadant deeps work so well for those willing to struggle with them. I chose the deep brood chambers and medium supers and am willing to forego the interchangability to provide a better environment for the bees. That said, the right choice is what works best for you, the bees will adapt to whatever you provide. In winter configuration, the top deep is very heavy so be warned. Typically though, there is no need to lift it until it is about empty again in the spring.
 

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A lot to be said for the interchangeability but I still like deeps for brood. There are always exceptions but my standard configuration is a deep and a med for brood and overwintering. You didn't mention selling any nucs but my customer's expectations are 5 deep frame nucs as the norm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No plan to sell nucs at this point. Hoping to split to increase hive counts and eventually overwinter nucs. So much to learn, but I am enjoying it throughly. My goal this year is to get closer to becoming more sustainable. My worst fear is losing all hives and starting again with nucs. I want the experience of swarm prevention, build up and all things from February thru May. I told a buddy the other day I was thinking about getting a new hobby. He looked at me with surprise and asked why? I smiled and told him "the bees aren't much for company in the winter. ��
Sorry I tend to go on, I am just lonely.
Tim
 

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Beekeeping is the perfect hobby - work as much or little as you want during spring, summer, and fall (the beekeeper decides how many hives), and you can dream, plan, or prepare for future beekeeping during the winter.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I should be counting my blessings. Here in the mid-Atlantic, we get to play with our bees on the nice days throughout the winter. Still spend a lot of time dreaming, planning, and preparing for the next season though. My nine nucs will all need full sized hives come spring. That means 18 deep boxes, 18 medium supers, and 360 frames to put in them. Not to mention bottom boards, inner covers, and telescoping tops that need to be built and painted. Plenty to keep one busy when it is nasty outside. If all else fails, say something stupid on BeeSource like you mean it and see how much fun you can have. :eek:
 

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I think at this stage of your bee journey the "right" answer will be very elusive. No amount of teeth clenching and forehead wrinkling will guarantee the final answer. You have to experience the options to see what feels right. You may well change directions in a few years. As long as you build to standard dimensions you can modifiy or sell off what no longer suits. Hindsight is 20 / 20!

If you have boxes then that no longer suit your honey production plans you can always use the odd hives to raise bees that can be used other places in your system. The bees will make you bees in any shaped boxes or X number of stories high! Resource hives!

I will have to change the way I work bees. Likely will still use deeps for brood but will go to singles. Also plan to populate an extra deep hive box next summer, but for certain will not be tossing them around! I will be moving frames of bees not boxes of bees.

I had hernia repair surgery Dec. 27th. That process started last summer lifting off a deep and swinging to set it on another stack. I thought the wee pain would go away by itself: Didn't happen!

Winter is a good time for meditating about next summers plans. I walked out to the bees a little while ago; it will be close to 0 F. here tonight and the bees are not much fun to play with!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
JWP
You mentioned painting, I know there have been threads about "eco Wood" here. Not sure I have name rite I would have to look it up. Anyway I used it on all of my new equipment Last spring. I am pleased with it so far. I built 15 mediums with tops bottoms ect using cypress and coated outsides of everything with a pump up sprayer until it was literally soaked. Did all that with 1 gallon mix for 15 bucks I think. Thought I would mention it.
Frank
Glad your on the recovery trail, those thing don't improve with time.
 

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There are certainly opinions in every direction on this. I find the uniform frame size a major benefit. I have 1 deep body that was given to me last year. I can't include it in my plans easily with 20 all medium hives.

As far as frame size, some say larger contiguous space is better and deep frames are not enough. If this is true, then you get to a point where physical handling is an issue. How big is big enough for a single comb? At some point in the logical problem you reach a logistical problem and have to stop.

I haven't seen that comb size influences the colony size; overall space does. I have removed colonies from a very wide variety of spaces. Some were in old tires or trees with barely 5" x 5" per comb. Some were huge sheets nearly 24" wide by 6 feet tall. Many available spaces only have a 3" wide or high space and they use that dimension instead of the wider combs that could be possible.

I've gone from KTBH to long deep to deep/medium mix and currently enjoy the flexibility of all mediums. I settled on using 8 frame width and have too much equipment to change. I wish the standards were different, but I'm sure there would be issues with anything.
I am in Texas and one deep can be overwintered just fine. I am all medium so far. This year I am going to experiment with "double medium" frame (12 7/8" high frame) to give a contiguous broodnest. Like someone said, experiment with one or two hives and see which one works better for your area and preference. I love all medium so far due to interchangeability benefits but I want to reduce the number of frames I need to pull out for inspections and hence the experiment. My reasoning for selecting "double medium" depth is to stay with the same box size and possibility to mix and match medium frames if I ever need to. We will see how it goes!
 
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