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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New-bee here - I have one hive, 3# package went in 3 weeks ago today and seem to be doing well. I plan to check them this evening and probably add the 2nd deep.

My question - how many deep boxes shoudl I plan on for brood? I had bought 2 deeps for brood and 2 westerns for honey, with 10 frames for each (I bought the deep frames all assembled with foundation and am in the process of assembling the western ones). But in re-reading Backyard Beekeeping she seems to suggest 3 boxes for brood.

Should I get another deep ready for brood?
How do I know when they need more space for brood vs honey?

thanks!
 

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Here in Washington we commonly use 2-10 frame deep boxes or equivalent. If you are going to expand your beekeeping you can put deeps on for honey this year and then use the drawn comb for your packages next year, so you have several choices that will all work.

I don't think that I ever got excess honey from a new package on foundation though. It has been a long time since I got a package of bees, but I don't think that I ever did. So unless you are in a great honey area, two deeps will probably cover you for the first year.
 

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Run 9 frames in your ten frame boxes or you will have a hard time pulling frames when they get filled out. Two brood boxes is plenty of room and the norm.
 

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Sounds like your bees are doing superb! Did you use any drawn out frames to start or just start with foundations? If most of the 10 frames are drawn or getting drawn out with strong brood then you could go for the 2nd deep. Check how crowded with bees the frames are. My 3# are at 2 weeks with 3 full drawn frames and 3 partial. 4 are untouched and I thought my bees have been going like mad taking into account the cool weather. I'm going to tell them to get to it. I seldom see more than 2 deeps around here even with a vigorous colony and 2 medium honey supers. That's a good size hive to handle. I have already split off the hive if I reach that point.
 

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At 3 weeks after installation your bee population will be near it's lowest as the package foragers died off during a period when no new bees were emerging. With this in mind you don't want to give them too much unused area to patrol and maintain.

Your second deep should be added when you find 7-8 frames of drawn comb with brood, eggs and stores. My guess is that you will probably find that they are not to that point yet, and may need a little more time to get there.
 

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I agree with Mike G,

I did my first inspection on my 2 week old #3 package yesterday (hived on all drawn foundation from last year) and only had about 2 frames of capped brood - they have a lot more work to do yet.

Last year, it took my nuc much of the summer to fill out the first deep on undrawn foundation.

We are also very deep in flow, both nectar & pollen and have been for some time. Lots of very warm temps as well, some close to 90.

Patience, grasshopper
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks folks! I did an inspection last night so have more data. They have drawn out and filled about 6-7 (depending on how we count partials/one sided) of the 10 frames in there.

@john - this makes sense. I guess I missed he was using Westerns.

@ehallspqr - they started with all foundation - nothing drawn out - and have been working hard!

Mike and hoodswoods surmised well. The ladies don't seem quite ready for the second box. I'm thinking I'll check again on Sunday, but likely it will be next weekend at their current rate.

Thanks again! I appreciate the guidance. Very reassuring.
 

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As mentioned, two deep boxes for brood. If you keep feeding them until they get all 20 brood frames drawn out, pull the feed when you put your first extracting/surplus honey super on. There is a chance you'll get some honey this year. That's been my experience anyway.

Suggestions have been made to run 9 frames in a 10-frame box. That works, BUT you have to get the comb drawn first, and to do that, you do need to keep 10 frames in a 10 frame box to get good comb. After that, you can reduce to 9 frames if you wish.

Some folks continue to run 10 frames in the brood nest, so the honey part of the comb doesn't get too fat. And they'll run 9 frames in the extracting supers to make it easier to uncap.
Get one of those frame supports to hang on the side of the hive, when you inspect the brood nest, remove frame #1 or 10, hang it on the rest, and inspect the rest. Little danger of harming queen that way.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Don't get in too big a hurry to ad the second box. From my little experence, if you ad it too soon they tend to want to move up and not draw out the outside frames.
 
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