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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be expanding my apiary in the spring. I have a chance to "start over," as it were, since I'll be buying a lot of new equipment. Eight frame or 10? Wax or plastic (or wood and plastic, or Duragilt, or...). Mediums or deeps? Screened bottom board or solid?

I'm in Upstate NY, so my bees have to get through a long, cold winter with one or two brief breaks, most years.

I'm interested in what people like, what they wish they had, and most of all, the regrets!

Thanks!
 

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At this point, about the only thing I would change would be to go to all mediums. I like the ten frame, and I prefer the wood. But I started out with deep/shallow combo, and bought out another beek who had some medium. Wish I were in all medium for ease of frame manipulation and weight consideration.
 

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Wood frames with plastic foundation.

Definatly no Duragilt.

10 frame.

maybe all medium, not sure yet.

Johnny
 

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Thought about this a lot.
I would definitely go with Wood
I would definitely go with all mediums
I would definitely go with pierco wax coated foundation.
I would definitely go with sbb.
I would definitely go with plastic tops and inner covers.
I would definitely make migratory covers with jar cap feeder holes to use when I am feeding syrup. (stops robbing and keeps the ants out)
I would definitely, if possible, try the new USDA Russians from a member of the Russian Breeders Association
As far as 8 or 10 frame that is personal preferance, I go with 10.
I would probably use the vented 2 1/2" super from Kelleys on top for ventilation when not feeding.

I would definitely buy all of my equipment from Walter T Kelley Co. because they have very good products at a reasonable price.

Good luck, sure wish I had the opportunity to start over!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I tried all mediums one year, and didn't like two things: if I buy a nuc, it'll be on deeps (though lately I've been going with packages anyway, to avoid other people's contaminated wax issues) and it means 30 frames to go through instead of 20 when looking for the queen.

But the weight issue has made me consider 8-frame. Any 8-frame adherents want to tell me how they like it?
 

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If I had to start over again I'd do the same as I do now:

1) All 8-frame medium supers
2) a) foundationless wood frames with horizontal support wires
b) PF120 frames
c) PF120 foundation core, cut out, then installed in wooden frames
d) beeswax 4.9mm foundation in wood with horizontal support wires
3) Screened bottom boards with slatted racks - without entrance
4) Upper entrances
 

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The over 40 set is going to be pro-medium. Stay away from the plastic, except maybe for the pf-100s etc. Mediums are going to cost you extra time and money, though they are easier to lift. If you have trouble lifting, 8-frame is cheaper and lighter, but you might want to make your tops and bottom in this case. You have a great opportunity in that you can go treatment free. START CLEAN AND WITH GOOD HYGIENIC STOCK. You will have clean wax without residues and clean honey. Use only new equipment. I am on small cell and recommend it, but it is not as important as having good queens and strong hives. Fresh start! Good luck.
 

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I am in the process of going all mediums, weight and one size. My bees like wood frames and will draw out plastic foundation. However; my bees do quite well on foundationless.

You may want to do some rading on long hives (a standard Lang. medium for me, that is 4' long).
 

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All mediums because it's just easy.

10 frame because it's so much more standard, and because it makes the stack shorter.

Migratory covers because they work, and you can stack your hives touching side by side for winter.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>I'll be expanding my apiary in the spring. I have a chance to "start over," as it were, since I'll be buying a lot of new equipment. Eight frame or 10?

Eight frame mediums. I DID start over. I cut them all down...

> Wax or plastic (or wood and plastic, or Duragilt, or...).

I love the PF120s and I love the foundationless and I love the HSC (if only it came in mediums) and PermaComb. I use a mixture of all of those.

> Mediums or deeps?

Mediums.

> Screened bottom board or solid?

Tough one. I love the SBB but I'm too cheap to buy feeders, so I've converted all the solid bottoms to feeders... so I'd do solid bottoms as feeders.

>I'm in Upstate NY, so my bees have to get through a long, cold winter with one or two brief breaks, most years.

It's colder here...

You hit most of them:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesoptions.htm
 

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I'm a new beek so take what I say with a big grain of salt...but I really like having all mediums, and my back is fine. I just like it because I'll think, "crap, I need a frame, oh there's one"...and you know what, it fits, every time. Or I want to move a frame from this box to that one, and you know what, it fits, every time. I never have to think about what size it is or where I've stored this frame size vs that one....Just my 2c.
 

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After having read all the posts here, I believe one thing you can get from it is everyone would go all medium. Other things you should be thoroughly confused on. Which i'm sure you have been at it long enough to expect this. One question, 10 beeks 20 answers!!!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
:) Yeah, the all medium thing surprised me, because I didn't really love it when I tried it. Going through 30 frames instead of 20, the incompatibility with standard nucs, and so on was enough to put me off.

I'm leaning toward 8-frame deeps for brood and 8-frame mediums for honey, with screened BBs. Frames are the tough one. I've always preferred wood and wax. When I tried plastic, even coated, I got all kinds of "flying comb" and had to scrape... and even then, large amounts ended up propolized and useless. I'll be starting 20 new colonies, and would rather spend time assembling frames in the winter than scraping frames to be redrawn in the spring.

Honey SuperCell is tempting, though I've heard it has its downside, too (off gassing, and the queen not laying right away).

So the frames and foundation are still up in the air for me.
 

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I don't completely get the all mediums thing. I use a single deep for brood box and mediums and shallows for honey. Perhaps those further north are having to move full deeps more than we need to down here. For spring cleaning, I will typically pull the deep off and clean bottom board, but at that time the deep is not that heavy. I don't move my hives often and therefore just rarely need to lift a full deep. I think it would be a pain to search through 30 medium frames for the queen. This would make doing splits a far longer task. If I were to start over, I would NOT run both mediums and shallows for honey (shallows were free and hard to pass up).

Regarding choice for frames, wooden with plastic foundation. My favorite by far are: 9 1/8" ASSEMBLED COMMERCIAL FRAMES WAXED RITECELL from Mann Lake. I have a good number of the PF-120, but over the years I found them more fragile than I would like. I can easily warp them in my 9-frame hand-crank extractor, and found also that the ears will break off if mishandled. Once they warp or an ear breaks just throw them away. I also like migratory covers.
 

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I'm a new beek so take what I say with a big grain of salt...but I really like having all mediums, and my back is fine. I just like it because I'll think, "crap, I need a frame, oh there's one"...and you know what, it fits, every time. Or I want to move a frame from this box to that one, and you know what, it fits, every time. I never have to think about what size it is or where I've stored this frame size vs that one....Just my 2c.
Dang, I'm running all deeps and don't seem to have any problem getting my frames to fit either. :scratch:


After having read all the posts here, I believe one thing you can get from it is everyone would go all medium. Other things you should be thoroughly confused on. Which i'm sure you have been at it long enough to expect this. One question, 10 beeks 20 answers!!!:)
I'll chime in with deeps, and if I did it again, I'd still go deeps....at least for now. Yeah, I'm sub 40, so call me young and dumb if ya want, my dad and the guy I learned from (both well over 40) used/use deeps and no mediums. Deep or Med?
Plastic or wax?
It's Chevy vs. Ford vs. Dodge all over again.
Which one is right? Answer: which ever one you want, get what you want, not what other people want, you'll never be happy otherwise.

JMO,
C2
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There are three problems with using deeps for honey, from my perspective: 1. my extractor holds 6 mediums radially or 3 deeps tangentially. Who needs that? And I'm not ready to buy a new extractor. 2. Weight. I'm a fit, 45-year-old woman, and I'm used to hauling my 30 lb toddler around, but this year's full mediums were as heavy as I'd want to go (and I don't like removing one frame at a time) 3. I know which frames were used for honey and which for brood this way, and they can't be mixed up.
 

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I also live in Upstate NY and here is what I did---

1.) 8 frame, lighter and I am not getting younger
2.) All Mediums, ease of hive manipulation and hive to hive frame transfer
3.) Screened Bottom boards, for Varroa mite drop, better ventilation
4.) Inner cover and Telescoping tops, just because I did
5.) Foundationless Dadant frames, I like the thicker bottom board
6.) Hived packages and swarms in theses and have only had 1 hive lost, it was a small swarm that absconded the day after I hived it.

As far as making it thru winter, I just slide a piece of plywood under 95 % of the bottom board and provide a good wind break, and let them do the rest.
 
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