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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first year beekeeping and I started with 4 hives. In August, I pulled resources from 3 strong hives (full double deeps) and installed mated queens to make 2 additional hives. Those 2 new hives are thriving in a single deeps (9 frames drawn, tons of brood) and I am trying to decide whether to add a deep box with foundation or use medium boxes with drawn comb from honey harvest. The 3 strong hives have already recovered and I could probably take some honey frames from those hives if needed. I am in Charleston, SC it is still in the 90s and our winters are very mild. I have been feeding and all my queens are laying up a storm. My question is, should I try to overwinter in a single deep, expand with deeps with undrawn foundation or use drawn medium comb I have from honey supers?
 

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I'm not in your area so take that into consideration, but I would add a medium of drawn comb. I think it's too late in the bee season to expect a lot of wax to be drawn, and a deep brood with medium on top should over winter very well.
 

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I'm in Lexington County, SC.

A single deep might be ok. A medium over a deep seems to be the standard around here. I use all mediums and over winter in three mediums (equivalent to double deep). I acknowledge that that is overkill.

Personally I would feed until your extra medium is filled.
 

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if I were in your exact position, I would:
a) if the mediums are worker size brood cells place the empty medium on the bottom board, place the deep with bees on top of that. IE give room below the existing.
b) second choice not as good but doable. use 2 deeps, place the center 4 combs in the bottom , at the same position they were , add 3 frames of foundation on each side.
add the second deep with 4 foundations against the wall, IE position 1,2,9,10. Place the original 1,2,3,8,9,10 into 3,4,5,6,7,8 respectively. SO we have brood in the lower for the most part , stores in the upper, centered, with new to the outsides. then feed 4 gallons feed as fast as they take it. goal would be to get the 4 frames touching the existing frames, drawn and 4 more worth of space filled.

As well ask locally how a single deep makes it thru the winter, option c) is do nothing.
if you add the medium under, it may/will have brood and pollen stored, and may not be a super going forward, as well if the super is all drone comb, then the 2 option are equal, each having a + and minus. super + is it is comb, the Minus it is drone come. the deep + is it is worker cell,and likely the next step for you in the spring any way, the minus it is not drawn.

could also do some shuffling, IE take a couple combs from the stronger hives give to these 2 on Option b) if honey add to the top deep if empty comb add to the bottom deep.
give the strong hive a couple foundation each then feed them all. If you add a couple then do 6 over 6 keeping the fullest to the top box. I would steal 1 and 10 from the bottom deep on a strong hive, these are out of play most of the winter, and tend to be spring food, based on where the cluster is during most of the winter.

OR if learning is on the table do 1 of each and see what works best in your area, this issue i have in 4 hives now as well, it is not a 1 off, you will see it again, so finding the optimal path is a good thing.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. The drawn mediums are on acorn foundation, so should mostly be worker size. Putting them on the bottom makes since, since the boxes would be different sizes, I would not be able to bring up a couple frames of brood to encourage them to move into the second box, but I guess putting them on the bottom would have a similar effect. The frames are still wet, should I let the bees clean them before putting them on the bottom or just put them in wet. Since I want to expand the brood nest, I don't want them to just fill them all up with honey.
 

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Welcome to Beesource!

Do make an effort to find other beekeepers in your area, especially if you can find a beekeeping club.

Ask about how long the Fall nectar flow lasts for your area in this year's amount of rainfall. Many locations are reporting the beginning of goldenrod, often the last nectar flow of the year, although not in all areas.

You ability to learn to judge nectar flows will have a lot to do with your success as a beekeeper. Best of luck!
 
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