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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just now buying equipment. Book I read said buy 2 deep hive bodies and put supers on top of that. I had thought I would need 1 deep hive body for the bees and the supers would be for me to get honey from. My question is do the bees need 1 or 2 deep hive bodies?
Thanks for any help or advice.
 

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Good Luck Danny,

Most beekeepers I know in middle Tennessee use two deep brood chambers. Your goal should be to have the foundation in both broodchambers fully drawn out with at least 45 pounds of honey/cured sugar water by the end of September.

If you have not already please visit tnbeekeepers.org and hivetool.com - both are great sites!
 

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I have just completed my first year of beekeeping. I started out using two deep brood chambers. They were able to have plenty of stores for the winter and made it through just fine. I like having plenty of space for the queen to lay. I have a lot of "extra " capped brood in order to make some splits. Two deep brood chambers is what I would recommend with my limited experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I will order 2 full body hives. While I'm ordering how many supers should I get? Also do I use both bodies at first or let them fill one before adding the other?
Talked to a guy in Mississippi planning on going down there to get bees, is there any place in Tennessee that I could get them?
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Persoanally I'd order four mediums and skip the deeps altogether. Use the mediums for everything.

I'd recommend you use all the same size frames for everything, and since medium frames seem like the best compromise for everything, I recommend mediums for everything. That includes comb honey, extracted honey, brood etc. These are sometimes called Illinois supers. Or ¾ supers. Or Medium supers. They are 6 5/8” deep with 6 ¼” frames.

Reasons for all the same size: You can bait up supers with brood, or other frames from the brood chamber. You can pull honey from the supers for starting nucs and extra feed for the winter etc. You can run an unlimited brood nest (one without an excluder) and if the queen lays in the supers, you just pull those frames of brood and swap them for some honey from the brood chamber. Different sizes are really a deterrent to efficient management of the hive.

Reasons for mediums instead of deeps: A 10 frame deep full of honey can weigh up to 90 or 100 pounds. A medium full of honey can weigh up to 60 pounds.
 

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I think it's ok to start with one hive body, but bee prepared to add a super and/or another hive body in a few weeks. The bees seem to build faster when they have just a little more space than they need immediately - so if you can monitor them closely, add space as needed (but not before its needed). Some people use a "follower board" to help control space. My splits for increase usually start in a 5-frame NUC, then go into a 10-frame hive body, then I add a 10 frame super (trying permacomb this year), then another 10-frame hive body with the super on top.
 

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For weight reason I will never buy another deep hive body. I am using all mediums for interchangeabilty. Many in our area use one deep and one medium as a brood nest. This is where I got to last fall and they did great. The deeps I have will be used in this manor and if the queen needs more room I will use another medium for brood.
 

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All three of my hives have two deeps, but I'm trying to switch over to all mediums as Michael has suggested. Deeps are too heavy to lift when they're full of honey and using all one size makes manipulations a lot easier.
 

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As mentioned above and other times, the amount of brood chamber seems to vary by climate and by beekeeper, but in general two deeps is what is used in the far north and one deep is what is used in the deep south, with some Unlimited brood nest people running three deeps in the north, and some running a deep and a medium in the near south.

The equvelance to mediums is this. Three mediums = 2 deeps. So in the far north if you want unlimited brood nests then you run four or five mediums. If you want the equivalent of two deeps you run three mediums. If you want the equivelent of a deep and a shallow that's two mediums. If you want the equvelant of one deep, I'd still run two mediums. Basically two mediums is about what a queen can lay up but three is what you need minimum to get through a hard winter in the north with a strong hive.

If you run all the same size frames an no excluder, and no chemicals, then the bees can decide what they want for a brood nest and you won't have to worry about it. Just keep adding and if the bottom box ends up empty, move it above the top box that has brood.
 

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Danny,

Two contacts for you if you would like to get bees in Tennessee:

Package bees, queens, nucs, supplies, etc. Ed Johnson, Goodlettsville, 615-859-7253

Queens, package bees Backwood Apiaries, Edwin Holcombe, Shelbyville, 931-684-0826

Both of the above are in Middle Tennessee.
You may want to follow up with the Memphis area asociation to find out if there is a supplier closer to you.

Memphis Area Beekeepers - meet second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the UT Agricultural Extension Office, 5565 Shelby Oaks Drive, Memphis, Contact Bill Hughes at (901) 475-1918 or [email protected]
 
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