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medium frame in with deeps

1471 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  juzzerbee
I am planning on putting a drawn medium frame in a deep box with 9 deep foundationless frames. After capturing a swarm, the bees would be going into a 10 frame deep box with 10 deeps. From your experiences, would this be bad to do or problem causing at some point?

When I transfer the bees, will I have made any difficulties for myself? Since this is my first go at swarm traps, I am not sure what I am to do with the frame of drawn that I used in the trap.(if it stays with the bees when transferred or if it stays in the trap and used in there again instead. Thanks, juzzer
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In a swarm trap it probably doesn't matter that much. Worst case it turns into an easy cutout. Best case it works fine. A medium frame between two drawn deep brood combs works fine. A medium drawn frame in the middle of a bunch of deep foundationless could cause issues. But odds are you'll catch it before then. It is hard to say what they will do on the bottom of the medium frame with no combs to guide them.
Oh, boy, I can see problems ahead. Or should I say, I can see problems lying in dripping ruins on my own feet?

I did something like this (for various reasons). I had some medium frames in a deep box and thought it interesting, maybe even cute, that my enterprising bees drew great arcs of comb below in the open space. I was warned by a friend who knew about this that it wouldn't end well, but I ignored that since I knew lots of people had completely frameless TBH arrangements.

Fast forward to eight days ago on my first post-winter inspection. I opened the top box (the one with wonky arrangement), it looked solid. I pried open the joint between the box below to check for queen cells. None seen, so OK, time to lift the whole wonky-box as a unit to set it gently aside and paw through the lower box first. My husband came out to help as it was HEAVY. We carefully lifted it up to set it aside, and ..... slap, sploosh, down fell most of the unsupported free-form arcs of comb, honey, pollen and BROOD all over my feet. Major panic set in - where was the queen????? I hastily salvaged what I could, rubberbanding in brood and honey comb. No sign of the queen. Got the box back on as fast as possible, and just as I was nudging the last of the frames down, another free-hanging comb arc calved off and slid down onto the frames below. By this time I felt that any more hive-mayhem would only make things worse, so I left it the way it lodged and closed up the hive. But still no sighting of the queen.

I felt just awful because this was completely avoidable if I had only acted on the advice and not allowed this mess to grow. Sure, bees in cavities can build all kinds of marvelous cross-comb architecture and it works just fine. But in a moveable frame/moveable box-style hive, which is subject to rude, unanticipated (by the bees) lifts and pryings, the frames are the exoskeleton of the comb. Without them, you just have a dripping pool of honey, wax and poor little dumped-out larva wiggling pathetically on your sneakers.

I have not been back in to see if I have fresh larva which would prove the continued (miraculous!) health of Queen Iris. I think later this weekend (10 + days from Disaster) I will venture a peek if it's warm enough. Behaviorally, I think the hive is still queenright, but who knows.? It will break my heart if my stupidity cost her her life.

So, um, no, I wouldn't leave a medium comb in a deep for more than the barest minimum time and would regard leaving it there for any extended time (as I did) to be beekeeping malpractice.

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Interesting story. I've mixed mediums in to deeps of drawn comb 50 - 100 times with no ill results. When I do, it's in a bottom box so they aren't attaching to another top bar and I'm not banging an entire box around. They do have to be handled like a frame in a TBH.
I did exactly what your asking about last year because this was the only drawn comb I had. I caught a swarm and used the small frame in the deep next to the bottom board. The bees drew out the frame almost exactly like the other deep frames. I see no reason not to try again if this is what you have to work with. Good luck!
When I've added more than one medium together in a brood nest is when I've had issues. They sometimes build an angled comb across several instead of just extending down from the bottom bar.
.......used the small frame in the deep next to the bottom board.
What do you mean by this?

Did you transfer all frames into the hive after the capture(small and deep frames)? Thanks, juzzer
it's only a problem when you forget you took out the frame feeder and set the medium back on top of the deep.... I mix in a medium time to time when I run out of deep frames, they'll just build a section on the bottom to fill in the gap, no issues.
After capturing a swarm, what do you do with each of the frames that were in the swarm trap if you had 1 medium(drawn frame) and 9 deeps(foundationless) and they began drawing it out and possibly laying in the medium? If there were eggs laid in the medium I would assume that frame would need to stay with the bees and not back into the swarm trap??? Thanks, juzzer
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