Also which do most beekeepers prefer? I have a single deep hive with a super full of honey. Is it to late here in southern Illinois if I take off the super and put on another brood chamber? Thanks in advance.
This year was my 1st running single deeps and I like it much better than doubles. We will see how winter goes but I winter many singe 5 frame nucs without issue. I'm probably done with doubles unless something happens to change my mind.
If you do put on the second super would it be a consideration to put the new one underneath on the bottom. If it does not get completely drawn out and filled, my thought is better not to have the half baked one up on top, since that is where the bees will be in late winter early spring. The bees will give priority to filling from the top down. I did that with undrawn mediums last fall and got them half drawn out and managed to take them off this spring before the bees expanded down into them.
Similar philosophy with the Warre Hive but I know zip about that!
I have to use double deeps in my area since our winters can be quite....transient. There are very few beekeepers in my area that use the single deeps and the ones that do use 5 frame equipment. I have a friend who is trying the single deeps this year following Seeley's Darwinian Beekeeping which calls for them, but so far, swarming has been (unsurprisingly) a big issue for us down here.
I run only single deeps here in Southern Ontario, swarming certainly is an issue, but mostly because of unpredictable weather - like this spring when we were locked out of our hives for almost a month during critical swarm build up period. Hives can go from starving to swarming very quickly, so ability to perform frequent inspections is very important when running singles.
Back in the day when I was running doubles, I always had lots of leftover honey/syrup in the spring, my bees could never eat it all and then I had to manipulate the frames all the time not to get the syrup into the honey supers.
I may try to add empty supers under a couple of hives this year to see how they like it - having more space (but not food) may help if the spring is again as crazy as we had this year.
Let us know how the empty or undrawn super under the brood works out. I tried a few with just a totally empty 3" lift ring underneath which I put on as I was wrapping. Keeps dead drop out bees from being a moldy mess in the bottoms of frames if you get behind in keeping the die off bees raked out. There certainly is a lot more experience floating around on managing 2 or even three deep colonies but the single is getting some attention.
For my $.02, in southern Illinois now, putting any empty frames on is going to have minimal if any wax drawn (without feeding). For the rest of the year, any nectar coming in is going to be supporting the bees in a hand to mouth scenario. No need, no wax drawn. You may get a small spike/flow in the fall but that's dependent on your location; some yard get one, some don't.
Nothing wrong with a double deep configuration but a queen can only maintain slightly less than a single deep's worth of comb/brood. Double deep will get you more honey in deep frames but double deep doesn't translate to more brood. Extracting deep frames can be a bit problematic with smaller extractors as a deep frame will not fit in some and most of the other's require the frames to be extracted tangentially rather than radially.
While the extra frames of drawn deep combs are handy when making and selling nucs, if your focus is on honey, I don't find the double deep configuration advantageous.
I run a single deep and a med overwintering configuration, the bees will expand the brood into the medium during spring but back fill as the flow wanes. I find the mediums give me better options as I equalize and adjust stores in the fall.
Honestly, we went to all medium boxes a few years ago as they are easier to handle for the Beek in the house and it simplifies things for us. There is only one deep box in our eight current colonies and that's only because "in the moment" when recovering a swarm from an existing colony, it happened to be physically available for the job. (the last one we actually own) But that's us. Many folks like deep boxes at the bottom of the stack.
For folks who use deeps for brood boxes, the colonies themselves will tell you if they like one or two. Bees are like that. You may need to run both configurations for a bit and see what works best where you live and with your particular bees.
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