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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since beekeepers in my area say they go into winter with only double deeps on their hives, I have researched that you should go into winter with at least 100 pounds of stores for my area. If a deep runs about 40lb each, thats 80 pounds. Why wouldn't one go into winter with 3 deeps 120lb and in the spring either split or remove one of the deeps?

My configuration right now is double deeps with at least 1 shallow super on each (total of 3 boxes). Beekeepers say to take the shallow off because you don't want the colony to move up to the super during the spring. We still have nectar flow with goldenrod coming in and I'm afraid by the looks of it that I'm going to have an extra shallow super (total of 2 supers) by the end of fall.

Do I take the supers off (store the frames in the freezer), extract what I have in them until I get down to my double deeps, or leave the two supers on for the winter?
 

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Some beekeepers run hives w/ two deeps and a medium super and some w/ three deeps, while many migratory beekeepers run hives w/ a deep and a medium. There is no set rule. It's all up to you.

Deeps hold a lot more than 40 lbs of honey, even 8 frame deeps. Michael Palmer weighs each and every hive before he quits feeding before Winter. He wants his hives to be around 135 lbs, I believe. His Wintering configuration is commonly two deeps and a medium.

Seems like a two deep hive well fed where you live should be just fine for the Winter as far as feed is concerned.
 

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I think deeps are more than 40 lbs, when full of capped honey. I know mine are closer to 80 lbs. (I have some 4 deep hives right now and I swear when I go to move the upper deeps off they must weigh at least 500 lbs, or at least it seems like that!) Actually I can no longer safely lift them off without removing a frame or three first.

I'll be interested in seeing your replies as winter stack configuration is what I thinking about this week. I"m in a much colder climate than you so my hives need more stores (120-150 lbs is what I've read), but one thing that seems important to me is to plan the stack so that when the bees have moved upward through their food stores over the winter they end up starting their brood in a box that I would want them in. I was a bit more laissez-faire last year and that resulted in some early brood in mediums which wasn't quite what I wanted. I am currerntly pondering a set-up that ends up with a deep below a medium on top (no matter what's under it), both of these would start out as solid honey stores. I noticed last Spring that they didn't start the brood in the upper box (no matter which size it was, or how much they had used up) but instead in the next-to-top-box. I want them to use deeps as brood boxes so it makes sense to make sure that I have a deep placed in the stack where they are likely to wind up and begin to raise their bees in the Spring. That way I can just reverse it, intact, down to the bottom in the Spring and they, and I, will be happy. I also don't think there's anything wrong with having, for instance, Medium boxes below a Deep if that's what positions end-of-season brood frames below boxes of solid honey above. I think size of box should be subordinate to contents, and eventual re-use of box.

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One of my concerns was apiguard cross contaminating the supers that I would leave on during the winter. Local beekeepers take "all" supers off this time of year and put a dose of apiguard down, then 2 weeks later apply again and thats it until spring for them. I guess I could take all "food supers" off during the 2 week apiguard application and then put them all back on before winter so that I could have a viable reason to use those supers again for honey extraction.

I do have cattle scales on mine right now and I have a chart going to track progress.

For clarification, I was also taking in consideration of the deeps being around 40lb (10fr) because of a few of them being for brood/pollen and not completely filled up.
 

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I think this is something that you're going to need local feedback on. Conditions vary greatly around the country, as pointed out there is no "one-size" configuration. One potential issue you may be neglecting is a Fall flow. Again, depending on your area, Fall flows may produce reasonable yields, and if your colonies are condensed to their winter configuration before the Fall flow, then you run the risk of clogging the broodnest. Of course this is dependent upon several factors, but something that should considered in your preparations.
 

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One of my concerns was apiguard cross contaminating the supers that I would leave on during the winter. Local beekeepers take "all" supers off this time of year and put a dose of apiguard down, then 2 weeks later apply again and thats it until spring for them. I guess I could take all "food supers" off during the 2 week apiguard application and then put them all back on before winter so that I could have a viable reason to use those supers again for honey extraction.

Angel, I have a question about "food supers" and treatments. Last year, I applied Apivar to a hive (two deeps and a super) that I was not planning on harvesting honey from. The super was cleaned out by spring and filled with brood. It took me some time, but those frames have since been capped with honey. Anyways, maybe a rookie beekeeper mistake, but will those frames be harvestable this year or is the comb tainted by Apivar? Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Angel, I have a question about "food supers" and treatments. Last year, I applied Apivar to a hive (two deeps and a super) that I was not planning on harvesting honey from. The super was cleaned out by spring and filled with brood. It took me some time, but those frames have since been capped with honey. Anyways, maybe a rookie beekeeper mistake, but will those frames be harvestable this year or is the comb tainted by Apivar? Thanks for the feedback!
Some beekeepers will say yes, some will say no. Personally I wouldn't harvest it as I'm trying to prevent the same issue happening with me with this thread. Lets see what others have to say.
 

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If you put chemicals in your hive the hive is contaminated with that chemical. You have no control of the bees from spreading the contamination to other parts of the hive. The only argument is how much contamination there is and what level you feel is not harmful for consumption. When all is said and done that is a personal thing.

I don't worry about winter configuration until the fall flow is over.
 
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