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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have landed some out yards and plan to try my hand with about 20 honey producing colonies. So far I have been making bees not honey. I like single box because it is what I have gotten used to.
I have watched all of Ian Stepplers videos and noticed that he adds a second box to his singles then takes a split off them, then proceeds to let them continue to build into that 2nd box until the flow starts and then puts a queen excluder in between those 2 brood chambers after of course making sure the queen is in lower box. Then supers accordingly.
So this means that there is brood above the excluder which will be filled with honey as soon as it emerges. This idea really make sense to me because you can send the colony into the flow as a monster hive and yet have the queen not feeling cramped.
Finally to my question. Is there any reason I couldn't sort the 2 boxes and put say 80 to 90% of the brood (larval and capped) above the excluder and a bunch of empty combs below the excluder in an effort to give her all kinds of space to lay, what is the drawback, labor perhaps?
 

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I believe this is the main features that also makes the system work for Roland. Also the basic result of Snelgroves division board. Move most of the brood and nurse bees up out of the queens space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My inexperience really shows through...thank you for confirming that not only will it work but it is an accepted practice.
Cal
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't have many spare combs so my plan is instead of taking a split off of these honey colonies I will have them draw out the foundation on that 2nd brood chamber as they lay it up, it seems that this would be approximately equivalent to the energy expenditure requirement of a taking a split, and I would gain their 1st honey super worth of comb drawn out and laid up by the time the flow is on. I use all deeps.
 

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I will be concentrating less on honey and more on getting a few more colonies established and getting comb drawn. I destroyed quite a bit of comb and have some quarantined for another year. Probably comb drawing is more efficient over an excluder and strong bottom colony than splitting off a separate box. Especially where night time temperatures are low.

If you want to keep dedicated extraction comb you can get it drawn in the same box with brood frames you pull up above the excluder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What do you mean by quarantined for another year?
 

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European Foulbrood one season and lost colonies to possibly nosema the next.
The organisms are supposedly infective on comb for year and a half to two years so I will let it sit while I meditate on whether to reuse frames or not. The value in a colony is in the drawn comb not the bees!
 

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I do a similar method. When I add a second deep, I move most of the brood up, and keep the queen in the bottom with several empty combs. Every week during the flow, I pull out 1-2 frames of capped brood from the brood box and hang them above the excluder. I find that when I replace the frames removed from the brood box with foundation, the frames get drawn really fast and laid up fine. Moving the capped brood and giving the queen lots of laying space is critical. She will fill that bottom deep with brood and they will swarm real quick if you don't.

The second deep that goes on, I usually start with just 9 frames to give me room to add a brood frame later, and as brood hatches out and the frame starts getting backfilled, I either let that go to honey, or I will pull the frame and put it in a nuc as a feed frame. Any other boxes I put on in addition to the second deep are medium supers for honey.

So the honey flow setup is a deep with a queen and a constant supply of empty comb or frames to draw, a QE, a deep to move capped brood into, then honey supers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes indeed Beebeard. Thanks to both of you for your responses. I was hoping once the flow was really on that I could stop manipulating the brood boxes. When the flow begins I was planning on putting virtually all the brood above the excluder and all the more or less empty Combs below it . So sending them into the flow this way I was hoping to not have to manipulate again since it would involve removing honey supers and turning into a lot of labor.
 

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I believe you will still have to check for started cells on the brood frames you pull up above the excluder. I believe Roland has mentioned doing so. He claims to be able to overhaul and inspect a colony similarly set up in 6 minutes! I know I would have to be pulling half the frames out of a deep before swinging it off. I am not planning to go this direction permanently. Side by side 4 or 5 frame half boxes on top of the excluder would be the way I might approach that. I had hernia surgery just over a year ago from doing just that! I am supposed to be on good behavior!
 

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I would advise against having more than 2/3ds of the brood above the excluder. Temperature can be a problem, not enough bees to cover where the queen is. There is not set "do this", It changes with season, temperature, and the conditions in the hive. With no humility, it takes many years to find out what you can and cannot do.

Crazy Roland
 
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