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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, just started my first hive 4 weeks ago from a starter kit and package bees. I have heard that the first year using deeps for honey supers is a good idea, so I just added my first super on top of my brood chamber and queen excluder. The ladies had basically 8 frames filled out in the bottom chamber so thought they might need some room to expand was this too soon? I also am wondering if it is possible to make splits this first year and if it is too late in the spring to do it? As far as I can tell the nectar flow started about a week ago, dont know what it is exactly but thats when the sugar water quit disappearing and lots of new wax started appearing in the hive. So to summarize
1. Was it too early to super up?
2.Is one deep for a brood chamber enough?
3.Is using deeps for supers the first year good bad or indifferent?
4. Can a split be made this time of year in Michigan if not when is the best time to do it?
Thanks in advance and I have learned alot all ready scouring the archives
 

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I'll try and answer one question with some math as explained to me here on this site last week. It made sense to me.

-A frame on average will hold about 3000 brood cells.
-In the one deep a queen usually uses 6 to 8 frames to lay leaving the outside 2 to 4 frames for honey and pollen.
-When the queen is laying good she should lay 1500 eggs a day.
-She can fill 8 frames in your one deep in about 16 days, so she will be out of room for about 6 to 7 days in each 21 to 22 day cycle.
-If they have 4 outer frames full of honey, that could mean only 6 frames available and she could fill those in 12 days.
-Conclusion: You probably need a second deep.
 

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I have heard that the first year using deeps for honey supers is a good idea, so I just added my first super on top of my brood chamber and queen excluder.

You're not really using the deep for a honey super that you should plan to harvest. It is a food chamber for the bees. You should plan to over-winter them in two deeps--one for brood space, one for food stores. Personally I would take the excluder out and let the queen go into the upper deep if she needs a little more space for brood. If you get to the point that they have filled the upper deep and can make you some "surplus" honey to harvest, you could then use the excluder with shallow or medium supers above the excluder for harvesting.

1. Was it too early to super up? It doesn't sound like it.
2.Is one deep for a brood chamber enough? One for brood, one for food.
3.Is using deeps for supers the first year good bad or indifferent? See above.
4. Can a split be made this time of year in Michigan if not when is the best time to do it? I think it's waaaaayyy too early to be thinking about splitting that colony. After just 4 weeks, if the queen was released and started laying within a few days, her earliest brood is JUST starting to emerge within the last week or less. In the first year from package bees on bare foundation it is usually considered a success to get them into winter with a decent population and enough stores for themselves. If you get some excess honey for youself that would be considered a major bonus in year one. If the queen seems strong based on brood production this summer and if they over-winter well (good population coming out of winter, no problems with mites, disease, or starvation) then you might think about a split in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Carl and Jeff for excellent info. I think I will do as suggested and remove the queen excluder and ket the queen roam if she wants. I was not planning on harvesting honey this year so thanks for pointing out that who cares if she lays some brood in the top super as well, I( just wanted to make sure there was enough honey stores for the winter, again thanks for the advice
 

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I agree with what has been said here. I think you are wise to put off harvesting for the first year. For one thing, if the second deep is new foundation, continued feeding of sugar syrup will help the bees. Removal of the excluder is the best policy even with honey supers if there is new foundation. After they draw out the honey super, you can replace the excluder to keep the queen from laying in the already drawn super.

There is confusing use of terms on this forum. Most people consider a certain number of boxes on the bottom to be "brood boxes". Size is not the issue. Some use deep, some like me use mediums. But these brood boxes are left to the bees for brood and honey stores.(Some people say they harvest from the brood boxes but in my opinion that is bad for the bees as it leaves them with no stores at all and they may not have time to build up again before winter if the fall flow is bad and the beekeeper cannot or does not feed enough syrup in the fall). Even though the second brood box is on top of the first and is therefore "superior" in position to the first box, I personally cringe when a brood box is called a "super".

Boxes from which the beekeeper intends to harvest are variously called "supers" or "honey supers" and can be any size. Deeps as honey supers are very difficult for most of us non commercial beekeepers without beefy guys to lift and tote. A full honey deed can weigh 90 pounds or so. Mediums can weigh about 60 pounds so I say hooray for shallows. Anyway. Just my two cents. Sounds like you are on the right track.
 
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