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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had: (1) one hive all mediums that was on the verge of starvation; and (2) one hive that consisted of a deep and two shallows that got killed by condensation, leaving a bunch of honey.

I combined the honey from the dead hive with the starving hive about a month ago, leaving out the deep, which had several frames of honey. Since the frames were all different sizes, that was not easy. I had to wing it. Then, the weather turned cold/snowy/rainy, so a couple weeks back, I stuck the deep on top for insurance. I figured they would move down most of the honey from the deep, and then I'd remove it.

Here's what I've got now, bottom to top: medium, medium, shallow, shallow, medium and a deep. (Not exactly textbook, I'll admit. But looking out the kitchen window is now good for a chuckle.)

I go inspect this mess of a hive a short while ago. Mostly good news. What I find is that the bottom four boxes (2 mediums and 2 shallows) are being used for pollen and brood, with the hive going gangbusters. The medium (second from top) is empty. They are storing a bunch of nectar in the deep.

My question is, what should I do with this mess going forwards? I'm basically over-supered and I'm using a deep with brood frames for the top honey super, and that's where the bees have started storing the surplus already.

Should I just be glad I have a strong hive and hope the nectar flow holds out and they fill all that up?

Or should I do something else?

Thanks,

Neil
 

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What is it that you are looking to accomplish? What I mean is, are you trying to remove the deep and use all mediums with shallows for supers? Or, are you wanting to have the deep on the bottom as the brood box with mediums/shallows on top? What is the box configuration you are looking to have come October/November? For the year, are you looking for good honey production, or are you wanting to increase numbers of hives? These are some questions needing answers in order to figure out what to do from the here and now and onward for the year.
 

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Seems like a good argument for going to to all mediums. Two weeks ago, I went to a new friends house and tried to straighten out a couple of hives that had shallow frames in medium boxes. Messy messy! They had just started and didn't know any better. The point is, if you just use one size of equitment you don't have to worry about those issues.
 

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If you put the deep on the bottom(underneath all the brood) the bees should move that honey up and the queen will be forced down into that deep as the season progresses. Or after they have removed most of that honey from the deep you can take it out of the scenario and place it off at a distance for them to rob what remains in it.
 

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Yeah, I second all mediums. Are any of the boxes empty? Great time to cull them... I have a colony in all deeps from rotating them out of other colonies, it'll become a long hive this year and I'll save the boxes for covering bucket feeders.

If any of them do have brood, you can find the queen and put her up top and the brood below under an excluder. She'll start the new broodnest and in a month you have a brood-free box. I'd set the three mediums as the colony-to-be, with the shallows on top of that. Though don't scatter the brood area if they're not booming and/or you get chilly nights still.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would like to expand, but for this particular hive the only goal is honey production. I have moved to a new house, and this is the only established hive I have at my house. I want to get a hive to harvest from at this new location. My other established hives are elsewhere.

My original thought when I added the deep is that they would move the honey down, I'd remove the deep and then hive a swarm in the deep, with drawn foundation. But then the goofy bees started putting a good amount of nectar away in it, and I am reluctant to mess with that work.

Really, I think the issue is whether I should leave things alone or remove the deep from the top (and, if so, how should I do that). If I remove the deep, I can still hive a swarm. But will I lose honey production if I pull it off and let my bees and the neighbors rob it out and/or will hive beetles mess it up?

OTOH, if I leave this deep on there, will I end up with a bunch of uncapped nectar/honey spread all over the place because I gave them too much room too fast?

As far as going into next winter, I will want to convert this back to 3 or 4 mediums for overwintering. However, I can get that figured out in the late summer/fall.

Thanks,

Neil
 

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Then leave them the way they are. As they get the boxes on top filled and capped then you can pull them off and extract. You'll get that deep off that way and be able to use it as a swarm box or whatever else. Oh, BTW, bees don't move honey down, they move it up above brood nest. The only time they move it down is if you using queen excluder and they need honey from above.
 

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Bees like honey above the broodnest. They don't like it below. I would place the deep on the bottom. (You might even want to scratch the cappings.) The bees should move the honey up over the course of the season. The incoming nectar will push the queen to the bottom of the stack.
 

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id be kinda careful with scratchin that capin an putin it on bottom.
every criter noed to man will smell it. you mite not think there aint no bees around but you will find out for sure bout them an ants to.
id leave it be.
 

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You have two shallows.
Was your goal to make some cut comb honey?

I would suggest that you extract all of the honey in that deep super and place it on top of your hive.
Later on you can place the deep on a bottom board and fill it with a divide.
ideally this is what your goal is:
Full deep and a MDS for brood.
the shallows can be used for cut comb honey
At some point you will have to store supers.
The MDS make hive manipulations easier and more efficient than deeps.
And, they weigh less.
MDS are easier to extract honey than full depth supers.
A nice full MDS of bees, brood and honey makes a great divide.
You have a choice of running all deeps or all MDS.
Ernie
 
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