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Hi all,
This past year was our first year beekeeping and we started out with 4 hives. Long story short: all hives went into winter with 2 deeps & 1 medium filled with honey, and as luck wouldn't have it, none made it through the winter... disappointing. Now we have 4 empty deep boxes of drawn comb, 4 deep boxes that are partially filled with honey/pollen, and 4 honey supers loaded with capped honey. This year we plan on starting back up again with 3 nucs and 2 packages. My questions to everyone are: What configuration would you start the new bees off with given our current frames? Can I start each hive off with 2 deeps? 2 deeps and a honey super on top? Just 1 deep? Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Also, none of the hives had any sort of diseases that would keep me from reusing the equipment. Thanks,

Greg
 

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I'm certainly not an expert, but if I recall from my bee class, you should start with one deep. Wait till they have 7 out of 10 frames filled, then add the second deep. Don't add the honey super till 7 out of 10 of those frames are filled. In the meantime I suppose you can use the capped honey.
 

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Sound like, if you do it right you have enough resources , that you'll have to worry about what to do with all that honey "Next Year" (this year 2014) lots of possibilities.....good luck...

==McBee7==
 

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I had a similar problem myself. 15 frames of honey and no bees. I started 10 new hives with packages on the 6th of this month, using those frames in the hives for the new queens to get started with. The honey stores fed the bees while getting accustomed to the new homes and all is well with them now. Bursting at the seams with drawn comb, etc. So if i were in your shoes planning to start another 2 packages, i'd give them one solid deep with all the drawn comb and at least 2 frames of solid honey to get started with. The nuc's i would do the same way, put them into a deep with plenty of drawn comb and honey stores. They will gladly use it early on with brood build up.
 

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I'd buy some jars.... and at least harvest the supers (I don't think there's much value in putting full supers back on a hive this time of year). I had four hives that I inherited that were similar to your situation (double boxes, two with supers). I took 70lbs off them, cleaned everything up and when I got my Nucs, I installed each into a single deep with a full honey frame on the outside and a couple of empty drawn comb next for expansion and the Nuc frames in the middle. When I got 7-8 frames covered with bees, (didn't take long) I added a second box with the drawn frames with honey in the corners from the other deeps and let them go again. They are cleaning out the old frames like crazy and are taking the 1:1 I'm top feeding. When our flow gets going and it's time, I'll add back on the wet supers, let them fix them up and start filling them...we'll see if it works, as I am thinking they are way ahead of the game compared to a Nuc in a new box with foundation to build out and should be producers if the weather cooperates. But you have a lot of resources to work with in any case. You'll figure out what will work best for you.. good luck!
 

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I would extract the honey except 2 to 4 frames per hive that have capped honey on only about 25 to 30% of the frame. which I would place outboard of the hives. I would place empty frames or frames that need to be cleaned inboard and introduce the bees to a single deep. I would add a feeder if there is no flow in your area, and let the bees get established. Once they are established I would put the empty honey supers on for the bees to clean up, in a few days once they have cleaned the frames, I would put the second deep on for them to clean. In a few days I would inspect the hive. if the bees have the bottom box 50% full of brood and stores or more, I would leave the seconds on, if not I would remove then so the bees do not have too much space to worry about. and put them back on when 75% of the frames are covered with bees.

Note when extracting from brood chambers I always run All the frames through the extractor uncapped, this removes any raw nectar, and condensation in the open cells. Then uncap and extract after cleaning the extractor. I also extract and filter supers before hive frames.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice so far. I think we will end up extracting what honey we have in the mediums and just give the remaining honey in the deep frames to the bees when they come. Can't wait for the new season to start!
 

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Note when extracting from brood chambers I always run All the frames through the extractor uncapped, this removes any raw nectar, and condensation in the open cells. Then uncap and extract after cleaning the extractor. I also extract and filter supers before hive frames.[/QUOTE]

great insight ten bears
 

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Check your notes to make sure none of the supers or deeps you are going to extract where on when you treated if chemicals before extracting for humans. That honey would be contaminated. It would be ok for the new bees to eat.
 

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Check your notes to make sure none of the supers or deeps you are going to extract where on when you treated if chemicals before extracting for humans. That honey would be contaminated. It would be ok for the new bees to eat.
Oh Man! You are my hero!
I didn't even think about this and have a couple of frames that I decided that I was going to eat!

Saving for Dearth now!

THANKS!
 

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We didn't use any chemicals this year, so we should be good to eat it. Also, this could be the reason our hives didn't survive, but we'll save that discussion for another thread. :)
 
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