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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've had two hives of bees now for a little over a month. They are doing great. I've got 8 frames and a feeder in each hive. They started with blank foundation, and they have each filled out probably 60 to 70% with comb so far. They still have some room to expand.

At what point should I consider adding a second brood chamber? Wait until they are busting at the seams, or add it before they have even filled out the original box?

Any opinions about putting the new chamber with blank foundation on top or bottom? I was considering doing one hive with the new box on the top, and the second with the box on the bottom just to see how they respond.

While I doubt there is a wrong answer, what is most beneficial?
 

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Put the second box above the brood nest. Bees always draw comb best in the upper box, and they move up much faster due to the cluster's heat rising and warming the upper box. Usually, the upper box is added when the lower is 70% occupied.

You should add your state in the location box, it helps when giving advice to know what part of the country you are in.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you AR Beekeeper.

Thanks also for pointing out location, that makes sense. I'm in North West Georgia. I am adding that information to my signature.
 

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AR gave you good advice, just wanted to say welcome to the forum and to beekeeping. Sometimes people will "under super" when adding a honey super, not a brood box. The thought is that the bees will not ignore it if they have to go through it. I tried this last year and really did not notice a difference. But 2 hives and one season is hardly conclusive. May try it again this year. Best of luck. J
 

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I read that for your existing brood box, to take some of the frames just in from the sides, and switch them with the side-most frames that are empty. That will encourage the bees to fill that entire box first, before moving up into your 2nd box (but you should not move any *brood* frames outward, while doing so)
 

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Put the second box above the brood nest. Bees always draw comb best in the upper box, and they move up much faster due to the cluster's heat rising and warming the upper box. Usually, the upper box is added when the lower is 70% occupied.

You should add your state in the location box, it helps when giving advice to know what part of the country you are in.
Would there be a difference in the question of above or below when foundationless is to be drawn? The bees seem more likely to mess things up when they build comb bottom up. Also might there be a difference when tall frames are used rather than medium?

I know it would not be the rule in most of beekeeping, but in areas where temperature control is the main limit on colony expansion, could it be of benefit to let the brood nest occupy the warmer upper regions of the hive and progress downwards as their numbers grow? I will be populating some deep and extra deep Dadant boxes by placing them on standard deep colonies: above or below?
 

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The only way I do any foundationless frames is to place them between frames of brood in the upper box. This way they are usually drawn worker size cells and the bees take the comb all the way down to the bottom bar. I am not a fan of foundationless frames because I have had too many frames drawn with much drone cells mixed with the worker cells. I prefer my drone comb all in one frame.

Foundationless works much better with frames shallower than standard deeps, the larger the frame the more distortion in the cells and the comb. With the 11.25 inch deep frames there must be a strong workforce to get them drawn properly, and even then the bees often mess it up. I hate to waste a season of comb building, so I stick with foundations. The times I have had the bees start drawing comb from the bottom bar up was when the work force was too few for the task.

My beekeeping experience is limited to conditions in north Arkansas, and usually the weather is moderate when I add supers. I always add them above, but usually the weather is in the high 50s to 60s when I add them. To expand the brood nest I move 2 frames with brood up into the new box, directly above the center of the brood nest below. Bees always work up faster than any other direction, and with a strong population in the lower box and top insulation there is not a lot of danger of chilling the brood.
 

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Thanks; Some good pointers. This is a first time playing with the Dadant Frame. I have some in wired wax and some I hope to get drawn by sandwiching them in after the others are drawn.
 

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Have yourself some fun with them, but remember the statement made by J.L. Byrer, a commercial beekeeper in Ontario in the 1890s and 1900s. He said that it was not the type of hive that determined the size of the honey crop, but the beekeeper managing it. He had 3 sizes of hives in his apiaries due to his having bought out other beekeeper operations. He said his average honey yield per colony did not vary 5 pounds difference between the different size hives.
 
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