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Ready to start building/buying equipment here.

I see people using different configurations of supers. Some I see are using two deeps on the bottom... I assume this is one for brood, and one for honey. And then they use smaller sized honey supers from there up.

I also see some are using uniformly sized supers all the way up... This has some appeal in the interchangability of frames and supers...

What is the best practice, and why is it that way?

What considerations guide this decision?

Also, how do I know how many/how big super to provide for brood (ie: before queen excluder)


Thank you,
spock out
 

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Welcome Spock. Check out the "How to Start Beekeeping" forum above this one under the heading "General Beekeeping Forums", that's a good place to start. Then see if you can find a local beekeeper who knows how many supers you can expect in your first seasons. Beekeeping varies by region. Adrian.
 

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Hi Spock and again welcome!

From my reading and other research, tradition has it to use two deep hive boxes for brood. Start out with one deep to start a package, swarm, nuc or however you acquire your bees. Then add another deep when they have drawn out most of the first one, then add either medium or shallow suppers for them to store nectar and make honey. The reason for using the deeps as brood chambers is to provide enough area to build up a suitable number of bees to collect and store nectar.

You could continue to stack deeps for honey, but each deep when fully drawn and capped will weigh about 100 pounds per 10 frame deep, a medium can top out at more than 60 pounds and a shallow even less.

A lot of people like the idea of having only one size of equipment so they can interchange components easily. I'm in the process of changing out my deep hives to all mediums. 3 medium supers or 4 shallows will give the bees the same space as 2 deeps. I don't think the bees care how it's all arranged as long as they have the space they require. (others may have differing opinions on this) For me, if the bees don't care, I'll go for the lighter easier approach.

I started out with the traditional 2 deep brood boxes because most think it is better to start traditionally most of the available mentors do it that way. After you get some miles under you, you can start tinkering to see what works best for you. If however you decide to start with all mediums, I can't think of any problems that would cause. In hindsight, I kind of wish now I had started with all medium equipment.

As mentioned above, check out the beginners forum and read some books and watch some videos. If you have questions or are confused about what you read or see, you can always further your confusion by asking questions here. ;) Actually, you will get a lot of great advice here!

May you and your bees live long and prosper! Couldn't resist. :D

BB
 

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I like the idea of going with all med. That is what I am planning on doing. But, one thing I see as a draw back is you need more med. boxes and frames to get enough for the brood area. This cost a little more up front. Also most Nucs are on deep frames although there are some people offering med. Nucs. Thats just a couple of things to think about from newbie I'm sure the pros will wiegh in shortly.
 

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i run all 8-frame equip. with a mix of deeps and mediums. Deeps are used as the primary brood chamber with a second deep (or sometimes a medium) for additional brood space. I also use both deeps and mediums for honey supers, I prefer the deeps, but dad (old guy) like the mediums cause they are not as heavy, but then again I didnt see dad pulling a whole lot of supers this year...hmm:scratch: just kiddin dad:D
 

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Chillard Willard and Mrs Beekeeper on the forum here are in B.C. might be a good resource for ya.
 

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Welcome to beekeeping! Here is one man's experience.

I started out 2 colonies with the traditional 2 deeps for brood, and mediums above that for surplus honey in my first year. My 2nd year, I bought more colonies of the same configuration. That's what my mentor taught me to do. In my 3rd year I hived some early swarms using the drawn out medium supers from the prior years, and seeing how awesomely easy it was to work with, I ended up buying only mediums for my additional 6 colonies. Now, moving into my 4th year I'll run only a couple of hives with already owned deeps as part of the configuration (I already have the deeps, so I'll use them for sure), but the rest will all be mediums for everything else from here on. Even the queen rearing and overwintering nucs will be done on mediums.

For me, its the total interchangeability of everything. I can just reach for equipment and it fits.

I'm sure there are some arguments against this approach as well, but other than having to look around a bit when buying equipment I can't find a drawback to this way of doing things.

Now, I'm still a newbie, but I'm planning on running 10 production colonies this year, and building up 20 or so nucs for overwintering and I doubt I'll be going back to deeps. In fact, I plan on selling my deep frames in nucs until its all gone and not turning back.

Thankfully you can find more and more information on running mediums now, so I'm sure if you did go that route you'd be in fine shape.

Either way, the bees will adapt, and you'll want to try lots of things once you're into it full tilt. Have fun!
 

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I'd check locally as to what people are doing.

For the most part in the Canadian prairies its deep, deep, deep for everything.

If your planning to do beekeeping in a larger scale and hope to be able to sell down the road, I would go with deeps in Alberta.

If you doing it for a hobby--deeps can get pretty heavy.

Good luck either way.
 

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If you value the experience of commercial Canadian beekeepers read the diaries posted at "honeybeeworld.com" by Allen Dick. You will find the info you need to keep bees up there.
 

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In my location I've adopted a way of supering that has been working very well.

Here is a photo of how it worked the first year I tried it, 2008 - Bearding due to not enough supers.

Here is how it is configured, from bottom, up (SketchUp drawing of configuration):

--Bottom board, but not entrances, they are SBB, but closed, then there is a slatted rack for the bees to cluster on, which is built-in so it is actually a SBB/SR. Here is the link to my SketchUp drawing of one - SBB/SR.

--Two 8-frame medium depth supers for brood chambers. Several times I tried giving them three brood supers, but they always just filled the third one with honey, so I stopped trying to get them to use three brood supers. They do use almost all of the space in the two brood supers to raise brood. I also provide a small opening in or above the top brood super for drones to exit.

--Plastic queen excluder to help keep the queen in the bottom supers as her "brood nest".

--Entrance rim; see (SketchUp of simplified entrance rim). There are no entrances below this entrance (except the small opening to let drones out). This entrance rim provides easy access for returning field bees to either enter the brood nest by going through the queen excluder or up into the honey supers. Bottom entrances was where hoards of desert toads would depopulate my hives - it was a sad time.

--First honey super, sits on the entrance rim, which is immediately above the queen excluder.

--Additional honey supers are set so they are closed in the back, but slid back from the front to provide an entrance/ventilation slot along their entire front edge. These additional upper entrances can be removed whenever desired by simply using a bar clamp to pull the supers back into alignment with each other.

--Cover; I prefer using, what I call a flat cover with rim. Here is a SketchUp link to a description, Flat Cover with Rim. I use these covers to give the bees room to cluster above the frames and so I can slide it back to create a top entrance. At the end of the season, the entrance rims can be removed and the cover, when slid back 1/4", can be the Winter entrance. The bees usually propolize it, so it stays put, but a weight can be used to help hold it in place.

--The photo linked at the beginning of this post shows a hive with this configuration that could have filled many more supers, if I'd had them available.

Each year I have acquired and assembled many additional supers and frames in an attempt to catch more of our Mesquite honey flow, but each year I've wound up using the additional supers to establish more hives rather than providing the hives I have with more room to store honey. Oh well, maybe someday . . .
 

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I would just make sure you have enough supers on hand for honey production. Last year (my first year) I had two extra medium supers to collect honey in my 2 hives. I had read that you shouldn't expect any excess honey production in your first year so I thought 1 extra super for each hive would be plenty. I ended up harvesting 70 pounds of honey and had to order extra supers in the middle of summer. Barely got them ready and on the hives in time. So buy a few extra supers now- if you don't need them this year you will next year and I would lots rather have them on hand than panic in the middle of the summer.
 

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I am going into my third year of beekeeping in Northern Idaho. I am infatuated with this hobby and think about what I can do better all the time. I started with standard two deeps and did not take honey my first year so I did not have mediums around. Last year I got mediums and put them on two hives and got about 7 gallons. Since I have to move my hives the weight of the deeps became an issue. So I am going to try one deep with two mediums this year and expand my number of hives using the deeps for all bottom boxes. Again, this is part of the process that is interesting to me.

Some thoughts on what I have learned to be certain:

1. Trying different methods/configurations is interesting and helps me understand the entire process.
2. You will hear how what you are trying is not the best way.
3. Trying it another way will help you understand the other approach and why it works best for some.
4. You will find what works best for you while understanding other methods.
5. The overwhelming majority of beekeepers will bend over backwards to help you.

Thanks for letting me pontificate.

Good Luck!!!
 

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I use deeps for the brood boxes and shallows for supers. There seems to be a trend to make all the boxes the same for reasons of interchangability. I DON'T want to interchange brood and honey frames. If the honey supers are a different size then it is easy to tell a honey frame from a frame that was on the hive during a medication cycle. Never extract a deep and rest easy that you are not selling honey that has been medicated or is only sugar water. The quality of my product outweighs any benifit of interchangability. Do you guys try to keep honey supers seperate from brood boxes and if you do what good does it do that they are easily mixed?
 
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