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Hello all. I am up in CT and have been overwintering my hive with one deep (brood box) and two mediums that were nicely filled with a decent amount of stores. I've opened the top today to replenish a sugar brick and happened to notice that there were absolutely NO bees occupying the deep. The cluster is basically split up in both of the mediums. I took advantage of the warmer weather (bees were out flying today) and cleaned up the deep, being sure to keep the cluster grouped and closed up. I guess my question is, will they move back into the deep on their own when it warms up? Will they start trying to raise brood in my mediums? At what point can I pull off the mediums so they can build back up in the deep? Thanks in advance.
 

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I would bet that if they are not queenless, they already are raising brood in your mediums supers. There is not much way of moving them now. It is a pain to be in that position because the bees won't move back down until they need room. They can build up and plan to swarm in those mediums before they take advantage of that lower box.

If you put the empty deep on top, they will tend to fill it with your honey crop. Running the same size boxes is way easier. But you have a good strong colony! That is the important thing.
 

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Do you want them to only brood up in the mediums and you're trying to phase out the deeps? If you're keeping the configuration it shouldn't matter if they're up in the meds, they'll move on their own and you just keep the brood nest open so they don't swarm.

The problem w/your brood nest being both deep and medium is you can't open the brood nest as easily since they're not interchangeable.
 

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Hello there Adam! How are your Bees doing in this never ending winter?! It's not been a good winter for me, several losses...😢
Strongest hive I have right now is the cutout from the Enfield house back in November!! They are amazingly resilient considering when they were removed. Looking forward to making some queens from this hive!
As far as your question about the empty deep at the bottom, I have had the same issue and just put it on top. They will migrate up as any brood in there hatches out. Especially with the cooler weather we're having! Are there any stores in the deep? If so try and position them right over the cluster.
 

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I would bet that if they are not queenless, they already are raising brood in your mediums supers. There is not much way of moving them now. It is a pain to be in that position because the bees won't move back down until they need room. They can build up and plan to swarm in those mediums before they take advantage of that lower box.
This is anecdotal, but Vance hit the nail on the head with my past experiences. Last year I had at least a dozen colonies that refused to move into the lower deep and rather than swapping the upper and lower deep around so they would work up into the empty one I just let them do as they pleased thinking they would eventually move to the lower one when they needed the room. They didn't, they began swarm preparations without so much as even crawling around in that lower deep. This year I tried a different approach and did a modified checkerboard (I say modified because from what I've read Walt doesn't really advocate for using two deeps) and moved the upper box filled with bees to the bottom and staggered the frames above them with fully drawn out frames where every other frame was empty. We'll see how things go.

*edit*

As an after thought I have two other colonies that I left with 1 deep and 2 shallows on them, the bees are in the first and second shallow and already raising brood in those combs. Ideally I'll move the shallows to the bottom and the deep on top to get them to eventually move into the deep. Once they've moved into the deep I'll move the shallows back on top with a second deep that has drawn out comb in it and hopefully the queen will stay in the lower two deeps and they'll back fill the shallows with honey.
 

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I am anticipating the same issue when I get into my hives to check the frames and boxes. I have 2 hives that were small...deep with a dadant above filled with honey.
If they have moved into the dadant and the deep is empty can I move a dadant frame with the queen down into the deep And put a queen excluder above the deep. Then when the queen moves off the dadant sized frame in the deep replace that with a regular dadant sized frame. Once she is laying in the deep and the brood from the dadant has hatched out simply remove the dadant and give them a second deep brood box once the lower is filling up?
 

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You definitely can do that but I don't have the experience to recommend a best course of action for doing it. What sticks out in my mind reading your post WBVC is putting an irregular size frame in a different size box. I've done this before out of carelessness or laziness before (not sure which it was it was a couple summers ago) and the bees drew out comb in the empty space on the underside of the frame, huge pain to deal with later on because it was full of brood. The other issue is more of a timing issue than actual manipulation. If you move the queen around and restrict her with a queen excluder early in the season you're splitting up the brood nest which can inhibit the queens laying ability. Nurse bees will remain on the combs above if there is brood in them and nurse bees will also move with the queen, however, they won't be able to expand as effectively because there won't be enough young bees to go around they'll have to stay and work the combs above and what you bring into the bottom deep is what you'll be left with until new bees emerge so the queen will be stunted for a time. At least if my thinking is correct.
 

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I guess I could simply reverse the boxes and when she is up top in the deep exclude her from the lower dadant and wait until that hatches out before taking it away. That way I wouldn't have to mix up frame sizes.
 

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In my experience it goes like this. If you start adding supers on top as soon as the bees are rearing brood in the boxes they are in, then they will tend to move up. If you don't add supers right away, then they will start storing honey over the brood nest, which will push the brood nest down. The big advantage of moving the empty box to the top is that you can see when it is full, but then they will tend to put honey in it. If they are all the same size boxes, this may not be so much of an issue, but if it's a deep, you have to lift it later...
 
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