Most common Hive configuration?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Yankee11, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    As my bottom deep boxes are getting full I am wondering if there is a common hive configuration. I have seen pictures of all different setups and I don't know what time of year the pictures are taken.

    Is it 2 deep boxes for brood and then up to 3 medium supers on top to harvest the honey from. Then leave the 2 deep boxes together during winter.

    So if my first deep brood box is filling up I need to add another deep box then when the second deep is getting full add a medium honey super.

    I was just looking at some pictures and they had 1 deep box and 3 medium supers sitting on top. Just made me think of why they had it that way.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    for wintering, deep south, one deep. mid-nation, one deep and one medium, north, two deeps. Way north, ask Perry.

    For splitting, two or more deeps.

    For honey, as many supers as they will fill.
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    i use 2 deeps year round, but am in the "north" category, and as many supers in the summer they will fill. i have several with 3 on now.

    yankee asks:
    "So if my first deep brood box is filling up I need to add another deep box then when the second deep is getting full add a medium honey super.
    I was just looking at some pictures and they had 1 deep box and 3 medium supers sitting on top. Just made me think of why they had it that way.
    "

    yes to the first question. as to your 2nd question, some beeks also interchange their equipment, and use medium supers as brood boxes, easier for lifting or moving.
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    As a little insurance policy, one can also try to bring a few nucs through the winter in the north, by bundling them in various ways.
     
  5. Papakeith

    Papakeith New Member

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    If one wanted to winter a nuc; when would the latest setup date be for someone in New England?
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Last year I made my last nuc on June 21st. I had to remove a frame of brood from it every few weeks to keep it from getting too crowded in the Fall. Both the 5 frame nucs I bundled together in the Fall made it through winter very well. That's in NY up near Albany.
     
  7. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Just trying to understand.

    Why one deep in the south and 2 deeps in the north?
     
  8. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    To allow for the amount of food estimated to be needed to over-winter in each area. In the DEEP south, only one deep (above the brood nest), because they can usually find food and be semi-active through the winter. Ample reserves are particularly important during the spring, when hive build-up is going full speed and a spell of bad weather can keep the girls indoors. At a time like that, the family needs a lot of food reserves to keep progressing toward the real honey flows.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    In the deep south, the one deep will contain the brood nest and honey stores. No need for 2 boxes. Here in NC, most use 1 deep and one medium for winter. Further north more stores are needed to makeit to spring.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a Yankee11 snip..
    Just trying to understand.

    Why one deep in the south and 2 deeps in the north?

    an Omie snip...
    As a little insurance policy, one can also try to bring a few nucs through the winter in the north

    tecumseh:
    obviously there is no 'rule' specifying how many box you MUST use in any given location. a mature hive's winter configuration can be somewhat standard and somewhat follows the description provided by Iddee. I am not a slave to any of this so I winter bees in all sizes and shapes of box (sometimes including 5 frame baby nuc boxes). the size of the cluster (some kinds of bees overwinter on very little store) and the length of the winter are obviously two variable that come into play here. most beekeepers seem to come to some middle ground using whatever size works (at there location).

    as Iddee also suggest there is some variation based upon the purpose you are keeping bees. migratory folks that want to produce nucs and splits generally prefer the double deeps and folks that want to produce a honey crop (or sometimes to knock off excess spring time bees for packages) prefer a story and a half configuration.

    if I was forced to say I had a favorite configuration then story and a half is what that would be for here.
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    as iddee said:
    "Further north more stores are needed to make it to spring."

    and tec:
    "the size of the cluster (some kinds of bees overwinter on very little store) and the length of the winter are obviously two variable that come into play here. most beekeepers seem to come to some middle ground using whatever size works (at there location)." and "as Iddee also suggest there is some variation based upon the purpose you are keeping bees."


    i overwinter bees here in a minimum of 2 deeps as i said earlier and my bees are conservative on winter stores. to tec's point, the size of the cluster, i might add a med super to the mix, but 2 deeps here is a must, or they will never make it to spring. i have seen some keeps here keep them in 3 deeps, however with limited success.
     
  12. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    I went into last winter with 2 deeps on each hive. Somewhere around late February I switched the top deep with the bottom deep on each hive. When i did I found the top deep, with 10 frames of honey stores, had not been touched all winter on any hive. Each frame was still sealed / capped as it had been last November. The bottom deep had a good mixture of brood and stores going into the winter but most had been depleted by late February. The two outside frames still had capped honey and pollen stored on about half of the frames. Not thinking, I went ahead and swapped the two deeps on each hive because they were almost identical going into and coming out of winter.

    Proud of my first swap, I mentioned it to my beekeeper friend with 50 years experience and he said, (maybe paraphrased to some extent) "you'll force the queen up into the honey super by moving the deep with all the stored honey to the bottom. The reason to swap the boxes in the first place is to move the emptiest one to the bottom so she will work her way up when she starts laying at full strength again. In a normal winter, they'll use up most of the stored honey in the top deep. This was not a normal winter and they had plenty to use in the bottom deep apparently and didn't need the top deep of stored honey."

    Well, he was right. When I pulled my honey super off, about 6 weeks earlier than normal because of our early spring, there were two frames in the middle of the honey super with brood taking up the middle part of each frame.

    When i caught each of two swarms this spring, I took two of the frames with honey stores from the bottom deep of each strong hive and one frame from the top deep with brood / eggs and replaced them with empty foundation. I placed the frames I removed from the strong hives into the deeps I had the swarms in and gave them a headstart, maybe.

    Lesson learned.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012