Single v Double Brood Chamber Q's

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by SuiGeneris, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris Member

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    I'm planning on ordering the frames/boxes for my first hive setup in early December, so that I have all winter to get them together (time is tight, so I'll need the extra time). Before I order I want to make sure that I've got things right, and my biggest worry is whether I should do single or double brood chamber hives.

    Most of the pros around here use single brood chamber setups, and that is also what is recommended by the apiary research program at the University of Guelph (located an hours drive away, roughly the same climate). There seems to be a lot of advantages for the new beekeeper - easier to find the queen, easier/quicker inspections, lower startup costs. Downside seems to be minimal; mainly a need in the fall to feed sooner and more vigorously once honey supers are removed, and feeding in the spring is pretty much a necessity.

    My concern though is that most of the articles I've read/videos I've watched are written to promote the use of single brood hives, and so I'm wondering if in their eagerness to promote them if something isn't being left out.

    thanks

    B
     
  2. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    to start the hive I used a single brood box and as the queen layed and the number of bees increased I added another brood box so they dont over crowd and swarm away, also with 2 brood boxes I want to split the hive in the spring, so i will separate the 2 boxes and see which one the queen is in and either order a queen or let them requeen by putting a frame of fresh layed eggs for them to make queen cells( this is my way to try splitting)..most established hives in my area have 2 brood boxes and depending how fast they make honey several honey supers on top..
    in the beginning I would say a single brood box is best, easier for bees to defend against unwanted visitors( mites, beetles, robber bees etc.)..
     

  3. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris Member

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    Didn't think of doing a double-hive for easy splits...but that presumably something I can add alter. First year I'm hoping to simply muddle through with one hive.

    Thanks!

    B
     
  4. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    that was my goal my first year, but I didnt think mites would be a problem, but it was and the hive did not make the winter, I sent the bees out for testing and the report was mites and then in a very weekend hive disease took over and it was done, so the next year I treated for mites using OA vapor and the bees made it through winter too good and swarmed in the spring, I had 2 brood chambers on but didnt think they would swarm, live and learn, they managed to requeen and the hive is very strong now, my plan is to treat for mites several times before winter as the OA vapor doesnt get mites in capped brood, and do a split of the 2 brood boxes in spring and put an empty brood box on each of the splits....
     
  5. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris Member

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    Mites are an issue around here, so I am quite concious about treating for them. One local bee keepers I know treats all of his hives once he pulls honey, whether or not large numbers of mites are present, so I think that's the route I will go.

    Bryan
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have run double deeps in Texas, but the weight for me became an issue, I am trying to go down to mediums. In Canada I would say at least one deep, and I like Bob's idea of splitting by separating the deeps and finding the queen
     
  7. ColinUK

    ColinUK Member

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    Hi I know this is an older post but I wanted to ask a question. Can splitting be successful by adding an extra brood and then splitting causing the bees to make an emergency queen. I had heard that the bees would return to the original hive. I have a very busy hive I want to split next spring. What are the pit falls with this method.
    Thanks
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It can be successful but best done in spring, once the queen is laying well, and you have to close the front door and feed inside the hive for a couple of days to keep them from returning to their old hive. (if they return the brood will die)
     
  9. ColinUK

    ColinUK Member

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    Thanks much appreciate the advice.
     
  10. Sour Kraut

    Sour Kraut Member

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    Well, the simplest and best answer is 'it depends'.

    It depends on the climate first of all..do you have cold winters ? I seem to recall you are in a fairly tropical area.

    It depends on local practices...but do NOT be afraid to 'step outside the box' once you have some experience.

    It depends on if you plan to make splits by dividing a double-brood-chamber colony and letting the bees raise their own queen; although with a single deep you can always split and put five frames in a new deep, keep 5 in the original, and fill out with foundation; bearing in mind that this will set both colonies back a few weeks or over a month depending on how fast they regain lost real estate.

    It depends on how often you can check honey supers for room...remember, a good colony in a good flow will fill a medium super, foundation to full, 3-4 days.

    That being said:
    Here in western IL, double brood boxes are pretty much the norm, to provide room for stores for winter.
    Also, in my experience over several ( 56, off and on) years, a good queen will fill 14-16 frames with eggs / larva if the spring pollen bloom is good (depends on temperatures and length of bloom). Disclaimer: ["around here"].

    You need to be ready to 'super-up', early and in depth, when that happens....in western IL USA, Black Locust is THE main honey plant (everything else is planted to corn and beans), and if your colonies are built up and ready when it happens, well, 3-4 mediums are the minimum you should have ready per colony.

    And now for something completely different:

    I have had a 12-wide by 2-deep running for three years now, and even in the center of a town of 20,000, that has been my most prolific producer. 42 medium frames this year, plus they drew out 20 frames from foundation in the process.

    So next year 4 of my 'permanent backyard' colonies (5) will go into 12-wide x 2 deep and one will go into a 15-wide x 2 deep.

    Yes, I know...'they are too heavy to move'.......don't intend to move them........'hard to take apart to check things'....I don't take my colonies apart just to 'check things', I check the top brood box for eggs or larva, if they are there, the queen is doing her job. I keep mites knocked down with the Formic Acid pads, and soak the ground around the hives with insecticide to kill off Hive Beetles. 'Minimally Invasive Management', I call it.

    The '15-er' may turn out to be an embarrassing experiment.....but I'm convinced a very good queen can fill upwards of 20 frames with eggs and brood. If not, I've answered a question that has been nagging at me for a few years.

    Hope this finds you well and that your colony(s) made it thru 2017 (so far).

    Disclaimer # 2: The above 'advice' is worth exactly what you paid for it.

    Gary
     
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  11. ColinUK

    ColinUK Member

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    Great! I love to hear from other BKs from other continents. I cracked me up to hear our climate described as tropical. It wet !!. No doubt about it.
    However the plus side is normally mild winters gentle spring and pollen from April till Oct. Nice. I'm going for a double brood as I've already had a swarm from a new colony which has recovered with an emergency queen. Hence the question. Great advice. I deal with animals on a daily basis so know there is no real answer but I really really appreciate the input and think it's great we can share views. Cheers from the UK
     
  12. Sour Kraut

    Sour Kraut Member

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    Sorry about that.....somehow I had gotten the idea that you were in the Far East !!!

    Anyway, keep in touch and let us know how it goes
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That 12 wide by 2 deep sounds interesting, but I'm trying to remember your climate Sour Kraut
     
  14. Sour Kraut

    Sour Kraut Member

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    We are 90 miles N of St. Louis MO, 90 miles S of Peoria IL, 35 miles W of Springfield IL, 65 miles E of Hannibal MO
    80-90 occasional 100 degree summers; 20-30 sometimes down to zero, once in a while 10-15 below zero winters

    I've got my colonies on the S side of the house, sheltered from the wind, in full sun most of the day

    https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/jacksonville/illinois/united-states/usil0585
     
  15. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That helps me out. How are mite and SHB issues around you?
     
  16. Sour Kraut

    Sour Kraut Member

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    SHB show up in some colonies, I use the 'Swifter Pad' treatment, two on the top bars of hte uppermost box, two under the inner cover, until they are gone, plus keep the ground around and especially in front of the hives treated with flea-tick-fly-bug spray to kill them when they drop to the ground to reproduce

    I treat for mites twice a year with the Formic Acid pads

    so far, so good...........
     
  17. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    sounds like you have things handled!