Transitioning to medium hive boxes

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by heinleinfan, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    My forum search fu is failing me today.

    I have been considering for a couple years of moving to keeping in all medium boxes. I cannot lift a deep even about half full now (I'm far too young to have a bad back, dangit) and there's the savings on having all the same size frames/boxes, etc. I'm looking for some opinions from you all. I should have done this with all new package installs I had to do this spring, but life and stuff prevented it.

    1. Overwintering here in a cold area; what would the population difference be for 2 mediums vs. 2 deeps do you figure, in a full hive? And I'm guessing a good enough population and stores could overwinter 3 mediums, I mean, people overwinter 3 deeps...what do you all think?

    2. How, exactly, would I transition the bees into medium frames? I'm thinking...get the deeps over (or under?) the mediums and get the queen into the medium somehow, put on an excluder and they'll move on down to her majesty? Could I transition slowly over summer by putting medium frames into the deep boxes for them to build out, and just be diligent about managing burr comb? Could I...rig up some type of spacer onto the bottom of a medium frame so there wouldn't be burr comb there?

    Obviously this will be in spring, but we're planning winter budgets in the next month, so planning has to happen now if we're going to do this.

    Thanks for input!
     
  2. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    We have done something similar moving from Langs to a British box. If you put a box of medium foundation above your deep box they will draw it out and lay it up. I think easier to get it drawn out with the heat above established frames rather than below.I would not put the excluder on immediately but wait till the queen has a fair bit laid and some pollen and honey up there before you put the excluder UNDER her but that depends a bit on how cool it is. If you get a cold snap the bees may pull back to cover existing brood below and strand the queen.
    After the brood below emerges you can take that box off and use for swarm trap or probably sell it.

    I was pulling some upper 10 frame deeps today that are nearly full of honey and wishing they were mediums or 8 frame deeps. There is a time in life when doing things the muscle way is empowering; comes a time when it becomes more humiliating! Dang!

    Edit; I think a piece of 1x 3" board the length of bottom bar could be screwed or wired on to keep bees from filling the extra space on a medium with drone comb. I never tried it with a whole set of medium frames in a deep box without the dummy piece on the bottom. My son tried it accidently and it was a bit of a bee puzzle!:eek:
     

  3. RayMarler

    RayMarler New Member

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    Here is how I changed over to mediums from deeps last year. I had a deep on the bottom, removed frames 4 and 6, leaving the space where the frames were open. Then I added a medium box of foundationless frames, with frames 4 and 6 missing. Then I took the deep frames removed from the bottom box and put into the slots at 4 and 6, hanging down into the deep from the top medium. The bees drew out combs off the bottom bars of the frames 4 and 6, making them perfectly straight and true. They also started drawing frames in the top medium box. Once they had a couple frames drawn in the top medium, I pulled out the deep frames from spaces 4 and 6, and cut the comb off the bottom bars from them, and tied it into two of the medium foundationless frames in the medium box. I now had 4 frames or more, started or drawn out, in the top medium box. I put those two deep frames back down into the bottom box, and put the medium box on top of it, with a queen excluder between the two boxes. I made sure the queen was in the top medium box. I then checked back in a week to remove any queen cells that got started in the bottom box. If there were queen cells drawn, then I removed them (If you wanted to, you could remove that deep box to a new stand to make a split, but I did not, as I wanted to change out to all medium boxes). Over time, I added mediums on top and remove the bottom deep when it became empty.
     
  4. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    If you take it slow, the transition should not entail any fancy manipulations. Let's assume that you are wintering in two deeps this year. In the spring the bottom deep box will be basically empty. Remove it and add add two mediums on top. Then the next spring do the same thing again and you'll be left with all mediums.
     
  5. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Thank you all, this is great info!
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    You could wait till May and do a shook swarm and have it done and over with and sell few nucs on the side. They will build comb like a swarm does straight and all worker size. this manipulation works best with 4 hives tho.
     
  7. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    Thanks pistolpete for typing my response for me! This is what I'd do.
     
  8. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    Or you can speed things along and split the deeps out into nucs and sell them.
     
  9. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I am also considering going to all mediums. The weight issue is not a factor for me yet, but I like the idea of interchanging frames between my brood and honey boxes. If I want to give the bees a frame of honey going into the Fall, I can just pop it in. If I want to leave a super on before Winter, I leave it without worry of brood in the Spring. I'll just move the brood down. But if I do go with mediums, I'm going with 8 frame instead of 10. But that'll make the transition a bit more tricky.