Unlimited Brood Nest

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by clinch, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. clinch

    clinch New Member

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    I apologize if this topic has been discussed before. I tried searching but I only know how to refer to this concept as "Unlimited Broodnest" and there are no results for that.

    Basically I'm wondering if anyone here keeps bees without a queen excluder in standard Langstroth hives? The concept of unlimited brood nest is not very complex. It simply means that the queen is allowed to go where she wants within the hive.

    For anyone trying to maximize honey production, this is probably not a great strategy, but I'm quite interested in this concept because my goals right now are to develop the strongest colony possible.

    This is my first year beekeeping and I currently only have a single deep box. I need to purchase more. Using the concept of unlimited brood nest, how many deep boxes should I be purchasing? What other things should I consider? Are there other cons I'm not considering when not having a queen excluder?
     
  2. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I would say get some more boxes and frames quickly. Once the flow starts (which shouldnt be long in your area) they will start to prepare for swarming if they are cramped for space in the least. If you have only foundation, not drawn comb, you may find the bees a bit reluctant to draw out new comb in honey supers. We had them start to fill the brood space with nectar last year and took the queen excluders off. They went to work then putting the nectar up top. We only got a few frames that the queen layed a small patch of brood in before they chased her back down. After that hatched they filled it with honey.

    You need bees to make honey; later in the season you can do things to limit the queens laying if you want the workers to concentrate on honey.

    Edit; I found it much more comfortable to have spare equipment.. You may get a chance to catch a swarm or you may have a hive go into full swarm mentality and you have to split them up to change their minds. Not always easy, but you might as well have them in your boxes rather than the trees or your neighbors attic! I guess there are methods of running only one deep brood but I think that may be more difficult than giving them two deeps. I dont even know if it can be done without drawn comb.
     

  3. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I do.

    I haven't found that it hinders production in any way. If you're thinking "less honey" because the queen may be laying in a super, I'd be thinking "more honey" because I have more bees making it! Just add more supers.

    Every year is different, and side-by-side colonies may be completely different. I generally use two deeps for a broodnest, but sometimes use three. And I'll add supers as needed. It's typical to have 4-5 supers on a colony in a good year with strong nectar flow.

    Read this thread:
    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/5997-queen-excluders
     
  4. clinch

    clinch New Member

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    When you refer to supers, what size are you referring to? I was at a beekeeping association meeting last night and people were saying that shallow supers are being phased out (at least in my area) and that there are now only "deep" and "medium" supers available.

    Basically, I'm trying to assemble a shopping list. For a single hive, I'm thinking 3 or 4 deeps and 2 medium supers. Does that sound reasonable?
     
  5. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    I also have no excluders, pulled 5 full medium supers of honey off one hive last year with no issues, left two supers for the bees, once spring was over the queen moved down into the deep and stayed down rest of season.

    Other 3 hives were small nucs last season so had no honey off them anyway
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hey Clinch:

    About the only folks up here in "Tundra" territory :lol: that run shallows anymore do so for comb honey. Most run all deeps or deeps for brood and mediums for honey.
    Gald to have another Canuck on board too. Welcome! :hi:
     
  7. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I have never ever considered using anything other then deeps for all hive duties, best for brood chambers, holds the most honey, only issue for some is the weight of a full deep super ( around 60 - 70 lbs ), and for me that's not a issue. I am very much into uniformity and ease in exchanging equipment not between colonies but trading a empty super for a full one for example.
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    purchase twice the equipment you think you will need for growth, or equipment failures from error.....dropped boxes and frames.:grin:

    i use 2 deeps for brood, and medium sized supers for honey, shallows as perry said are used for comb honey (you can also utilize med sups for comb honey).

    and to indy's entire post, i use queen excluders, i do not believe they are honey excluders. and i do not like queens laying in my honey frames and supers.

    also, bees sometimes are reluctant to draw foundation out on new frames in a super through a queen excluder over a brood box.
     
  9. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Two mediums could be a bit shy for receiving and drying down the nectar. Also the bees have to build comb to keep ahead of the foragers. If they do not have enough storage they will start to fill every cell in the brood chamber that comes empty before the queen can re lay it. We had to scramble last year when the clover bloomed.
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I can't remember when I ever worked without an excluder. Sometimes it's above the second super, but most of the time it's above the bottom brood nest. My main reason has been to keep the queen from laying in the honey for extraction. When she does that, I have to leave behind frames that are almost completely filled with honey. When that happens, aside from the disappoinment, I have to move the frames with brood to where the queen will let it alone to hatch out (above an excluder) and that requires additional (delayed) visits to be able to get the honey or else leaving it on the hive for an extened period.
    BUT, maybe I should try it without an excluder. Maybe it'll give me a better yield, more built combs and a happier hive. I think I'll give it a try on one of my hives--what's there to lose? :?:
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would suggest reversing your plans. Two deeps and 3 or 4 medium supers per hive would likely serve you much better, unless you decide to go all deeps, then just buy all you can afford. :thumbsup: :shock: :grin:
     
  12. rast

    rast New Member

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    Not using excluders, I have seldom had more than 1 or 2 frames with some brood in them (supers) and then it was usually drone. But also my honey season is short.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    yep I use to do it that way and sometimes suffered the consequences.

    perhaps you should consider (I think the best advice anyone can give to a new beekeeper) have two to three hives and operate these side by side and see how one might compare to the other 'at your location'. the 'at your location' often times has a lot to do with how these question resolve themselves... so quite likely how others near by do this is better advice than advice from some far away place like Texas <did I really say that :oops:?
     
  14. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Which is excellent advice for just about any question you'll ever have. You'll always get different answers, but more often than not, the best answer for you will likely be from those in the same climate.
     
  15. clinch

    clinch New Member

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    Thanks for all your responses everyone!
     
  16. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    As stated previously, nectar needs space for the bees to spread it out in to cure into honey, while mediums are easier to lift, the space lost to the difference between deep and medium supers, is considerable ( hence the weight difference )