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Offline Terri Yaki

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A General Hive Question
« on: May 14, 2024, 10:52:48 am »
I'm going with two deeps for my brood boxes but I have a question about their population. Why does it stop at two deeps or three mediums? Does the population reach a dynamic equilibrium with that space or what? Is it possible to have more than those normal number of boxes?

Offline Kathyp

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2024, 11:23:41 am »
it is, but where you live may limit their growth.  It's probably not desirable.  It makes inspections really hard when you start stacking up the deeps.  When you get to that point, splitting is usually the way to go.  Increase your hives and decrease your lifting!   :grin:
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2024, 12:06:05 pm »
Sometimes in a bumper crop flow the number of supers can grow out of control, but as soon as the flow is over the population tends to drop back quickly.  There does seem to be an upward limit as to how many bees they will raise.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2024, 12:07:14 pm »
The brood nest can absolutely get larger than that, but in my experience in my climate, most of my hives have 3 mediums of brood, plus whatever supers are needed for the current flow.  The thing that limits their growth is just the yearly cycle.  In climates with a winter at least, colonies will increase in population until the summer solstice, at which point they will start to contract and prep for winter.   
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Offline FatherMichael

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2024, 01:05:04 pm »
Some successful and profitable apiaries use the single hive body management strategy.

Dr. Thomas Seely recommends it but he also promotes swarming to control mites and taking not more than 20% for a harvest.  That would be one deep for the brood and a shallow for the super.
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Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2024, 02:19:54 pm »
Some successful and profitable apiaries use the single hive body management strategy.

Dr. Thomas Seely recommends it but he also promotes swarming to control mites and taking not more than 20% for a harvest.  That would be one deep for the brood and a shallow for the super.
This sounds interesting but how well would a single deep colony survive a winter in the NE?

Offline The15thMember

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2024, 02:54:49 pm »
I should probably clarify that my colonies have 3-4 mediums of brood at maximum, but I do have a broodless period in winter and get all my colonies down to two boxes.  I don't have experience with NE winters as a beekeeper, but I wouldn't be surprised if a single deep colony wintered well.  Maybe a deep and a super, I'm not sure how much honey is recommended in your area.  I doubt a winter cluster, just considering bee bodies, takes up more room than a 10 frame deep.  Dr. Seeley is in upstate NY, so his climate would be similar to PA.     
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Offline FatherMichael

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2024, 03:30:05 pm »
Some successful and profitable apiaries use the single hive body management strategy.

Dr. Thomas Seely recommends it but he also promotes swarming to control mites and taking not more than 20% for a harvest.  That would be one deep for the brood and a shallow for the super.
This sounds interesting but how well would a single deep colony survive a winter in the NE?

The videos I've watched are by Canadian beekeepers and Dr. Seely did his studies in Upstate New York.

Here's one about preparing a single brood box for winter in Ontario:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfO9DTl6SJc
41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2024, 04:20:42 pm »
Everywhere in Upstate, NY is harsher than I am but depending on where in Upstate, NY, it can be really harsh. Thanks for that video, FatherMichael, it was interesting and gives me more to think about.

Another question that is coming to mind is my entrance. I have the large entrance open because the small one was obviously too small early on but now I'm seeing a little bit of congestion with the large entrance. The bees won't land on the other end of the board and walk in, they'll land on the weeds out front or the concrete and they are kind of jockeying for a landing spot and struggling to get in. I'm OCD on efficiency and think it's more important than working hard so I want to streamline their path back into the hive. Should I make another entrance blocker with a second entrance on the other end or should I just remove the entrance reducer altogether? I'm leaning more towards a second entrance so they don't have to defend the whole front end.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2024, 05:11:59 pm »
If they seem congested, there is nothing wrong with opening the entrance up more, however you choose to do so.  Just keep in mind that some congestion helps to prevent robbers and other intruders, so I wouldn't recommend opening them up all the way, at least not yet.  A standard entrance reducer usually has a 1 in. opening and a 4 in. opening, if that helps you.   
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Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2024, 05:45:09 pm »
That's about what mine has now and opening up all the way does sound risky. I see what I come up with.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2024, 05:54:51 pm »
Terri, Devan Rawn has a good video explaining how and why he winters single deeps. He is in Canada. A real nice fellow who is always willing to help
Phillip

https://youtu.be/YjyNcyVvbEI?si=2mhX7N7pLUFk6uiO
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Online Lesgold

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2024, 06:39:56 pm »
Hi Terri,

As others have said, the brood nest can get quite large in some colonies but it will vary from hive to hive. I generally don?t run queen excluders so at times, some of my hives turn into monsters. It makes checking of brood a slow and painful exercise. With varroa now an issue in Australia, I will have to change this method. From next season I will run single deep brood boxes with a queen excluder in order to control the mite. It will help to keep treatment costs down and also give me better control of frames in relation to chemical buildup and residue. The size of a hive is also determined by the local environment. If good supplies of pollen and nectar are coming in, the hive will grow. Reagan?s comment about the summer solstice is a good, general guide to follow in relation to hive growth. In most years, this is the case but if good supplies are coming in, the colony will maintain higher numbers of bees until food starts to diminish. I can have big, strong hives throughout winter if there is a honey flow on. A lot depends on your local climatic conditions and the approach can vary according to this. After a few seasons, you will adjust, modify and improve your techniques to suit your area and give the bees the best chance of survival. Contacting local beekeepers in your area would be a good starting point.

Offline beesnweeds

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2024, 07:29:55 pm »
I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Kelly from the University of Guelph this spring, great guy and beekeeper!  He manages all his colonies in a single deep.  Personally, Ive overwintered in all kinds of configurations.  It all depends on how you want to manage your bees.  The older I get the more attractive single deeps and nucs get.  All my entrances are wide open like in the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_oYsyB1PvM

One thing I forgot to mention.  Notice in the video Paul cuts all the landing boards off his hives.  It's easier to stack and store equipment and a landing board is unnecessary.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2024, 07:45:15 pm by beesnweeds »
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2024, 05:24:55 am »
>Notice in the video Paul cuts all the landing boards off his hives.  It's easier to stack and store equipment and a landing board is unnecessary.

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Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2024, 08:41:14 am »
Terri, Devan Rawn has a good video explaining how and why he winters single deeps. He is in Canada. A real nice fellow who is always willing to help
Phillip

https://youtu.be/YjyNcyVvbEI?si=2mhX7N7pLUFk6uiO
And another good video, thanks. I like the way he did the math and explained everything and like I said previously, I like efficiency. I was also impressed with how he could hold the queen and move that frame around without squeezing her too hard. So now for my next question(s)...I want to have two hives before I go into winter and am hoping to catch a swarm. Absent the catching of a swarm, I'll want to get another hive going one way or another. The colony that I have seems to be doing well (for all I know anyhow) and after watching that, I'm wondering...Can I just split this colony? I'll inspect it again tomorrow as it's the best weather day we have in sight. If I find plenty of brood and stores in both boxes, can I just pull the top box off and let the queenless one requeen? I'll video the job and maybe decide what do do afterwards?

Online Ben Framed

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2024, 10:51:22 am »
You are very welcome Terri. He is quite efficient Terri and a good communicator as well. He has other videos that are VERY informative as well.
Yes you can split if you wish.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2024, 10:54:20 am »
You can split, but realize that it will set both colonies back, so you may have to continue to baby the two colonies longer than you otherwise would have the one colony.  You will definitely want to inspect before doing so, because the contents of that second box will determine whether or not the job can be as simple as just separating the two boxes.  I might be inclined to do a little more strategic of a split given that the colony is already behind, just because it's only their first year.   
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2024, 11:18:44 am »
Reagan gave a very good answer which will help you realize available options.  Do you want honey this season or is your goal primarily building up bees? You can have both if you choose to wait and split late summer or Fall. Of course you will need to help the split out as late summer is usually dearth time and the Fall flow is not as strong as the Spring (speaking of my location). You will need to feed the late split with pollen sub as well.

Being this is your first bees in your first season, you are taking in a large amount of information. You may or may not know that bees have to have both pollen and nectar (or sugar water) to thrive. If you feed both, even in dearth, they will thrive, which has been my experience.  And prosper is exactly what you will need before Winter arrives. 

For example:
My very first season , this is exactly what I did. I let my hive build up the whole season until late and then split the >strong hive<, making 5 nucs. (Though this was not my plan, another story),  I ordered 4 MATED queens and this was during VERY late Fall when I did so! I am happy to tell you, that by following David?s instructions (from barnyard bees),  all five not only made it through the winter, ( The one with the original queen as well as the 4 with purchased queens), but came out full speed ahead the following Spring. . It was a fun project! . And remember these are just a couple ideas, there are several ways to make successful splits!  Best of luck what ever you decide!

Phillip
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Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: A General Hive Question
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2024, 11:20:47 am »
I'd like to hear more about the strategic part of it. I guess that first I should determine at what point do I draw the line as too late to do so. I'm thinking that a couple more frame manipulations would be in order to help fill them out and make a split when resources are high for both boxes. One box being a medium would have to be taken into account in the event of an uneven distribution of resources between the boxes. Deep frames just will not fit into a medium. I do have more deep boxes but I question whether the excess space of mediums in a deep would be a good move. And again, ultimately, I'd like to score a swarm and this would be a possible plan 'B', if it's feasible. And I almost forgot, I did pick up a five frame deep box nuc that I could throw together and use, if that would be a better option. I could grab five good deep frames and toss them into the nuc and replace them with new frames.