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greywolf 

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Hello,I have just joined the forum and am a newbee.

I have a national hive which will be started with a 5 bar nucleus next spring it's not assembled yet and there is a choice of boxes and frames.

I have been reading up a lot on the subject but am still confused over the following couple of issues:
Would sticking with the same size boxes for brood and supers be ok
Could I use hoffman frames throughout the hive.

I don't mind any extra expense and thought it could keep things simpler by keeping to the same sizes and there is no hurry to get honey.

Any help or opinions.good or bad, will be welcome but please be kind.:seeya:
 

rae 

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No reason why you can't use a brood box as a super, but it will be very heavy indeed when you come to take off the honey. A standard super is pretty heavy when fully laden....

If you use supers as brood boxes, then you have a lot of fiddling to do when searching for the queen (is she in the top or bottom box....)
 
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Could I use hoffman frames throughout the hive.
You can, but most supers are set up with castillated spacers so the self spacing element of the Hoffman is irrelevant.

Your brood box on the other hand will most likely use runners so Hoffman would work well, though the frames your bees arrive on may be standard DN1s and your Hoffmans at that stage will need spacers adding to them if mixing.
 

Black Comb 

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Well I've used hofmann in supers without any problem. Also castellations - how many frames per box? Often a choice of 9 or 10 or 11. Not easy for a beginner to know.

I've also started to use Manley frames in the supers which I feel will be best long term.

My vote is for brood box for brood and supers for honey. Aim for 3 super per hive and have a second brood box ready in case it's a prolific queen and you need to go to double brood.
 

Poly Hive 

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Most supers are NOT castellated. They can be if that is your choice but the default way of selling the supers is to include runners.

PH
 

rolande 

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No reason why you can't use a brood box as a super, but it will be very heavy indeed when you come to take off the honey. A standard super is pretty heavy when fully laden....
Hi Greywolf,

Not at all sure that is correct. I think that this is all very subjective -what's heavy for one person isn't heavy for someone else. A standard super pretty heavy when full? I can (and have) grip one in each hand and walk a considerable distance; the substantial handholds and strong hands make it simple.

If you're a healthy/fit adult you shouldn't have any bother carrying a full BS box whether it's a deep or a shallow.

Just a thought,
Roland
 
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Hombre 

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Welcome to the forum GreyWolf.
As has been said by Rae, a full brood box full of honey is a heavy item to have to lug about.

Furthermore, you might find yourself waiting for the bees to finish filling the supers, although you can harvest single frames to mitigate that.

It would be good in-so-far as you will be able to decide in 2011 if you find that the idea is not such a good deal for you after all and you will have brood boxes for expansion into 2012.

Hoffman frames might not be quite as convenient for uncapping, but is not a big deal at all. You might like to use spacers in the super boxes to get nine or ten frames in the box equally spaced for more honey, less wood and frames to extract.

Suck up the opinion and go for it, you have nothing to lose as long as you aren't starting with a dicky back. :)
 

Poly Hive 

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The problem with using full brood boxes for supers is of course the weight.

The problem with being fit and young and finding say 90lbs an easy lift, is that you dinna stay that fit and young for ever....

Personally I have always found normal supering to be ideal as it gives considerable flexibility.

Before "bucking the trend" it is seriously worth considering why that situation exists at all.

There is usually more than a grain of truth in it. ;)

PH
 

rolande 

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Greywolf,

As I stated, it's subjective.

I personally know plenty of martial artists in their sixties who are fitter and stronger than a lot of twenty year olds that I meet.

The question was whether it's OK to use the same box throughout, the answer is yes, so long as you're sufficiently fit and strong. Maybe it'll be a problem in twenty five years time, but then, climbing the stairs may also be a problem but I wouldn't recommend fitting a stair lift until such time as it becomes a necessity.

Do what's right for you -and don't worry about following the trend.

Best,
Roland
 

rae 

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Not at all sure that is correct. I think that this is all very subjective -what's heavy for one person isn't heavy for someone else. A standard super pretty heavy when full? I can (and have) grip one in each hand and walk a considerable distance; the substantial handholds and strong hands make it simple.
If you can grip a super one handed, then you've got considerably bigger hands than I have. I recall a super is something between 40 and 50 lbs when full - not a huge weight at all, but can be quite a weight when you are hoiking it up a stack on top of the hive after an inspection...because the bees haven't capped it yet.

I can easily see a situation where you need to inspect the hive, have two standard broods pretty full of uncapped honey, and you're trying to lift a 90 lb brood to quite a height. I could do that...my wife certainly couldn't, anyone with a dodgy back would be advised not to....

Then there is the problem of extracting brood frames. Not impossible at all, you can get extractors to do it, but you are either going tangential, or very expensive big radials.

I suppose the question is "why?". What is the advantage in brood sized supers?
 

oliver90owner 

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Let's start at the beginning. Welcome to the forum. A good time to start - lots of time to read up and, hopefully, to get at least part of a beekeeping course under your belt.

Presumably your flat pack hive is a standard, not a jumbo (which is also called a 14 x 12 and has frames which are 12 inches deep). Standard is 8 1/2 inches deep.

A really basic hive would comprise floor, brood box, coverboard and roof. Normally they come with one or more 'supers' and a queen excluder.

Over the ninety-ish years since the standard was drawn up (until then components were often incompatible between hive formats, so the standard was set for simplicity of manufacture - from the compatibility angle) strains of bees kept have changed and generally become more prolific with regards brood size. The two common boxes used were, and are the 'standard' (for the brood) and the 'super' or 'shallow' for the honey surplus.

The popular option, for larger colonies, used to be that of using a brood box and a super for the queen to lay in. Called a 'brood-and-a-half. More recently some have moved to the even larger size of double brood - two brood boxes. Even more recently the 14 x 12 'jumbo' option has become much more popular and has a brood area of approx. 1.7 times that of the standard brood.

So there are basically four different options and all need consideration from the angle of which strains might be housed, while being big enough but not too large. There are other options of course; I run 14 x 12s but often allow the queen to lay in a super (during the springtime, in particular); some find they need 3 brood boxes to contain the broodnest, but these are a minority at the present time.

So to your question. The standard box is usually used as a brood only. A few do use it as a super but as others have said, it is vey heavy when full. Another downside is extraction of these larger frames - there are no so many radial machines (the prefered option for most these days) which will take these larger frames. So they are usually extracted using a tanential machine which rather slows down the process. I would think also anyone using a radial machine for extracting the larger frames would have to be much more careful (extra wiring reinforcement?) as the combs are subjected to consideable force and even some of the smaller framed comb disintegrates during extraction.

Double brood if preferable to many (over a brood and a half), these days, as frames are all the same size and can be used in either box, making some manipulations so much easier. 14 x 12 frames are popular because only a single box is used, so fewer (but heavier and more fragile) frames need checking (but there are other advantages too).

Large supers are a bear if they are not filled completely during a flow. For instance, OSR needs to be extracted soon after the flow (or it granulates). Generally only full, capped frames are extracted and smaller are handier from that angle. They are also less handy if they are needed to be drawn out by the bees in cooler weather. Many beeks over-winter their full colonies on as brood and a super of stores, which is more than adequate for most winters (also equates approximately to the 14 x 12). Some strains are overwintered on double brood, but unless they are a really large colony, there are downsides such as unused sugar syrup possibly finding it's way into the honey crop. So lots to consider for your particular set of factors. The above may not even be exactly what you were meaning in your question.

Hoffmans throughout? Yes. But there are better choices for different conditions, some would say. If you choose to use one box size, then the same frame throughout the hive is a sensible choice.

I would opt for a single brood for your first year and a shallow super. That may be dependant on when yor bees arrive, but you should not expect a huge crop from a late nucleus - if you get any, you may be doing well. It depends on lots of things again. Yes, you can get a really prolific queen and get a good surplus from an early nuc, but beware that the queen may not over-winter as well as you might have hoped, so may, ideally, need replacing in the autumn - not the sort of thing someone with only one colony should be contemplating, especially in their first year.

Beekeeping is easy but not simple!

Regards, RAB
PS a lot of this may by now be out of date, already covered by posts above; but my cr*ppy ISP keeps failing, connection-wise (aol).
 

rolande 

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Hi rae,

If you can grip a super one handed, then you've got considerably bigger hands than I have.
Possibly, I don't know. The point is that this is all VERY dependant on the individual. If greywolf can do it then why shouldn't he?

I can easily see a situation where you need to inspect the hive, have two standard broods pretty full of uncapped honey, and you're trying to lift a 90 lb brood to quite a height. I could do that...my wife certainly couldn't, anyone with a dodgy back would be advised not to....
Sorry, but again it's dependant on the individual, it's not about your wife, and if greywolf has a bad back then he'd be advized to leave well alone anyway.


I suppose the question is "why?". What is the advantage in brood sized supers?
greywolf mentioned in his op that he thought the use of a standard box and frame would keep things 'simpler'.

Best Wishes,
Roland
 

Cazza 

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Hi Greywolf,
If you're a healthy/fit adult you shouldn't have any bother carrying a full BS box whether it's a deep or a shallow.
Roland
Roland

I am a very fit and healthy adult but I really struggle to lift a full super very far. I can carry one but not without some effort. I certainly couldn't manage two.
Cazza
 

rolande 

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Roland

I am a very fit and healthy adult but I really struggle to lift a full super very far. I can carry one but not without some effort. I certainly couldn't manage two.
Cazza
Hi Cazza,

Not at all suggesting that anyone should carry two. As for carrying one, perhaps I'm wrong and people do struggle, at least, that seems to be the general concensus of replies so far.

All the Best,
Roland
 

Hivemaker. 

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As for carrying one, perhaps I'm wrong and people do struggle, at least, that seems to be the general concensus of replies so far.
Roland
They just don't make em like they used to .
 
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rae 

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Sorry, but again it's dependant on the individual, it's not about your wife, and if greywolf has a bad back then he'd be advized to leave well alone anyway.
I'm simply giving examples. This being the internet, I have no idea if greywolf is a 6'4" weightlifter, or a 5'0" weakling.

As it happens, I'm 6'3", and can wield a massive chainsaw all day - so I'm not exactly slacking in the shoulder department. I can lift and carry a full super easily, I probably couldn't reliably carry one in each hand. I find "precision" work with a full brood quite difficult - so putting it down gently and slowly is hard.

It is worth noting that a full brood would not be liftable by a baggage handler at an airport. Why? Because it has been shown to knacker your back when done repeatedly.

greywolf mentioned in his op that he thought the use of a standard box and frame would keep things 'simpler'.
It might keep it more consistent, but it doesn't make the beekeeping simpler, as rab has explained so well....
 

psafloyd 

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Rab,

Are you suggesting using Hoffmans throughout in supers as well?

I thought the shape of Hoffmans would make them unsuitable or more difficult to extract as you would not be able to get an uncapping implement under the side bars near the top bar? Of course, if you have another method, such as a hot air gun, that may resolve that issue immediately.

I actually do have a query about frames I cannot find the answer to in any of my books, but will check the archive first and may post it as a separate thread.
 

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