Brood, brood and a 1/2 or double brood box

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StephenT 

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I agree, and as Poot said, this set-up limits your brood management options; it also gives you the work of double brood but without the full space benefit.
If you plonk a BB on top of the first during a flow they're likely to use it as super but a better plan is to split the nest vertically into both boxes.

Put open brood in the top box - heat from sealed below will help it - sealed directly below and and fill both boxes either side with comb or foundation; super as necessary.
Would you do that once there are 7-8 frames of brood in the original brood box?
 

gmonag 

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Well the Rose method has its advantages but if it was a perfect system then all beekeepers would be using it ...

I don't like the construction of the rose boxes although I've often thought of constructing a Rose type system with national size boxes and perhaps making them out of celotex or kingspan to meet the insulation requirements and also make for lighter boxes when they fill the upper boxes with honey. You still need an extractor that can cope with Rose size (or national) frames.
I can see why you don't like Tim Rowe's box design but as I have said before, it is not about the box. The method works perfectly with any size of box and type of construction. If I were inclined to try poly for instance, I would use Langstroth Mediums or a European design such as the Zander..
As for extraction, most extractors, other than the smallest, will take Rose frames They are, after all, just SN4s with a slightly longer side bar (182mm).
 

Etton 

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PS: have a look at Tim Rowe's flexible method of building big colonies using brood boxes (at 3mins) and his book....
He says he puts his oldest comb ‘at the top of the stack’ (with no QE) wouldn’t it be best to put it at the bottom so it can be removed when empty?
 

gmonag 

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PS: have a look at Tim Rowe's flexible method of building big colonies using brood boxes (at 3mins) and his book....
He says he puts his oldest comb ‘at the top of the stack’ (with no QE) wouldn’t it be best to put it at the bottom so it can be removed when empty?
The method has new boxes being added in spring at the no.2 position (second box up). This gives space right in the middle of the brood nest, where it is required. The oldest comb, which would have been at position 1 at the end of winter, is swapped with box 2 before starting the addition of more boxes. Thus the oldest comb floats to the top of the hive and can be removed for extraction and melting without any extra effort.
 
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Swarm 

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Would you do that once there are 7-8 frames of brood in the original brood box?
Yes, or even before then. That brood will emerge and the bees will appreciate the extra space. My brood boxes are dummied with partitions so they hold nine frames, if you feel there is perhaps a little too much space, you could consider a similar option. I can extend the capacity to their needs by removing boards and adding comb. As Eric said, add a super above an excluder so nectar from any flow will likely end up there and always keep two or three of the central, upper frames free of a honey arc, you want them to feel they have room above them.
 

ericbeaumont 

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Would you do that once there are 7-8 frames of brood in the original brood box?
Probably, but depends (as usual).

You're looking for a recipe but there are too many variables to bank on one. Open up a colony and synthesise a five-second assessment of income, colony size, weather, time of year and your familiarity with the queen, in no particular order.

I usually open up the colony and just do it on instinct because if the nest is on the up and a flow is on, they're going to need it rather than not, and as Steve said, emerging bees need space.

There are many different recipes: for example, I watched a Zoom recently where Ged Marshall described his swarm management on more than 100 colonies. Thing is, he runs on single brood boxes, so what's his trick? The most relevant factor is that he replaces queens at the end of the second year and breeds Buckfast Qs with a low swarming index.

As Q pheromone is reasonably likely to hold together one rammed box his cost/benefit analysis told him that it's an effective route. Any losses in his rural location may be picked up by bait hives. Can't recall if he clips queens.
 

ericbeaumont 

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put it at the bottom so it can be removed when empty?
oldest comb floats to the top of the hive and can be removed for extraction and melting without any extra effort.
If old comb is left at the bottom bees are going to fill it with pollen, so better as Greg describes.
 

Monbees 

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Really good points and I can concur with everything you say ...

...but I run my 14 x 12's without queen excluders and what I find with some some colonies that are prolific is that they will extend the brood nexst into the middle section of the first super ... but this is only ever a temporary situation. Once the colony has established its desired mass the brood area returns to the brood box where there is sufficient space for the queen to lay maintenance levels of brood and they backfill the first super with honey ... I've had one colony where the queen was really rampant that almost filled a super with brood yet still by the middle of the season she was back down in the brood box and they were backfilling with honey.

I extract late and I've never faced a situation where there was brood in the supers.

... there are numerous ways of providing that critical level of laying space ... and most of them work.
So, apart from the fact that you run 14 x 12's, an important consideration of course, your bees, when necessary choose themselves to operate brood and a half?
 

domino 

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  • I started on single brood
  • The next year the association gurus convinced me that nationals were too small so I went to 12x14s,
  • I hated 12x14s because they were too big so went double brood.
  • I found that was box juggled, so ended up back on a single brood and stuck with it.
My suggestion would be to try two seasons with a system, the bees don't care what boxes you put them - you care what management system you use. Trying all of them year after year is expensive and I never really mastered one type.

I do fine on single brood, mainly because once I decided to stick with them I had to learn how to manage them in the boxes.
 

pargyle 

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So, apart from the fact that you run 14 x 12's, an important consideration of course, your bees, when necessary choose themselves to operate brood and a half?
Well No ... not really as 14 x 12 is already brood and a half in a single box so what they are doing is extending into what is effectively double brood ... which probably tells you something about brood and a half on standard nationals if you think about it ?
 
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