Double Brood

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New Bee
Apr 13, 2009
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I'm considering running one of my hives using a double brood box to see how it compares to the other on a single brood box only. I'm particulary interested to see how they both over winter. Both are nationals.

Do I add the second brood box on top of or underneath the present box? I have seen both ways mentioned online and am now confused as to the best way to go.

As the second box will contain foundation only should I transfer brood or stores into it to encourage the bees in?

Which box will the queen ultimately be laying in?

Will adding the second brood box result in less honey this year but more bees and therefore more honey next year?

All help and advice gratefully accepted.
personaly i am not a double fan, i have used them and i dont want to do it myself except for other reasons, when they over winter yes you will have a slightly larger hive brood area of around 30 to 40% extra over a single brood but you will also have double the winter kill offs, and the bees will still over winter on one box not both , yes there are many advantages but this is on guy who will not be going down that route ever again
Pete, hi again, are you on standard nat deep, or 14x12 ? Do you think 14x12 has any advantage over standard for an amateur with a few hives (say 6) ?

What do others think ?

I'm on 14x12 but I'm wondering whether standard deep isn't easier for a beginner.

If your allready on 14 x 12 then stay with them. There would be no advantage to you changing to normal broods.

There are a few points to make here.

I am currently working on doubles as I am working for bees primarily not honey.

I put my 2nd brood box on at 8 or nine frames of brood. I dont put up a frame of brood as there is a risk of chilling. Some do though and put a frame of foundation in to the gap in the bottom BB.

I believe it is standard on a double brood box system to winter on a single and that is what I intend doing myself.

I over wintered on either double BB or brood and half.

All came through the Winter in strong condition and have expanded rapidly.

I overwintered on single BBs and all came through winter strong. Both are Ok and it depends on the bees you have. I strongly recommend that you can spot queen cells in all their guises before you go onto double brood though. A prime swarm from a large double BB colony is a significant loss.
I did use doubles this year to expand early.

I gave a couple of hives a second box of foundation and a feed to help draw comb,the queen was laying upstaires within a week and I found queen cells in the bottom boxes within a fortnight.

I then did 3 way splits,everything worked out very well with fresh frames of comb and mated queens to boot all by the begining of May.

I am not so sure I would want to run double boxes all the time though,I do have one on a box and a half,why you may ask ?
Answer is simple: I FORGOT TO ADD A QE :laughing-smiley-004
To use 2 or 3 brood box does not quarantee that you have 2 box in winter or better yields.

First you need a good queen which is able to lay a big hive.
When you have much bees, you need a good pastures to get a good yields.

In late summer you should have 15 frames brood that they need 2 stores for winter. In my beekeeping the late pollen production and weather rules much, how strong hives are before winter.

Big colonies make themselves ready earlier to get yield.

But to have big hives is not a simple job. I work for that 10 monts and then I carry hives to abundant pastures.

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