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One brood box or two?

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Jenxy 

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I hope not another daft question... As you know I am reading the only book I have on the subject... and you all said that I shouldn't take it too literally as it is geared more to a US market. But it is saying that when you have had your first bees for a few weeks, you should add another "deep" to allow the brood to expand. I didn't reckon on having to buy more "hardware" so soon after starting, but if I must, I will. Is this standard practice with a national hive? Or is it something I shouldn't have to worry about so soon?
 

Poly Hive 

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You may well need another Brood box for your National depending on how prolific your queen is.

The Americans of course use the Langstroth hive and have far better weather meaning their colonies get to pretty big numbers compard to ours hence my advice to beware their books...

PH
 

Jenxy 

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So if I am lucky enough to have a prolific queen, and need another brood box, how difficult does that make inspection? I would worry about lifting a heavy brood box off so I could inspect the lower, and ( another daft one here I'm sure..) how easy would it be to lose the queen? I mean, you wouldn't know where she was would you? or would she definately be in the upper brood?
 

Poly Hive 

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*grins*

This is the down side. I personally would expect her to be mainly in the upper one but I have never myself kept bees on a double. Yet that is as I am hoping my hives this year will need that.

PH
 

Hombre 

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How many frames of brood do you have at the moment Jenxy and how many of stores? I take it that there are no empty frames? With a good five frames or more of brood, you should perhaps be thinking of putting on your first super. This will allow the bees to move honey up and allow for expansion. How many supers, with frames and foundation (or comb) do you currently possess (assuming one hive)?

It is unlikely that you will need a second brood, but not impossible. Your mentor should be able to confirm this. If you haven't got a mentor, I would strongly recommend that you find one through this forum who is both experienced and reasonably local, therefore in tune with your general area and willing for you to flood with beekeeping questions.

I think that the one single book all new beekeepers should read is the Ted Hooper "Guide to Bees & Honey". It is generally considered to be the standard. Unfortunately books reflecting practice in the USA also reflect their different climate and , depending on the type of hive used, supers can be the same sized boxes as the brood box, the name merely indicating the particular usage.

Components for a second hive: floor, brood box, frames and foundation, crown board and a roof would be very good to have available. The last thing that you want is to find that you need a bit of kit NOW and it's a week away with exhorbitant delivery charges because you didn't anticipate it. That was of course the reason for your question.

Others will be along to give you a more precise and better qualified answer than I have been able to provide, but feel that they will express much the same sort of sentiment.
 

Jenxy 

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Well maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself.... I see you have 10 hives PH, so you must have been doing this a while. If it isn't something you have had to deal with yet, maybe it isn't something I should fret about yet.
 

Jenxy 

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Hombre, bless you for asking, I am not expecting my first bees until some weeks from now:) I am a complete beginner, and that is why I have so many niggling questions to ask. That is also why I was fretting about having two brood boxes to inspect, when I have yet to get to grips with inspecting one. It would be an awful shame to misplace my queen within a couple of months.
 

Hombre 

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Where are you getting your bees from, local BKA contacts or Gloucestershire?

You are planning in a vacuum, like with a cherry tree, so many options blossoming at the same time. I too am making plans and tearing them down like the bees do with their play cells. My bees are coming from Gloucester and I hear that there are delays due to late Queen deliveries.
 

Jenxy 

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Hopefully I am getting them from a local keeper, tho not through an association. You are right about the planning thing. I guess beekeeping is a kind of "suck it and see" situation. You never can be prepared for everything.
 

Poly Hive 

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I suppose at some point I should write a wee tale of what I did in my thirties. and the virulence of my case of Beefever will be apparent.

I would wait until there are 8 frames of brood before adding a 2nd BB and put it on top.

PH
 

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I use 2-3 brood box. If the queen is not able to lay 1,5 langstroth box, it gets kick off. I do not use excluder.

2 brood box gives a lot flexibility to arrange food frames, foundations and brood area.

I try to get my hives for winter to size of two box, but it depends how much they get pollen in August. Strong hives are easy to nurse. They take care themselves.
 

Finman 

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In spring, when it is time to enlarge the hive first time, I put a new brood box under the first brood area. I have noticed that if I put the second box over the brood area, hive become too cold and bees destroyed part of brood in lower box.

If queen is good, bees occupye the lower box and the queen start to lay there.

First honey will be stored in the brood boxes.

When I add the third box, it will be for honey. Then I turn brood boxes. Bees move honey from brood area up to third box.

In summer I add third brood box. Entranec is in main flow totally open and the queen stop laying in lowest box.

In August I force brood area downwards and brooding will be in first and second box. If brooding is only in one box, the queen is poor.

It is same to me how queen lay in July. Main point is that they bring honey.

I take almost all honey away for winter. Before winter feeding I put brood frames into lowest box and the upper box is free to be filled with syrup. Upper box may contain pollen frames too.
 
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rich 

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Great timing with this thread, checked my hives at my out apiary today, and I have one with nine frame of brood, so was looking to put a second brood box on tomorrow.
They will have to put up with just foundation as I haven't any spare drawn frames. Would you feed a weak sugar feed as well?

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Poly Hive 

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Feed yes.

Brood box on top.

And No Finman I am not having an argument on the matter. Location does make a difference.

PH
 
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rich 

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Thanks PH, yes I was going to put it on the top, I have 50mm of insulation on the top as a standard.

Rich
 

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If bees do not start to draw foundations at once don't worry. They are not ready for that.

Many times I have enlarged the hive but they do not occupye combs. Reason is that they are not strong enough to keep all places warm.

It has happened many times too that 2 box hive is really full of bees, but when I look downstairs, the lower box is empty.

In spring bees concentrate themselves to keep brood area warm. Nights are cold.

.
 

bombus 

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Hi jenxy,

see if you can beg, or borrow a copy of Donald Sims book "sixty years with bees" . In my opinion it's one of the best bee books ever written, he explains the double brooding system, and put it to good use.
 

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Hi jenxy,

see if you can beg, or borrow a copy of Donald Sims book "sixty years with bees" . In my opinion it's one of the best bee books ever written, he explains the double brooding system, and put it to good use.
That book is a very good recommendation Bombus.

I gave my strongest hive(10 frames of brood) a second brood box last week and have fed them twice,1KG of sugar each feed,they have finished all feed and drawn out all the foundation.

I just need the queen to move up now,plan A is to take some Nucs from the second box in a few weeks.
 

bombus 

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Personally, I love the double brood system, and find it very versatile.It also go'es someway towards stopping some bees from swarming,or at least when the rape is in flower.
 

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