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northernbee

2 brood boxes or one?

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I had a discussion with a commercial beek the other day about pro and cons of 2 vs 1. He tried to say that if given the room a queen can lay 10000 eggs a day which is a number I have never heard. If they are getting to 8-9 frames I will go to 2 boxes. My argument was 2 singles will produce equal or more than a double due to efficiency of things like heat retention etc. While halving you risk of disease or death. Apart from a few extra base and lids etc you would use the same amount of boxes, what is everyone else's opinion?

 

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Never heard of 10000 eggs a day.  That would be almost 2 x FD frames a day.  2500 to 3000 eggs per day is the figure I know.

I use 3/4 boxes and 2 x 3/4 as the brood boxes.  that is slightly larger than 1 x FD brood box and I find it easier to work than when i ran 1 x FD box.  Swarming is an issue with 1 x FD brood box.  Every beekeeper has their own opinion on this.  No one is right, also, no one is wrong.  Whatever works for the beekeeper.

 

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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I agree with Trev. One FD box is just a bit small, two a bit much, two x 3/4 just right. 

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based on others research, a very good queen could lay/needs 9 FD frames to keep her going all the time. If you ran a Qexcluder that means your two very out side frames on their out side are pollen/honey, so yes a single FD will be fine, you would need to run a two box 3/4 to achieve the same number of eggs laid as 9 FD = 12 3/4, thats with wooden frames. If my maths is right plastic frames give you about 10% more cells so that gives you an extra frame almost in your single box, so if you ran 3/4 you could almost use a single as well.

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By my maths when calculating OA staple stuff, a 3/4, wood and foundation frame is 78% the size of a full depth one. 

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I experimented with running some single, FD brood last season and with a full time job outside of beeking I couldn’t keep up. They are so full on and strong. I had to keep shifting brood up into the supers   At one point I had 9 frames full of brood and just the very outside faces with food. Every cell full! Lovely sight... but that one swarmed. The others collected as much, or more, honey than my doubles. 

 

Check this vid out: 

 

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I find a single FD is fine, or two 3/4 boxes.  I actually prefer 2 3/4's as it does give that little bit of extra room. 

 

A downside with two 3/4's is that when you need to look through them to eg find the Q you need to look through 20 frames rather than ten.  Another is that it is possibly a bit too big so more brood instead of honey is created.

 

One thing I really like about the 3/4's is when swarm checking and with an excluder on it is easy to crack the top box and have a good look from underneath.  Whereas with a single FD brood box the bees don't seem to like using the bottom of the frame so much for Queen cells, and instead put cells through-out the frames - meaning more time looking for cells.

 

Another thing is that at this time of year - at least in our area - you don't need masses of brood, you need bees and more bees, so squeezing the Queen down into a single FD before the flow is not necessarily a bad thing.

 

 

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I don't believe that a really good queen can outlay a box of 10 good quality 3/4 frames, if all that space is dedicated to brood. The problem is that the bees end up storing food in those frames as well and that is where I end up not being able to run singles. In spring brood frames can get clogged up with pollen very quickly and in no time the queen is struggling for laying space. My ideal is definitely 2 brood boxes either a 3/4 box and a FD box or both 3/4 boxes.

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There is no question in my mind that a clean strong double winters very well and expands early in spring providing  strong Spring splits to be run as production singles

Problem has been that double broods can be Varroa factories, until now that is.

For me, combine clean Varroa free production singles in Autumn and split again with new Queen in Spring.

Done.

 

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35 minutes ago, Otto said:

I don't believe that a really good queen can outlay a box of 10 good quality 3/4 frames,

i think you need better queens.

a super queen can lay out 20 FD frames. its generally a struggle to limit them to only 10 FD frames.

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1 minute ago, tristan said:

a super queen

Black or Yellow? Be careful:3_grin:

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6 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

I experimented with running some single, FD brood last season and with a full time job outside of beeking I couldn’t keep up. They are so full on and strong. I had to keep shifting brood up into the supers   At one point I had 9 frames full of brood and just the very outside faces with food. Every cell full! Lovely sight... but that one swarmed. The others collected as much, or more, honey than my doubles. 

 

Check this vid out: 

 

I had similar numbers but I guessed about 55000 cells in 10 fd, and 2500 per day so about bang on for 21 day cycle. 

Some today were getting tight with capped brood filling most of it so in the case I figure she is getting slowed down so dropped another on, only have fd, worse case they fill with honey and I can juggle them around come extraction time, I like the concept of Phill to combine two in autumn. Bit of trial and error this season until I cycle through older queens as has been guess work on their age

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It was discussed before.

For a Hobby BKper it is advised to run every colony on 2xFD.

Stick to this till you get very confident and you have always time to be there for singles.

 

Also for a hobby operation to have two or more different size of boxes and frames it can be a nightmare and struggle.

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need to change my profile from hobby to semi sorry, been doing it for a bit now just curious to see how other ops are running it

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I run Double FD through spring and push down to single FD mid November. By the time the brood has hatched in the second FD box I have timed it perfectly for the main honey Flow and have maximise amount of field bees ready to bring in 7 FD boxes of honey?

@Otto as @tristan said, you need to take a look at what queens are available. It’s not uncommon to have 15+ frames of brood close to maximum space laid out with no room for stores on the frame.

38F360C2-806F-46A8-B768-7499002DD416.thumb.jpeg.854e81826848fa1cf6e015a8d9386a3e.jpeg

 

Edited by dansar
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@dansar and @tristan

I am completely happy with my queens thanks.

Edited by Otto
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On 19/12/2018 at 9:42 PM, dansar said:

I run Double FD through spring and push down to single FD mid November. By the time the brood has hatched in the second FD box I have timed it perfectly for the main honey Flow and have maximise amount of field bees ready to bring in 7 FD boxes of honey?

@Otto as @tristan said, you need to take a look at what queens are available. It’s not uncommon to have 15+ frames of brood close to maximum space laid out with no room for stores on the frame.

38F360C2-806F-46A8-B768-7499002DD416.thumb.jpeg.854e81826848fa1cf6e015a8d9386a3e.jpeg

 

 

@dansar when you split the two boxes do you put a cell in the queenless one or use a mated queen? Also, do you shift that one to a different apiary to stop the field bees drifting back to the parent hive? Cheers Paul 

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10 minutes ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

@dansar when you split the two boxes do you put a cell in the queenless one or use a mated queen? Also, do you shift that one to a different apiary to stop the field bees drifting back to the parent hive? Cheers Paul 

 

I think he is saying he puts a Queen Excluder between the two brood boxes, Queen in the bottom.

 

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40 minutes ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

@dansar when you split the two boxes do you put a cell in the queenless one or use a mated queen? Also, do you shift that one to a different apiary to stop the field bees drifting back to the parent hive? Cheers Paul 

 

29 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

I think he is saying he puts a Queen Excluder between the two brood boxes, Queen in the bottom.

 

Yep as @CraBee said. Excluder between the two boxes. Brood hatches our in second box and is back filled with honey.

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It's a few years ago now but I did some quite extensive trials with half the apiarys getting one brood  box and the rest two . I have to admit a bias here as two boxes is what I'm used to but I could find no increased production from one box unlike what I had been told. Sure you got a bit more if you took that second box that I would normally leave for feed but they have to have something. The only advantage I could see was you had one box to treat for varoa rather than two . Having the Queen in two full depth boxes also allows for a lot more pollen storage and a more natural shape to the brood nest. There are a lot of people who are absolutely convinced that one box is better but my trials proved otherwise as far as production goes and frankly I think two boxes is a lot easier to manage and a lot less mucking around. If nothing else a one high hive is a long way down when bending over to check for AFB et cetera and before people start telling me I should be checking both boxes which I do do if the yard has a history I have found that checking one frame per hive every time I open a hive to be completely compatible with eliminating AFB and infinitely more useful than one full brood check once a year.
So to answer your question, both systems work but two as better based on my research.

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@john berry  it really does depend on how your season runs.

one issues is doubles can fill the brood boxes with honey in a poor season. or it allows them to expand to fast, singles can expand to slowly. singles more prone to swarming.

it really all depends on what your sites do. just a case of learning your sites and what management you can run. there is no simple easy answer.

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As far as what laying rate a queen has the potential for, try this out for fun...(something I did during nuc/bulk bee production and just happened to check back later when making up a second round of nucs).

 

Take about 4 strong wintered colonies...2 FD brood boxes...in prime spring buildup time and find the queen in each...and put the queens away for another use.

Taranov the remaining boxes full of frames of bees, feed and brood...the older bees fly back to their original entrance locality...the very young bees climb up the Taranov board and cluster on the underside.

Take those very young bees (should be .5-1 kg per wintered colony) and add them to a nuc that has been transferred to a FD brood box that has a new good queen with a good capped brood pattern.

Add 2 FD brood boxes on top ensuring lots of laying space...often wet honey supers are good...and add about 6 frames of aged capped brood to each of these boxes...keep warm.

Check back in 3 weeks and count the frames of brood.

 

This super charged hive of young bees will push that queen to her limit...see what you get...to my mind, the queen's maximum laying capacity was stretched well beyond what I had been accustomed to seeing. Dansar's brood frames also have very little feed in them.

 

2018 New Zealand package queen pattern...those fall queens often are well mated and switching hemispheres doesn't bother them...wish that was the case with me.

 

2130065946_June4brood-Copy.thumb.JPG.853dddfbab54d2e7c57e504a901fac2b.JPG

 

 

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Any of you astute kiwi beekeepers take issue with my text on the photo..."Fresh eggs and larva...This brood is 1 to 6 days old?"

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3 hours ago, beecavalier said:

Any of you astute kiwi beekeepers take issue with my text on the photo..."Fresh eggs and larva...This brood is 1 to 6 days old?"

Colour is very difficult to read.  But I am old and half blind.  Increase the font size a little.  Well done and presented.

 

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Thanks Trevor...I'm old and half blind too but am saved by a 23.5 inch (60 cm) monitor so my apologies for the font size. I used that photo on a beginning beekeepers forum to illustrate that you can have 2 cycles of capped brood on the same frame...did the appropriate labelling and then when I posted it here, I noticed my text describing the area between the capped brood sections was likely in error. To my eye, the egg laying rate of the queen on the second cycle of capped brood (center of frame) has far exceeded that of the rate of laying on the first capped brood cycle...suspect she has been gone from this frame for a few days.

 

Here is a video that demonstrates the Taranov method I referred to above only we don't hang a queen on the underside of the board. At the 28 minute mark, he direct releases the queen...not quite that brave...but those bees are so young that they likely haven't taken an orientation flight and aren't choosie about their queen ...I would like to give that a try some day..

 

We have the luxury of only running 20 hives and like Dansar mentioned, spring doubles are reduced to singles at some point...and the single has initially got nothing but room for the queen to lay in...a total hive reset...got to do something to keep those wintered colonies from hanging in the trees. 

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