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2nd brood box if/when? Nairne, SA, Australia


I am located in the Adelaide Hills and have a Technoset plastic hive with one brood box and a honey super of 10 frames each installed. We installed our bees on the 29/10 and our most recent hive inspection shows an empty honey super and a brood box of approximately 6 frames of drawn comb and some good stores of capped honey and brood being put down on the middle 4 frames. Just wondering in our climate, if/when we should consider adding a second brood box. Should we wait until all the frames in both boxes are drawn?




In fact I would not add a super or any additional brood boxes (which you have already done) until…

Do I place the flow hive brood box on top of my older brood box that I transported my bees in?

Take the super off and wait till all the frames in the brood box are drawn and you have 6/7 frames solid with brood. Then you can add a super or another brood box. How many broods do your neighbours run? That’s a good indicator of whether you need another brood box or go straight on to supering.


You are overstretching your hive. Take the super off and let them build up in the broodbox. There is a rule of thumb that you don’t expect a harvest in the first year of a hive, that year is for the hive to grow. When all frames in your broodbox are built out then you can add your second one by honeycombing your frames. You may consider feeding them for a while to boost them along as well, summer is a brutal time for our hives.



Why do you want a 2nd brood box?


that would be my question also. I am very happy running single brood hives in SA. So much easier to inspect the brood. The bees overwinter fine in a single brood here in Adelaide.


Two broods are a great time saver for queen cell checking. Tip and look, 30 seconds. Great for splits too. No need to find queen take one box away and it’s done.


They are definite advantages- as well as perhaps less chance of swarming- and more chance of a super colony when the flow is on. But it comes at a cost: more equipment- harder brood inspections- more work- harder and much heavier to move, harder to find the queen and more disruptive when inspecting? It just seems in some climates single broods do very well and are more easily managed?

Last month we had a talk at our Bee society from commercial apiarists with 30 years experience and 1500 hives in regional South Australia. They run all single broods and do very well.

Later on I will experiment with double broods but for the moment I am happy to continue as is.


True it’s difficult to manage 2 brood set ups. It took a while, but now my 2 brood Italians are really bringing in the nectar. They are probably harboring a few honey frames down there. Haven’t checked them in 4 weeks.
In 3 days I will take 2 splits from that hive and reduce it back to one broodbox.
Hoping the queen will go down into the lower broodbox when I smoke them a lot. She’s always hard to find, but managed to take a split from her a while back by shaking the frames I wanted to take free of bees and put those frames in a separate box above the QX for an hour, so the nurse bees went up. Worked like a charm.
I sure like 1 broodbox set ups. Easier to inspect.


Another good reason for using single brood boxes is when a colony develops a bit of attitude. That came to mind this morning while weakening out a strong colony that had a barely manageable amount of attitude. I was glad it was only a single brood box.

If it’s a strong colony anyone wants, a single brood box will be sufficient. Even a single 8 frame brood box.


Especially in your climate. Might be tough in colder climates with long nectar dearths, though. :wink: