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Additional brood box

Hi all,
I have a langstroth 8 brood box which is ready to add a flow super on top.
I just recently purchased a flowhive2 complete with brood box, I’m contemplating whether I should transfer them into the new Flowhive, OR put the new Flowhive brood box on top of the existing langstroth? Then add the flow super when it’s established.
I’d love to hear your ideas and advice on the best way to proceed. All input is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
Ali

Hi @Ali1,

There is no best way in this. Answer depends on what configuration you want to run. Double brood box or single. Two brood boxes in my opinion allow to worry less about swarm management and give more room for bees’ honey stores when super harvested or removed. On other hand inspection of two brood boxes is more difficult, particularly when one needs to find queen.

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Hello and welcome to the Flow forum! :wink:

As @ABB says, if you want double brood, put the flow brood box on top and add the Flow super later. It depends on whether most beekeepers in your climate use single or double brood boxes.

If you only want a single brood box, you can either transfer the frames over to the Flow brood box, or you could just put the Flow super on top of your existing Langstroth brood box. That would certainly be the simplest thing, but perhaps not aesthetically so appealing. :blush:

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Maybe the challenges of inspecting are a little less of an issue in your part of Australia due to lack of Varroa and generally mild climate.

However, it seems from what I have read in the forum, doubles in the central eastern coast there are not really necessary from a seasonal perspective although maybe convenient from a swarm prevention strategy.

You could put the second brood box on, see how it goes for the rest of the season and until next spring and then even split it into two singles if you don’t like the double.

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Hi @ABB
Thank you very much for your input. I appreciate it. I’m thinking of the two brood boxes as you said.

Hi @Dawn_SD
Thank you for the warm welcome and your helpful reply. Your input is greatly appreciated. :slightly_smiling_face:
I’m thinking of doing the two brood boxes. Thanks!

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You are welcome @Ali1.
The thing to keep in mind with two brood boxes - this is a strong colony setup. It needs a queen no older than 2 years to make use of it and good flow of pollen and nectar. In absence of food it looses any advantages.

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I run single brood hives. I find a single brood hive much easier to manage, especially when it comes to finding the queen. I’d rather have 2 single brood colonies than one double brood colony. Let’s face it, two queens are better than one.

For a new beekeeper starting out, I’d recommend a single brood colony. I also advise to make every frame in a single brood box available for the colony to raise the maximum amount of workers. Therefore every brood frame should have at least 90, or even 95% worker comb.

There is also the added capital outlay, as well as time dedicated to providing that extra brood box with very little to no extra benefit.

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Not realy. The quantity of hatched brood depends on ability of a colony to raise it more than on ability of a queen to lay eggs.

Here is a data from experiment of B. Muzalevsky (1934) to find correlation between strength of the colony and how much brood it may sucsessfuly produce.:

Weight of bees in colony, kg Open berood, bees Capped brood, bees
Total Per 1 kg of bees
1 10278 6876 6876
2 10460 7504 3752
3 10667 10333 3444

G. Taranov (1938). His variant of experiment was different. In the beginning only young bees were selected and all capped brood was removed to make sure that no new bees were added to colonies. Capped brood was counted. Experiment lasted whole life duration of originally selected bees (from 5th of July to 8th of October).

Weight of bees in colony Capped brood
First experiment Second experiment Per colony Per 1 kg of bees
0.5 7735 6435 7085 14170
1 11815 9945 10880 10800
2 18350 19865 19107 9554
3 26845 26975 26910 8970
4 23205 - 23205 5801

If we are talking about outlay, it make sense to look at possible return.

Experiment of C.L. Farrar (1927) to find correlation between strength of a colony and honey collection.

Weight of bees in colony, kg 1.5 2 3 4 5 6
Collected honey per 1 kg of bees, pounds 6.6 7.8 8.9 9.5 9.9 10.1
Same in % 100 118 135 144 150 153

Similar experiment by G. Taranov (1952).

Weight of bees in colony, kg 1 1.5 2 3 4
Collected honey per colony, kg 7 14 20 31 49
Collected honey per 1 kg of bees, kg 7 9 10 11.3 12.2
Same in % 100 128 143 161 176

There are multiple researches by Park (1919), Merril (1922), Pnkel and Kalantein (1926), Michailov (1927), Taranov (1946) to name few, to find correlation between strength of a colony and quality of produced bees. In general, bees produced in strong colonies have longer tongues, larger honey crop, wider tergites, bees are heavier and can carry more load. Lifespan is longer.

However, if all the above is not a concern, size does not matter :wink:

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All great posts above.
Although I do use 2 brood boxes I’d much rather only use 1 and I certainly wouldn’t use 2 full depth boxes.

Couple of points from a layman’s point of view regarding 2 brood box colonys.
If you’re using 8 frame boxes an extra box is only 6 frames more to inspect than a 10 frame box.:wink:
And, if you are going to use 2 fd brood boxes don’t expect to be harvesting the Flow super for the next year or so as the 2nd box fills.
Personally I’d be splitting and go forward with 2 single brood box colonys and make a double brood call next season once you have a better feel for bee keeping needs your area.:+1:

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If conditions are such that it takes a year to fill a second box, this year must be erased from the history of beekeeping and forgotten :laughing:
I am afraid this season in Perth may join 2018-2019 for this reason…

I was referring to the ‘Don’t expect a harvest first season’ rule of thumb which would be even more pertinent if using the 2 brood boxes. I’ve never kept bees in a year round harvesting environment so can only relate to what I know here, in my area. Books and studies are great resources but if some was carried out in different areas I feel the outcomes may be different.
In this area I expect a dearth summertime each year, I hear of others around feeding their colony’s, I don’t need to due to the 2nd box.
And I’m not writing off the season yet either until the Marri flowers.:blush:

In the context of my comment: I believe that 2 queens in 2 separate colonies are better than one queen in one colony.

You can’t convince me that you wont get a strong colony by using a single brood box.

To use a second brood box with the idea that a colony is less likely to swarm, so therefore less brood inspections are necessary, to my way of thinking is not a good approach.

How will a new beekeeper learn how to “read the brood”, if he/she doesn’t do brood inspections?

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As a beekeeper who uses 2 brood boxes, I totally agree with what @JeffH wrote above. I use them because in southern California, we have multiple lengthy nectar dearths every year. Before I super the hive, the bees need 2 deeps of brood and food to survive the dearths. I did the same in the UK, except “brood and a half” was enough there. However, that is no excuse for skipping inspections. Bees will still swarm, or get infested/infected etc.

If you become a beekeeper, you need to accept the responsibility for actively managing livestock. :blush:

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It is a huge leap between “worry less about swarm management” and “less brood inspections are necessary” and “doesn’t do brood inspections”, isn’t it? I really hope this attribution of false ideas to your opponent is a result of some misunderstanding.

I’m having trouble working out what you said.

Anyway @Ali1 asked for comments & opinions. You gave yours, based on your personal experience, I guess. I gave mine based on my personal experience. @Ali1 may ignore both our feedback & go with a local mentor or something he read somewhere else.

Hi everyone
Thank you all for your advice, your input is greatly appreciated.
What I think I’ll do is use the adjustable legs and the bottom tray from the flow hive and put my brood box on top and than flow super with the roof. Hopefully I will be getting some honey while the flow is great here in central Nsw. Next spring I will add my second brood box by than I will have enough experience to be able to manage two brood boxes. Thank you all again for your input, I couldn’t come to this choice without your ideas.

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From your lips to God’s ears! :crossed_fingers:

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