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Any seasoned san francisco bay area(or world) beekeepers out there?


my dad has been a beekeeper on and off for 40 years and he says that he never adds a second brood chamber/deep. he just adds the super at the time that the deep is approx 7 out of 10 frames built out with comb. he seems to know wheat he is doing, so i don’t question his methods. he lives in northern california and has hot summers and cold winters.

i’m a new beekeeper and everything i read online and in books says to add a second brood box so that you will have a strong hive and then you can add your honey super after the second box is almost full. because i’m in the bay area the weather here is fairly mild and I don’t have frost but 1 or 2 nights per year. i am currently using and 8 frame medium brood and have the ability to add another, but i’m not sure if I should add another or just go with the super. I can’t seem to find any defining answer online.

help a newbee
ps i’ve included a photo of the gals at work! http://imgur.com/ZGhhzok


Your Dad is unusual. :wink: Even here in SoCal, most people use 2 deep brood boxes. However, with a Flow hive, there is even more reason to do so, because it is an 8-Frame Langstroth, not a 10-Frame. Overwintering might be hard with so little space to store food.

Your Dad knows what he is doing, and he can make one box work for him. I am not saying he is wrong, but he has a method. If he can directly mentor and supervise you, it might work for you too. However, the majority of people in the US find it easier to be successful with 2 brood boxes (or more in some areas!)

If your brood box is really an 8-Frame medium, you definitely need one or two more. A medium is not big enough for all of the brood that the hive will need.


I guess I’m not following what the two things you are comparing are. Almost everyone almost everywhere will give you the rule of thumb of 80% or something close to that. When the current space is 80% in use, it’s time to add space. Before that it is not time to add space. As far as brood boxes, I would ask around and see what the local beekeepers use for a brood area and don’t add the supers (in this case, I guess a flow super) until that space is mostly (80%) in use. As dawn says, you may have to take into account 8 frame vs 10 frame.


hi michael!

Since my dad uses 10-frame boxes he told me 7/10 or 8/10ths full. Since i am using 8 frame boxes I just assumed i’d wait until I had about 5 or 6 full of built out comb.

My question that I was really confused on was to add a second brood box or go straight from my 8 frame brood to the super. I do plan to attend meetings in my area, but the next meeting is next week and I am at a point where I need to make the decision like today. Wish there was a local hotline I could call! hehe.

thanks for taking the time to help a newbee!

this community is awesome



hi dawn!

thanks so much for the info! This forum is awesome!



Hi Ryan,
If you live here in the BA then you know all about micro climates. If you are in the city then you understand mini micro climates ; -)

So asking someone in your own, or nearby, climate pocket is a good idea. Northern California is a big place. My dad runs Langs in Sacramento differently than I am trying here in the Mission District.

All that said, two broods and then a super are pretty standard with most Beeks in the BA. And with the 8 frames then for sure two.

Your dad has 10s so maybe that is enough where he is, but the volume difference between 8s and 10s is significant to the bees come late winter when stores are getting thin and nectar is a bit scarce.

I have a small swarm I am nursing along right now and there isn’t enough local forage to support them so I am feeding until we get some warm days again and good blossoming.



Hi Sara,

Omg there are so many micro climates here in the bay! Never leave home without your jkt, even on a sunny day, hehe! I live in Vallejo, but lived in SF for 7 years. Still work in the city and love it!

Anyways, I did end up putting on the 2nd brood as per your local advice! I’m sure the gals will love the extra space! Are you a member of a local club? There are a few in the bay, but none in my hood. I was thinking sebastapol, but maybe also an east bay or sf one too.

thanks again,


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