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Brood Box: One or two?


The video shows one broad box with the flow frames on top but then I see many people put on a second broad box why ? and why not just stay with one ?


It depends on where in the world you are keeping your bees. The Flow hive was developed in subtropical Australia, where there is nectar flow almost all year, and bees don’t need overwinter stores. One brood box is enough for most people there. In much of the US, we have enough of a seasonal nectar dearth and/or snow/cold bad weather, that bees are far more likely to be successful if you give them two boxes for brood before you put a super on top. That way, they can store enough honey and pollen in the brood box to get them through the lean times. Some people even use 3 brood boxes when they are 8-Frame Langstroth deep boxes, like the the full Flow hive.

By all means do what you feel is best, but just remember, the Flow hive isn’t magic, it is just a new way of extracting extra honey with less mess. If your local beekeepers use at least 2 brood boxes, you are far more likely to be successful if you do things the same way that they do.


Also, The subtropical Australian flow is moderate year round. In the more temperate regions (like the US, and UK), there is a heavy nectar flow in the late spring, which trails off. The extra brood boxes allow for a higher population at this time to harvest while it’s in season, and gives room for stores as the population shrinks as it gets closer to the fall.


Last Thursday I was talking with another principle in my firm, he lives in Houston and he only uses one brood box. Here in Dallas it is recommended to use to brood boxes and one honey super


Next question can I add another broad box at any time ? or does it have to be done at set up ? Like can I put the Super on now and then maybe early fall put the 2nd broad box on ?

And thank you for the information I do appreciate it :slight_smile:


The second box should be added after the first box is nearly full, this allows the colony to grow into the space more effectively. If the bees have too much space they can have trouble keeping the hive warm, protect against pests like small hive beetle and wax moths etc. Once the first brood box is fully drawn and 75-80% full of brood and stores then the second box should be added.


As Adam says, the bees will usually do better if you don’t give them too much space at the beginning. Please DO NOT put the Flow super on right at the outset.

The rule with adding a box, any box whether it is another brood box, or a harvesting box, is to use the guidelines Adam gave above. So when all frames in the first box have drawn comb, and they are 80% full of brood, honey or pollen, you probably have enough bees in the hive to get to work building and defending a second box. When that second box is 80% full with all frames having drawn comb, you can add a third box, or the Flow super, or a traditional honey super if you want. Hopefully that gives you the general idea.

If you put the second brood box on in the Fall, the bees won’t have enough time to gather nectar and build up the brood to make it through the winter. So filling the brood boxes should always be your first priority before you start taking honey from the bees.


My 8 Frame Flow I have just Checker-boarded the brood to create double brood - My Emerald is a good layer and I’m going to take advantage of that. I took 2 frames of brood off 4 weeks ago and she has already built up again.

The double brood is not something done in the UK but I think this Queen is prolific enough. Some people here run Brood and 1/2 but that is on 10 or 11 frame Nationals. Where as I’m running 8 frame Langs
Just for comparison I’ve done a table below:-

Frame types and Number of cells
Langstroth 8 Frame = 49,120 Cells
Langstroth 8 Frame Double Brood = 49,120 x 2 = 98,240 Cells
Langstroth 10 Double brood = 61,400 x 2 = 122,800 Cells
National 11 Frame = 50,000 + 11 1/2 = 85,000 Cells
National 11 Frame Double Brood = 50,000 x 2 = 100,000 Cells
Deep National 11 Frame = 70,000 Cells
Langstroth Jumbo 10 Frame = 85,000 Cells



Very interesting in the number of Cells. We’ve had a professor from the Houston area that teaches agricultural beekeeping and he suggest that double brewed boxes will yield more bees than a single brood box. And I’m not talking pure number of cells. So if one brood box, looking at your numbers above have 49,120 cells or maybe 25,000 active bees, 2 brood boxes would have as you state above 98,240 cells but would have 65,000 bees. During peak brood rearing harvesting season

Some sort of research that has been done. The idea is that they would produce more honey. They were suggesting it be best to run 2 brood boxes regardless of your area. They did additional research of adding a 3rd brood box and actually started diminishing the return.

That’s at least what I took from the lecture/presentation that was given.

Again the numbers I’ve quoted are not actual from the presentation it’s the theory that I’m remembering


@Martydallas sounds about right Numbers wise.

If we have a dreadful summer like last year - 1 brood box is all you will get. Emerald is a good layer - always has been I split Sapphire as she is on 10 frames but Emerald being on 8 Frames I thought I would do a bit of a comparison.

The beauty of 2 hives is you can do comparison - they are slightly related so a good way to see in the same flow circumstances and see which works out better.

Watch and learn is what I do with my hives - they have differing temperaments Emerald has 1/4 Black bee I’m sure and Sapphire has quite a bit of Italian.


yes, never said :slight_smile: one hive is all you need. Just that you could produce more honey with 2 brood boxes


I only have one Hive, Wish I had 2 for that vary reason, but I have a Great Mentor and I go out to his place a lot to help. I know that is not the same but it scares me to have 2 at this point. Lot of work. Helping him out makes it fill like less work or less commentment for me


Is it feasible to have 2 supers and 1brood as i have only read the other way around


I have had 5 supers and one brood. Very healthy hive. That hive produced 75lb of honey in one season. Of course, it depends on your climate, the nectar flow and your hive setup (10-frame, 8-frame, Langstroth vs National etc).


Really dawn? One brood and 5 supers? Ten frame? All deeps? If so - Wow!:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I got about 70 pounds (35kg) off a single brood flow hive last year- it was a first year swarm hive. It’s the one that swarmed on me 10 days ago :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: It’s building back up fast and flow super is packed!

I just bought some ideals I am going to add to my standard one brood/one super flow hives. Plan to make some foundationless ideal comb honey


If you put the ideal on soon, you may get it filled a few times before winter. I did so last year, but I think it was already April and got one honey comb full ideal on top of the flow box.


Really, Jack. But we are not talking Langstroth, and they were not deeps. This was a WBC hive in the UK, which has the same frame dimensions as a British National hive. We put 2 supers on at the start of the season, and they filled pretty quickly. We then had to travel for a week or so, so we put 3 more on top (all drawn comb, or stickies if you prefer). National supers are typically not deeps, but closer to Langstroth mediums, or Australian ideals. Otherwise I would never have been able to lift them. They were all full when we came back, and as luck would have it, the hive had not swarmed. :smile: That was a mammoth harvest - one of our best years ever.


Hello, I have added a second brood box on top of a full brood box but the bees have only filled it with honey - no brood. I was hoping to get a stronger larger brood before adding my flow hive. I am not sure whether to add the flow hive on top now or just harvest some of the capped frames from the second box that is now filling up with honey. Any suggestions?


I put a second brood box onto a hive a couple of months ago with the idea to take 2 splits in December. I moved 3 brood frames from the first broodbox to the new second box and filled all empty spaces with foundationless frames. In 2 weeks they had drawn the wax in all empty frames.
Now the brood is evenly distributed over both boxes, with mainly Honey plus brood in the outside frames.
I had the flow box on already, harvested a few times up to winter.
It will be easy to take 2 splits and reduce them to one box again.

Perhaps it could help if you moved a couple of brood frames up?
Do you get cold winters? It helps to check how many brood boxes local beekeepers use.
It sounds as if your bees want to store honey rather than expanding their brood nest.


Thank you @Webclan - We have mild winters here but it is coastal so it can get pretty windy and cold. We are having a remarkable spring for bee fodder, lots of native trees in bloom and the bees are going crazy. I will follow your advice and maybe move a brood box up and see if that works, harvest some of the honey frames and then put the flow hive on top. Fingers crossed that works.