Confusion regarding brood boxes

Hello again, I seem to have so many questions! I live in the Pacific Northwest, with cold and VERY wet winters. I have been talking with a local bee keeper who is very successful, but I am still confused regarding double brood boxes for winter prep. I was told it is very helpful to follow a local bee keeper, but I have asked him many times and I am still confused. So, I thought maybe all of you experts can give me some advice also.
He told me to do a double brood box for winter, get 2 full brood boxes full, then before winter sets in, shake all the bees down into 1 box and remove the upper brood box by August 15th, but you can only do this with overwintered bees. OK, ? But then he told me that it is too late to start a double brood box this year with 2 new packages of bees, 1 package per hive. He told me to just add my Super this year, let them fill it with honey, then remove it. I dont know what to do. He is very knowlegable and I dont think I understand what he is trying to tell me. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks again

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Hi Jen, I think his advice sounds a bit 6 of 1, 1/2 a dozen the other. Anyway I think you should go with his recommendation for this year, mainly because I’m a fan of single brood boxes.

The good part about following his advice is you can feel free to ask him followup questions, without any embarrassment of having to admit that you didn’t follow his advice if things go wrong.

I can see why you are confused, because he is making life very complicated for you and the bees! :blush:

I would still aim for double brood. If they fill the second box, leave it on. If they hardly touch it, shake the bees off and store it over winter. It is really going to depend on how strong the colony is by the start of the fall.

I would not add the super until you have filled a second box. I suppose you could, if you had a single brood box, and were going to feed them back the honey from it and not take any yourself. However, it is going to make quite a bit of work for you in hefting the hive all winter to see if they have enough food - unless you get a hive scale. If you use a moisture quilt, and insulate the hive walls over winter, the extra space of double deep brood boxes will not be a problem for the bees. They will also then have plenty of space to move into next spring, and they tend to start doing that earlier if the box is already there.

If that isn’t clear, please ask again, and I will try to explain the logic so that you can decide what is best for you. :wink:

Hi Jen, Wilma here.
If a local bee keeper, who is successful with his bees, kindly spent the time to give you advice. You should follow it.
People come to us for advice. Later they ring up and talk about their problem, because they came unstuck.
During the conversation it is discovered, they ignored the advice Jeff gave, and did something they read on the internet, which failed.
I find myself asking him why do you bother to waste your breath.
Jeff is more tolerant than I am.
As the next few months go by, you will gain more knowledge, and you will get a better feel for how your mentor over winters his bees.

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Thank you, I totally understand now! He is very knowlegable, but I am so new, it is hard for me to keep up with him, haha.

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Hi Jen, Jeff again. What you say makes me understand how that sometimes we can give out too much information in one go, it can be too much to take in. Even a sponge has a limit to how much liquid it can absorb.

I think the best advice anyone can give is to learn bee culture & time lines. By time lines, I mean time from egg to emerging for bees, drones & queen, including stages of food and capping etc. Also time it takes for queens to get mated & start laying.

Two videos I like to advise to watch is “City of Bees”, by the Moody Institute of Science (not for the religious part), as well as “Nova, Bees Tales from the Hive”.

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