Deep or medium supers?

Dawn, since I know you have experience from Cowgirl’s epipen thread, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind some advice on hive planning for a nu-bee?
I had originally planned to set up 2 hives with 2 deeps and then medium supers. But then I read that full deeps could easily weigh 80-90 pounds, and I thought moving the top one for inspections might get a little tough by myself (and at my age, ahem). So then I decided I would go with all medium hive bodies. It was my understanding that in central Virginia, elevation 700 feet, that I should plan on 2 deeps for the colony to overwinter, and that 3 mediums were the equivalent. [always planned on 10 frame]
However, my local source and hopefully mentor for my 2 nucs advised that I would be better off with a deep for the original brood box, and besides, the nucs I had coming were deep frames. So I planned on one deep brood box, with a couple of mediums to provide winter stores, and if I was lucky with bee population and honey flow, a medium honey super for harvest.
Then I made the ‘mistake’ of following up on Flow… so now I have 2 Flow honey supers coming, and I am wondering what I need to start the hives later this month. If I install the nucs in deeps, should I give them a medium for expansion to start? Then put the Flow on top when/if they fill the medium? Or should I put the Flow on immediately? Will that tend to over restrict room for brood and cause swarming in the fall (heaven forbid!)? Do most beeks remove their Flow supers for the winter? If I just have the Flow super, I would think that it would not be acceptable to have a queen excluder below, or the cluster will not be able to move up into food stores…
Thoughts? Suggestions?
Sorry to be so long winded.

I always make sure that they build up winter stores before I put any supers on for extraction. So yes, I would put them in a deep, then put a medium on top. If you want to overwinter on a deep and 2 mediums, when the first medium is almost full, I would put the second medium on. If you are using 10-frame boxes, one deep and one medium may be enough, but you will need to check and be prepared to feed if most people in your region use 2 deeps.

Yes, or when both mediums are full if you are going to use 2 for winter.

I wouldn’t, even though Flow seems to advise that. It means that you are putting your harvest before the welfare of the bees.

Maybe, but you can never tell with bees. More concerning is that the bees may not have enough stores for surviving the winter.

Some don’t. I think it is a good idea. I use a queen excluder, as brood in the Flow frames is a major cleanup job. You are right the cluster may move up, leaving the queen to freeze. Also, I don’t want the Flow super on over winter, as my bees go nuts with propolis at that time of year, and opening cells for harvest the next season, after they have been gummed up with propolis, is not at all easy.

Hope that gives you some ideas. :wink:

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Thanks, Dawn. Really appreciate the advice. Will consult with the local Nelson County bee group (haven’t had a chance to go yet, as still 900 miles away) as to how much is recommended in our area for winter stores.
I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed that I am unlikely to be able to use my Flow super this season unless we have terrific honey flow and I am lucky with the colony growth. I will have to reconnect with that elusive virtue (for me)-- patience. :slight_smile:

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