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Going from one brood box to two

What are your ideas of going from one brood box to two?

Just add a box below?
A box above the existing brood box, and under the super?
Or maybe split the existing brood frames between the two, vertically?

I’m a fan of full foundation sheets because I’m still traumatised with my failure going foundation-less. However is there any advantage in using half a sheet to slow or delay swarming?

Just add a box on top and depending on how full your brood nest is currently, pull a few frames of capped brood up into the new box and put some new frames in the bottom box to replace the ones you took out.

Giving them all that extra space and new foundation is in itself a swarm control method because you’re giving them plenty to keep busy provided the local conditions are right.

You can keep cycling the frames up every 2-3 weeks until swarming season subsides.

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Hi @Honeyeater, if you’re planning on going for another FD box and don’t want anymore colony’s you can use Matt Daveys OSBN method instead of splitting.

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Thank you gentlemen.

Sounds like a plan. That’s where I got the building comb to delay swarming theory from Skeggley. I was wondering whether I can just use a starter strip of wax foundation or half a sheet instead of triangles.

I only do that if the hive is not bursting, but I am going to be away for a week or two. I think it is less stressful thermally for the bees to have a box “nadired” rather than supered. However, if it is warm and they are vigorous, it is much less work to add the new box on top.

I don’t do that unless they look close to being swarmy = lots of drone cells and multiple (empty) queen cups. It is quite stressful for the hive when you rearrange their layout, so unless they need weakening, I don’t do it.

Then you are a wise beekeeper! :blush:

Thanks Dawn. Yes I am actually concerned about opening up the brood at this stage because although it may look like nice and warm weather compared to the last month, it is still low 20C’s max.

I have to have a look inside and make a judgment.

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You might try taking half of the brood to the new top brood box and filling in both of the boxes with frames of foundation to the outside of the brood frames in use. I used that method many years ago in a cold climate after doing splits and the colonies built up again need a double brood hive. I’m also using foundation but full sheets only. That still gives the bees work to do and have a lot less drone comb or wonky comb. I’m not sure 1/2 sheets of foundation would have much effect in reducing swarming, the main thing is to keep them busy in the hive.
A very mild Winter on the East coast and looking like a busy Spring.

Here is a recent vid from the Illawarra Beekeepers that might have some good info for you. It covers a range of methods of adding boxes.


That’s an excellent video Kim and well explained in a slower way so it is easy for beginner to understand.

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Thanks for that KimM. One of the best and most comprehensive videos I’ve seen on swarm management.

Much appreciated.