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Hive Configuration Principles - Columbia,Tennessee



Bee Friends,

Is there a standard for Flow Hive Configuration?

For example: A deep brood box that then expands by adding a medium super, which, when full, then Expands by adding the Flow Frame Super?

I am installing overwintered NUCS and the keeper I am buying from said “get ready with another box, the NUCS are ready to explode”.

Does this mean I may need to add not one but two mediums before adding the Flow?

Thank you.


@DollarBill, you’re best getting more appropriate regional advice from your local beekeeping club as it will vary based on the weather you experience. This being said…

  1. Good news the Nuc is going to explode
  2. Don’t put any other boxes on in too much of a rush.
  3. I’m going to assume it is a 4 or 5 frame Nuc. That being true, and depending on if you have an L8 or L10 setup, that Nuc will have between 4 and 6 frames that the bees will need to draw (I’m assuming you’re using either wax foundation or foundationless frames)
  4. Only once ALL frames are approx 80pc covered with bees during your inspections should you put another box on.
  5. If people in your area run 2 brood boxes, then it is probably a good idea for you to do similar (this is more common in cooler/colder climates). In my area nearly everyone runs 1 brood box only.
  6. Once all frames in your brood box(es) are about 80pc covered with bees than put your Super on.
  7. If this is your first season, don’t get upset if you don’t get a harvest. This is especially true if you’re going to be using two brood boxes. In this situation you’re first season should be focussed on building up a strong and healthy colony so they make it through their first winter.

As a side comment, you mentioned NUCS. Does the plural indicate you are setting up two hives? Or you expecting to install two Nucs into one hive? If the latter, you’ll have to kill one queen and carefully manage the introduction. Two queens very rarely co-habit nicely, especially in a normal hive configuration.


What is normal in one area is not practiced in another area. In very cold winter climates it is common to have a double brood box set up, in warmer winter climates a single brood box is more commonly seen.
What I would do is ask about in your area, go to a bee club meeting and even your local bee gear shop and then do as they do and you won’t go far wrong, if at all.
It is very much about your climate as to how you set up your hives and how you manage them. My climate is so different to yours, I can harvest and do splits of booming hives in the winter here, if it was done in your area the bees would die.
Cheers Bill


Bill, very exciting for you! Try posting in Connect with Locals to find beeks nearby as Jeff & Pete said. Hey @Martha - how bout you? :rainbow::sunglasses::honeybee:


Tks for the helpful information. Askng locally I got different answers…one person talking about checkerboarding/reversal etc. Another uses one medium.

I’m starting with three hives…and don’t want to screw up. Thus looking for best input available.

I do appreciate your help. Bill


Thank you for the advice. Hopefully I will find concensis but so far, with different opinions, it remains a grey area.

Starting with three hives I do not want to screw up. :blush:


Hi @DollarBill,

Checker boarding is unrelated to whether or not you have two brood boxes. From what you just typed I’m going to guess people do actually run two brood boxes. If you do this my advice is to NOT mix box sizes if you can avoid it. Having to manage different frame sizes when it can be avoided is best and saves headaches and storage space.

Out of interest…

  1. Do you often get ice or snow and sub zero conditions in winter?
  2. Is there often a lack of flowering plants within a 3 mile radius of your hive?


Bill, you can ask for an opinion from 10 bee keepers and end up with 11 answers. Bee keeping is like that. Bees are a fairly ‘bomb proof’ insect. As I said I would join your local bee group and tend to be guided by advice from the older members with more experience.
Three hives even being of equal strength in the same location, feet apart, I would be amazed to get the same growth in numbers and a similar honey yield. Bees make you scratch your head and wonder.
Cheers Bill


Hi Bill,
Another box could mean a Super or another brood box. Best to ask locals how many brood boxes they use in your area, or you can also search this section of our forum to see how many brood boxes are recommended by location:


You may also find this of use too:



Tennesseans run 2 brood boxes on 8 and 10 frames. On the 10 frame system they keep the queen in the lowest brood box and move the capped eggs up a level and hatched frames down a level for ease in finding the queen and so she has a place to lay constantly. . They also run the queen excluder on top of the lowest brood box so the nurse bees have access. @dollarBill is welcome to call anytime. I can talk or I can’t due to work but I return calls. :smiley:


Thank you. Very helpful.

Bill Baskin


@DollarBill As I interpret this “the nucs are getting ready to explode” is the brood boxes will need expanding. You have a honey flow super. Now there are many methods on how to nurture an expanding brood that will be successful. Your going to have eggs and baby bees that will take up room as the queen keeps laying and the bees are building the hive. Honey supers are a different story which you already have. If I remember you have 2 brood boxes for each hive. That should suffice for the first year. “Checker boarding” and “pyramiding” are methods to get the bees to build the hive, reduce swarming and get the bees using the new space efficiently as the population explodes in the spring via hatching eggs.

The bees will keep the brood together is my experience. Here is a video explains pretty well how to manipulate the frames. There are thousands of vids explaining this but this one has a visual which is pretty good. Check out from minutes 13 minutes into the vid and beyond.

It’s a novice beekeeper though he did a great walk though. :smiley:


Very helpful. Thank you.

Bill Baskin