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How to transition from medium to deep?


Like others in this group, I am starting to have issues with the heavy lifting involved with stacking hive bodies and am looking try a horizontal hive. ALL my current equipment is medium boxes and frames. My understanding is the long hive works better using deeps. I would have to switch to deeps anyway to accommodate the flow frames in one end of the hive body.

So, exactly how do I take my current hive of bees in their medium frames and get them into a hive with deep frames? Checker board the existing medium brood frames with deeps? I really don’t want any more bees than I currently have. I just need to get what I have into the horizontal deep hive body.

I actually tried searching for information converting from medium to deeps, but came up empty. Most people want to go the other way around :grin:

On another note, I thought I could use the slew of medium equipment I have to make 8 frame nukes and try selling them in the spring…

May the good fairy give you all happy bees!


Hi, could you cut off the bottom par of your medium frames and then let the bees build down to the depth of your new horizontal box. You would need a buddy that is good with garden pruning shears!! To help.


I really don’t want any more bees than I currently have. I just need to get what I have into the horizontal deep hive body.

Putting in bigger frames = increased space = increased laying area = increased hive strength. (assuming you number of deep frames = number of medium frames)

If you don’t want a bigger/stronger colony build you long-lang hive to accommodate medium frames and the deep flow supers, don’t build it for a full deep colony.

Also, don’t forget a vertical QX between the traditional frames and the flow frames.


“I just need to get what I have into the horizontal deep hive body.”

To move the bees from old hive to new, just move the frames.
You can use medium frames in a deep body, no problem.
Two options…

  • Insert a filler - a suitably sized block of wood, board or even a taped up cardboard box will prevent the bees from building wild comb in the space below the frames. Try to get the beespace right or you could end up with wild comb anyway. Whatever you build, remember that later on you might not replace all the medium frames by deeps at the same time, so you’ll want to be able to adjust the filler accordingly.

  • just use them as they are, the bees may decide to extend the comb below the frames or not. If they do, then when inspecting in the brood chamber you just need to handle the frames by spinning and twisting the top bar about the vertical axis, so that you don’t hold the comb horizontal, or it may sag and break. Otherwise it’ll be perfectly strong enough to hang and hold whatever they put in them.

Once they’re in their new hone, then you can introduce new deep frames gradually, replacing a couple at a time. The way to do it with brood frames is to move a couple of frames with brood ‘outside’ the excluder, making sure the queen remains ‘inside’. Those frames need to remain next to the brood nest, but separated from it by the excluder. The nurse bees will continue to hatch those new bees but as the queen is excluded no more eggs will be laid in them. After 3-4 weeks there will be no brood left in those frames and you can replace them with deep sized frames placed at the other side of the brood nest.
Repeat until all the medium frames have been converted.
Over time, this process will effectively move the whole colony including the brood nest sideways into the new frames, by removing empty brood comb frames on one side and introducing new foundation on the other.


Well, there’s an idea I didn’t think of! I just keep having visions of massive bridge comb along the “free for all” area at the medium bottoms. Thanks for the input.

May all your bees be happy!


I am soooo bad at communicating with the written word. :persevere: Let me clarify…I don’t want any more then the existing colonies I have. So, the problem is transferring a medium frame colony to a deep frame hive body. The flow frames I currently own are deeps so I have to build the long hive for deeps which I actually think is a good idea for exactly the reason you mentioned above.

Thanks for replying. Right or wrong, I will eventually get something done

May all your bees be happy!


Here is an ah-ha moment. I didn’t think of using the excluder in this way and it makes a lot of sense. Knowing my bees, they will almost certainly build plenty of burr comb from the bottom of the frame. Without some kind of guide I fear they will end up bridging everything together but perhaps some wood blocks under the mediums can control that until they get switched over to deeps.


May your bees be bountiful!


It’s essentially a technique you can use in any hive to replace old brood comb with new foundation, in your case you’re also changing the size of the frames.