Number of boxes and how to stack them? Drones?

Hey everyone,

I am getting my first colony from a local beekeeper on Tuesday - a set of Buckfast bees with brood and food frames. I am located in the central part of Germany.

The beekeeper suggested to add a second brood box below the one I am getting once the colony got stronger. I think his reason was that the number of bees would grow rapidly, so they’d need more space.

I’m going to ask him again when I see him, but I think he mentioned that if I add a box on top it will be mostly used for food storage, while a box on the bottom will result in more brood? Is that correct?

What do you guys think of that suggestion? I have gotten a spare brood box as a “spacer” in case I wanted to add feed or others purposes, so I can follow that advice. I’m just not sure if having two brood boxes comes with other advantages or disadvantages?

He also strongly suggested to not allow the bees to build natural comb, but use foundation to keep the number of drones down. I understand those guys are lazy slackers and just eat all day, but shouldn’t the colony know best how many they want in the colony?

Above or below makes no difference in my experience so long as its below the queen excluder. The bees will use it for what they want and build a broodbox suitable for their conditions. Only drawback for double broodbox is that it adds a bit if extra work when you inspect the brood but its minimal.

As for the foundation versus free comb argument its just personal preference. My hives only ever get a starter strip and the bees build free comb. Have yet to see a hive that over populates itself with drones.




Making sure your bees have enough room to store honey is now a very important issue.
If all has gone well, your young colonies will be large and still growing.
if good nectar sources exist, you should now give your bees sufficient room to store all this nectar. To begin with, you should add honey boxes to the hive – a process known as supering up.
Whenever you first put the supers on, it should always be before the main honey flow
starts. Apart from being a good swarm-prevention measure in the spring, it will stop
the bees from storing nectar in the brood nest which, in turn, lessens the room for the queen
to lay eggs.
If you need to employ foundation, use it during a good honey flow only, otherwise, the bees will not draw it out well. Bees consume honey to produce wax.


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