Reduce the size of my hive - permenantly

Hi. Hoping for some advice. I am looking at reducing the size of my hive, not just for the upcoming Winter but more long term. For various reasons I am needing to remove one box from my setup. I’m thinking of removing the Flow for the Winter but I’d like to place it back on in Spring but without the ‘middle’ box. So basically reduce my hive size from 2 x brood boxes and Flow super to 1 x brood box and Flow super. I understand my honey production will be less but that’s OK.

So how do I do this without my bees becoming too contained and perhaps flying the coup. Is it at all possible to permanently reduce the size of a hive? I’m not looking at splitting or adding another hive. Thanks
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I think that reducing to 1 brood/ 1 honey super is an excellent strategy, which is what I do with my 50 odd hives. I would argue that when it’s done properly, you wont get a reduction in honey. With this strategy, however you need to split the brood in order to prevent swarming, which is not a major task.

Thanks Jeff, I order to split the brood do you mean I should totally remove 1 or 2 brood frames from the lower box (and dispose of them) when I remove the centre box. (The centre box is mostly honey) and do I place new/fresh frames in where I removed the brood frames or can I use some frames of honey?

So I should Winter down as usual (remove Flow and leave 2 x brood boxes) and carry out this procedure after Winter and end up with 1 x brood box and 1 x Flow super? Thanks again for your help.

Hi Brad, you’re welcome. When I say “split to prevent swarming”, I mean generally speaking, mainly in the spring & whenever the populations get too strong for 2 supers.

In your case right now, I’d see what locals do with Flow supers during winter. Up here, they’re left on. You could probably harvest all that honey in the second brood box, while removing it. Then stick with the single brood/ single Flow super for the time being, or until it’s time to remove the Flow super, if that’s what locals do.

I’m always careful when reducing hive supers from a colony, because it can trigger the urge to swarm. However down your way, that might not be the case, this close to winter.

Yes, I do remove the Flow super each Winter here. I will Winter down as normal and then in Spring I’ll remove a brood frame (or two) from the lower box, I will add either - or both, one fresh foundation frame and one frame of honey. Then I’ll remove the middle box altogether before returning the Flow super.

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