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Risks in adding more space?


Are there any risks to adding an additional box too soon?

I added a new 8 frame medium yesterday but my 8 frame deep still has 2 of the frames on one side completely empty, the other two have been drawn out and one has been filled.


I’m a newbie also but my books said 80% full before you add your second box because it could mean the bees moving up too soon otherwise. But it sounds like you do have 80% filled. I just added my second box here last weekend with about the same amount drawn out also


Sabine n Anna,

Adding too far ahead depends on how big your brood is n whether you have an active large nectar flow. Adding to early gives bees too much to manage before they have the bee resources too occupy n work. Roughly 80% is that marker point to go by. If the nectar flow is really big n strong a bit early might be okay. The issue also is the bees might move upward n not actually use your outer frame resources. That’s the rational behind the approx 80% idea. Hope that helps. Gerald.


Several risks…

  1. If you add the box on top, warm air rises into the new box, and the bees will have to work harder to keep the brood warm enough to stay healthy and hatch in the lower box. If the hive population is small, they may not be able to do this.
  2. The new box means that there is more hive space that the bees have to defend. If the hive is not strong, there won’t be enough bees to control wax moths and small hive beetles inside the hive. Also they may not have enough bees to defend the entrance from robbers and wasps/yellow jackets/hornets.

Adding boxes too early below the strongest brood box is probably less of a problem than adding them on top, but neither is really desirable in an ideal world.

I would prefer to see ALL frames with drawn comb, and the frames 80% full. In other words, the bees are close to running out of space within a week or three. Fine line to tread, but that is the challenge!


Yes indeed, the difference between being a beekeeper and keeping bees


I guess I’m just keeping bees for now
Thanks to everyone who provided some helpful information for me :wink:


Just to add to this… It takes more energy to heat a big empty mansion than a little cozy cottage. That energy comes from the bees, which comes from eating the stores they have. If there’s not a nectar flow going on, they’ll deplete their stores more quickly and may require feeding.

Air has a crappy R-value. It loses heat quickly.

  • If you have drawn comb already, filling that empty air space of the new super with actual mass will diminish some of that heat loss.
  • If you have a follower board, you can minimize airflow and radiated heat to just the brood frames and adjacent empty frame(s). This also helps maintain bee-space. Obviously, this is more feasible for the backyard beehive than satellite hives because the board will need to be moved outwards as each frame gets drawn.
  • As Dawn said, adding another deep to the bottom of the stack takes advantage of heat rising.

Bees aren’t exceptionally fragile creatures though, and don’t require this level of micromanagement. While these points may be accurate, they may not actually be good. :smiley: