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Starting a new hive. Two brood boxes or one?

Hi Everyone,

I am about to start a new hive via a Nuc which has 5 frames. I have a flow Hive 2 and live in Victoria, Australia.

My question is should I only start with one brood box or would it be ok to start with two and give the bees more room to expand their quarters?.

My thinking is that I should start with one and then introduce the second brood box once the bees are more established.

As I am new to beekeeping I figured I would ask the experts first!

Thanks in advance for your time and guidance.

Cheers,

Michael.

I would seek advice from other bee keepers in your area about a single or a double brood is best for your climate. But certainly while you are building up the colony I would definitely opt for a single brood box. Bee like to live in a ‘cramped’ lifestyle and they can better control SHB and wax moth. Only add space to the hive when it is needed and only add the flow Super when the hive is really needing the extra room and space for stores(honey). Introduce the super to early and it can set the hive back if they don’t need it.
Find a local bee group in the Kilmore area for local advice and advice.
Cheers

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HI Peter,

Thank you for the advice. I will look into the local bee group.

I appreciate your time and help.

Cheers,

Michael.

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As @Peter48 says, start with just one box. Bees have things to deal with that we don’t think about when they are starting a new hive. They have to keep it warm - brood needs a temperature of around 35C to develop. They have to defend it from small hive beetles, robber bees, wasps, hornets, wax moths, ants etc. If you give them too much space, they can get overrun and can’t take care of their young properly.

So, when you put them in the box, how do you know when to add another box or a super? I use 3 simple rules, and they must all be true for me to add a box. Then I know that there are enough bees in the hive to use the new space.

  1. All frames in the box have fully drawn comb
  2. The comb is at least 80% full of brood, honey or pollen
  3. Every frame is completely covered with bees when you inspect the hive.

Makes it much easier to decide when it is the right time to expand the space in the hive! :blush:

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Always START with minimal space. How many brood boxes to have and overwinter in would be a local question. Ask around.

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Hi Michael,

Best to start with one brood box, and then once your colony is heaving you can add the super.

In terms of whether you progress to adding a second brood box, as Peter said will depend on your local conditions, so it would be a great idea to join your local bee club (if you haven’t already) and ask how many boxes they use.

I look forward to hearing how you go :slight_smile:

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Hi Michael, I start with one brood box, then leave it at one. I’m on the Sunshine Coast, however I believe I would do the same where you are. Managing one brood box is much easier that trying to manage two. I don’t mark my queens, however even with a marked queen, she could be difficult to find when looking through 16-20 frames, as opposed to 8-10 frames. The trick with using single brood boxes is to make every brood frame a winner. Keep all the frames A1 & take the odd nuc away to prevent swarming. I still average 100kg per hive per annum.

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All great advice.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to help. As a new beekeeper i am VERY impressed with how friendly the scene is.
Cheers,

Michael.

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