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Timing question on adding a 3rd brood box


OK, the more I think/talk to people about this the more confused I get. Coming out of my first winter with bees, SW CT, double deep 8 frame brood boxes, started april 2016. Didnt take any honey last fall. Had a mild winter, bees everywhere during warmer days. Peeked into the hive on a recent 60 degree day, both brood boxes look to be full, without removing frames. This was going to be my year for using the flow frames, but I also think I should add a third brood box.Timing wise, when should this happen??

I think its a little early now to add a 3rd box due to the fact it is only february. If I add later on, would the bees use the third box for honey stores/pollen/brood and not use the flow frames?? Can I add a third brood box and flow frames in the same year? or would adding the 3rd set me back??



That is a normal beekeeping experience! :blush: The thing about beekeeping is that there are many ways to do it right, and everyone has an opinion. As you get more hands-on experience, you will discover what works best for you.

Sounds like your bees did fine. You have several choices, one is to continue with 2 boxes. The other is to add a third brood box. My feeling is that adding a 3rd box will give you a margin of safety in more severe winters (given your climate), but you may be fine without it. Ultimately the choice is yours. :wink:

If you want to do it now, I like adding new brood boxes below the existing boxes. The reason is that it is less disruptive to the thermal layering in the hive (hot air rises). I also find that the queen seems to use it more quickly, as she prefers to move down once the comb is drawn, rather than moving up into empty boxes.

You can, and the second part of the question is impossible to answer. They may well delay using the Flow super, because they often like to fill existing space first. If you feel they are running out of space now, but it is still too cold to add a super, I would first add the 3rd brood box below. If the nectar flow is imminent, and you think the worst of the freezing weather is past, I would add the Flow super now and try to get one harvest. Then when you are well into the season, perhaps May, you could add a third brood box at that point. That would mean there is still enough left of the season for them to draw the comb and add any stores for overwintering.

Just one way of doing it. There are lots of others! :smile:


Thanks so much. It helps having different opinions, not that I have any definite direction yet. :dizzy_face: