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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #5014  by Alfred
 12 Oct 2019, 18:50
Making (probably futile)plans for next year,I'm toying with brood size.
I'd rather keep shallow for honey and deep for brood,but ,assuming I have queen's that can fill the space,what are the pros and cons of double brood versus 1.5?
I know there's the trendy 14:12 but I'd rather not complicate my current inventory with more sizes.
 #5015  by Caroline
 12 Oct 2019, 20:11
Double brood provides the ability to switch frames between the two boxes, brood and a half doesn't.
 #5016  by Patrick
 12 Oct 2019, 22:06
As Caroline says, it’s often more convenient just to go for double brood. The downside (?) can be if it is not really necessary then the upper box may become mainly full of stores. Which may be inconvenient and heavy to move to inspect.

Brood and a half is a messy system with brood in however, IMHO. It was a standard method advised before I started and I rapidly abandoned it.

Another possibility for prolific queens as you say Alfred, is a single larger brood box of National 14x 12 or Commercial, which has a similar footprint.
 #5018  by Caroline
 13 Oct 2019, 12:22
As Patrick says, the top brood box can become very heavy.

I have one hive on double brood, If I remember correctly it first ended up as a double brood when I united two colonies and then the colony rapidly expanded late in the season, each time I think I'm going to get it down to one box there's just too many bees.

However, I do not run it in the traditional sense of a double brood with the queen having access to both boxes. During the active season I restrict the queen to the bottom box with a Q/Ex between the two boxes. Each inspection I rotate 3 or 4 frames of brood from the bottom to the top box, with the frames taken from the top box providing laying space. I use one frame of drone comb in the bottom box which most of the time deters the bees from placing drone cells on any of the other frames (drones emerging in top box will go up and run a mock in the supers).

It's not unlike a Demaree, but with the advantage that the supers aren't between the two brood boxes, meaning you can check the supers or add additional supers without disturbing the colony. Also, you're not having to lift the top brood box from such a height, which I know I would struggle with.

The first time I rotated frames I did so because the colony had started to draw queen cells, I rotated some frames and added the Q/ex to see what would happen (sometimes we have to experiment), I checked a few days later, all queen cells gone and queen laying in expanded space in bottom box. I can't always get to inspect my bees at regular intervals, inspections are often a month apart, and find that using this method bides me some time and it has proved to be a good swarm prevention method for me.

For those who have trouble finding queens, at least you know which box she will be in.

I used to write a monthly article for our local association newsletter and when I described this method, a member contacted me to say they were going to give it ago because they were struggling trying to operate Demaree. Like all things bees, some will like it and some won't, in the end you have to do what works for you.
 #5020  by AdamD
 13 Oct 2019, 13:55
Brood and a half seems messy - and has already been pointed out - you can't swap frames from one box to another so I tend to use double brood. As soon as the colony expands to 8 or 9 frames of brood in spring/early summer, I use two brood boxes with the frames between both boxes. If the colony is very full, I will put some drawn frames between the top brood frames so expanding the brood nest and giving space to lay.
 #5021  by NigelP
 13 Oct 2019, 17:08
Caroline wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 12:22
However, I do not run it in the traditional sense of a double brood with the queen having access to both boxes. During the active season I restrict the queen to the bottom box with a Q/Ex between the two boxes. Each inspection I rotate 3 or 4 frames of brood from the bottom to the top box, with the frames taken from the top box providing laying space. I use one frame of drone comb in the bottom box which most of the time deters the bees from placing drone cells on any of the other frames (drones emerging in top box will go up and run a mock in the supers).
Interesting Caroline. I find without queen excluders (particularly early spring), It works the other way round with the queen preferentially laying in the warmer upper box and my job is to move frames of brood downstairs and empty frames upstairs for her to lay in. Usually about 4/5 queens behave this way an odd 1 or 2 don't seem to give a toss which box is warmer and lay throughout both.
Later as the season warms up they don't tend to show this tendency and all queen are happily laying in both boxes....my job then is keep her with space to lay..... as during a heavy flow they will back fill every emptily cell they can find....this I find is a disadvantage of double brood. During the hot summer of year before last it was so bad the only way I could cure it was to reduce them back to single brood and give them 5 or 6 supers so there was enough parking space for all the bees.....but I digress....needless to say it wasn't a major problem this year.
 #5022  by Alfred
 13 Oct 2019, 18:49
Phew!
I was hoping that would be the concensus.
I was going double brood also with a mind to 'use up' my timber bb's and buy poly replacement broodboxes from abelo or preferably sweinty.
I'd then be able to carry on using the timber supers floors and roofs with a bit of help from Mr Kingspan here and there
I much prefer timber but having seen my polynuc colonies out-perform their cedar based DNA-relatives I have to admit defeat.

If the colony isn't up to the job of using the space,then is it such a bad thing (wax moth attack aside)
They would use the volume for winter stores?