Guelph, single brood chamber

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Mark Lewis

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Aug 29, 2023, 9:53:35 AM8/29/23
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Hi Boston Beeks,

I've spent some time geeking out on the youtube channel of the U of Guelph Honeybee Research Centre (link here). Particularly intrigued by their Single Brood Chamber method. I recently inspected a colony set up this way. Can think of some pros and cons but it is certainly efficient and quick to find out what the queen is up to. Has anyone been using it? Have you been overwintering that way, in a single deep? I'm intrigued by the idea that it might be a Goldilocks-middle between 1) the overwintering nucs approach and 2) the tall chunky overwintered hive approach. 

They recommend some exact recipes and formulas. Honey production is a big part of it. Some of what they recommend goes against standard practices here in Boston, but their arguments seem sound. 

I remember first hearing very positive things about Guelph some years ago from Dr. Heather Mattila. I believe she did research there before taking a position at Wellesley. 

Mark

brendaw321

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Aug 29, 2023, 11:49:26 AM8/29/23
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I do mostly single deeps. They work great. Easier on my back to inspect and they over winter fine. I have a couple that are in Double deeps now. I'll likely overwinter them like this and then split them back down to singles in the spring. One was a large nuc that just exploded in population so I gave them a second deep to draw out comb. The other was a combine with a queenless hive.

Brenda 
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Tyler Jenkins

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Aug 29, 2023, 12:11:21 PM8/29/23
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Hi, Mark!

Paul Kelly (from the UoG videos) is on my Mt. Rushmore of beekeepers! He’s the one who got me into single deeps as well. This is my second season and I love it. We overwintered the same way we had before…(treat for mites, feed if needed for honey stores, insulation with Bee Cozy wraps, quilt box, corrugated roofing on top held down by a stone, entrance reducer, mouse guard, closed bottom boards). The Bee Cozy wraps were made for a taller setup, so I had to put a nail at the bottom to keep it from sagging over the entrance. Otherwise, all has been wonderful. I can’t recommend the UoG YouTube page enough! 🐝🐝🐝

Tyler

On Aug 29, 2023, at 9:53 AM, Mark Lewis <helloma...@gmail.com> wrote:



Mark Lewis

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Aug 30, 2023, 12:34:04 PM8/30/23
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Thank you for the great info, Brenda and Tyler! 

I'll continue to think, think, think about this, to paraphrase that fictional honey freak named Winnie :-)

It's cool that Paul Kelly speaks with confidence in recommending a particular approach (e.g. exactly 4 gallons of 2:1 syrup after the goldenrod flow in September) yet is open to approaches that others scoff at, like the Flow Hive, of all things! The woman in that video has dialed it in. 

An organic farmer once told me that it's all about coming up with the systems that work best for you. 

Mark

brendaw321

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Aug 30, 2023, 3:42:54 PM8/30/23
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Single brood box works great, but the down side is they can get overcrowded quickly in the spring, so you have to be on top of swarm management ALL the time. Less work in one way and more work in another.

Brenda

-------- Original message --------
From: Mark Lewis <helloma...@gmail.com>

Mark Lewis

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Aug 31, 2023, 11:01:22 AM8/31/23
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Thank you for speaking to this important issue Brenda. This was my first concern when inspecting this setup, and I still have questions about this.

If trying this approach for the first time in spring, best practice would be to commit to an inspection every 7 days.

9 days after the egg is laid, all three castes (worker, drone, queen) are capped, on average (as all BABA beeks know). A queen interested in splitting will tend to depart soon after queen cells are capped, so carefully inspect every queen cup.

As Brenda indicates, the good news is that inspections should go relatively quick and easy with this method. 

Additionally:
1) setup bait hives early enough for the scouts (as Ang Roell pointed out last spring). 
2) be ready to divide/split. If you only have room for one colony at your site, be prepared to give the older queen mother away in the split (mimic the division of a swarm). 

These are general best practices for all but could be even more important with Single Brood Chamber method.

Mark

Anya Z

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Sep 4, 2023, 5:08:06 AM9/4/23
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You might be interested in looking at an approach that gives you the one-frame inspection AND a greater depth to that frame that would eliminate the need for 7-day inspections to prevent a honey-bound situation.  The length of the frame is a standard Lang but the depth of the frame is closer to a Layens (using 1 deep and 1 medium combined).  

I happened upon the "Vino Farm" Youtube channel and liked the fact that 2 years' ago he lost all but one of his 14 hives and became determined to find a better beehive.  He didn't get discouraged and give up.  Even though he treated for mites, it wasn't enough and he wanted to explore a single deep that would be his brood box but with a depth that would eliminate the need for 7-day inspection and a thickness that would protect them from harsh freezing winters.  He thoroughly explained his building process of the hive but over time decided that wood was not the best medium to build with due to maintenance, weight and moisture buildup.  He then did a series of videos showing how he used the same design but went with the Lyson 8-9 hive to construct them (polystyrene).  Result was easier on the back, less moisture buildup and still provided a solid brood box for the bees to thrive and grow in.  He's been having good success with them since then.  Even if you don't go with the Lyson box, you could combine a Lang deep and medium as your brood box and zip tie a deep and medium frame to fit the box.  You'd need to cut the top bar ends off the bottom zip-tied frame.  Not everyone has the skill and/or the machinery to build the type of frames he makes.  

Given our New England winters, I think this comes close to low maintenance beehives that the honeybees can overwinter successfully in.  He calls his hive the bee barn.  His perseverance and persistence appears to have paid off for him.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUzpzGorKSY   (dated:  March 24, 2022)     Bee Barn (version 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lptiJGV-o0U   (dated:  January 10, 2023)    Bee Barn (version 2)  

Jonathan Smalls

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Sep 5, 2023, 10:05:47 AM9/5/23
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I saw the bee barn videos too. I like the concept in that he wants to give the bees more space to form a full circle of brood on a single frame surrounded by food stores. On a regular deep they only have room for a semicircle. The concept seems to be much simpler though: screened bottom board, Lyson hive insulation year round, and one deep, one medium as permanent brood chambers. There may not be much need to DIY the pieces together as he did.

It is a great setup though. I would like it if it were commercially available, but only a really dedicated guy has the time to build it like he does.
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