The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Double deep

Double deep hiveSome people give their hives just one deep brood box apiece (plus several supers), but I've read that if you provide the bees a second deep brood box, you'll have a larger colony and can harvest more honey.  Last year I didn't know any better, but this spring I decided to give the double deep method a shot.

In the middle of May, I added a second brood box to our middle hive, checkerboarding the drawn brood frames with empty frames so that the bees were using both deep boxes to raise their young.  After extracting a bit more honey Tuesday, I added up how many frames I'd taken from each hive --- 2 frames from the east hive, 4 frames from the "mean" hive, and 20 frames from the double deep middle hive!

Since I've been extracting all of the capped frames of honey I see this summer, I figure these statistics are a pretty accurate assessment of how hard the hives have been working.  If Preparing to enter the hiveanything, I think the middle hive has produced even more honey than it seems --- the second brood box has a lot of honey in it that I've just left alone.

Now all three hives are converted over to double deeps.  I don't expect it to do much good for this year, but now I'll be ready for the queens to lay like gangbusters next spring.  In fact, barring another serious honey flow (and both basswood and sourwood are now past), I think I'm going to let the bees save the rest of the year's honey for their own consumption.  Four and a half gallons of honey --- not a bad haul for three hives in year two!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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