We begin with the deep (9 1/8”) brood box that comes with most “starter kits” that beginners purchase for their first bee hive. Believe it or not, bees can be kept successfully in one deep box throughout the year. There are beekeepers in Canada that successfully over winter their bee hives in one deep box! Also, it just so happens that our wild bee hive living in a hollow tree will prefer a home that has the approximate volume as one deep box. Remember, we are trying to pattern our bee management after the wild bees who just happen to be doing fine in their hollow tree out in the woods.
We want to limit the queen’s broodnest to just one deep and we will use a queen excluder for this purpose (if you are using medium size boxes, use two boxes for the broodnest). Install another super (box) above the excluder for honey storage, while providing another entrance in this box for drones to exit. This will be our honey super. This will be the box that we will harvest for ourselves. So, keep this in mind when deciding what size box you want to use for your honey super—big boxes = big weight. Also, you can add as many honey supers above the excluder that the bees may require for honey storage as this will have no effect on the number of mites being reared in your bee hive. Once again, the mites are being reared in the queen’s broodnest and by restricting the amount of area where she can lay eggs, we are controlling the number of mites being reared----just like in the hollow tree.