As a beginner beekeeper, there is so much to learn prior to keeping bees. Starting to keep bees requires a lot of upfront decision making, some are easy to change later than others. Choosing to use all medium boxes or a combination of deep, medium or shallow boxes is decisions that is harder to change later.
If you use a combination of box sizes, it is difficult to undo that decision and change to using only medium boxes.
On our own hives, we opted to use all medium boxes from the beginning. Fortunately, if you ask experienced beekeepers, many would seriously consider using all medium boxes if starting over. Most beekeepers didn't use medium boxes because they weren't available or they were taught otherwise from a beekeeping friend. Traditionally, only deep boxes and shallow boxes were available, which is why many experience beekeepers use deep boxes. Some crazy beekeepers use deep boxes for the ENTIRE hive!. If you know one of these beekeepers, send them a pack of these.
Using all Medium Boxes
Simpler purchasing, only one type of equipment to buy
All foundation, frame and box works together
Each full box will weight about 60 lbs at the most
Winter bee clusters have more gaps between boxes for mobility
Do not have to wire in beeswax foundation
If selling bees, there is a high demand for medium nucleus hives
More pieces of equipment to buy when starting
More frames to handle during brood inspections
More frames and boxes to assemble and paint
Difficult to find nucleus hives with medium frames
Increased spaces for wax moths and small hive beetles to hide
A variety of bee hive setups. Left side: A combination of deep and medium boxes. Center: A standard cypress medium and deep box. Top right: 10-frame medium boxes and 5 frame medium boxes. Bottom right: Great grandfather working deep and shallow boxes.
Using a Combination of Deep, Medium and/or Shallow Boxes
Easier to find compatible nucleus hives when starting a hive
Many experienced beekeepers are familiar with the equipment
Less equipment to buy, cheaper in beginning
Queen can lay eggs more efficiently on deep frames
Less equipment to examine during hive inspections
Deep boxes can be 75+lbs when full
Frames and foundation are not compatible with each other
Non standardized equipment becomes difficult in the long term
Shallow boxes and medium boxes are very similar looking, causing confusion if using both
More difficult to keep bees without foundation in deep boxes
Do you recommend using all medium boxes or a combination? Comment below and let us know what you think.