Should I Start With All Medium Or Deep Boxes?

Should I Start With All Medium Or Deep Boxes?

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 decisions are easy to change later than others. Choosing to use all medium boxes or a combination of deep, medium, or shallow boxes is a decision that is harder to change later.

To learn more about beekeeping read Master Guide: Beekeeping for Beginners

If you use a combination of box sizes, it is difficult to undo that decision and change to using only medium boxes.

We used all medium boxes on our own hives from the beginning when we started our first hive in 2012. In the past, most beekeepers didn’t use medium boxes because they weren’t available or were taught otherwise by a beekeeping friend. Because of this, the majority of beekeepers use a combination of deep and medium boxes. 

Traditionally, only deep boxes and shallow boxes were available, which is why many experienced 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 for their backr

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 decisions are easy to change later than others. Choosing to use all medium boxes or a combination of deep, medium, or shallow boxes is a decision that is harder to change later.

To learn more about beekeeping read Master Guide: Beekeeping for Beginners

If you use a combination of box sizes, it is difficult to undo that decision and change to using only medium boxes.

We used all medium boxes on our own hives from the beginning when we started our first hive in 2012. In the past, most beekeepers didn’t use medium boxes because they weren’t available or were taught otherwise by a beekeeping friend. Because of this, the majority of beekeepers use a combination of deep and medium boxes. 

Traditionally, only deep boxes and shallow boxes were available, which is why many experienced 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 for their backr

A hive with a deep and medium box getting ready to be moved
5 hives with a combination of deep and medium boxes
10 frame hive with a deep and medium box

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Choosing the right beekeeping equipment for you is important. What works for another beekeeper, may not work for you. It’s important to understand the ins and outs

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Using All Medium Boxes For Bee Hives

If you use all Medium Boxes, this comes with advantages and disadvantages. Our all-medium kit is available in 10-frame or in 8-frame.  I mentioned earlier that we kept bees in only 10 frame medium boxes when we started beekeeping. We even started with a 5-frame, medium nucleus hive (which is hard to find)

As we expanded our beekeeping operation, we opted to use deep and medium boxes. So our setup right now is 2 deep boxes for the brood nest, and the additional boxes are medium boxes for our honey supers. 

We started using cypress medium boxes from our first hive because we liked the idea of simplicity. We switched to using the 2 deep boxes on the bottom for the same reason, but that just gives us a little more flexibility. More on that is below.

Should I Start with 8 or 10 Frame Equipment?

Choosing the right beekeeping equipment for you is important. What works for another beekeeper, may not work for you. It’s important to understand the ins and outs

Read More »

Using All Medium Boxes For Bee Hives

If you use all Medium Boxes, this comes with advantages and disadvantages. Our all-medium kit is available in 10-frame or in 8-frame.  I mentioned earlier that we kept bees in only 10 frame medium boxes when we started beekeeping. We even started with a 5-frame, medium nucleus hive (which is hard to find)

As we expanded our beekeeping operation, we opted to use deep and medium boxes. So our setup right now is 2 deep boxes for the brood nest, and the additional boxes are medium boxes for our honey supers. 

We started using cypress medium boxes from our first hive because we liked the idea of simplicity. We switched to using the 2 deep boxes on the bottom for the same reason, but that just gives us a little more flexibility. More on that is below.

Advantages Of Using All Medium Boxes

Advantages Of 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
  • 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

Disadvantages Of Using All Medium Boxes

Disadvantages Of Using All Medium Boxes

  • 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
  • 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

10-Frame All-Medium Box Hive Kit

$236.49 USD

10 frame medium boxes and 5 frame medium boxes

10-Frame All-Medium Box Hive Kit

$236.49 USD

10 frame medium boxes and 5 frame medium boxes

Master Guide – What Beekeeping Equipment Do I Need?

Figuring out beekeeping equipment is the most intimidating part of getting started in beekeeping. There are a lot of options, designs, and equipment configurations to

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Using A Combination Of Deep And Medium Boxes

By far, the most common hives used by beekeepers are a combination of deep and medium boxes. Deep boxes are typically called brood boxes, and medium boxes are called honey supers. We like to call them deep or medium boxes because the bees can use any size box for any reason. 

When using both deep and medium boxes, we are talking about the bottom of the hive where the queen raises her young bees, the brood nest. Take a look at our beekeeping kits here to see what it looks like. The options for Langstroth Hives, which is what most beekeepers use, are 2 deep boxes3 medium boxes (mentioned earlier), or a deep and medium box, which is what we are talking about now. 

The deep and medium combination is the most popular option because it affords the queen enough room to lay eggs but is not as difficult to move as the 2 deep box option. 

Master Guide – What Beekeeping Equipment Do I Need?

Figuring out beekeeping equipment is the most intimidating part of getting started in beekeeping. There are a lot of options, designs, and equipment configurations to

Read More »

Using A Combination Of Deep And Medium Boxes

By far, the most common hives used by beekeepers are a combination of deep and medium boxes. Deep boxes are typically called brood boxes, and medium boxes are called honey supers. We like to call them deep or medium boxes because the bees can use any size box for any reason. 

When using both deep and medium boxes, we are talking about the bottom of the hive where the queen raises her young bees, the brood nest. Take a look at our beekeeping kits here to see what it looks like. The options for Langstroth Hives, which is what most beekeepers use, are 2 deep boxes3 medium boxes (mentioned earlier), or a deep and medium box, which is what we are talking about now. 

The deep and medium combination is the most popular option because it affords the queen enough room to lay eggs but is not as difficult to move as the 2 deep box option. 

Advantages Of Using Deep And Medium Boxes

Advantages Of Using Deep And Medium 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
  • 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

Disadvantages Of A Combination Of Deep And Medium Boxes

Disadvantages Of A Combination Of Deep And Medium Boxes

  • Deep boxes can be 75+lbs when full
  • Frames and foundation are not compatible with each other
  • Nonstandardized 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
  • Deep boxes can be 75+lbs when full
  • Frames and foundation are not compatible with each other
  • Nonstandardized 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
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