When to add hive space

by Craig McGehee
(Victoria Texas)

I just purchased some package bees, when do I add another brood box?

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Hi Craig,

It can be challenging even for long-time beekeepers to know when to add space to a hive. And there are a number of variables involved, such as the type of equipment you're using (10-frame vs. 8-frame; deep, medium, or shallow supers).

As a rule-of-thumb, when the bees have drawn out roughly 75% of the foundation in a super, then it's time to think about adding more space. But that's not a hard-and-fast rule, and deciding when to add space is something you'll get more of a feel for as you gain experience.

Crowding bees, though, is generally not a good thing. So I would rather err on the side of adding space too soon rather than too late. But if you're starting your hive with a deep, 10-frame brood box, it's unlikely (though not at all impossible) that you'll need to add a second brood box in the first season.

You can read more here about deciding when to add supers.

Good luck!

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