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Advantages Of A Double Brood Box System (With Pros & Cons)

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Choosing the right amount of brood box is one of the key factors for a beehive. Many beekeepers prefer having a single brood box while many prefer a double brood box.

So you might be thinking, what are the advantages of a double brood box for a beehive?

Well, having a double brood box in a beehive will increase the space for bees. Thus reproduction and honey production will be increased. But besides plenty of advantages of a double brood box, there are some disadvantages too for a beehive.

That’s why you must have a clear concept of the advantages and disadvantages of a double brood box for your beehive. Then you can decide whether should you use a double brood box for your beehive or not.

Don’t be confused. That’s what I am going to discuss with you throughout this post.

I will also discuss other factors from my own beekeeping experiences that are really important for you while choosing single or double brood boxes for your beehive.

So, at the end of this post, you will be able to decide on your own whether should you use a double brood box or not for your beehive.

 

 

What Is The Purpose Of A Brood Box?

Brood boxes are one of the key parts of a beehive as it is the place where new members of the colony will be given birth. The brood box contains cells for broods. The queen will lay eggs within these cells to produce new members for the colony.

Brood Box
Brood Box

Broods will be raised there until they become adults. Also, bees would like to harvest honey within brood boxes.

That’s why choosing the right type of brood box is really important for helping bees to make a healthy colony.

 

 

What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using A Double Brood Chamber System?

The main advantage of using a double brood chamber is it will increase the space for the colony. Thus brood development will be easier and will have enough space for more broods to grow. Also, it will increase the honey harvesting rate.

But the main disadvantage of a double brood chamber system is it will require more maintenance costs. The movement and hive splitting will be difficult compared to a single brood chamber system.

 

Advantages Of Double Brood Box (Pros)

An extra brood box will encourage the queen to lay more eggs. Also, it will encourage the bees for more honey production.

Especially, double brood box systems are most favorite for beekeepers who have a large apiary and don’t have much time to inspect their hive very often.

Large Apiary
Large Apiary

 

Having a double brood box in a beehive can be beneficial in a variety of ways.

 

Extra Space

The extra brood box creates extra space for brood development. This will be very much useful for large colony members. 

So, bees will feel more comfortable living and reproducing new colony members. Extra space will help them to control hive temperature during summer more easily.

 

Easier To Place An Extra Feeder

As we know beekeepers need to place feeders to feed the bees properly. And the feeder is placed in the brood box. So, when you have an extra brood box it means you have extra space for placing an extra feeder.

 

Require Less Hive Inspection

When your bees have enough space to live they will be happy to live there peacefully. So, you won’t require to inspect them very often. Because you have given them enough space to live and enough food with the help of an extra feeder.

 

Easy hive inspection

Having an extra brood chamber will definitely help you to inspect your hive with less chance of disturbing the queen. Also, you can easily identify pests and parasites in your beehive.

You do not require to inspect the hive very often too. As a result, your hive inspection becomes more easier and comfortable for you and your colony. 

 

Swarm Prevention

As the bees have enough space to live they are unlikely to swarm away. So, you don’t need to split the hive very often to prevent swarming. Bees won’t become overpopulated as they have comparatively more space to live in. 

 

Boost in the honey harvest

The brood box is the place where honey is harvested. So, having an extra brood box will lead the bees to increase the honey harvest. So, if you are not satisfied with the current honey harvesting rate of your beehive you can try a double brood box system.

 

Calm The Angry Colony

Bees become more angry during the fall. Because they have a huge population during this season. If you put an extra brood box this will help them to live peacefully providing more space. As a result, it will be easier for you to calm your angry colony.

 

Easy To Place The Queen or Requeen A Queenless Hive

A queenless hive won’t be able to survive long. Either they will swarm away or die. So, you need to place a new queen in the hive. Having two brood boxes will give you more available space to place your new queen. So, it will make your requeen process for a queenless hive more easier.

 

Disadvantages Of Double Brood Box (Cons)

Though a double brood box has so many advantages, still most beekeepers nowadays don’t prefer a double brood box system for beekeeping. This is because of its limitation and disadvantages for beekeeping.

Following are the disadvantages or cons of having a double brood box system.

  1. More Cost: Adding an extra brood box will increase the cost of the beehive management.
  2. More Risks Of Infection: Having an extra brood box will increase the chances of getting infected by varroa mites and other harmful diseases.
  3. Require More Maintenance: While you are inspecting your hive you need to take care of an extra brood chamber. As the chances of varroa mites increase you need extra maintenance care for the colony. Also, you have to collect honey more often as the honey harvesting rate has increased.
  4. Difficult To Move And Split: The extra brood box increases the weight and size of the beehive. As a result, it becomes more difficult to move or split the hive when necessary.
  5. Trouble During Winter: The extra brood box increases the difficulty for bees to control extra moisture inside the beehive during winter. So, if you are using a double brood box then you should help your bees to control extra moisture during winter. You can do this by placing a beehive moisture board or using a quilt box.

These are the major reason why some modern beekeepers do not like a double brood box system for their apiary.

 

 

Why Add A Second Brood Box?

Adding the second brood box will create extra space for bees to live in. Thus it will increase the capacity for brood development as well as will increase the honey harvest. 

Double Brood Box System

 

Having enough brood chambers will encourage the queen to lay more eggs. So, the colony will be expanded easily. Thus the colony member will live there more peacefully.

It is also a good swarm prevention technique.

 

 

When Should I Put My Second Brood Box On?

You should put your second brood box when the first brood box is almost filled with broods and comb. If you noticed bees have drawn 5-6 comb in the first brood box. It will be the right time to add the second brood box on.

Try to avoid placing the brood box during winter. Spring and early fall is the ideal time to put the second brood box on as these are the highest reproduction seasons for bees.

During the reproduction season bees will require more space to live comfortably. That’s why you should put the second brood box on during spring or the fall season.

 

 

What Happens If You Put Second Brood Box On Too Early?

If you put the second brood box too early either bee will leave this completely empty or the queen will start laying eggs in the new box instead of filling the old one. Also, Honey harvesting can also be hampered because of this.

If you put the second brood box during winter this will be worse for your bees. Because due to the new brood box, they will have more difficulty controlling extra moisture. 

That’s why it is always recommended by expert beekeepers not to put the second brood box too early. You should understand the right time when your colony needs the second brood box. Then you have to place the second brood box on at the right moment.

 

 

How Do I Inspect A Double Brood Box?

You might be extra careful while inspecting a double brood box. Here are some tips from my own experience of how I actually inspect a double brood box beehive.

  • As I always recommend you choose the right time to inspect your hive. And do not think of inspecting your hive under the worst conditions.
  • Remove the roof and place it on one side. 
  • If your bees are angry push smoke to calm them.
  • Remove the super and the queen excluder first.
  • Then inspect the top brood box.
  • Use smoke if necessary and make sure you haven’t smashed any bees.
  • Place the top brood box on the roof you placed on one side of the beehive carefully.
  • Now inspect the bottom brood box carefully.
  • After inspecting the second brood box put the bottom brood box in its own place.
  • Then place the top brood box in its own place very carefully.
  • Then place the super and queen excluder back into the hive. 
  • If you identified that the queen is present inside the hive close the hive roof.

This is actually how I inspect a double brood box beehive.

 

 

What Are The Differences Between Single And Double Brood Boxes?

The main difference between single and double brood boxes is single brood boxes have only one brood box in the hive while the double brood box adds an extra brood box to the hive.

Differences between single and double brood boxes are given below:

Double Brood Box Single Brood Box
Having a double brood box increases the capacity for brood chambers While a single brood box may have less space for brood development
It increases honey production. Honey production is limited in the case of a single brood box system.
It also reduces the chances of swarming away by bees. Bees might get swarm away when there is not enough space for the current population.
It increases the maintenance cost It will reduce the maintenance cost

 

 

Should You Use 3 Brood Boxes?

Definitely not. Using 3 brood boxes will break the discipline and will be disturbing for the bees. Because the queen will have to lay more eggs, the drone require more work, and honey production will be excessive. As a result, your bees won’t like this so they will try to swarm away.

This is why it is always recommended that you should not use 3 brood boxes. You can use 1 or a maximum of 2 brood boxes for your beehive.

 

 

So, Should You Use 2 Brood Boxes Or Not?

Hopefully, now you have a clear concept of the advantages of a double brood box and its disadvantages too. It’s up to you should use 2 brood boxes or 1 brood box for your beehive.

First of all, if you are just a beginner I would recommend you go with a single brood box. But if you have a large apiary and don’t have enough time to inspect your hive often. Then you can go with a double brood box system.

If you require more speedy honey production then a double brood box system also be a good choice for you.

But remember you should replace the double brood box system with a single one before the winter. You can do this by simply splitting your beehive. I also have a separate article in which I showed you how to split a beehive properly. If you need you can check that too.

If you require to move your beehive then the double brood box system will be worse for you. So, for this type of situation, a single brood box system will work best for you.

In conclusion, if you don’t require speedy honey production and have enough time for regular hive inspection you should go with a single brood box system.

Otherwise, for less often hive inspection and for faster honey production you can go with a double brood box system. 

Also, the double brood box system has a large number of advantages for large apiaries and for those hives which do not need to move.

You can check my article to know about how many brood boxes to use in your hive.

So, which one do you prefer or currently using? Don’t forget to let me know.

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