Adding Additional Hive Boxes - Medium vs Deep Boxes

Adding Additional Hive Boxes - Medium vs Deep Boxes

Boxes that hold the hive frames typically come in two different sizes; medium and deep. Often you will see these boxes referred to as, “super honey medium” and “deep brood combo”; with “super” or “combo” meaning the boxes come with the frames and foundations.


Medium Box

Using All Medium Boxes

Using all medium frame boxes comes with advantages and disadvantages. Some people only use medium boxes their first year in beekeeping because it’s easier to keep track of the brood and honey flow. Typically, honey isn’t going to be in abundance the first year because the hive is getting used to the new area and hive.


  • Easier to manage and buy - only one type of equipment to buy
  • When filled, each box weighs about 60 lbs
  • In winter, the bee clusters have more gaps between boxes for mobility


  • More frames to handle during brood inspections
  • Difficulties finding nucleus within the hive
  • Easier for wax moths and small hive beetles to hide in the frames

Deep Box

Using All Deep Boxes

When using all deep frame boxes, it can be beneficial for the beekeepers, and the bees. Deep boxes provide more space for the bees, thus allowing more growth to happen. However, deep boxes can have pros and cons as well.


  • More room for the bees to move and grow
  • Less boxes and frames to handle during honey production
  • Less frames to handle during brood inspections
  • More frames to handle during brood inspections
  • Can be heavy when filled, almost 120 lbs
  • Winter can be challenging since there is more area, keeping the hive warm can be a challenge
Using a combination of both box sizes is the preferred way of growing your hive as it helps the bees and beekeeper. Overall, this has more advantages than using only one type of box.

When using both boxes the deep brood box is always on the bottom. This provides the queen extra space to lay her eggs. When using medium honey supers this allows the extra honey flow to go into the lighter mediums.



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