When is it Time to Add a Brood Box?

Brood box? Super? These are some of the basic terms in beekeeping that you need to know.

For beginners, acquiring all necessary equipment can cost you a lot. However, learning how and when to use them is the most challenging part. 

So, what is the difference between using a single and double brood box? We shall discuss. 

Just like any other topic in the beekeeping world, this question always causes a debate. When you ask this question (or any question for the matter), expect many different answers from beekeepers.

Super vs Brood Box

I’ve heard these two terms thrown around the bush, but they actually mean different things. The brood box is usually the first box, where it contains the queen bee and the brood. It is usually isolated with a queen excluder on top. 

Meanwhile, the supers are the additional boxes above the brood box. This is the extra space for the worker bees to store resources such as pollen and honey.

How Many Brood Boxes Should You Have?

You do not need to have plenty of boxes straight away. More boxes does not mean it’s good for the bees. It’s only recommended to add another brood box in when your bees are running out of space and are slightly overcrowded. Depending on the season, you should be able to predict when your beehive will have a constant stream of growth due to some factors. Here are some factors you should consider before adding another brood box in:


The bee’s behaviour usually depends on the climate. During cold temperatures, you would see a decrease in activity and productivity. Since it’s currently spring, the climate can fluctuate day by day. One day can be warm like summer, and the next day it can be cold like autumn! This doesn’t stop the queen from laying though. However, during warm climates is when the hive is going to get buzzing busy. If you are considering adding a box, add it before the summer begins. This will give the queen enough time to be able to lay as much as she can before summer hits. Once the summer comes to an end, the hive will slowly decrease its activity which means the second box would have to go. 

Queen performance

Before deciding to add a box, make sure to observe your queen first. For an average queen bee, she’ll be able to keep up with a single brood box. However, if your queen bee is quickly filling up a single brood box, this is an easy signal that you need a double brood box. 

Health of the beehive

This is important to consider, especially if it’s your first beehive or if the hive is from a captured swarm. Give them enough time to build up before deciding whether to go single brood or double. If you provide them a lot of space, they will have to work harder to maintain moisture and temperature levels inside the hive. The more they work hard maintaining the hive, the less productivity you have in honey production. 


Beehives with single brood boxes can fill up one super really quickly early in spring. However, this shouldn’t mean you need to add another super or brood box in. This depends on how much time you harvest the honey. If you do not have time to harvest honey, the supers will be quickly filled and your workers will feel crowded. This means you can add another super on to give them more space to work on. Adding a brood box in will definitely increase the honey production of your hive. More workers, more collection! But always consider the other factors before doing so. 

Spring is always an exciting time. However, go easy on your bees and give them ample time. It’s always good to start with a single box and later in time, add more when you need them. 

Interested in buying beekeeping tools and equipment in bulk and discounted price? For personalised advice on products and tips for beehive management, give us a call on 0488 010 840 or get in touch via email at info@bee2bee.com.au. Shop online here (free shipping for orders over $300)!