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NeilV
10-10-2007, 10:05 PM
Our bee club has a library, and I borrowed and am reading a copy of a publication by Walt Wright called Nectar Management: Principles and Practices. I had heard of this and thought that it had something to do with swarm prevention, which it does. (This is my first year and I have high hopes that my next problem will be swarm prevention issues instead of swarm catching to replenish the one hive I've got.)

The ideas presented are beyond my personal experience, but they seem to make sense. Have other people implemented his techniques, and what have the results been? Have any studies been done the have examined whether the ideas work?

Thanks, Ndvan

sc-bee
10-11-2007, 08:10 AM
Several people have tried this system on the board, but not sure how much of a fair shot it was given. The idea seems to be accepted better in warmer climate area. Allot of rumbling about using the concept up North (do a search on checker-boarding, Nectar management, and Walt Wright). Just the use of the name checker-boarding used synonymously with Nectar Management has caused disagreement of opinions:D. By the way the two are similar but not the same!!!

I tried it this year and was both pleased with honey production and swarm control. I used it on two hives and am not aware of a swarm if I had any (but I have only been beekeeping three years and may not have recognized the signs after the fact).

The biggest downside of using the system for a new beekeeper is having enough drawn comb to implement the system. With that said give it a try on at least a hive or two and compare it with your others.

WVbeekeeper
10-11-2007, 01:35 PM
after i extracted in early july, i put the comb back on the hives from which it came. after they had filled one super, i started checkerboarding. i was pleased with the results. without doing so, i doubt if i would of been able to put any honey on my smaller hives for winter stores.

kenpkr
10-11-2007, 09:19 PM
I used checkerboarding (Nectar Mgmt) this Spring and consider it a great success. In previous years, since I took up beekeeping in '03, I've had problems with swarming- at least one a year from 2-3 hives. This year I had no swarming to my knowledge and my 3 hives produced over 200 lbs of honey in an area that has had a severe drought where many others didn't make a crop. My experience, at least this year, falls in line with Walt's claim that nectar mgmt helps to prevent swarming AND increases hive production. But, like Sc-bee said, you need enough drawn comb to be able to make it work by repositioning the frames as he describes.

NeilV
10-12-2007, 08:17 AM
I was wondering about the lack of drawn comb, since I'm just starting and have none. What happens if you checkerboard with undrawn foundation?

Also, WVBeekeeper, Walt Wright's booklet is about checkerboarding early in the year to prevent swarming before/around the main flow. It sounds like you checkerboarded after that time. When/how/why did you do that? Did you insert undrawn foundation or drawn foundation, and what did the bees do with it?

Thanks.

kenpkr
10-12-2007, 10:41 AM
Ndvan, yes I did continue to go back and move nectar or brood filled frames up to another super or out closer to the outside of the super. I may have done it piece meal 2 or 3 times again. Walt claims this isn't necessary if you have checkerboarded properly and maybe so. Like I said, this was my 1st year doing it and so I may have been overly zealous with moving the filled frames around. But apparently I foiled the bees' natural instinct to swarm after they crowd the brood nest with nectar. But I had enough drawn frames and Permacomb for them to start using right away. I don't think just foundation would work the same. Yes, during a strong flow they would draw them out but they would probably also backfill those other drawn frames and the broodnest would still get crowded and that swarm "switch" would get flipped. :) I will reread his manuscript again over the winter and refine my technique if needed. If you have the money you could buy Permacomb and wax dip it over the winter so that the bees will accept it right away in the spring. That would be one way to have more comb.

WVbeekeeper
10-12-2007, 11:07 AM
>Also, WVBeekeeper, Walt Wright's booklet is about checkerboarding early in the year to prevent swarming before/around the main flow. It sounds like you checkerboarded after that time. When/how/why did you do that? Did you insert undrawn foundation or drawn foundation, and what did the bees do with it?

I didn't need to checkerboard the brood area early in the year because I kept stealing frames of brood to make up nucs with. This is the second year that I had a bear get into my hives since I moved them here. The bear left me with five hives. I made fifteen nucs from them over the spring and summer. So the brood nest was virtually open for expansion through swarm season.l I made the last nucs around the first week of July. I sold two, gave my daughter one, and had to combine two, so I only have sixteen hives now. I couldn't checkerboard the supers because I had a limited amount of drawn comb.
If you mix your drawn comb and foundation the bees will draw the comb over close to the foundation and will not draw the foundation out very far. You'll end up up with a really thick comb, really thin comb, really thick comb, really thin comb all the way across your supers. I wouldn't advise mixing comb and foundation, use comb only. Learn from my mistake please, I have tried dumb stuff like this in the past.
I extracted honey from the summer flow before it was over with the intention of immediately giving the comb back to the bees to use while they still had some time left to collect nectar. After they had a super filled with nectar I checkerboarded it with the empty comb above. Walt wright said this increases the hoarding instinct of the bees. I won't have any more drawn comb until I extract again next summer, but after that I will do it again.
I won't bee checkerboarding in the spring either because I'll be making a bunch of nucs. Hopefully I'll be able to get my numbers up to around fifty. An electric fence will be put up before those dang bears come out of hibernation. I'm not gonna let them get me a third time.

Michael Bush
10-13-2007, 08:27 PM
Walt spoke at our club today. :)

I've not heard of anyone who has tried Walt's methods who didn't think they worked. There has been some discussion of how to implement them in the North, one I also had today with Walt. I find it difficult to do here as in the late winter when he would do it it's too cold for me to tear apart the hive and the bees are always in the top box. So where do I get the capped honey and empty comb to checkerboard with? I'd need to get them out of the boxes that are below the bees in order to do this. Or I'd need to put them in the freezer and keep them from the fall before, which isn't practical with the number of hives I have. I'm thinking IF I got a warm week in February or March, MAYBE I could take a week off of work and rework the hives into that configuration, but I'm not sure my back would survive that strenuous of a week.

It would probably pay off, though, from everything that everyone says who has tried it.

sc-bee
10-13-2007, 09:02 PM
Remember the initial manipulation is done before white wax. The bees therefore can not draw out the foundation and see the undrawn foundation as a barrier. This could perhaps cause you more problems. That is why you need drawn foundation to start the cycle.

We are not a honey state and we didn't have our main flow this year because of a late April freeze. The two hives I used NM on had eight shallows on one and I believe six on the other (if my memory serves me right without pulling notes). This does not count the original shallow I started the manipulation with. I think this was very good for my area!!!

As others have stated one of the major draw backs to the NM system is needing a step stool to reach the top of the supers :D.

Do a search and get the address for purchasing Walt's manuscripts. Thanks Walt!!!

WVbeekeeper
10-13-2007, 09:19 PM
here's a link for checkerboarding
http://www.knology.net/%7Ek4vb/Walt's%20BIO.htm

ekrouse
10-14-2007, 08:42 AM
One of the key components of Walt's nectar management is to make sure the bees don't have a solid honey cap above the brood nest which limits brood expansion and triggers the swarm urge.

If the hive doesn't have any capped honey because the bees are in the top box, rotate that box to the bottom and place empty comb (brood, then honey supers) above them. According to Walt the hive won't swarm because the bees realize that the mother colony does not have the minimum honey stores to keep it viable.

When there are enough capped stores, checkerboarding with additional supers (alternating full and empty frames) prevents a solid cap and tricks the bees into thinking that the mother colony does not have the minimum honey stores to keep it viable, preventing swarming.

Here in Upstate Central New York, flowers stay in bloom all summer long and the main spring flow almost merges with the fall flow. In that case continued checkerboarding will prevent late summer swarms since it keeps the honey cap broken up and keeps encourgaging bees to fill in the gaps (empty frames). It's a little like adding emty supers between the brood nest and the full supers, but more effective.

-Eric

NeilV
10-14-2007, 02:52 PM
I do not have the drawn comb to do a NM style swarm prevention next year. I could make a split from my existing hive, and I want to go back to two hives anyway. Would that, standing alone, probably be enough to keep the hive from swarming? When I do a split, should I move the old queen in my existing hive to the new split, so the old queen has a new home?

Michael Bush
10-14-2007, 04:56 PM
>I do not have the drawn comb to do a NM style swarm prevention next year.

On the other hand, in February or March if you get a warm day, you might be able to rearrange things enough to find a box worth of capped and drawn comb left in the the boxes below. The bees will have emptied some which will be drawn comb and hopefully they will have some capped honey left.

>I could make a split from my existing hive, and I want to go back to two hives anyway. Would that, standing alone, probably be enough to keep the hive from swarming?

Probably.

>When I do a split, should I move the old queen in my existing hive to the new split, so the old queen has a new home?

That's probably best. If it's just an even split, I usually put the queen in the new split as it will anchor more bees so less will drift back to the old hive. With a cut down split I usually do this so the cut down is queenless and has no open brood so they will produce more honey:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm

Walts-son-in-law
10-14-2007, 09:02 PM
Roy, for me:

Thanks for all the kind words about Walt's methods, he needs all the encouragement he can get. He has felt like a 'voice in the wilderness' for a long time. Please, keep the success stories coming.

Since it was mentioned, here is how to get order instructions for Walts' 60 page manuscript "Nectar Management, Principles and Practices". It will be the best $8 (electronic}, or $10 (hardcopy) you have ever spent.

The easiest way to get the manuscript is to send me an email request at:

waltwright_ at hotmail dot com

The underscore IS necessary but there are no spaces in the address. I spelled out the @ and the . just to foil the bots and spiders.

I will reply with complete instructions.

Roy, for me

sc-bee
10-15-2007, 03:19 AM
Roy and Walt. How do we get a schedule of Walts speaking engagements, if he has one. If ever within 100 miles of the Augusta Georgia area would love to hear him!!!

Dale Hodges
10-15-2007, 09:21 AM
In my experience if you put foundation in between two capped frames they will draw it out the right width.

sc-bee
10-15-2007, 08:35 PM
That is a true statement Dale however, NM involves alternating frames of honey with drawn comb early in the season before white wax or main nectar flow has started. Walt experimented with (studied) it as a method of swarm prevention and found it also substantially increased his honey production.

If you are not familiar with NM do a search on Nectar Management and checker boarding (although the two differ) and you will find numerous post. Also you should find a post w/links to articles Walt has written.

But the best thing to do is order a copy of the manuscript as mentioned above: A steal for the price and good info!!!

kenpkr
10-16-2007, 08:59 AM
"It will be the best $8 (electronic}, or $10 (hardcopy) you have ever spent."

Couldn't agree more. And I would also add that ALL of his articles are worth reading.
Again, here's the link to them-
http://www.knology.net/~k4vb/all%20walt%20articles.htm (http://www.knology.net/%7Ek4vb/all%20walt%20articles.htm)

WVbeekeeper
10-16-2007, 01:25 PM
In my experience if you put foundation in between two capped frames they will draw it out the right width.

this is true. but if some of the comb is uncapped they can draw the comb out further and you will end up with some really funky looking comb. be sure to carefully look over all frames to make sure they are completely capped if you want to mix with foundation. i've had issues with this when pulling frames of brood for nucs and putting foundation back in.

Walts-son-in-law
10-20-2007, 10:39 PM
Roy and Walt. How do we get a schedule of Walts speaking engagements, if he has one. If ever within 100 miles of the Augusta Georgia area would love to hear him!!!

From Roy:

Walt really doesn't have a schedule as such. He speaks upon invitation. Augusta isn't that far from us (after all, he just got back from speaking at Michael Bush's meeting in Nebraska). You could probably sweat-talk him into coming over.

Roy, for me.

Walts-son-in-law
10-20-2007, 10:54 PM
"It will be the best $8 (electronic}, or $10 (hardcopy) you have ever spent."

Couldn't agree more. And I would also add that ALL of his articles are worth reading.
Again, here's the link to them-
http://www.knology.net/~k4vb/all%20walt%20articles.htm


From Roy, for me:

kenpkr,

Thanks for the blurb. However, be aware that the owner of that site quit scanning in Walt's articles after Sept. '06. You can find Walt's more recent articles, one written exclusively for BeeSource, in the POV area of this site:

http://www.beesource.com/pov/wright/index.htm

You can also find some of his older articles there. The quality of the articles in POV will be better as I have been working with Barry to post them in MSWord format. That means you can print better quality copies and even cut and paste sections of interest. Barry is also currently working on providing all of Walt's past articles in this format.

Thanks, Barry.

Roy, for me.

ikeepbees
10-28-2007, 09:56 AM
My experience with Walt's nectar management methods is that it works and works well. I have been working with Walt for several years, and I have benefitted greatly from his techniques.