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allrawpaul
10-26-2007, 06:40 PM
Am I reading(skimming) the material right if I conclude that you want to send the bees into winter with two supers of checkerboarded capped honey and empty combs over an empty medium of drawn comb over one deep holding the cluster? How will the cluster move to the honey in cold weather? Could you use the checkerboard over two deeps containing the broodnest? My bees are still packing away the pollen and a little nectar so I cant really do the manipulations till they stop flying, right. Its gonna be pretty cold at that time. How full do the supers have to be in spring before you recheckerboard them? If I wait till they are capped the bees will swarm wont they? Thanks! Paul.

BjornBee
10-26-2007, 07:09 PM
I would not be messing with bees now, let alone waiting til later. Adding boxes, switching frames, and other management intervention does more harm than any good.

MountainCamp
10-26-2007, 07:26 PM
I don't know what or where you are reading setting bees up for winter in cold climates with empty comb between stores in your upper boxes.
This approach may work in places where bees don't actually cluster for long periods of time, but not where they do.
You want you colony set for winter with full frames of stores above them in the upper boxes. Your cluster will start in the "lower" box, from back filling and being pushed down, and as winter progresses they will move vertical eating stores and creating clustering space as they eat and move.
Frames containing no stores, between your cluster and their next meal with cold weather can mean the end of your cluster.
Your cluster needs to stay in contact with their next meal as they move through winter.

Remember when you are discussing wintering techniques look at where the advice is coming from and compare it your what you will be wintering in.

Chef Isaac
10-27-2007, 07:25 AM
You need to do this come spring time.

Chef Isaac
10-27-2007, 07:27 AM
At this point, you need to leave the bees alone. You can continue to feed a thick syrup until about thanksgiving time but then it would be time to stop. This year, I am taking additional insurance out and putting dry sugar on the top bars.

allrawpaul
10-27-2007, 08:14 AM
Thanks for the comments everyone. I will leave them alone. Most have plenty of stores for winter and no empty frames between boxes, thankfully. That would have been very silly. I am feeding just a couple hives. The Checkerboarding will have to start in early spring then. This will have to be quite early to prevent a honey cap forming above the cluster and swarm preparation? In that case how full of nectar do you let the frames get before you recheckerboard it all? Walt Wright states that the bees will supercede instead of swarm. This is problematical because frequent inspections become risky since supercedure cells can easily be destroyed when brood frames are removed. Instead of pulling frames, do you just look between the boxes to access hive conditions, brood pattern etc. How much( besides swarm preparation and colony strenth) can be acertained from just looking between the boxes? I was getting my info wrong from an article that described how Walt set up his hives for a bee association to test his meathod. I got the time of year wrong, sorry. Fall checkerboarding is just for warm climates where the bees can fly all year long, got it. Thanks. Paul.

trapperbob
10-28-2007, 08:06 AM
At the meeting we had with Walt on checkerboarding he says that once he does this he just walks away and leaves it alone for the season except for putting more supers on occasionally.

Michael Bush
10-28-2007, 08:25 AM
The timing for checkerboarding (above a full box of honey above the brood nest) would be 12 weeks before new wax (main flow). Here in Southeast Nebraska the main flow is mid June. So that would be about the first day of Spring or the third week of March. In town that would be two weeks earlier. Ask around to find out when that would be where you are.

So the hive when you are done looks like this with each line representing a box:

Frames of foundation or empty drawn comb
Checkerboarded
Checkerboarded
Honey
Brood
Pollen

trapperbob
10-28-2007, 10:28 AM
Hey Michael where Walt lives they seem to use one brood box with pollen at the bottom and honey at top then checkerboarding from there. But we have to use two deeps or the equivalent of two deeps to winter them here do you think you can run pollen on the bottom then two deeps then honey then checkerboard or do you think that checkering after the second deep would work better and skip the honey above the deeps.:confused:

Steve717
10-28-2007, 02:23 PM
Walt specifically stated to NOT thin honey (checkerboarding) in the fall. The bees will not survive the winter without feeding. The bees must backfill into the empty brood area to provide food for the winter.

Checkerboarding is only done in late winter/early spring.

Michael Bush
10-28-2007, 03:59 PM
>Hey Michael where Walt lives they seem to use one brood box with pollen at the bottom and honey at top then checkerboarding from there. But we have to use two deeps or the equivalent of two deeps to winter them here do you think you can run pollen on the bottom then two deeps then honey then checkerboard or do you think that checkering after the second deep would work better and skip the honey above the deeps.

The pollen box, if you are running two deeps would be a maneuver done the previous summer or fall when putting a smaller box (medium or shallow) under the two deeps. The checkerboarding would require saving some more smaller boxes to do the chckerboarding over the brood.

allrawpaul
10-28-2007, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the info Michael! Our main flow, blackberry, is the same time as yours, or just a week earlier. We have a pretty strong flow 2 month earlier with big leaf maple one month earlier with fruit blossoms but I am not sure how much new wax they are making at that time. I am surprised that the checkerboarded supers go above the full honey super. Doesnt that full super act as the honey cap that encourages the bees to swarm? Wouldnt the colony feel less strong and less apt to swarm if the checkerboarding was directly above the brood chamber? Whats to keep the bees from swarming when the checkerboarded supers are filled? Thanks for any comments! Paul.

allrawpaul
10-28-2007, 07:03 PM
TrapperBob, just checkerboarding once doesnt seem like it would prevent swarming after those supers are full, but it sure would save a heck of lot of work in extracting and recheckerboarding several supers per hive, several times a season. I wonder what the ideal way to checkerboard would be if a person had unlimited time and energy? If Walt just adds supers once in a while, what kind of inspections does he do? I guess he doesnt keep the brood nest open. How often does the cluster move into the honey supers? Thanks for the help! Paul.

Michael Bush
10-28-2007, 07:08 PM
>Doesnt that full super act as the honey cap that encourages the bees to swarm?

I asked Walt that. He said they burn through it quickly in the spring build up and then they find the gaps in the honey above that which is what leads them to think they need more stores.

CSbees
10-28-2007, 07:35 PM
If a hive is exceptionally strong come spring, there is no need for checkerboarding to suppress the swarming tendancy. Simply slap on a deep with foundation or my favorite, partially drawn comb. This will really build your bee population.

BWrangler
10-31-2007, 08:19 AM
Hi Guys,

Make sure you understand what type of equipment Walt's using. If you are using deeps, you wouldn't want to leave a deep super of honey above the brood. Here's my take on checker boarding:

www.bwrangler.com/bee/gche.htm

Regards
Dennis

allrawpaul
10-31-2007, 06:48 PM
Thanks Dennis for sharing all that excellent information! Definitely I find it dificult to fully comprehend the viewpoint of the Bees, but the actual management technique is quite clear, although you differ from Walt in your use of deeps, and your checkerboarding directly above the cluster, where Walt checkerboards above a full honey super. I am going to try your system in the spring, because I can use my existing frames and I dont have to start with a bunch of extra empty and full combs. Thanks for sharing your system! I will let you know how it goes. Paul.

allrawpaul
10-31-2007, 06:57 PM
Michael, when you do checkerboarding yourself, do you also keep the brood nest open by removing nectar/pollen frames and replacing with empty frames? Or do you simply leave the brood nest alone and limit inspections as Walt does.? Thanks, Paul.

Michael Bush
10-31-2007, 07:22 PM
>Michael, when you do checkerboarding yourself, do you also keep the brood nest open by removing nectar/pollen frames and replacing with empty frames? Or do you simply leave the brood nest alone and limit inspections as Walt does.?

I keep intending to try Walt's methods, but my bees are always at the top and I've been expanding for several years now, so I never seem to have all the right ingredients, which would be drawn empty comb and capped honey.

I wouldn't call what I do checkerboarding. But, yes, I do open up the brood nest to prevent swarming by feeding empty frames into the brood nest. From what I've seen Walt's method is more productive, if I can just figure out how to implement it.

allrawpaul
11-01-2007, 07:59 AM
I wont have all the neccessary ingredients either this season, but I will do as close an approximation as possible, maybe even using backfilled combs from the brood nest to checkerboard with. Walts meathod seems like a big time saver, but I dont like limiting inspections because of the likelhood that supercedure is going on and it also means leaving more honey on the hives in the fall, or storing it somewhere else. How does Walt set up his hives for wintering? Thanks for the help Michael. Paul.

Walts-son-in-law
11-03-2007, 09:47 PM
How does Walt set up his hives for wintering? Thanks for the help Michael. Paul.

This is from Roy:

Read Walt's article "Pollen Box Overwintering", Bee Culture, September 2004
You can find a copy in the POV area of this site
http://www.beesource.com/pov/wright/index.htm

BTW; ALL of Walt's past articles are now available there. Kudos to Barry.

Thanks to Michael and others who are doing a great job of answering some of these questions for Walt.

One clarification; Walt doesn't 'occasionally' put supers on his hives. It is VERY important that the bees are NOT allowed to fill the top boxes as this can kick them into swarm preps (backfilling the brood nest). During the main flow he will check the hives at least once a week, sometimes twice. However, that check does NOT consist of removing boxes down to the brood nest to check for swarm cells as there won't be any. Supercedure is fine with Walt and he doesn't want to chance fracturing supercedure cells. When he performs his weekly check, all he does is lift the top cover to see if the bees are working in the top box (working AT ALL, not almost filling). If there are ANY bees working in the top box he will add an empty (two if they are really moving out). If there aren't any he will continue downward until he finds them. This is mainly just a check to make sure they aren't queenless for some reason, or have some other problem.

Roy, for me

Walts-son-in-law
11-03-2007, 09:50 PM
Hi Guys,

Make sure you understand what type of equipment Walt's using. If you are using deeps, you wouldn't want to leave a deep super of honey above the brood. Here's my take on checker boarding:

www.bwrangler.com/gche.htm (http://www.bwrangler.com/gche.htm)

Regards
Dennis

From Roy,

BWrangler!!!! Great to hear from you again, knew you wouldn't bee able to stay away. Have any hives set up in Florida yet?

Roy, for me

Walts-son-in-law
11-03-2007, 10:38 PM
...but I dont like limiting inspections because of the likelhood that supercedure is going on ...

From Roy:

Forgot to mention the other reason Walt doesn't go down into the brood nest to monitor for swarm cells; it isn't necessary.
Read his article "Backfilling - What's That", Bee Culture, September 2006
http://www.beesource.com/pov/wright/index.htm


Roy, for me

sc-bee
11-04-2007, 08:33 PM
>So the hive when you are done looks like this with each line representing a box:

Frames of foundation or empty drawn comb
Checkerboarded
Checkerboarded
Honey
Brood
Pollen

>I am surprised that the checkerboarded supers go above the full honey super. Doesn't that full super act as the honey cap that encourages the bees to swarm?

Have I missed something along the way??? Or is this super of full honey a Northern (just going by the post title) recommendation for NM. I thought at the time of manipulation of frames (12 wks, 8wks, 6wks, prior to white wax) have not dug out the manuscript but have heard all these different lead times, you bust up or alternate (checkerboard) the full super of honey. This is what allows the bees to move up and not see the super as a cap. Walt states staying two super ahead at all times!!!

So after the manipulation the colony would look like this:

Frames of empty drawn comb or foundation (depending on white wax)
C-H-C-H-C-H-C-H-C
H-C-H-C-H-C-H-C-H
B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B

C= drwan comb H=honey B=brood

The bottom pollen box if you had one should be empty frames by now and moved up and the empty frames used in the alternating of frames. Her in the South my configuration for winter is:
Shallow (Honey)
Brood box (deep)
Shallow (pollen)

And I did not have much luck with the bees filling the pollen box!



You talk to him frequently MB, have I missed something or something changed? Point me in the right direction please! Have I missed something about the full super of honey being left below the checkerboarded frames? What is the correct lead time before white wax to make a manipulation in weeks or is the lead time that critical or is (8-12 wks) fine?

Thanks:)

Walts-son-in-law
11-04-2007, 09:14 PM
From Roy:

Steve717,

Walt is currently writing a fairly detailed response to your concerns.

Stay tuned.

Roy, for me

Walts-son-in-law
11-04-2007, 09:23 PM
From Roy:

Steve717,

Walt is currently writing a fairly detailed response to your concerns.

Stay tuned.

Roy, for me

From Roy:

Oops, wrong thread, but still VERY relevant. For all those monitoring this thread, jump over to this thread:

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=214172

Walt will be posting some relevant info there in the next couple of days.

Roy, for me

Michael Bush
11-05-2007, 05:09 AM
>Or is this super of full honey a Northern (just going by the post title) recommendation for NM.

No. This is what Walt does in Tennessee.

sc-bee
11-05-2007, 09:29 AM
Here is a link to the article where I got the configuration I am using. See page 2 0f 2 diagram at bottom using shallows.

(Edited)---Barry has added an easier link below from POV, POV also has Walts other articles!!!

http://www.knology.net/~k4vb/ABJ%20Copies/BC%20Feb%202002.pdf

Thanks for all the help beesource and a special thanks to Walt!!!

Steve

Barry
11-05-2007, 09:43 AM
And for those not doing PDF, it's here:
http://www.beesource.com/pov/wright/bcfeb02.htm

sc-bee
11-05-2007, 12:06 PM
Thanks Barry---Yours is definitely easier. My mistake I didn't realize you had the diagrams also. I pulled up the wrong article from POV originally.

Thanks for making all of them available :cool: !!!

BWrangler
11-07-2007, 08:39 PM
Hi Roy,

No Florida bees yet. But maybe soon.

Best Regards to Walt

Dennis

Walts-son-in-law
11-07-2007, 09:32 PM
SC-bee and others,

From Roy:

The answers to your questions in the Walts Nectar Management Questions and Clarifications (http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?p=272851#post272851) have just been posted.

Sorry for the delay.

Roy, for me

Walts-son-in-law
11-11-2007, 01:36 PM
From Walt:


Roy gave me a printout on this thread to check the accuracy of his posting of 11-03.

He, and several other supporters, overlooked a key consideration on this subject - that of Reproductive Swarm Cut Off Date. I consider identification of this colony decision timing to be as significant as CB itself.

Repo c/o is the spring season timing when swarm ambition is canceled in favor of existing colony survival. It starts the three week period of rearing the house bees necessary for the main flow storing of winter honey. The swarm prep period precedes repo c/o and terminates at that time. For the following three weeks, the colony is preparing to store honey by rearing wax makers, nectar processors, etc. Several significant changes, reflecting the change in colony objectives, are apparent, if you know what to look for.

Repo c/o is relevant to several of the postings on this thread. The timing of repro c/o is at the beginning of hardwood leaf out in the wooded East. Prior to leaf out or green-up, the colony is dedicated to reproductive swarming. Subsequent to that period a colony can decide to produce an overcrowded swarm usually induced by beekeeper mismanagement, as in periodic hive body reversal. The beekeeper should understand the colony objective change at repro c/o changes his objectives also.

Prior to that timing (green-up) the beekeepers objective is to improve the colony perception of space unfilled above. The colony CBed, where the cluster enfolds the empty comb at the top cant ignore the empty comb, and delays starting swarm preps until that comb is filled. Maintaining empty comb at the top keeps them in the mode of trying to fill until repo c/o. If they fill to the top, they will start swarm preps by backfilling upper brood volume. Brood nest expansion continues until repo c/o and then changes to brood nest reduction. The increased brood nest size increases population and honey production by generation of more bees.

Up until Repo c/o the beekeepers objective is to keep empty comb above to prevent the start of swarm preps (backfilling). Note that penetration down into the hive is not required. The colony that is adding nectar at the top is NOT backfilling. Adding nectar at the top is all the evidence you need to confirm CB is working for you.

After repo c/o, although the process is the same, the effects are different. Maintaining empty comb at the top serves two purposes. Room to work overhead prevents overcrowding swarms and increases honey production. The enlarged population can be working in several supers at the same time, filling to comb depth, extending the depth, filling the extension, and capping the finished product is a sequential effort. Limiting 30K workers to one super limits production and accelerates brood nests reduction. The colony that is motivated by plenty of space to fill is slower to shut down production by brood nest reduction. More honey on the trailing edge of the flow.

Two errors in documentation have led to misunderstanding of the concepts I tried to promote. In the pollen box article in B. Culture the editor did not use the sketch provided with the submittal, but used one of his own. The published article looked like two mediums above the basic brood chamber deep. That has been corrected in the submittal to BeeSource POV. I use one deep chamber and shallows, only.

A second error on the club demonstration was my goof. The empty pollen box from the bottom (a medium) was raised above the first shallow of honey and the second shallow of honey was CBed at the top. I should have checked that both colonies had brood to the top bars of the first shallow of honey. Failed to do that. After a couple weekly checks and finding the medium had no activity, realizing the mistake, panicked and went back to correct the mistake. At that point, both were adding nectar in the empty medium. My reputation on the line, accumulation of nectar in the empty medium was a great relief. They were not going to swarm. I think what saved me was the heavy concentration of bees in the CBed supers retrieving honey to feed on. They knew, and conveyed to the decision makers, that both honey and space were available upstairs.

After harvest, the club president sent me a copy of his report for review. I responded with an admission of the bungled CB manipulation, and my off-line intervention. Those changes did not get incorporated in the report posted on his web site and continue to confuse those who seek info there. At the last meeting he said that site was dead. Perhaps I can live down that major mistake.

Note that both Colonies produced about 170 lbs. Had the brood nest expansion not been impeded for more than two weeks by the error, they would have done much better.

Comments and postings of this thread - without reference to the source follow:

1. The second shallow of honey is CBed for the following reasons:

a. Spring feeding is unnecessary;
b. The colony builds brood volume to their minimum honey reserve of about a shallow of honey;
c. They apparently cannot distinguish the difference between a shallow of honey frames alternated with frames of empty comb from a super of solid honey frames;
d. They build brood volume to the bottom of the top CBed super;
e. In so doing, their cluster enfolds the lower CBed super containing empty comb;
f. Made aware of empty comb within the cluster, they set out to fill the empty comb prior to starting swarm preps;
g. Building brood volume into CBed frames accelerates brood nest expansion - less honey to consume;
h. Once in the middle of filling overhead empty comb, they do not change unless that comb is filled;
i. If empty comb is maintained overhead, several supers of nectar are stored prior to repo c/o;
j. Those supers of build-up nectar will be cured and capped early in the main flow.
2. There is no major impact from supersedure. Not only does SS produce a better quality queen than the queen purveyors, but also the genetic characteristics are handed down for several generations.

3. The difference between a double deep and deep and two shallows is negligible as far as wintering honey is concerned, but the advantages of the two shallows instead of the upper deep are manifold. Am currently working on definition of how to get from here to there.

4. The concepts and timing of the pollen box maneuver are described at http://www.beesource.com/forums/printthread.php?t=211434&pp=40&page=4

5. CB once is enough. After brood nest expansion breaks through what would have been their honey reserve (limiting expansion) its a whole new ballgame. Maintain empty comb until new wax is seen. After new wax starts, foundation is OK.

This may be more than you wanted to know, but I am trying to establish a group of standard blurbs that can be used to field questions of future novices.

Thanks,
Walt