# Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?

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• 12-22-2011, 06:31 AM
MattDavey
Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
Hi Guys,

I've seen a number of people new to beekeeping asking how can they Checkerboard when they have little drawn comb.
Can "Pyramiding Up" be used like partial Checkerboarding when you don't touch the broodnest?

ie: Moving frames from the sides of lower boxes to a new top box and Checkerboarding those. (Then doing the same again, when the next super is due to be added.)

Here's an example with a hive that is wintered with two boxes using a Detailed Frame Notation (to keep track of where frames moved to, and show details of the frame).
What do you think? Also, is the brood structure what you would see in late winter?

Hive late winter:

Y0(H/H) | Y1(H/C) | Y2(H/B) | Y3(H/B) | Y4(B/H) | Y5(B/H) | Y6(H/B) | Y7(H/B) | Y8(H/C) | Y9(H/H)
Z0(C/C) | Z1(C/P) | Z2(B/C) | Z3(B/C) | Z4(B/C) | Z5(B/C) | Z6(B/C) | Z7(B/C) | Z8(C/P) | Z9(C/C)

After Pyramiding Up:

X0(E/E) | X1(E/E) | X2(E/E) | Y0(H/H) | Z0(C/C) | X5(E/E) | Z9(C/C) | Y9(H/H) | X8(E/E) | X9(E/E)
X3(E/E) | Y1(H/C) | Y2(H/B) | Y3(H/B) | Y4(B/H) | Y5(B/H) | Y6(H/B) | Y7(H/B) | Y8(H/C) | X6(E/E)
X4(E/E) | Z1(C/C) | Z2(B/C) | Z3(B/C) | Z4(B/C) | Z5(B/C) | Z6(B/C) | Z7(B/C) | Z8(C/C) | X7(E/E)

Where:
Z is the bottom hive body, Y is the second hive body and X is the third hive body (X added when Pyramiding up).
0 is the left most frame and 9 is the right most frame (Ten frame hive body.)
(H/C) means the frame is MOSTLY Honey with SOME empty Comb. (Assume Honey is along the top of a frame)

H - Honey
B - Brood
C - Empty Comb
E - Empty Frame (Foundation or Foundationless)
P - Pollen
• 12-22-2011, 07:35 AM
Intheswamp
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
You may have already read this. This first post by Michael Bush is explaining some about Dee Lusby's manipulation that she refers to as "pyramiding up".
http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...7820#post57820

This second post is in the same thread and by Michael Bush. It goes into more detail about pyramiding up and has a good visual depiction of pyramiding up that Michael Bush posted.

http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...7826#post57826

Merry Christmas!!!
Ed
• 12-22-2011, 07:50 AM
David LaFerney
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
I've wondered about this too. Also, I wonder if "mt camp" sugar - or candy, fondant, etc - on top might not be an imperfect (but better than nothing) substitute for the top layer of reserve stores...
• 12-23-2011, 07:14 AM
MattDavey
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
Thanks Ed, I had read Michael Bush's site on this but didn't realise how close my question was to the post you have listed.

So, does anyone do this?
What have been your experiences?
• 12-23-2011, 08:52 AM
Daniel Y
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
Thanks for the link to Michaels post as well. It answered a question I had right off the bat. I thought I would still point it out on this thread before any new folks make a possible mistake. In the graph above it shows that all pollen was removed from the hive. I suspect that was an oversight and that doing so would be a mistake. Michael's graph shows the pollen is kept in the lowest body. I still get the idea that pyramiding is stretching the brood nest up in a cone shape while filing in the edges with empty comb or even empty frames. This still keeps the main body of the brood nest at the bottom of the hive and the top box mostly either comb or empty frames.
• 12-23-2011, 08:52 AM
Mike Gillmore
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
It works well for me. As long as there are enough bees to cover the empty frames when you insert them into the existing brood nest they expand rapidly.

Empty Comb vs. Empty Frames - in my experience there is a spring timing issue that I need to be aware of. In very early spring if empty "frames" are inserted into the brood nest they are usually ignored. They do not seem to be interested yet in building comb. With empty "comb" they will immediately expand into it. Progressing further into spring a point is reached when comb building will begin right away when inserting empty frames into the brood nest. I'm not sure if anyone else sees this, but that's been my experience with opening up the brood nest or pyramiding.
• 12-23-2011, 10:47 AM
wcubed
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
It's not a matter of interest in building comb. The overwintered colony in temperate areas does not have wax making capability in the early buildup. They forfeit some housebee duties in an effort to streamline the workforce to those duties needed to concentrate on supporting building population. The established colony, on functional comb, doesn't need wax makers to expand the brood nest. In the swarm prep period, wax makers are generated to leave with the swarm. And all colonies build a cadre of sustained wax makers for main flow.

Walt
• 12-23-2011, 10:59 AM
squarepeg
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
i would like to endorse walt's manuscript that he has available for \$10. i received mine yesterday and read it straight through last night. it contains some intriguing insights like the one in the last post. they are based on his observations and experiments. i like the way you invite the reader to draw their own conclusions walt. although i haven't been at this long enough to see it all for myself, what you postulate makes good sense. i've read all that i could get my hands on so far, and what you offer in your paper regarding the yearly bee cycle and swarming is unique. thanks!
• 12-23-2011, 12:10 PM
dr.buzz
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
Plus, from what I've read of Walt's stuff, if you don't have enough drawn comb (or just want to stretch what you do have?) empty frames can be placed directly ABOVE the brood nest, as opposed to in amongst the brood where it will be ignored before the main flow. And, once main flow starts, foundation/empty frames can be placed on top of the stack of supers, if you don't have enough foundation.
• 12-25-2011, 10:21 AM
wcubed
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
dr.
That's the case if they have brood to the top bars, but if they have even a half inch of capped honey reserve at the peak of brood, it's not likely to help. When the double deep is reversed and a major segment of brood is raised to the top, it's still iffy, but it's the best you can do short of reversing at two week intervals. To get it to work, it must be early in the season, and the cluster must enfold the foundation above. That gets their attention to the space upstairs. No guarentees.

Walt
• 12-25-2011, 12:32 PM
dr.buzz
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
Quote:

Originally Posted by wcubed
but if they have even a half inch of capped honey reserve at the peak of brood, it's not likely to help.

If I encounter that this Spring, I might be interested in trying what some poster suggested in a different thread, which was to simply scratch the cappings off before reversing, if reversing is being done. Then there is no more capped honey above them. If this is done early enough in the Spring, before they have wax making capabilities, they can't just cap it again, I assume. So maybe they eat it or move it?
• 12-25-2011, 06:24 PM
Michael Bush
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
>Can "Pyramiding Up" be used like partial Checkerboarding when you don't touch the broodnest?

My only problem with the question is that we keep mixing up meanings of terminology that seems to have been established in the past. "Pyaramiding up" as Dee defines it has everything to do with the brood nest. What you seem to be describing, has nothing to do with the brood nest. I've been intending to try if I get a warm day in late winter, but I have not had the time available to try it. It does seem like moving some stores and some empty comb from below (where i seem to find it) above the bees, might allow me to try CB since they are always in the top box come late winter in my location.
• 12-26-2011, 04:33 AM
MattDavey
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
Thanks Michael, I thought "Pyramiding Up" used any frame, not just brood frames to create a pyramid shaped brood nest. Must have been speed reading again!
So do we need to use a new terminology then? How about "Raising the sides".

Daniel Y: There is meant to be Pollen frames in the second "Frame Notation" in Post #1 (but can't see how to edit the post a second time!)
• 12-26-2011, 05:04 AM
MattDavey
Re: Pyramiding Up - Partial Checkerboarding for newbeeks?
How about this?

Raising the sides:
To move the outermost frames of the existing brood boxes to a new hive body placed on the top. Replacing the removed frames with frames of empty comb. Uncapping any band of capped honey on a couple of frames at the peak (top) of the existing brood nest. Placing the removed frames above the existing brood nest, alternating frames of honey and empty comb. Ideally the brood nest should not be disturbed, but if any of the outside frames have brood they should be placed in the center of the top box, directly above the brood nest.

The object of "Raising the sides" is to open up the sides and the top of the brood nest, to allow for both horizontal and vertical brood nest expansion. This should be done in early spring, around the time Plum trees flower, before Apple trees flower.