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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Liberty, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    22

    Wink

    I've lent out my book, Beekeeping for Dummies, and can't remember when I should reverse my hive bodies. we've been having a few warm days each week with the bees flying. I haven't done a full hive inspection yet, as there seems to be plenty of burr comb holding the brood frames together.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Michael Mundy
    "Beekeeping... is NOT an exact science.\"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Langley, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    413

    Post

    Reversing ensures brood will be raised in both boxes and expands the brood area - particularly with older queens, which are less inclined to lay throughout the hive . It also encourages reorganizing of feed in the hive and is thus stimulative. Moreover it ensures that the lower parts of all frames are used by the bees, reduces the honey barrier at the top of the hive, and makes the beekeeper realise when a hive is too light (starving) or too heavy (honey bound).

    Terry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Langley, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    413

    Post

    What does one have to be CAUTIOUS about? NEVER REVERSE WHEN THE
    OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 50F. You don't dare "split the brood", or some
    of it will chill and die. What is "splitting the brood"? If brood is in BOTH the top body
    and the lower body, DON'T reverse because the brood will be split away from being
    close together into two "islands" of brood wide apart, one island close to the bottom
    board and the other island close to the inner cover. Wait a few more days until you find
    90%-100% of the brood in the top body and almost zero brood in the lower body, and
    then, REVERSE.

    Terry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Rochester, Washington, USA
    Posts
    973

    Post

    Or when ALL the bees are in the top box, and NONE are in the bottom. That is what I just got done doing with mine. Had 1 that all were still in the bottom with no brood in the top. Tons of bees, brood all in the bottom, just left it with a bee pro patty, which they attacked and started feeding on. Hope they start to move up next week, I want to split that hive.
    \"ONLY WHEN THE LAST RIVER HAS BEEN DRIED UP<br />THE LAST TREE BEEN CUT DOWN<br />THE LAST WILD FISH CAUGHT<br />WILL MAN REALIZE YOU CAN\'T EAT MONEY\"<br />GHANDI (?)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Post

    Mike:

    That book is exacellent. I read it...actually it was my first bee book that I did read.

    So, I must share my conclusion of reversing hive boddies. I do not think it is a mandatory thing to do. You should just go out there and reverse the hive boddies. However, I do think that reversing is a tool that you have in your arsenal to use. Do you need to do it all the time? No. I think it depends on each different hive. You must wait until it is a nice day and inspect the hive fully. If you see frames of bees in the upper deep, then take a note that this hive should be reversed. Do not forget that you can manipulate frames too.

    Here in Oregon, it is still to cold to consider reversing. We have had some nice days which are good for inspecting both deeps to SEE IF they need to be reversed. Just do not assume they need to be because the book tells you too.

    JMO!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cooperstown,N.Y.
    Posts
    474

    Post

    I was thinking about switching my setup from 2 deeps to 1deep w/1 med. for my brood nest as some have advised me(commerical guys).Seems like if I was going to try this,the best time might be before the queen moves down.I will have to give them foundation(only have deeps),does this sound O.K.?
    Thought about letting them fill both deeps,then doing an even split in middle of May,then giving them the medium.Bad move?
    Sorry if I am getting off your question,just something that I have been trying to decide,and seems kind of related.Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,481

    Post

    I swap them when I'm doing a spring inspection (because the weather is nice enough) and the bottom box is empty. Otherwise I leave them alone.

    George Imire seems to be a believer in reversing over and over and over all through the buildup to prevent swarming. I'm sure it does because they are constantly rearranging the brood nest. But I don't do it. Sounds like a lot of work for me and the bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    MWJohnson, either way would be fine. If you want increase in the number of hives I would wait and reverse if need until ready to split. I would split right about the start of the flow. I would make it like a cut down split used for honey production. I would leave one frame of eggs or very young brood at the original stand and the rest of the open brood and queen goes to the new hive. The split will raise a new queen and make more honey as it has no brood to care for. Many of us have went to all mediums. Less weight to lift and everything is interchangable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,481

    Post

    &gt; was thinking about switching my setup from 2 deeps to 1deep w/1 med. for my brood nest as some have advised me(commerical guys).Seems like if I was going to try this,the best time might be before the queen moves down.I will have to give them foundation(only have deeps),does this sound O.K.?

    Sure.

    &gt;Thought about letting them fill both deeps,then doing an even split in middle of May,then giving them the medium.Bad move?

    That works too.

    I guess I don't see an advantage to two different kinds of frames in the hive let alone in the brood nest. It complicates doing splits. It complicates giving them stores. When all of them are the same size you can put any frame anywhere.

    Going to all mediums was the smartest thing I did. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Langley, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    413

    Post

    I totally agree with Michael ,I use all deeps.


    Terry

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    3,401

    Post

    Not to beat up on Terry, as he simply is
    repeating what has been said in many books.

    Not to beat up on my buddy Howland Blackiston,
    either - he did a fine job of organizing
    information in his book, but he also repeated
    what was said in other, prior books, and clearly
    did not cross-check everything as well as one
    might wish.

    About the only well-known author with a
    clue on this issue would be Walt Wright.

    As such, there are multiple "old wives tales"
    repeated in the books, ones that do not even
    stand up to a cursory examination by a critical
    mind that remembers a few basic facts about
    well-documented bee behavior.

    The good news is that bees are highly adaptable
    creatures, and can tolerate, perhaps even thrive
    under a wide range of beekeeper-induced
    "manipulations", even though some approach "outright abuse".

    The business about "reversing" is as result of
    a study down in the 1950s in MI or WI, where
    massive 12-frame deeps were used in a 3-box
    broodnest/overwinter stores configuration.
    Modern beekeeping has little in common practices
    that might have made sense with 12-frame/3-deep
    configurations.

    &gt; Reversing ensures brood will be raised in both
    &gt; boxes

    No, it really assures nothing at all. If the
    brood patch is split between boxes, reversing
    will turn what was a single, cohesive brood
    area into two isolated patches, which will make
    brood rearing more difficult in early spring
    due to the need to have a minimum critical mass
    of bees to keep the two brood areas warm enough
    (95+ F!). You might actually LOSE some brood
    when reversing if you get a cold night or two.

    Splitting the brood area will in many cases
    cause bees to move eggs around in an attempt
    to re-create a cohesive brood area. This is
    both a waste of bee effort, and a risk to the
    specific eggs moved, which tend to have a lower
    hatch rate than eggs that are left alone.

    Even if one does not split the broodnest, moving
    the brood area to the bottom (the usual goal)
    creates exactly the opposite of what happens in
    a natural (wild) hive. Wild hives are built
    from the top down. The only expansion directions
    are downward and outward. Of course laying will
    happen in a downward direction. The only
    "incentive" that can "lure" the laying in any
    specific direction would be some nice fresh
    comb, as newer comb is favored over older for
    brood rearing.

    &gt; and expands the brood area

    The mere movement of the brood area (if all in
    one box) or division of the brood area (if
    split between boxes) will do nothing to "expand"
    the brood area. The queen will lay no faster,
    and her "court" will still herd her around in an
    attempt to keep the brood area contiguous.

    &gt; particularly with older queens, which are
    &gt; less inclined to lay throughout the hive.

    This is also easily refuted. The queen has no
    "choice" in the matter, she is "herded around"
    by her attendants. While an older queen certainly
    will not lay eggs at the same average rate as a
    new queen, the age of the queen does not change
    how far the group of bees herding her around are
    "willing" to herd her. In fact, the primary
    mission-critical motivation is to keep the brood
    nest contiguous, so if the queen is laying at a
    good rate, and there is sufficient fresh nectar
    (or the equivalent in thin syrup) and pollen
    coming in, the brood next will expand in a
    spherical manner from wherever it is.

    If you want a larger brood sphere, you need a
    new queen. Its really just that simple! Queens
    are more like "livestock" to the bees than
    "royalty". They herd her around, she lays eggs,
    and they take care of her. When she starts to
    show signs of no longer being a good egg layer,
    they kill her without a moment's remorse.

    &gt; It also encourages reorganizing of feed in the
    &gt; hive

    Yeah, and what a waste of effort that is!
    Those bees might be otherwise drawing comb!!!

    &gt; and is thus stimulative.

    This is a highly unusual use of the term
    "stimulative", one to which we have hitherto
    been unexposed. [img]smile.gif[/img] I would think a better
    term would be "an impediment to colony expansion". [img]smile.gif[/img]

    &gt; Moreover it ensures that the lower parts of
    &gt; all frames are used by the bees,

    The whole business of "lower parts of frames"
    is a function of being near the entrance, where
    there is lots of foot traffic. One does not
    place one's nursery in the front hall, nor does
    one put one's pantry in the front hall. Bees
    have the same "problems" as you would with such
    an arrangement. Reversing simply changes which
    frame-bottoms are nearest the entrance, it does
    nothing to "solve" the problem. Some folks use
    slatted racks to "solve" this problem, as some
    of the problem is said to be the light and breeze
    coming in from the entrance. I'd agree that the
    breeze from the entrance would make brood rearing
    more difficult, but I still think that the
    operative factor here is "foot traffic" in
    the "font hall".

    &gt; reduces the honey barrier at the top of the
    &gt; hive

    Well, if there IS a "honey barrier" in the
    topmost box, then moving that box to the
    bottom does what? It puts the "honey barrier"
    SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKIN BROOD
    NEST!!! That's not a good idea, is it? [img]smile.gif[/img]

    &gt; and makes the beekeeper realize when a hive
    &gt; is too light (starving) or too heavy (honey
    &gt; bound).

    Well OK, but one can simply heft the hive
    by lifting from the back of the hive, and
    get the same information without tearing the
    hive apart.

    If you look at an observation hive long enough,
    you will notice that "up and down" really are
    no big deal to the bees, and there is no
    "unwillingness" to "move downwards".

    Reversing brood nest chambers is a harmless
    waste of effort if the broodnest is confined
    to one chamber, and will SLOW DOWN colony
    expansion if the brood nest is split between
    the two chambers. Blindly reversing chambers
    without looking at the extent of the existing
    brood pattern and considering the implications
    would be a very very dumb move.

    Yes, I know that everyone and his brother has
    written books that make claims about reversing,
    including Dewery, Diane, the late Roger Morse,
    and dozens of others. If questioned, they
    have little or nothing to support the claims.

    There is zero evidence to support those claims,
    and even a cursory examination by the casual
    observer can refute the claims

    So, beekeeping is NOT for dummies.
    You have to at least be as smart as the bees. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    jim

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,513

    Post

    Even if one does not split the broodnest, moving
    the brood area to the bottom (the usual goal)
    creates exactly the opposite of what happens in
    a natural (wild) hive. Wild hives are built
    from the top down.
    Is anyone aware of any research or attempts to build a modern hive that recognizes and takes this natural condition into account, other than top bar hives? I'm thinking of standard moveable frames with foundation in 8 to 10 frame boxes that are in the exact reverse order of what we consider a "normal" configuration. As Jim points out, we tend to design and manage according to what fits our comfort zone rather than the bees'. Top bars appear to resolve all but the uniformity constraints required in a sideline or commercial apiary where cost and efficiency demand certain standards of size, interchangeability, extractability, etc.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,481

    Post

    I tried installing a package in four medium boxes with foundationless frames. The cluster hung at the top in the center and built down, not up. The hive did fine. I agree if you let them do what is natural they build from the top down. Not the bottom up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    fall city Wa USA
    Posts
    112

    Post

    Jim Fischer
    I enjoy your posts.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,792

    Post

    I use to be a follower of reversing, but have been finding in my own hives, that it really is a waste of time, and hard on the bees. Found out by accident by an overworked spring.
    I have never had a queen stuck laying in the top box. She has always gone down when she needs to. Keep in mind, that I dont clean my burr comb (or what ever it is called) from my top and bottom bars of my frmaes. I think this helps her cross b/w the two boxes.
    Shes happy, just left alone, to do here work the way she intended to.

    Now, you have to realize also that I do split down my hives in the spring as a method of swarm control. This decreases my likely hood of mass colony swarming. So I guess the question now is, does reversing prevent a stronge spring hive from swarming? I doubt it. Probably just delays things as the brood nest is all mixed up,...
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,481

    Post

    &gt;Probably just delays things as the brood nest is all mixed up,...

    I agree. I also agree with Jim and that's why I don't reverse.

    But if you follow George Imirie's logic, you just keep delaying it and delaying it and delaying it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Post

    I've tried reversing and not-reversing hives in the same apiary using overwintered hives that were about the same strength. Results: the reversed hives were much stronger after about 6 weeks - with bees and brood in both hive bodies. So far this spring I've only reversed two hives - I hope to reverse all at some point.

    Jim - do you have a reference for bees moving eggs? I've never seen nor heard of this and would like to read about it. Thanx

    Triangle Bees

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    &gt; Jim - do you have a reference for bees moving eggs?

    Heck - any book that covers basic bee biology.
    There are dozens out there.

    The most obvious "moved" egg would be one
    used to make an "emergency queen cell"
    in the case of the untimely death of a queen
    with no queen cell "in progress".

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Fremont, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    695

    Post

    "I tried installing a package in four medium boxes with foundationless frames. The cluster hung at the top in the center and built down, not up. The hive did fine. I agree if you let them do what is natural they build from the top down. Not the bottom up."

    Reminds me of my sister-in-laws first package. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    She is a "I can do it myself, I read the book type of person. (I love her dearly) She installed a package a few years back and decided that it was better if she put the gallon feeder directly on the top bars. She then added an empty deep box, inner and top cover. When she went back to check the queen, she found that the bees had built some very nice comb. Problem was the comb was attached to the inner cover! [img]smile.gif[/img] What a mess.
    She shook them down, removed the wild comb and put the feeder above the inner cover and they turned out alright.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Clarksville, TN, USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    Don't reverse, Just inspect for disease, split and/or requeen. the less you manipulate your colonies the more they produce.

    Do put all the frames and hive bodies back in order as you close up.

    the KISS principle for beekeeping
    Chuck

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