According to George Imirie, the deeps should be reversed in February. Now I opened my hive last week during a 70 degree day. I think the bees broke cluster. The top super was still full of honey. Only the edge frames were empty. Now I am assuming that the cluster is still in the bottom super. Feb is 2 weeks away. Should I reverse if the cluster is still in the bottom super?
I also noticed on my sticky board, that there is still brood hatching due to the debris. Is this normal?
Are you sure about this? I read Imery too and don't recall this suggestion. I thought it was March or later on the timing.
No, it is February that he suggests. I don't have enough experience to judge if this is sound advice, but it really seems much too early. I read his stuff recently and I'm really not sure that I'll take his suggestions, and I'm quite a bit south of MD.
Hopefully some of the more experienced folks will set us straight.
[This message has been edited by AstroBee (edited January 14, 2004).]
Until March my main concern is keeping the stores over their heads. I would only reverse to put the stores above the cluster, not vica versa. Also, when I reverse (hardly ever) I'm trying to get the queen in the bottom, not the top.
Depending on the climate, pollen etc. the bees will start raising brood again as early as December and as late as March, but usually they are raising some at least by February.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited January 14, 2004).]
Different locations/climates would have dramatically different reversal dates. That is the problem with some of George's/anybodies advice, it is for his local, and might be completely wrong for yours.
I live in NC and usually reverse brood boxes sometime between Feb 15 and March 15. It depends on the weather and I only do this if I find the bottom box empty of brood and the top box with mostly capped brood. I keep reversing every 2 weeks until the main nectar flow starts (around April 26 here). It really helps the spring build up, but you may need to split some bees off to prevent swarming.
I have read and even copied all the Pink Pages that George has published in the last four years and made a booklet. When I first read his recomendation to reverse starting in Feburary I had reservations and asked a lot of questions too.
It does all depend upon where you live, according to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map, I am on the border of zone five and six. I live in zone six and keep a few bees here, and my main bee yards are in zone five.
Maryland is divided into three zones, five, six, and along the southern coast is zone seven. So if he lives in zone seven along the coast, his recomendation of reversing in Febuary is dead on. My weather will allow me in zone six to do it in early March, and my yards up north in zone five in late March. Up in MB land (Nebraska) where he boarders five and four, April timeframe seems just about right.
Now all this is really done on a as need basis. If your stores are used up in the bottom and the bees have moved up, it's time to reverse. Many beekeepers never reverse and don't feel a need to. Others do it on a regular basis and see results from it. It's a management system that you have to determine if it's right for you.
One rule that needs to be adhearded to is just like manupliating brood frames, DON'T SPLIT THE BROOD IN HALF. It's not easy catching the brood all in one box or the other, so there is an acceptable percentage of brood that can be split off, but certainly not more than twenty percent.
I have reversed in the past and will as needed, but in general I have seen my queens laying both high and low in the brood boxes. I run three and four mediums with Permacomb. The bees attach the tops and bottoms together to make one continuious comb vertically, and the queen will run up and down the entire length of the comb to lay in the cells where ever the bees have them prepaired for her. However this in not necessairly the case for standard wooden frames.
So do you absolutely, positivily need to reverse? Well, can, don't have too, if you feel the need to do something for your bees it's less time consuming than making little lawn furniture for them.
>Are you sure about this? I read Imery too and don't recall this suggestion. I thought it was March or later on the timing.
Yes, Dazy, late March would be about the right time for where you live.
Ya and for me here in northern NY you can't reverse till around mid april. I use dandelions as one of the indicators of wether I can reverse or not. Since I use three deep reversing can be a little different. One thing I can say is some bees will expand down and not need to be reversed, so bee observant. I reverse only once, sometimes twice, non of that half the spring stuff.
>Ya and for me here in northern NY you can't reverse till around mid april. I use dandelions as one of the indicators of wether I can reverse or not.
That's good advice, I think. Look for the dandelions before you worry about it at all.
>Since I use three deep reversing can be a little different.
One nice thing about three boxes is you are more likely to find all the bees in the top two and have the bottom one free to reverse, if that's your thing.
>One thing I can say is some bees will expand down and not need to be reversed, so bee observant.
That's why I usually DON'T reverse at all.
>I reverse only once, sometimes twice, non of that half the spring stuff.
I reverse if I find all the bees and brood at the top and a lot of empty comb down below, but usually they will move down on their own anyway.
George Imirie seems to think that all that reversing prevents swarming. I've never considered myself to have a problem with swarming.
Some bees will swarm no matter what but most of my hives have not swarmed most of the time. I have only had a few hives most of the time I've had bees, but only had five swarms that I either know of or suspect (because of sudden depopulations of hives and swarm cells on the frames) in the last 30 years. And four of those were in the middle of a drought in August, not swarm season and I don't think reversing would have detered them any.
If you want to prevent swarming, make sure you have a young queen (not more than 2 years old and preferably less than 1 year old) and make sure there is room in the supers for honey and room in the brood chamber for the queen to lay (not honey bound) and adequate ventilation so the bees aren't hanging on the front of the hive in the middle of the day. A screened bottom board and a slatted rack will help with the cluster space at night and ventilation all the time.
I think all that reversing just gives you a bad back and disrupts the brood nest.
Greeting . . .
From the above posts, I now know . . .
1) Only reverse to put stores above cluster and queen in bottom.
2) Do NOT split brood nest. Finding ALL brood in ONE super is difficult.
3) Some do NOT reverse at all. Bees sometimes expand down.
4) Dandelion bloom is a good indicator of proper time to reverse.
5) Reversing 3-story hive is different than reversing 2-story.
. . A) Likely to find bees in top two supers w/ bottom empty.
. . B) Reversing 3-story to control swarming is NOT necessary.
In what other way(s) is reversing 2 and 3-story hives different?
Dave W . . .
A NewBEE with 1 hive.
First package installed
Thanks for all the advice. The dandelion trick is great!!
With three you are often taking a bottom box and putting it on top and leaving the other two in the same order. In other words, counting up from the bottom with story 1, 2 and 3 you would rearrange from bottom to top with 2,3 and 1.
Two boxes are self explanatory. You just switch them.
When I find an empty box on the bottom with hardly any bees or brood, I just move it to the top of the brood nest. I don't look for it.