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  1. #1
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    Default Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    I keep bees in deep Russia for 20 years.Swarming impulse is irrevesable!I remember some ideas in ABJ of artificial swarms,just brushing the colony off .Like they do it inthe south when selling bees to the North.I live in that same North in Russia.The idea is to split all the colony into 6-8 parts and forget about swarming.Help with references and ideas.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Based on Walt Wright's studies, swarming IS reversable, but more importantly, the impluse to swarm can be subdued.

    You can search on Beesource using "Checkerboarding". What he has discovered and done with bees is remarkable and makes sense. The problem is getting the "experts/PHDs" to study his and adopt his beekeeping methods.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Thank you for the checks.I remember it since 90th from ABJ.It didnot work in my case,in our russian native bees.90 % of beekeepers just keep sitting and wait for swarms.my last hope:to brush down of about 0.9kg of bees in single deep and let alone for a month.I drive them away for 0.5-1-2 miles.But the problemhat to do with the brood left-our climate changes in half a day.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 11-23-2009 at 11:00 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Just FYI:

    On the main beesource.com page is the (pov) point of view page. Including Walt's.

    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/walt-wright/
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    That's strange. It (CB) worked on the russian bees that were tested here.

    The trick is to do it early early. Before the earliest fruit bloom - plums, cherries, etc. At that point on their schedule, the colony is already in the swarm prep process. If the overhead honey reserve is broken up with empty comb early enough, swarm preps generally do not start, and brood nest expansion continues through the swarm prep period.

    If your cluster is in the topmost box, with brood to the top bars, adding empty comb above gets them storing nectar overhead - A key ingrediant to swarm prevention. Reverse if applicable. Otherwise, maintain empty comb at the top. If the colony fills the empty comb to the top, they can start into swarm preps.

    What few beekeepers recognize is that population in the early season is comprised of nurse bees and foragers. Even some nurse bees will go to the field to forage in their quest to meet reproduction requirements. They can fill the reversed empty deep in just a few fivehour work days with nectar.
    What saves us is that thay will only store nectar in the concentrated bees of the cluster, but if the population is sufficient to enfold most of the reversed empty, They can fill it in a hurry.

    "Maintaining" empty comb at the top can't be overemphasized. The recommended two shallows of comb is to cover that unexpected period when mild weather and field forage come together to generate a spurt in overhead storing. Don't let them fill it to the top, if swarm prevention is important to you.

    Walt W

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post

    If your cluster is in the topmost box, with brood to the top bars, adding empty comb above gets them storing nectar overhead - A key ingrediant to swarm prevention. Reverse if applicable. Otherwise, maintain empty comb at the top. If the colony fills the empty comb to the top, they can start into swarm preps.

    "Maintaining" empty comb at the top can't be overemphasized. The recommended two shallows of comb is to cover that unexpected period when mild weather and field forage come together to generate a spurt in overhead storing. Don't let them fill it to the top, if swarm prevention is important to you.

    Walt W
    Well, Hooray! See Walt...we really do agree. Empty comb space above the cluster is the key to swarm prevention...whether it be CB or empty supers.

    Now about backfilling process....does the chicken or the egg come first?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    I agree with the comment that swarming is irreversable. The key to all the systems noted in the responses is that it is not un-preventable. Once the hive has made up it's mind to swarm, it's too late to prevent it. When you see all the warning signs, too quick a build up, on the edge of getting crowded, an older queen, etc, it's time to take action before you actually see signs of the swarm instinct taking over. Notice that Walt's plan doesn't wait until you find swarm cells. It is based largely on what is happening outside the hive. Start planning swarm prevention when the first major pollen appears in your area, not when the honey flow is two weeks away. Even better, have your swarm prevention plan in place in October so you will be more aware what is happening in March.
    doug

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by sierrabees View Post
    I agree with the comment that swarming is irreversable.
    Of course, that's debatable. It really depends how far along the bees are in their preparations.

    Cups with eggs are no problem. Get rid of every one, and manipulate the colony as needed...reverse and add supers.

    Very young swarm cells are about the same. Correct the problem, and most swarming can be avoided.

    Sealed cells are a horse of a different color. Difficult to control swarming at that point. Probably best to use what you have in that colony to make up nucs with cells.

    I'm sure you've all seen colonies that don't respond to any manipulations to control swarming. Colony doesn't seem to be so strong. Supers above are empty. Still swarming preparations continue. Look at those colonies differently. Swarming is a requeening process. Some colonies supercede, while some swarm. Requeen them.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    I have no advise. For information's sake, Ekaterinburg is 56.8 North Latitude which is north of Edmonton, Alberta. Perhaps some of our Canadian readers could chime in. As far as the bees themselves are concerned, if I understand correctly, the "Russian Bees" which have been imported were from the Primorsky region of Russia which would be due north of the western tip of Japan, at 131.6 degrees East longitude and 43.1 degrees North latitude, while Ekaterinburg is at 60.6 degrees East longitude. The distance between the two points is about 3000 miles. Perhaps there are some differences between the bees from the Primorsky region and those which ganbee are working with. I realize that they are still honeybees, but I am trying to look at the context in which ganbee is working.

    Larry

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Mike: Thought I should respond to your "hooray" posting above, but I've been busy. Fall flow failure here prompted feeding to backfill empty brood nests.

    We agree that for your area maintaining empty comb at the top of the broodnest is key to swarm prevention. But in other areas, not "key". According to my hardiness zone chart, at the canadian border, you are in zone 3/4. Tough winters. And your bees have consumed most of their overhead honey reserve before winter breaks. This is not the case for most of the country. If I draw the line at midway of zone 5 approximatly 60 % of the country will still have continously capped honey overhead. In that area, the capped honey must be interrupted with empty comb to encourage overhead storing. Bottom line: The "key" to swarm prevention for most of the country is breaking up the honey reserve to storing.

    Glad to see you are providing your experience to the beginners. Anything we can do to interrupt the chain of misinformation from yesteryear will help in the long run.

    Regards,
    Walt

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Must be the season to be generous:

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    '...Mike...' Glad to see you are providing your experience to the beginners. Anything we can do to interrupt the chain of misinformation from yesteryear will help in the long run.

    Regards,
    Walt
    As a novice, I'll take you (and Michael P. as well as all others) up on your offer(s). I posted the following thread yesterday, which I'm referencing for a full read - http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236008 if neccessary, and which MB kindly responded to, and whose immediate advice (to do nothing), considering the weather, I'm going to take, unless otherwise advised.

    Bottom line is I have a top deep totally filled with primarily capped honey and my bottom deep is making at least 1 capped 'queen' cell outside top 1/3 of frame #4. Having double deeps really rears it's ugly head right about now. I ran a medium super above all fall long they never touched, other than a path to sugar water feeder.

    I guess that I understand that we have to make room in our top, honey-filled deeps for brood expansion very, very early spring to try and stave off swarming. Can we move up any empty brood frames from bottom deep, or should we use new undrawn frames? Or does it matter? Would we move those replaced honey-filled frames down to back-fill brood box, or back-fill brood box with new frames (in my case, honey is worthless for my use - formic acid treated).

    Any other suggestions or corrections are always appreciated, and certainly, not only by me.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by LBEE View Post
    I have no advise. For information's sake, Ekaterinburg is 56.8 North Latitude which is north of Edmonton, Alberta. Perhaps some of our Canadian readers could chime in.
    Larry
    Thank you all for answers.I suppose the geografy is a crucial point.The colonies grow utterly uneven:lay 5000 eggs a day,once more:5000 eggs a day in a warm spell,then comes cold with snow somewhere in June -and you are talking one frame in,one frame out! For Ten days you cannot open a hive.Dick Allen in Alberta is about 15 days ahead of my place in respective plants`blooming..Wild unpredictable climate,The cold period expires and -here you are -swarming starts in all outyards/

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    We agree that for your area maintaining empty comb at the top of the broodnest is key to swarm prevention. But in other areas, not "key". According to my hardiness zone chart, at the canadian border, you are in zone 3/4. Tough winters. And your bees have consumed most of their overhead honey reserve before winter breaks. This is not the case for most of the country. If I draw the line at midway of zone 5 approximatly 60 % of the country will still have continously capped honey overhead. In that area, the capped honey must be interrupted with empty comb to encourage overhead storing. Bottom line: The "key" to swarm prevention for most of the country is breaking up the honey reserve to storing.
    This is an interesting concept. It seems to me that what you are doing by checkerboarding is placing empty comb above the active cluster, and that what you are saying in reality is that empty comb space above the cluster...is key. Same theory, with different management to get there. Even though my bees are located north of this imaginary line through zone 5, I too have colonies that have "continuously capped honey" overhead. My reasoning for this is that they...
    1. Had too much honey going into the winter.
    2. Were a more conservative colony in using their stores.
    3. Didn't begin brood rearing as early or in the quantity of other colonies.
    4. Were weak due to a number of reasons...TM, Varroa, etc.

    Why do your colonies still have a box of capped honey above the brood rearing cluster? Any or all of the above?

    And why is checkerboarding that honey a better plan than adding empty comb above the brood rearing cluster...as would be done with reversing or supering? What is the difference between checkerboarding supers and adding empty supers...above the cluster?

    I know from your thesis that you don't believe in reversing. Not sure why...the extra labor involved? Is that why you checkerboard rather than other hive manipulations? Reversing to me is an important and integral manipulation in my colony management. Not only is it important in swarm control, it allows me to get down into the colony. I can better judge the colony by actually looking at the broodnest...how far the cluster has expanded, how much brood there is, what the bees are doing in relation to swarm preparations.

    I find I have to reverse. Many colonies still have a considerable amount of honey in the top of the broodnest in the spring...some with that continuously capped honey overhead that you say is so pervasive south of zone 5. This honey is often crystallized and takes up space needed by an expanding brood rearing cluster. By reversing it down to the bottom board, the bees clean it out and free up the comb space. They make room for the soon to be incomming nectar of the dandelion/fruit bloom, which triggers much of our swarming. Checkerboarding leaves crystallized honey in the supers, which can't be extracted.

    Even my huge colonies, when manipulated as above...even when they have early swarming preparations started...respond favorably, and go on to produce crops approaching or exceeding 200 pounds.

    I know you don't like to debate your thesis, and I'm not calling you out. I just want to know why your bees behave differently than my bees, and how one manipulation can be the only way to skin a cat. I think a reasonable, civil debate would be a good thing....as I've said before.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Being a first-year keeper, the line between reading theory and truly understanding thru observation and experience is still quite a distance apart.

    I have read the article by CHARLES D. OWENS,
    http://www.beesource.com/resources/u...-bee-colonies/

    And the two points of most interest to the were:
    1. the obvious "Within the cluster the warmth permits normal cluster activity such as rearing the young and consuming food."

    and 2. "In the fall all colonies were arranged with the cluster in the center body. The top body contained most of the winter honey supply. In January the clusters moved upward until they were occupying the top body and part of the second body. The cluster was smallest at this time. In late January, brood rearing was started and the size of the cluster increased."

    So do I understand, Michael, that your experience is that indeed the cluster moves up, and that by reversing, you are taking the essentially-abandoned bottom brood comb and placing it above for expansion? Does strength-of-colony determine whether you reverse, or just new-super? Pros & cons?

    And here is about as close as I want to get to controversy - To me, reversing seems much less invasive than checkerboarding (provided the cluster is not spanning 2 boxes) and to contradict you, much less labor-intensive - I guess how much inspection time is put in determines that. I can swap a box in 5 minutes.

    Timing has to be very critical? If it takes 3 days for a disturbed cluster to re-establish (as indicated in the Owens article), a cold snap could kill the late winter brood. What signs tell you when to reconfigure?
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoodswoods View Post
    So do I understand, Michael, that your experience is that indeed the cluster moves up, and that by reversing, you are taking the essentially-abandoned bottom brood comb and placing it above for expansion? Does strength-of-colony determine whether you reverse, or just new-super? Pros & cons?

    And here is about as close as I want to get to controversy - To me, reversing seems much less invasive than checkerboarding (provided the cluster is not spanning 2 boxes) and to contradict you, much less labor-intensive - I guess how much inspection time is put in determines that. I can swap a box in 5 minutes.

    Timing has to be very critical? If it takes 3 days for a disturbed cluster to re-establish (as indicated in the Owens article), a cold snap could kill the late winter brood. What signs tell you when to reconfigure?
    All colonies act differently than others. When you say it's one way and one way only, you find the bees will do the opposite. That's the way bees are....

    Yes, of course. Bees move up through the winter. Depending on how strong the cluster is and how much honey overhead they went into winter with will determine how high in the hive the cluster is located. Strong clusters with lesser amounts of stored honey will be located in the top box and a half. Those with way too much honey will be located in the middle and bottom brood chamber...I have 3 on my colonies.

    Once the active brood rearing season gets going well...and just before Dandelion/fruit bloom, the cluster size is expanding. Either because there is a honey dome overhead, or because they have already reached the upper limits of the broodnest, the cluster will expand downward. Some accept this downward expansion more easily than others.

    Once the Dandelion/Fruit bloom starts, and with the colony unable to expand upwards, and nowhere but the broodnest to deposit the incoming nectar...swarm preparations are started. If you think about a colony's nectar management plan...nectar is brought into the colony by forager bees. They pass it on to the receiver bees, who deposit it where they can, in whatever empty cells are available. These cells...in a colony that has reached upper limits of their cavity can be in the bottom combs, in the comb space at the edges of the broodnest, and indeed, in the empty cells of the brood nest itself. At night, the nectar is moved up and out...away from the active brood rearing center. If there is no comb space...up and out...then the queen will be competing for comb space with incoming nectar. That to me is the trigger to swarming.

    To relieve that pressure, several manipulations can be performed. The colony can be split...adding empty combs in place of the removed nuc. The colony can be supered, which adds empty comb space above the cluster. Or, the colony can be reversed. Sometimes, a combination of the above is necessary.

    Reversing doesn't stimulate the queen to lay more or at an increased pace. It places the remaining empty comb space in the bottom box...it may only be the bottom half or third of the combs...above the cluster...allowing upward movement of both broodnest and nectar storage. Without additional comb space above though, the nectar management problem persists. Supering at the proper time will correct this.

    You ask about killing brood with a late winter cold snap, and that reversing would be less invasive the CB. Are you performing CB on the brood? Isn't it supposed to be done to the super of honey above the broodnest? CB might be less intrusive that reversing in that case.

    My reversing is performed on the Dandelion/Fruit bloom...not in late winter. And yes, colony strength will determing if a colony can/should be reversed. Weak colonies need more than reversing...I add an overwintered nuc that has been transferred to a 10 frame box...more or less reversing at that time...placing the weaker colony in 1 box on the bottom board, the box with the new colony on paper, and an empty body of combs on top.

    My plan is this. I add two medium extracting supers to the top of the hive in early May...before any Dandelion blossoms are observed. Remember, I sometimes still have snow on the ground in April. The colony feels they can move upwards...and they do. The queen will often lay in the bottom of these two supers. They also give the bees a place to store incoming nectar...up and out. It isn't long, once the D/F flow starts that the bees are right back where they were before the supers were added. They reach the upward limit of their cavity and start swarm preparations. At this time, I reverse. The weather has warmed some, and the colonies are gaining in population. No need really to worry about chilling brood. Reversing gets me into the broodnest. I can observe the strength of the colony and by interlooking, I can count the approximate number of frames of brood. I use this in my selection process for this year's breeder queens. I can find colonies with early swarm intentions, and correct what I think is the problem. I also use this in my selection...no colonies used with early swarm preps.

    Once the colonies have been examined and reversed, proper supering...keeping that upward expansion of nectar available...will eliminate most swarming. Some will of course persist. I find it difficult to believe when someone tells me thay never have any swarms. Over the years, I have performed every known management plan to control swarming. Some will persist no matter what you do. My bees are no different than anyone elses bees. Swarming is one way that honey bees requeen themselves. A colony that persists in swarm preparations after they have been manipulated, and when the swarming fever isn't brought on by inadequate nectar storage, requeen the colony.

    Another benefit of reversing the brood chambers is the handling of last year's remaining honey. In my area, this honey is often crystallized...or partially so. Once there is enough incoming nectar...enough so the bees no longer have to subsist on last year's stores...these remaining combs take up valuable broodnest space. Someone said something about my bees...because they're located in zone 3/4...not having an overhead dome of capped honey in the spring...a dome that has to be broken up for upward expansion and nectar storage. As I've said, every colony is different. Some have a honey dome, while others don't. I actually prefer that they don't. If there's a honey dome above the cluster when the D/F flow starts, then there's trouble. This dome is there for a number of reasons...too much honey was left on the colony, less prolific queens and therefore smaller clusters, problems with parasites and diseases, etc.

    When I find this situation, reversing is the plan. Place the honey on the bottom board, and the bees will clean out the combs. Leaving it upstairs in the supers above the active broodnest will insure crystallized combs of honey when you extract. Or, crystallized combs of honey for next year's winter stores...something I don't want my bees to have to deal with.

    I've never checkerboarded a colony. But, if the problem of a super of honey above the cluster has to be dealt with, and I was inclined to leave that old honey above...I would just place a super of empty combs under that super. Instant upward expansion with a minimum of labor. Removing frames from one super and rearranging them into two, and then handling both supers has to take much extra time...more than just slipping an empty super under the first. As I've said, I wouldn't do either...I'd place that super of last year's honey on the bottom board...recovering it later in the season when it has been emptied.

    What signs tell me to reconfigure...reverse? Dandelion bloom. It's the Dandelion nectar remaining in the broodnest that triggers swarm preparations. I guess one question I would like to see debated...the chicken and egg question...

    Does backfilling the broodnest come before swarm preparations have started, or after? I think before. The colony has reached the upward expansion of the cavity, and incoming nectar has to be deposited and stored in the active broodnest. As brood hatches, nectar is stored in those cells. If it can't be moved up and out, it remains to compete for comb space with the queen. To me, it seems, that backfilling process starts before swarm preps. Swarming is a result of backfilling, before backfilling is a result of swarming.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Michael, please don't take my one word of 'thanks' to understimate my appreciation for time you put into your reply. So many times great information is hidden deep inside other threads and never fully gleaned.

    I understand the process, but have some points I would like some clarification on:

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Depending on how strong the cluster is and how much honey overhead they went into winter with will determine how high in the hive the cluster is located. Strong clusters with lesser amounts of stored honey will be located in the top box and a half. Those with way too much honey will be located in the middle and bottom brood chamber...I have 3 on my colonies.
    Indeed I have an overhead dome of capped honey in my top deep - no brood cells (of only 2 boxes - they never built up into my upper super) and I noticed at least one supersedure cell toward the upper middle of my bottom deep last week. Battled SHB (late summer) and varroa (late fall) on, with a very small degree of DWV < 30 bees observed. I have to anticipate (with Italians) that they have back-filled my brood comb. With plenty of stores and our 'mild' winters, I am optimistic, but that depends on the colony health.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Once the active brood rearing season gets going well...and just before Dandelion/fruit bloom, the cluster size is expanding. Either because there is a honey dome overhead, or because they have already reached the upper limits of the broodnest, the cluster will expand downward. Some accept this downward expansion more easily than others.
    I know that the queen will only extend up so far and with the eliptical dome, their expansion room is limited to cells below the dome, but when you talk of downward expansion, if this is post-reversing and 'downward' is into the reversed honey dome, where are they getting the 'down' space? If this is pre-reversing, and there is space above, upward expansion is just determined by how far up the queen is willing to go and how much free space remains below the dome, and downward expansion assumes no back-filling of the brood cells. If I have both a top honey dome and bottom back-filled brood box, brood expansion is essentially very limited - except by swarming.

    I assume that the window I have for reversing is quite small/short. Just throwing supers above the honey dome isn't going to make the brood expansion any larger like it might be if the full-box dome didn't exist. Do I assume that the dome is essentially a barrier, regardless of space above that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Reversing doesn't stimulate the queen to lay more or at an increased pace. It places the remaining empty comb space in the bottom box...it may only be the bottom half or third of the combs...above the cluster...allowing upward movement of both broodnest and nectar storage.
    By 'empty comb space in the bottom box' (now reversed on the top), can I assume that that is brood comb that has matured out or has been abandoned during the upward movement of the cluster, as well as back-filled honey comb consumed by them during the winter? Should I swap any backfilled comb down into any empty honey-dome frames & vice versa? Would you pull out any of the now top back-filled frames and replace them with undrawn frames?


    You talk of nectar management - and the bees moving that up during the night. Do I assume that I need to add enough supers to not only allow for the transfer of all that (now) bottom deep honey dome stores up, but also for brood expansion and new stores comming in?


    I'm not in a position to determine what I should do about re-queening/packaging. They are superseding for a reason, I guess, and considering the pests I've had to deal with and the general lack of robustness in the colony, they are not pleased with mother's performance. I'm not going to do anything to prevent this apparent supersedure - to whom she will mate with anytime soon is ???. When I reverse, I can certainly check to see if I have expansion, but if I don't, that would be a difficult time to purchase a queen - I guess that the smart thing to do would be to prepare now to requeen with a package and make a decision then to either pinch whose left in the old colony, or start a new hive.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoodswoods View Post
    I know that the queen will only extend up so far and with the eliptical dome, their expansion room is limited to cells below the dome, but when you talk of downward expansion, if this is post-reversing and 'downward' is into the reversed honey dome, where are they getting the 'down' space?

    If this is pre-reversing, and there is space above, upward expansion is just determined by how far up the queen is willing to go and how much free space remains below the dome, and downward expansion assumes no back-filling of the brood cells. If I have both a top honey dome and bottom back-filled brood box, brood expansion is essentially very limited - except by swarming.

    I assume that the window I have for reversing is quite small/short. Just throwing supers above the honey dome isn't going to make the brood expansion any larger like it might be if the full-box dome didn't exist. Do I assume that the dome is essentially a barrier, regardless of space above that?



    By 'empty comb space in the bottom box' (now reversed on the top), can I assume that that is brood comb that has matured out or has been abandoned during the upward movement of the cluster, as well as back-filled honey comb consumed by them during the winter? Should I swap any backfilled comb down into any empty honey-dome frames & vice versa? Would you pull out any of the now top back-filled frames and replace them with undrawn frames?


    You talk of nectar management - and the bees moving that up during the night. Do I assume that I need to add enough supers to not only allow for the transfer of all that (now) bottom deep honey dome stores up, but also for brood expansion and new stores comming in? .


    If there's no dome, she'll be at the top of the hive in the spring...and first expand outwards and then down. It's either the dome of honey, or the top of the cavity that will stop her from moving up. When I say downward expansion, I mean pre-reversing. They can't expand up any further because of honey dome or cavity limit, so they move down.

    Pre-reversing, there is either a dome or they've reached the top, and so go down. That's why I add a couple supers early...just before Dandelion. Then they can move up. The queen will start in the bottom super, but soon Dandelion nectar comes in and limits her to the bottom super. If there's a dome, then she won't expand upwards...but I'm going to reverse them soon anyway. And they'll have room for nectar now.

    Yes, you're exactly right...If there is a honey dome above, or they've reached the cavity limit, and they are backfilling the broodnest, then swarming is the result. I've seen many strong 3 story colonies during the initial Dandelion flow that were all brood and honey in the top two boxes, and many combs of fresh nectar in the bottom box. That's your exact scenario...and they will swarm. Of course they will backfill the broodnest in such a situation. The only place left to store nectar is in the cells of newly emerged brood.

    The honey dome is a barrier...to the queen. Bees will store nectar above...that's the old controversy. Top supering or bottom supering. Both work, and both have their place. Sometimes with a really strong one whose a honey gathering machie...you need one under and one over.

    I'm not sure about your timing in Georgia. You might have more then I. Our willow bloom starts in the first half of April, and they build up so fast we need to be supering the first week of May and then all colonies reversed by the third week. Adding the initial supers really takes the pressure off and gives me more time to get my spring work done...with a minimum of swarming. Yep, I still have few that swarm...everyone does, no matter what they may say or think.

    The combs reversed up are the combs that were reversed down last year. All brood combs. The broodnest has expanded down into the top half of the combs in the bottom box...pre-reversing. The empty comb space would be below and to the sides of the brood in the central combs. Reverse that box up, and those empty cells are now right in the middle of the brood nest. Lots of empty cells to be bothered with and cleaned and for the queen to lay in...allowing time for other brood to hatch and the queen will lay in those. And enough super room above for nectar. All together the plan takes the pressure off. It seems that once the bees start working in the supers, they forget about swarming...as long as you keep empty super space for nectar.

    I wouldn't pull any combs. The bees will remove the honey in what was the honey dome, because it's now at the bottom of the hive. It's the bees' nature to move honey...nectar...up. Move the liquid up and throw the crystals out the front door.

    Super management is one of the areas beekeepers fail. They don't realize how much space it takes to store the nectar that goes into making a super of honey. Honey is 85% sugar, while nectar is 85% water...close enough. You might as well say it takes two supers of nectar storage space to make a super of honey. If you don't have enough super space, where do you think the bees will store the incoming? In the broodnest..and it will remain there as there isn't enough super space. Once the flow is on, you don't need for upward expansion of the brood. In fact, once you have a full super of honey, you should locate it on top of the broodnest.. I don't use excluders. It will keep the queen down in most cases.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    My access to the net has been broke for a week. You folks ran off and left me on this one while I was out of business.

    hoodswoods: Saw your other posting, but didn't have anything to add to MB's response.

    MP: Also saw the "chicken/egg" thing but wasn't sure I knew what the question was. Came close to answering it as you intended it.

    We have a little problem with nomenclature. Old literature speaks in terms of the "swarm impulse" as being evidenced by the starting of swarm cells. As I see it, the swarm impulse is the objective of all overwintered colonies - starting with build up in late winter and ending with swarm issue. Have tried to break up that sequence into managable pieces: build up, swarm preps, swarm commit, and issue where:
    Build up expands the brood nest to the minimum overhead honey reserve.
    Swarm preps is the period when the parent colony is prepared to sustain
    themselves through the loss of bees to the swarm.
    Swarm commit is the point of starting queen cells for replacement of the
    old Q leaving with the swarm.
    Issue of the swarm comes as replacement queens approach maturity.
    What we call these segments of spring colony development doesn't really matter, and I'm not going to be upset if you choose to call them something other than I do. However, it is important that you understand the order of the sequence.

    Mike agrees that backfilling precedes the start of Q cells. I see backfilling as the initial action of swarm preps. By replenishing stores prior to swarm commit, the colony is protecting survival of the parent colony. It serves other functions also. Remember that we are still in the early frosty morning period when all areas do not have reliable field forage. Insurance.

    Walt

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    http://www.twickenham-bees.org.uk/tedstip-demaree.html

    Do a search for "Demaree, bees" and you'll get more about this. It should be mentioned in this thread. Also search "Snelgrove board." It is often the case that one doesn't want to split but wants to prevent swarming.

    dickm

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Please try to recall anybody!Kind of artificial swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by dickm View Post
    http://www.twickenham-bees.org.uk/tedstip-demaree.html

    Do a search for "Demaree, bees" and you'll get more about this. It should be mentioned in this thread. Also search "Snelgrove board." It is often the case that one doesn't want to split but wants to prevent swarming.

    dickm
    Read the link above. It does make sense. What I didn't understand was the comment about moving the brood frames above (without bees). How can you do this without knocking off all of the house bees? What are the chances the brood gets chilled before the house bees migrate up to the brood (through 2 supers)?

    Seems this method is the opposite of checkerboarding.
    De Colores,
    Ken

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