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  1. #1

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    I was looking with a friend for unlimited brood nest and the topic it was under. Can the owner please step forward and discuss the benifits.

    thanks
    Phillip

  2. #2
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    In my humble opinion:

    Pros:

    Less swarming. More winter stores. Possibly more brood and stronger hive.

    Cons:

    More lifting of full deep boxes (if you use deeps) to inspect and look for the queen. More difficulty finding the queen because you have 10 more frames to search, if you use a queen excluder. If you don't she might be anywhere.

  3. #3
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    Hi Philip,

    I was looking with a friend for unlimited brood nest and the topic it was under. Can the owner please step forward and discuss the benifits.

    reply:

    I have written much of the info on the subject here. What exactly would you like to know?

    Micheal writes:

    Pros:

    Less swarming. More winter stores. Possibly more brood and stronger hive.

    reply:

    Also less feeding (often none)thus time and labor saving. Gives you the time to inspect the ten extra frames in the fall.

    Cons:

    More lifting of full deep boxes (if you use deeps) to inspect and look for the queen. More difficulty finding the queen because you have 10 more frames to search, if you use a queen excluder. If you don't she might be anywhere.

    reply:

    Lifting is one of those beekeeping things. Checking for queen right colonies is quick. It is disease inspection that takes time I find with the ten extra frames. 99% of the time the queen is in the 3 deeps brood chambers without the excluder. I don't worry about the 1 % as I have queens in nucs for back up. These colonies make good pollator colonies but there size makes them hard to move. Also more cost in the equipment to run them. Also can need ladders if you stack them tall and you need to make sure there fairly level so they don't tip over(not to big a deal however to level. But all in all I find the advantages to out weigh the disadvantages.

    Clay



  4. #4

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    Can you give me the complete overview of the benifits. Or can you attach some links to past posts for me to review would be great.

  5. #5
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    Hi Philip,

    Here is some past posts:

    Hi,
    The management technique I am talking about isn't so much a technique but an old style of management. The use of double brood chamber in the US was to have a small enough brood nest to be able to move with ease but large enough to prevent swarming. Adopted by the commercial beekeeper(especially pollenators). In the spring colonies are split to retard swarming and make up losses. But splitting colonies causes loss of field force thus less potential crop. Not so good if one is managing for honey alone and doesn't earn $$$ from pollenation. But to secure a good crop without swarming or splitting one needs to utilize a third BROOD CHAMBER for maximum production. In double boxes often excluders are used to restrict the queen. Note the word restrict! In the use of 3 boxes the queen is encouraged to lay a maximum of eggs at all times and is never restricted. Small economical splits can bee made later in the season as brood can be taken from three chambers not two. Also feed will be minimized to almost zero. Maximum food that is all natural will be left for winter. No syrups to make or pollen patties to brew. Your work load is minimized. And you still get large populations of bees. Efficient use of your time. Many say that the bottom brood chamber is empty in the spring. I say look again! It is full of pollen. Why make patties when honeybees can provide for themselves? How does one stimulate in the spring? Add wet supers! Much can be learned from they old management style of unlimited brood nest. Try it you might like it. Those who should not use it are those whom are physically weak and can't handle heavy lifting or wish not to produce as much honey as they could (just home use). Or some in the UK and other parts who have strains of bees that don't keep large brood nests. Any questions just ask.

    regards,

    Clay




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Clay--
    Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. I was unable to find the queen, so I combined hives without dequeening. If neither queen survives, with the bees create a new queen this late in the season?
    Unlimited brood nest management sounds too good to be true -- and I do have a few questions!
    What is a wet super? Why isn't it necessary to feed either syrup or pollen substitute?
    Why isn't this management style used more frequently, since it seems to have so many advantages? (I have to lift brrod chambers to reverse them in the spring, and to clean the bottome board, so using 2 brood chambers doesn't eliminate lifting.) Are there any books or articles on unlimited brood nest management?
    Again, thanks for your help.
    Margot


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi Margot,
    What is a wet super?

    reply:

    One that still has honey residue in it after extracting is called wet. Dry means it was given back to the bees to clean the honey out(this may cause serious robbing). This residue of honey is used to stimulate brood rearing in the spring thus no syrup and you have suped the colony at the same time.

    Why isn't it necessary to feed either syrup or pollen substitute?

    reply:

    Because the bees have more in a three deep set up top (third box is plugged out with honey) for winter and the second brood chamber is quite full too! The old rule is to never take honey that isn't surplus, don't take from the brood chambers. There is one exception being honey bound. One needs to use judgement there. Why feed artificial feed when the bees have lots of the real deal?

    Why isn't this management style used more frequently, since it seems to have so many advantages?

    reply:

    New beekeepers aren't taught this anymore. Also these colonies can get five or more deep supers tall. How could you move them when they get so big? It doesn't lend itself well to commercial pollenation, or anywhere the bees are on the go. It is for permanent apiaries where the beekeeper makes money by honey and other hive products.

    I have to lift brrod chambers to reverse them in the spring, and to clean the bottome board, so using 2 brood chambers doesn't eliminate lifting.)

    reply:

    This is one of those things to beekeeping: lifting. You will need to place the empty bottom brood chamber on top in the spring(it still will have lots of pollen, thus you need no pollen pattty) and thus reverse. But the cluster won't be split this way, only when being moved(unless you can move two boxes at once).

    Are there any books or articles on unlimited brood nest management?

    Swarming: its control and prevention by Snelgrove. There are others, I will look them up for you. They are old books however, but still very good. Also I recommend the book, Beekeeping, a manual for english speaking beekeepers by Wedmore. You will have to look hard in used and rare book stores might be a copy or two left at barnes and nobles. com.

    regards,

    Clay


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Margot,
    I can see that Clay, Robert and Richard have been helping you much here concerning information on Unlimited broodnests, combining colonies, and feeding and using wet supers. Even as to recommending books to read.

    Clay wrote me an email and asked me to put my two-cents worth in, but so far most of the bases seem to have been covered and you have already combined the colonies fine from what I am reading.

    Unlimited broodnests are an old traditional style of keeping honeybees not seen too much in todays modern world. It is production for hive products at its best.

    Most beekeepers that use unlimited broodnests today are in rural settings where such traditions can still be followed by those willing to put forth the work. The rewards can be great, both in pleasure and in products produced such as honey, pollen, propolis, wax, and yes the bees themselves for both food (protein supplement) and resale (to other beekeeers).

    A basic unlimited broodnest is about 3 deeps. Within it is contained the whole broodnest and accompanying pollen and honey, normally in a ratio of 10-10-10 not counting probably also another 10 equivalent in water to use the stores effectively in consumption.

    For every bee produced in a colony it takes a cell equivalent of water, pollen and honey to support -one- bee! With the unlimited broodnest all these are present at all times, because on a natural old system of beekeeping the bees would fill the broodnest area first and then anything above that would be for the beekeeper as his reward for keeping his animals healthy.

    In olden days it was looked up as tithing back for your animals so to have on hand food necessary to sustain them for the coming year just in case difficulties should arise in climate/weather conditions or ?

    I'm not going to go into requeening here, but you have done good and the bees might surprise you and keep both queens for awhile, though the old queen will probably die over winter and the younger will survive to carry on. This would follow natural tendencies as happens in nature, with mother, daughter supercedures in the fall season going into winter, so adequate fall brood is available to have winter carry over bees, so in the spring the colony is more certain to start up successfully again.

    I will leave you now, as you are in good hands and seem to have many good friends watching and advising you here.

    Basically all you need to do now is watch stores to make sure the bees don't run out, make sure the brood combs were combined and all the brood placed together and around that frames of honey on the sides and top for insulation, to help against the cold, as each frame of honey equals so much R-value as in actual home insulation, besides food.

    Then in the spring with help from here, just work them up as normal.

    Best regards to you:

    Dee-


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To all the beekeepers who have taken the time to offer such helpful advice--
    I think it's probably too late to try to winter over three brood chambers at this point, since I don't have enough full frames, espcially of pollen. I'm feeding syrup now, however, and bees are taking it readily. I'll open the hive this week-end, but will probably use two brood cahmbers plus the shallow full of honey which I've saved for winter stores. This arrangement worked well last winter. I put a piece of foam inside the outer cover, for insulation and prevention of condensation -- and the bees took the northern New England winter in stride.
    I will try three deeps next season -- but still wonder why, when it has so many advantages, this method isn't used by more beekeepers.
    Many thanks to all the geneous members of the beekeeping community for sharing their experience.
    Margot


    I'll post more!

    Clay


  6. #6
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    Here's more:


    I'm beginning to understand more about this system of manaagement ( and will order Snelgrave's book soon) but I still have questions:
    How does the use of three deeps eliminate supplemental feedings of syrup and pollen, and yet produce more honey? Do you use any shallow supers, or just deeps?

    Why does a queen excluder reduce the amount of brood? Doesn't the queen just stay in the available deeps, and lay the same number of eggs?

    If you leave three deeps on during the winter, can the cluster produce enough heat to survive in the larger area?

    And, on a completely different topic, what is the difference between this board and the BeeData Bulletin Board?

    Thanks to the many beekeepers who've provided detailed answers to my questions!


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi,
    How does the use of three deeps eliminate supplemental feedings of syrup and pollen

    reply:

    The bees fill them naturally. You Don't touch their honey as they make theirs first. This insures winter survival and what is surplus is yours.

    and yet produce more honey?

    reply:

    In bad years you won't produce more honey. BUT.....your bees will have food to survive that is natural. Yes you will get surplus just not as much. The reverse is true in good years. All that is happening is that instead of stripping your bees of honey and pollen then replacing it with syrup and pollen sub. you are leaving the real deal there. Also you eliminate most of (if not all)the lugging of feeders and syrup and all that is involved with that.For example if you harvest 80 lbs of honey. Yet you feed back 40 lbs worth in syrup. Did you really make 80 lbs that was surplus? No only 40. This is some of the thought behind this management style. This style of management takes care of the bees first then the beekeeper. You will find that if you do this the bees will in turn take care of you(profit).

    Do you use any shallow supers

    reply:

    Yes, I do. The three brood chambers are deeps so that combs are interchangable. the third deep is often quite full of honey and the queen rarly goes above. Thus I use excluders very sparingly. Shallows are good for cut comb honey too.

    or just deeps?

    reply:

    I use these too! They make they hive very flexible so combs are interchangeable. I will be going more in this direction. What ever the super you want to use use it, its your choice. I like both. Just don't add a third type super size or your will have a frame sizing mess. (note: section supers are fine as they can't be confused)

    Why does a queen excluder reduce the amount of brood?

    reply:

    The answer is in its name it excludes the queen. What happens when the two brood chambers are full of honey pollen and brood? If you had the third available the queen would just keep on laying. Swarm! Swarm! Swarm! Congestion! The queen is restricted with an excluder. Thus less bees as she has no options to lay more brood = less production. Easier to just let her lay and manipulate frame where you what them. Use excluders only when neccessary.

    Doesn't the queen just stay in the available deeps, and lay the same number of eggs?

    reply:

    Yes this would be true, not always. BUT when honey and pollen start filling in these combs she runs out of room quickly. Swarm, congestion! Many queens are quite prolific.An unrestricted queen is better in my POV.

    If you leave three deeps on during the winter, can the cluster produce enough heat to survive in the larger area?

    reply:

    Of course! I live in the Adirondack mountains of NY. Honey is a natural insulator. It has a good R value. Bees only heat what they need not the whole hive. This isn't a problem.

    Clay- keep asking



  7. #7

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    Thanks for your info. I am going to try this with a few hives this year. I will give a update.

  8. #8
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    Philip here's more from the Root's:


    Hi all,

    There are 5-6 pages here of good info but to much for me to type. Here is the
    section titled:

    SOME FURTHER ADVANTAGES OF THE FOOD CHAMBER (FROM 1959 COPY OF ABC XYZ)

    1. When the food chamber is used the queen is likely to use the entire area of
    the combs in the brood chamber because the brood combs are not clogged with
    honey in the upper portion. This will result in better combs because the cells
    do not stretch when the queen once occupies cells of combs to the top bars.
    2.With the proper use of the food chamber there is no danger of any leftover
    dark fall honey getting mixed in with the fresh crop of white honey the
    following summer, provided white honey and not dark honey is reserved for food.
    All leftover honey is in the food chamber and not in the brood chamber at the
    beggining of the major flow.
    3. The proper use of the food chamber makes it possible to weed out undesirable
    queens. This in the end will mean a survival of the fittest, resulting in a
    more hardy, vigorous race of bees with superior honey-gathering qualities.
    Only genuinely good queens can meet the requirements of food chamber hives. No
    other kind of queen is worth the while.

    I would have us focus in one the first part of point one which provides large
    brooding areas necessary for strong colonies. And point three. Point two is
    conditional based whether or not one leaves all light honey. I personally
    allow some fall honey. But my fall honey is rather light too. In a nut shell
    food chamber management and unlimited broodnest management are two variations
    on the same thing.

    Hi all,

    On the next page:

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to describe in detail the manipulation of
    the food chamber for each of the regions throughtout the country. Each
    beekeeper must work out a system that fits his particular locallity. The main
    thing to keep in mind is to have the food chamber well filled with honey and
    pollen at the close of the season, in addition to the honey that may be found
    in the brood chamber. So that there may be a super-abundance of stores for
    each colony until abuntant nectar and pollen from natural sources are again
    avaiable the following season.

    Clay



  9. #9
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    One question about this, and maybe it was answered, and I missed it, Do you need to reverse the 2 bottom deeps throughout the year, and not touch the food chamber?



    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  10. #10
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    Hi,

    One question about this, and maybe it was answered, and I missed it, Do you need to reverse the 2 bottom deeps throughout the year, and not touch the food chamber?

    reply:

    Unlimited broodnest and food chamber management are very similar yet slightly different. The Root's tried not to let the bees brood up into the 3rd so much for some reason. Yet in wintering the bees most certainly move up there. Just honey for winter for the most part. Where as ULBN wants brood in all yet plug up the third in time to have adequate stores. ULBN can have a bit higher population where as food chamber garantees stores better with a bit less brood. The danger in ULBN is when the beekeeper opens up the 3rd later in the season and the bees are unable to replace the stores. For example, the beekeeper opens up the 3rd in Sept. to allow brooding in the third and the fall flow is poor you will have a large population yet little stores. Now this is just an example and the beekeeper must work out what works for his area. So in essence the food chamber act like a honey super that the beekeeper never touches. But with ULBN it is more of a brood chamber that is touched if needed yet gets plugged out as a honey super come mid season or so. As for reversing? I usually reverse just once in the spring, yet sometimes if needed twice. Now if you come across a coloney that isn't using the bottom box and starts brooding in the fourth. This is a situation for reversal. So reverse when it is needed, if not leave things alone. Make a judgement call when reversing later in the season.

    regards,

    Clay


  11. #11
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    But with ULBN it is more of a brood chamber that is touched if needed yet gets plugged out as a honey super come mid season or so. As for reversing? I usually reverse just once in the spring, yet sometimes if needed twice. Now if you come across a coloney that isn't using the bottom box and starts brooding in the fourth. This is a situation for reversal. So reverse when it is needed, if not leave things alone. Make a judgement call when reversing later in the season.

    regards,

    Clay

    Thats what I was thinking. In other words, let the bees do their thing. I think they would start filling the third in Sept anyway. I can understand that the population would be higher as well. So, I regress the bees to 4.9 using starter strips, then add the 4.9 foundation, get smaller size bees, but lots of them, and get max production. This sounds like the only way to go for me. I never plan on moving a few of my hives, so this will be perfect. Thanks for the info!


    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  12. #12
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    Another thing to consider is that with 4.9mm you will have a lot more brood on a frame too.


  13. #13
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    Let me ask a question as this is so very interesting to me. Something I'd like to do as my colonies will be used for polination then 2ndly for honey if any. With 3 deep brood chambers has anyone thought of putting an entrance at the top of the brood chamber just as one starts to add supers so the bees will not have so much distance to climb to deliver their honey. That will make 2 entrances--one on the bottom and one just above the brood chamber and below the supers. Just a thought. Darrell

  14. #14
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    With 3 deep brood chambers has anyone thought of putting an entrance at the top of the brood chamber just as one starts to add supers so the bees will not have so much distance to climb to deliver their honey.

    Response: I do it now. I drilled 5/8 inch holes in the center or so of the supers. Then when it comes time to get the bees out, I tape the hole with duct tape. And you are right, it saves the bees the distance of traveling, and also acts as a vent in the summertime.


    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  15. #15
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    . With 3 deep brood chambers has anyone thought of putting an entrance at the top of the brood chamber just as one starts to add supers so the bees will not have so much distance to climb to deliver their honey. That will make 2 entrances--one on the bottom and one just above the brood chamber and below the supers. Just a thought

    reply:

    Yes. I have tried a couple ways. I don't like holes in my equipment however. In the past I used to put a stick between the brood chambers and the supers. Then later added the top entrance which is a notch in the inner cover. Giving three entrances. Now I only use the bottom entrance and the top entrance. But from time to time I will use the stick above the brood chambers on really tall colonies. One could use the imerie shim. I don't like extra gadgets just something else to take care of. All I can say is experiment for yourself. After awhile you'll weed out all the wasted motions. Things have a way of working to simple and quick.

    regards,

    Clay


  16. #16
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    A DE Lanstroth kit comes with an inner cover that has a top entrance. If you look at the plans for a double screen board you can see how to make a toggle entrance and you can build your own inner covers this way. Some inner covers come with a notch. I figure one entrance at the top and one entrance at the bottom is sufficient and I also don't like putting holes in my equipment. I have drilled holes and they work ok, but then you're trying to close up and hive and you don't have a piece of duct tape with you. To move it or to put on a bee escape you need it sealed up. It's nicer to have the top entrance in the inner cover, although you also have to remember it when putting an escape in place. I have accidently had the notch on one of those notched inner covers down when putting on a bee escape. You do have to remember, but at least you don't have to run back to the house for something to seal the hole or move all the frames into another box that doesn't have a hole.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited November 21, 2002).]

  17. #17
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    What do you and Clay mean by a notch in the inner cover? All sold inner covers come with a half-circle hole on one side of the cover. Are you talkig about something else?

    Jorge

  18. #18
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    Hi Jorge,

    What do you and Clay mean by a notch in the inner cover? All sold inner covers come with a half-circle hole on one side of the cover. Are you talkig about something else

    reply:

    The hole you are talking about is the one. However all sold inner covers do not come with this notch. I cut my own notch in commercial inner covers around 3/4 inch. The outer cover is slide back to reveal the notch during active season. I now use 1/2" plywood for inner covers. I cut a V-notch in the front for an entrance. You get 10 or 11 covers per sheet of plywood depending on how you cut it. Which equal about $1.20 per inner cover.

    Clay



  19. #19
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    Hi Clay,

    Don't you mean "The outer cover is slid forward to reveal the notch"? In any case, I have the notch tus exposed and have never seen one bee go in or out that way. I have the notch facing te outer cover. Should it be facing "down", that is towards the top hive box.

    Jorge

  20. #20
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    Post

    Don't you mean "The outer cover is slid forward to reveal the notch"?

    reply:

    No. I lift the outer cover up and back so it sits flush on the inner cover to expose the notch. Rock is on the cover to keep the wind from tossing it.

    I have the notch facing te outer cover. Should it be facing "down", that is towards the top hive box.

    reply:

    The notch should face down. I had the same problem when faced up. I leave it that way year round. In the fall the outer cover goes back down and pushed forward to keep a space between the covers for winter flight yet blocks the wind. Some hives will use the top entrance almost exclusively. I put a stick between the covers for these so the bees can go down the porter escape hole in the middle of the cover to make room for all the traffic.

    Clay



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