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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Glenmoore, PA

    Default Checkerboarding question

    I want to try out Walt's ideas, plus try to be much more observant when looking thru the hives this spring. As I understand it, the goal is to avoid a solid layer of honey above the brood nest during the spring build up. Since the bees are usually up in the top of 2 boxes in early spring, all I have to do is rotate the boxes, and I'll then place a shallow on top of them.
    If I look at a frame from the top of the brood nest, and there is a layer of uncapped honey/nectar above the brood, that is ok, and does not count as a layer of honey, since they are using it to feed the larva. But what if there is a couple inch layer of capped honey? Will that stop the bees from expanding the brood up? If so, what do I do? I don't want to disrupt the brood pattern.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Tulsa, OK


    Full disclosure: I am trying to get started with checkerboarding myself but I just started last year, and I'm not quite there yet. Also, I'm not sure how you have your hives set up.

    Walt Wright sets his hives up, from bottom to top like this going into winter:

    1 shallow (pollen box)

    1 deep

    1 shallow

    (that basically works out to 2 deeps)

    Then, in late winter/early spring, he checkerboards the top shallow with honey/empty frames all the way across and adds a couple of shallow boxes of drawn shallows. [Edit: When you checkerboard, you end up adding a shallow to the setup. The result is, from bottom to top: shallow, deep, checkerboarded shallow, another checkerboarded shallow, empty comb] That process does not disturb the brood nest, which should be in the deep in late winter/early spring.

    It sounds like you have double deeps and no shallows. In PA, that may be necessary, don't know myself. If that is the case, then what you could probably try is to move the top deep to the bottom. Then, if you have some honey in the top deep, you could try to break it up/checkerboard what you have.

    At your latitude, you might try to overwinter on, from bottom to top: 2 shallows, 1 deep, 1 shallow. Then the next spring, you could checkerboard the shallow on top and add drawn shallows.

    IMO, the toughest part about Walt's system, from a beginner's perspective, is getting enough drawn comb. But then that's a problem for beginners no matter what.

    I have gone through one winter with a hive that was all mediums, and I adapted Walt's method by moving the brood nest to the bottom (in two mediums) and then checkerboarding the top two mediums. I think that will work. So far, this hive is expanding the brood nest and looks strong.

    I have some other hives set up as Walt recommends, but I do not have enough drawn shallows. We'll see how it goes.

    Last edited by NeilV; 03-05-2009 at 09:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA


    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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