Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 298

Thread: Checkerboarding

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    York, South Carolina
    Posts
    136

    Default Checkerboarding

    Hi:
    I realize this might be a little early for this question but here goes anyway. In the spring when you checkerboard a hive, reading between the lines of post here, you use drawn comb. What if you don't have drawn comb? I tried using foundation and the bees just extended the combs, in the area where there was no brood, on either side of the foundation and man what a mess I had. I use only 8 frame medium boxes with 3 boxes as the brood area. Do you checkerboard any boxes above there? There seems to always be brood in the 4th box
    Thanks
    Barney
    What\'s smarter than a talking Parrot-----A spelling bee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,511

    Default Re: Checkboarding

    It's not too early to talk about checkerboarding at all. You need to plan what you are going to do next late winter/early spring.

    I would try to checkerboard the top two boxes. By the time that you do the checkerboarding, you will have empty comb to checkerboard with. If you get lucky, they will have cleaned out most of the 3rd box and you can checkerboard the 3rd box with the fourth box.

    That checkerboarding will help. However, a key part of checkerboarding is adding a box of empty drawn comb above the checkerboarded boxes. People focus on the mixing of combs with honey and empty, due to the "checkerboarding" label. However, a big part of it is to get the bees up in the top box (all empty, drawn comb) early in the year. For that you will need drawn comb. You might see if somebody has some for sale.

    Otherwise, you do the best you can with what you have and monitor closely for swarm preparations. That's what everybody has to do at first, so don't worry too much about it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Checkboarding

    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    I tried using foundation and the bees just extended the combs, in the area where there was no brood, on either side of the foundation and man what a mess I had.
    I have this problem when I insert new plastic foundation in between drawn comb. Not nearly so much of a problem with wax foundation, or when I paint a nice coat of beeswax on that plastic foundation. When I insert foundation between frames of brood, no problem at all.

    Checkerboarding has helped me get more foundation drawn, which I rotate up to the supers.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default Re: Checkboarding

    snip...
    There seems to always be brood in the 4th box

    tecumseh:
    prior to the time when folks reinvented the wheel by calling it anything besides 'a wheel' this process was called 'opening up the brood nest' by folks that made their living with bees.

    as your comments suggest this 'tool' in the hands of the inexperience keeper can have some significant down side. those that market this new and improved wheel seemed to be inclined to NEVER comment on the downside consequence of this manipulation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,511

    Default Re: Checkboarding

    Hey there panther,

    Nice to see you passed in the night.

    If somebody is checkerboarding with foundation, that's not really checkerboarding at all. That's sticking foundation between the frames of honey.

    But you are right that this is really just a way to open up the brood area and get the bees to work in the top of the hive at the same time. However, if you have the drawn comb to do it and know when to do it, its pretty easy. In fact, it gives even starting beekeepers a plan to follow, which beats having no plan at all.

    The problem, as this thread demonstrates, is that starting beekeepers don't have the drawn comb that is really needed.

    Neil

  6. #6

    Default Re: Checkboarding

    So maybe for others that jump on this thread it would be nice to have an example or brief explanation of checkerboarding, and times to do it, as Mr. Bush has stated that bloom times have a lot to do with making this successful. Anyone with experience please elaborate for the rest of us that have not done this before.
    Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
    Thomas A. Edison

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,290

    Default Re: Checkboarding

    One reason for brood in the 4th box is that three 8 frame mediums doesn't give the queen enough laying space.

    Walt Wright describes Checkerboarding in his articles listed in Point of View located in Beesource Home page.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    In case some thinks that I am trying to be a know it all, I am thouroghly enjoying and learning from this discussion. My main flaw is that I will analyze any info until I come up with the sensible answer. Sometimes in doing this you punch holes in the info you have. This is from being a maintanance man for 42 years. So I thank all of you for the info that you have put here, I have learned a lot and hope to learn more!!! One thing I need to know is with my configuration of one deep hive body and one medium super is there any way to make this work? I understand that it would be better with shallows, but I only own 3 and didn't want to buy anymore because I think the mediums are more work friendly for honey collection.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Thanks SJBees for a bit of clarification.

    But it isn't only the newbies who are concerned with "doing it right" without drawn comb. Some of us old-timers who are seeking to expand, and have a dearth of drawn comb, coupled with trying to go "foundationless" to minimize chemical build up in our brood combs are having difficulties discovering how best to make this system work.

    Toss into the mix those of us operating with two deep brood boxes, instead of one deep and two shallow, or three mediums, or lolol on it goes!

    So, this question is for anyone who knows or has tried it, before I try in in a month or two: Is there an easy answer before I go digging thru Walt's writings, on how one checkerboards when the brood nest in in the bottom of the top deep, with the honey dome in the top of the top deep? Seems like one wouldn't want to break the cluster to checkerboard, but? How does one break the honey dome in that case? And let's make it real interesting, and toss into the mix that I'm expanding hives, so have no spare drawn comb, but lots of frames to go foundationless, or foundation if I need to.

    Now, how's that for a puzzle?
    Regards,
    Steven

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    York, South Carolina
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Like StevenG I'm not new at beekeeping. I've done it a long time, but newer times mean newer ways and that's what I'm trying to achive. I have read advice on here for a couple years and last spring I had in place, so i thought, all the ingreidaents to at least mimimize swarming. All the preparations I did didn't work. I had my first swarm on March 5th and from there on it didn't seem to matter what I did; I couldn't stop it. I didn't try spliting as I still held out hope I might get a little honey. Checkerboarding was something new to me so I'm willing to try that or anything else that may help. Still don't know what direction to take but I've read a lot of advice here in this thread and I guess I've got the rest of the winter to try to sort it all out and choose a direction.
    Thanks to all who posted.
    Barney
    What\'s smarter than a talking Parrot-----A spelling bee

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Nice pic. I don't ever see that level of crowding here - maybe as bad as the center unit but nowhere near as bad as the outside hives. And only then in very hot weather. You're lucky you can get away with that. My excess bees would be settled on a tree limb.
    This is an interesting comment. I'm assuming the pics are after harvest and the comment refers to CB hives after also.
    Do you think these population differences have an effect on stored honey before winter clustering comparing the two systems? In what way if any?
    Thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,503

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    I can only speak on beekeeping in my area of northern NY/VT. The photo was obviously in August...the day after I harvested the main crop. Took 150 pound avg. Had to add two supers for the fall flow.

    My intention in posting the photo was to show what kind of population it takes in my area to gather a big crop. It was stated that CB'd colonies have some sort of "contraction of the broodnest prior to repro c/o date." And that was in some way necessary for the bees?

    I don't understand, either. But I do know that I don't want my broodnests to contract in the buildup season. My season is short enough.

    I don't know the populations of WW's colonies. You've seen mine. I figure the larger the population at the right time the better. Leads to bit crops like last year at the Chilton yard...4600 lbs from 21 colonies.
    Last edited by Barry; 11-03-2011 at 10:35 AM. Reason: quoting

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Santa Clara CA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Toss into the mix those of us operating with two deep brood boxes, instead of one deep and two shallow, or three mediums, or lolol on it goes!

    So, this question is for anyone who knows or has tried it, before I try in in a month or two: Is there an easy answer before I go digging thru Walt's writings, on how one checkerboards when the brood nest in in the bottom of the top deep, with the honey dome in the top of the top deep? Seems like one wouldn't want to break the cluster to checkerboard, but? How does one break the honey dome in that case?
    In the Sunday paper recently, the English chef Jaimie wrote that a recipe is like a map, if you don't follow the map you won't get where you want to go, and if you do not have all the ingredients, the recipe won't work.

    I'm as guilty as anyone else when it comes to 'almost' following directions, and when it comes to checkerboarding, messing with the recipe is fraught with disaster.

    > how [does] one checkerboards when the brood nest in in the bottom of the top deep, with the honey dome in the top of the top deep?

    You can't.

    > Seems like one wouldn't want to break the cluster to checkerboard, but?

    Not for checkerboarding, but you can encourage the bees to draw comb by breaking into the broodnest and adding another deep on top e.g. assuming you have 6 frames of brood, split them between two deeps with two new frames introduced between them. A cluster which can cover 6 horizontal brood frames 'should' be able to cover 8 frames vertically.

    Start with: E0 H1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 H8 E9

    I'd keep two pairs of brood frames together and locate the two least-populated frames above each other. Both the top and bottom have one E(mpty) frame inserted between brood comb and will be drawn quickly for the queen to lay. If there is a cold snap, you run the risk of losing the outer brood frames.

    End up with ontop: En En B7 Eb B5 B6 En En En En
    End up with below: E0 H1 B2 B3 Ea B4 En H8 En E9

    This is not checkerboarding, but it is a way to encourage the drawing of more brood combs, and the availability of cells cuts the risk of swarming. These make for an easy split when queens become available.

    You can go foundationless for sure on the Ea/Eb frames you introduce between frames and your choice on the others. There are other ways, this just happens to be one of the techniques I've used to expand.

    Checkerboarding is appealing because it reduces/prevents swarms, boosts production etc. but it takes preparation and close adherence to the principles. To some beeks it reads/sounds like voodoo but everyone I know who followed the directions/recipe closely were pleased with the results.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Re: Checkerboarding

    In the Sunday paper recently, the English chef Jaimie wrote that a recipe is like a map, if you don't follow the map you won't get where you want to go, and if you do not have all the ingredients, the recipe won't work.

    Reading comprehension is one of the biggest challenges for some people

    The placing of foundation in a super is simple compared to the Demaree procedure:

    Another technique to stop swarming is the
    Demaree methods,
    separating the queen from the
    brood. This lets rapid colony growth continue but
    takes a lot of hard work and time. Examine all frames
    of brood in the colony, and destroy all queen cells.
    Place the queen in the lower brood chamber and all
    frames of uncapped brood (eggs and larvae) in the
    upper brood chamber. You can keep capped brood in
    the upper or lower brood chamber. Place one or two
    hive bodies full of empty combs between the original
    two brood chambers. Before adding the middle supers,
    place a queen excluder (metal or plastic device with
    spaces that permit the passage of workers but restricts
    the movement of drones and queens to a specific part
    of the hive) on top of the bottom hive body.
    The colony is now at least three supers high:
    • The first super contains the queen, empty
    combs, and some capped brood;
    • The middle hive bodies contain empty combs
    and perhaps a frame or two of capped brood; and
    • The top super contains the young, uncapped
    brood frames.
    Under the Demaree procedure, the uncapped
    brood in the top super attracts most young nurse bees
    away from the old brood nest in the bottom super,
    which relieves the crowding. Also, the empty comb in
    the bottom hive body provides plenty of space for the
    queen to continue laying. More space opens up as the
    capped brood emerges. In 7 to 10 days, return to
    inspect the colony and destroy any new queen cells
    that may have developed in the upper hive bodies.
    A double screen is a wooden frame holding two layers of wire screen,
    usually 8–mesh, about 1/2 inch apart, to separate bees in the hive.

    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Think I' d go with Dee's pyrimiding up. Assuming the bottom box is essentially empty comb, and the top box contains most of the brood and the honey cap. Disregard if the brood nest is split between boxes.

    While the boxes are separated, select an outside frame of brood with the minimum arc of brood. Place that frame of brood in the box of empties where it will be centered over the cluster when the boxes are reversed. Close up the cluster in the active box and place the empty frame at the outside. Reverse boxes on reassembly.

    Rationale: By closing up the brood nest one frame, there are ample bees to protect the raised brood. And the real key to swarm prevention is to get cluster bees standing on empty comb. Empty comb underfoot can't be ignored. An unnatural condition in the wild nest, the colony sets out to fill that comb with nectar.

    Tennessee Crackpot

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Swalwell, AB
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Maybe CB works for some, but I see strong objections from some pretty smart commercial beekeepers.
    Last edited by Allen Dick; 12-19-2009 at 04:02 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    allend:
    Yes, I get a whopping 150 US for a published article. At least the IRS was satisfied that it was not income. It costs me more to submit than I get.

    If you have a "clue", why not disperse that information? Be aware that dispersing information is also costly.

    Walt

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    To all:
    It was my intention to get into regionality of beekeeping before this thread closed. But with northern support for MP's side of the discussion already posted, regionality is pushed forward on the agenda.
    Walt

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Mike:
    Guess my writing was inadequate to make the distinction between discribing natural colony operations and what happens in the CB mode. In descriptions of the swarm process, whether hollow tree or hive, the descriptions were in terms of what the beekeeper might see in his hive.

    What may not have been clear enough is that CB disrupts that sequence in many ways. Of primary importance is that the colony does not start brood nest reduction by backfilling and continues to increase brood volume until repro cut off. This yields upscale of the equivalent of two deeps of brood. There is no arguement more bees make more honey. Sound a little fishey to you? It works by interfereing in those natural processes that minimize honey production.

    For the record, have not, and will not, say that you are doing anything "wrong." You have arrived at an approach that accomplishes the the same things as CB in areas where the overhead honey is a deterrant to swarm prevention. We're not that far apart. Regionalism is a thing we must deal with where it applies. May come back to this , later.

    Will not respond to entries that are considered either ridicule or character assassination. We can do without both in a discussion of opinions.
    Will respond to questions of difference of opinion. Proceeding to your 2 questions that at qualify:
    1. No science. When you tune in to the four internal changes that occur at repro c/o, it is indicated, if not obvious, that the colony has had a major change of direction.
    2. Sounds good. But is not reliable swarm prevention. They might fill that super with nectar, but the honey reserve is still continuous across the top. They seem to see the top of their capped honey reserve as the top of their cavity and are delayed somewhat, but will swarm if thay have calendar time before repro c/o.

    Walt

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    allend:
    Sorry! Responded to a post that is no longer there. It either got bleeped out or I had too many Miller Lights.
    Walt

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads