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Thread: Checkerboarding

  1. #281
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Madison County, Alabama, USA
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    27

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    "This slight of hand needs to done quite early. Now is good."

    Thank you Walt. Was hoping you'd have the time to chime in. Once the weather clears a bit today I will try for the slight of hand. No worries about staying in the deep one more season.

    These girls are strong swarmers so hopefully I can slow them a bit. Thanks again Walt.
    -Ricky

  2. #282
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Reflecting on the question and answer above over a bedtime snack, came up with a couple other actions to stretch the available drawn comb.

    With 4 mediums filled, you should have at least 8 frames of honey in outside frames - maybe more. With those 8, you could get almost 2 boxes of alternate comb (CBed). Colonies generally do not open the outside frames of honey at the sides of the broodnest during the build up. They are recycled just before main flow with this year's nectar. Field nectar is now available, and replacing those frames with foundation would not hurt them. They will be growing into overhead honey.

    Secondly, it is not necessary to CB a whole box of honey to get the desired effect. 3 alternate frames of honey above the active brood frames replaced with empty comb is good enough.

    There might also be an advantage in going into the buildup with foundation in all outside frames of the mediums. It could contribute to the perception that full establishment was not achieved in the first year - leading to the early wax making of second year colonies.

    When you find out what you have - Wing it.
    Walt

  3. #283
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Whatcom, Washington, USA
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    146

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    For those looking for shallow plastic foundation to incorporate into there checkerboarding, I found out that Mann Lake is starting to carry their rite cell, food grade plastic foundation in the shallow 4 3/4 size. Like their other right cell, with the option of waxed or unwaxed.
    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/mm5/merch...?Screen=page20

  4. #284
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Reflecting on the question and answer above ... With those 8, you could get almost 2 boxes of alternate comb (CBed)...

    Secondly, it is not necessary to CB a whole box of honey to get the desired effect. 3 alternate frames of honey above the active brood frames replaced with empty comb is good enough...

    When you find out what you have - Wing it.
    Walt
    I'm glad to hear your opinions to that effect, because that is what I've already done on my strongest hives. Not having really planned ahead last year on CBing this spring - I didn't really think I would have enough honey to do it. But by rearranging frames of new nectar, existing stores, and robbing a bit from weaker hives - it's worked out. And when I checked back a week or so later the brood nest had extended up into the CB area already, and they are storing new nectar above the old brood nest. So far, so good I guess. I do have empty comb to work with fortunately.

  5. #285
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    David,
    It's working. Watch 'em grow. Just try to not let them fill the hive to top.
    Walt

  6. #286
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    1,398

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Hey Walt, what's up.

    Just as another thought on CBing. Last year I robbed some of my hives several times. Any completely CH frames were removed (and a few on occasion that may have had some UCH on the frames). A lot of times I have found that they would have several supers with 100% CH Frames mixed with frames of CH/H/Brood and/or CH/H/Pollen. After all frames were removed for harvesting, I would CB what was left with frames of full comb. Any frames with brood were either put together or placed at the same slot one above the other if more than one super was harvested.

    BTW, I have found it best when CBing to use frames of comb that have had some brood in them previously. The bees will fill up these frames before any others. As an example: If you put in 5 frames of comb during CBing and 2 previously had 25% brood, 2 had 60% brood and 1 had 10% brood. Then when they started working those frames they would fill in 2 of them with 25% honey, 2 of them with 60% honey and 1 of them with 10% honey prior to even working any frames of previously used honey comb or foundation.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  7. #287
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    i am having similar success so far with alternating frames of honey and empty comb in one medium over one deep of brood. the bees are currently expanding the brood nest into the medium.

    the cluster size will soon be filling both boxes, and i'll be adding a second medium, in which i'll try putting drawn comb in the middle with some foundation to the outside.

    no new wax here yet walt, even in the overwintered nucs. and the apple trees are starting to get buds on them.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #288
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Ken,
    Can't say I noticed those things, But I had plenty of frames of drawn comb when I started. Had sold off 70 colonies to concentrate on the effects of CB. The two things I do remember were:
    A band of open/empty cells from the bottom bar to the top bar on a frame of capped honey was just as effective as a full frame of empty comb. Never tried it though with a band of open cells less than 2 or 3 inches wide. And
    They would not use empty comb less than brood-rearing depth. Would not even store nectar in cells too shallow for brood rearing. Too-short cells would leave an unused area in either brood or accumulated nectar.

    Walt

  9. #289
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    squarepeg,
    Add some drawn comb at the top - no later than yesterday. They can still swarm if the hive fills up.
    Walt

  10. #290
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Wow!!!! Just finished reading this thread. Very interesting. Just got through hiving my fourth swarm from my 3-hive yard (ok, so I had to re-hive a swarm that absconded on me).

    Now to work this out for an all 8-frame medium setup...

    Thanks for all the information, Walt and everybody else!!!
    Ed

  11. #291
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    Default Re: Checkboarding

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilV View Post
    "I use 3 medium supers for my brood boxes"

    I have one hive that is set up with all mediums. On it, I overwintered in four mediums. There was not a whole lot in the top box going into winter. I then checkerboarded the top 2 mediums. It worked fine. Actually it was my best hive as far as honey production goes last year. I've got it set up to do it again this year. This year I've got more drawn comb to work with so I'm hopeful.
    Ok, browsing back through this thread for the second time...I'm a slow learner.

    Neil, I am working with all 8-frame mediums (well, except for a 10-frame deep that I will be moving bees out of). Have you any more advice for checkerboarding using all mediums? How has checkerboarding and using all medium boxes worked for you since your post from 2009?

    Thanks,
    Ed

  12. #292
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    Default Re: Checkboarding

    i would say even better ed that you have all mediums. that way you can keep things 'open' above (checkerboarding) and in the broodnest (opening the broodnest). did you get a chance to read walt's manuscript? if yes, then you will know what to watch for and when, and you can always split if swarm preps get too far along.

    did you try any manipulations at all last year? you are well to the south of me, so i would think that you will have swarming earlier in the season than i do. last year was late march to early may.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #293
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    320

    Default Re: Checkboarding

    ITS,
    Not Neil but I checkerboarded my all 8 frame medium hive on Jan. 22 last year (Nashville) and it worked well. Just pulled the empty box from the bottom and alternated the empty comb frames with the full top (4th) box and put both on top. No swarming. I only did it that early because I had a 60 degree day and decided to take advantage of it, but given that everything happened 3 weeks early, I think it was actually about right--have heard several who checkerboarded later and had swarms. Given that you are South of me, I would think that you ought to do it any time now.

  14. #294
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    Default Re: Checkboarding

    Howdy squarepeg. I didn't do much manipulation last year as I was starting out without any drawn comb. I was mostly chasing swarms from my 3 colonies (all swarmed) in the early spring. Looks like my first swarm issued on April 2nd. I actually had two that issued back-to-back...I was watching the last bees from the 1st swarm land in the briar patch when I heard something over to my right...the second swarm. As a newbee I was about to begin my trial by fire!
    I ended up with the three weakened colonies and two "new" colonies from swarming...I think I possibly missed a swarm or to, also. As a newbee I fed, fed, fed, till they wouldn't take anymore...yeah, right.

    Anyhow, the only thing that could be considered a manipulation was that I put bottom supered the only hive that looked like it was going to make a crop. All I had was foundation. That colony made 75# of honey for me...basically the only honey I got last year...I think that was a situation of "a blind hog even finds an acorn once in a while". Certainly not due to my prowess as a beekeeper!

    I have read off and on in Walt's manuscript and some of the pdf's posted here on Beesource. One thing that throws me is an early mention of using shallows on top and bottom of the deep. It seems, too, that someone mentioned that if you're not going to follow the method right (speaking of the shallows) that it's not going to work correctly. I'm seriously looking at just checkerboarding above the brood to give them open avenues to room above. I've got three hives going into spring and I'd love to get 75# off each of them this year! I may go ahead with one of them as it seems to be packed with bees and plenty of honey left...I could open that up easily by checkerboarding.

    It will have to wait probably until next week, though, this weekend I'll be heading to Auburn.

    I've been studying over some of Michael Bush's writings on splits. I definitely want start a nuc or two from the hive that produced my honey last year. The bees are just a bit on the hot side but they certainly made the honey.

    Ed

  15. #295
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    Default Re: Checkboarding

    007, thanks for the feedback. Yes, I think I need to be doing something now, but will be a week before I can. Maybe I can squeeze in a little bee time this Sunday afternoon....predicted high of 62, mostly sunny, and breezy. Hmm, it's a thought!

    I understand where you're coming from about the season coming early last year and possibly this year. The bees have been bringing in some pollen *and* some nectar from somewhere...my mentor has also noted this. This seems to go along with what Walt has said about there being something like a mini-flow before the main flow...and the bees use it to help build up on. But, I'm just a second year newbee who's been stretched thin here lately and having to refresh himself on stuff he thought he already had learned.<sigh>

    Ok, so Sunday afternoon if the weather is nice I will most likely do some manipulations.

    Thanks again for the feedback,
    Ed

  16. #296
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    Default Re: Checkboarding

    thanks ed, i really enjoyed your video and photos.

    i talked to walt and he said that the checkerboarding concept should work ok with mediums instead of shallows. the one on the bottom is brought up to the top this time of year and 'checkerboarded' with the one that overwintered on top. mostly you don't want solid honey above the broodnest.

    having the drawn comb is the key, and i was in the same boat last year in not having much. i managed to catch three swarms and let the rest go into the woods, hopefully to become feral survivors.

    the only hive i had last year that did not swarm was the one i had enough drawn comb to checkerboard, and that was done in early february.

    if the redbuds and dogwoods haven't bloomed yet, you should still have time.

    what i would look for in terms of early swarm preps, is the lack of a band of open and polished cells between the brood and the nectar above the brood. walt has an illustration of this in his manuscript, and if you find them putting nectar there they have stopped expanding and begun reducing the broodnest. they are definitely getting close to swarming if you find backfilling in the broodnest.

    as far as splits, i had really good results using the 'cut down split' as described on mike bush's website. i harvested honey off of both the parent hive and the split last year. that split was done it late march with just three frames and no feeding!

    good luck ed.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #297
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    Turkey */ ISTANBUL
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    Default Re: Checkboarding

    I don't have enough honey frames for checkerboarding. Is it possible to fill the empty combs with syrup, instead of giving honey frames ??? Thanks....

  18. #298
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    Default Re: Checkboarding

    cemoka,
    Saw your question, but was on the road in Ohio at the time.
    Can not give you a positive answer because we have not tried it, but my guess is that syrup above their capped honey would be treated as feed and not get the desired effect. We often comb feed at the top, and that syrup is readily moved down to the broodnest for their purposes.

    Keep in mind that the colony seems to work to the top of their CAPPED honey as if it were the top of their residence cavity. Empty comb or foundation above is easily ignored.

    It might be worth a trial - if only on a sample basis. I've been wrong on guesses before.
    Walt

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