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Thread: Checkerboarding

  1. #261
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    Aug 2008
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    SERGE,
    Have not used plastic. Can't help you on that one.
    Good luck on your search.
    Walt

  2. #262
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    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
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    304

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Serge,

    They use mediums in a similar fashion to shallows. So if placed under a deep, they will fill it up with pollen.

    Aram

  3. #263
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    320

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    On the checkerboarded boxes, why does it make a difference (or does it?) whether the honey frames in the top box line up directly above each other or each is above an empty drawn wax frame (hence "checkerboarded")?

  4. #264
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    007
    No magic in the diagonal placement of frames. It's just a functon of 9 frame boxes. Odd number. With 10 frame boxes, honey frames can be one over another.

    Walt

  5. #265
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    if that is the case walt, and you only have one half super with honey in the spring, could you not just alternate the frames in that one super?

  6. #266
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Don't have a positive answer for that question. Havn't tried it. It works with a deep when empty comb added above. But I have a hunch that there is some relationship between the comb with brood at the top of the broodnest and the distance to the top of the capped honey reserve. Colonies seem to see the top of the capped honey as the top of their cavity. In a deep and shallow, where the shallow is full of capped honey, they draw the line at the interbar space and don't even open any honey in the top shallow. (field forage supporting)

    On the other hand, in the double deep, the arc of brood nest expansion in the upper reaches to within an inch or so of the topbar. Their reserve of about a shallow supers worth of capped honey is in the shoulders of the dome in the upper deep. The expansion arc in both directions leaves quite of bit of room in the box corners.

    The whole objective of CB is to get the colony started storing nectar overhead. Based on what happens in the deep and shallow, I would not expect a single box of alternated frames of empty/honey to get it done. Still waffling. But if they fill the empty frames with nectar, it could work well with empty comb above.

    Guessing - no guarentees.
    Walt
    Last edited by wcubed; 02-08-2012 at 04:53 AM. Reason: rethink

  7. #267
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    understood walt, thanks for the reply.

  8. #268
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    May 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    320

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Thanks, Walt
    So you use 9 frames in the checkerboard boxes? I wondered about the multipurpose "rooms" since it is used for honey and brood, especially since I do small cell. I guess that the wider spacing will allow them to use the small cell for honey storage when they are done using it for brood? I have about half large cell from honey storage and half small cell from brood nest in my checkerboard boxes. Or do I need to pull the small cell and replace with foundation when they start shrinking the brood nest?

  9. #269
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    I use 9 frame from the bottom board to the cover. It speeds up brood nest inspection for me and is strictly for my convenience. We lose brood cell count per unit volume of cluster in late winter, but the colony makes up for it as the spring season advances. CB speeds upward expansion by having less extended cells of honey to consume. The folks who contend that a deep and medium is all the brood space needed by a good queen, have not seen CB at work. We often have a deep and four shallows of brood before main flow. Need I point out that's more than a double deep - even allowing for one less frame per box.?

    Have not used small cell comb, but see no problem with mixing with other cell sizes. Cells used for brood will trimmed to brood-rearing depth, and later extended for honey storage. Whichever adjustment in cell depth is in work, adjacent, frame to frame cells will be in work at essentially the same time. This should make things come out fairly neat.

    Will be talking CB sunday at NABA. Advance and be recognized.
    Walt

  10. #270
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    I'll be there! We sat outside and chatted about cb before the last meeting. Can't wait to hear your presentation!

  11. #271
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Mr Wright,

    I'm sure that I am not alone in this situation - I have some empty drawn comb, but because I didn't prepare last year to try checkerboard I don't have 2 full boxes of capped honey on top of my hives.

    In an earlier reply you said "The whole objective of CB is to get the colony started storing nectar overhead." Which got me thinking (a dangerous thing) - it is quite easy to fill empty comb with syrup - is there any reason why it would be a fruitless experiment to checkerboard with combs filled with heavy syrup? I would guess that one should watch the weather and try this when there is a prediction for several days of fair weather, but it seems like the presence artificial nectar filled combs above the brood nest might work to get them storing nectar in that area?

  12. #272
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    David,
    Another "don't know". When I had a workable system, there was little incentive to push it in all directions to find the limits of reliability. I used what worked well, while studying colony internal operational format, looking for clues to the timing of repro cut off.

    One thing not mentioned in the above reply was that with 2 supers of CBed comb/honey, the cluster enfolds the empty comb of the lower super before reaching the line between supers where they would normally stop expansion. They can't stand empty cells within the warmed cluster area and start filling those cells with nectar. As the insulation band at the top of the cluster slides upward with population growth, they continue to add nectar inside the insulation band. In my area, with good field forage in that period, nectar accumulation outruns broodnest growth. Typically, a couple of supers of nectar in what would be the brood nest reduction period of swarm preps. A signficant boost to production.

    Back to the question: I believe that filling comb with sugar water would serve the purpose.
    Nobody knows what bees think, or even if they DO think. In most other comb usage considerations they treat nectar and honey the same, and they treat s/w the same as nectar. I would use two boxes for the added distance between the top of the broodnest and the top of the sugar water.

    Locally, we do not need to use two supers for overwintering. One would be enough, but the colony would meet swarm requirements in the deep. We leave the extra shallow of honey to encourage expansion out of the deep (like the double deep) and for the off-normal season where we might need to feed in the spring, or have brood in the first super - making it unsuitable for CB. This mild winter may be one of those off-normal seasons. We CBed early this year.

    Sorry. Had some time to kill.
    Walt

  13. #273
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Thanks, I think I might try it on a few hives.

  14. #274
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
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    693

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    I have been making my own gear and the mediums are very close to the size of the lumber I buy. I built them to make shallows and just could not justify cutting off and throwing away the extra. Now maybe if I needed and inner cover I would have put my material into the bottom (like a box) and when I cut it off I would have a shallow and an inner cover. I have not been at it very long but that “one size for everything” has really been looking better and better.
    Walt, you stated that you already Cbed? Although the PNW here is one of the few areas running 10 degrees below average in the country (at least that was what the weather map looked like at the world news the other night). I seem to remember you based the CB on apple bloom correct? I think I marked end of month for my CB but I do not remember the math (final frost – 8 weeks and time to start tomatos indoors here).
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  15. #275
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    mins,
    The timing is based on preceding the start of backfilling. That starts about mid Mar and we want to be early enough to precede the strongest. So, we CB toward the end of Feb. In this mild winter, the vegetation is ahead of schedule and the bees will be ahead of schedule accordingly. Since you are working above the brood nest in overhead capped honey, it's almost impossible to do it too early. With at least a couple days of hive opening temps every week, all winter, it was convenient to move the CB forward to early Feb.

    If your temps continue to run colder than norm, you will have a retarded time line. A couple of reference points for a normal season:
    9 weeks prior to new wax of main flow.
    5 weeks prior to the START of apple bloom. (with Rome in the mix, apples can bloom almost 4 weeks - Rome trailing)

    Walt

  16. #276
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    Jan 2011
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    Clackamas Oregon
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Thanks Walt, my record shows last year the crabapples were blooming hard just as the Gravenstien was coming into bloom on May 5. Since I use the crabapples to pollinate the Gravenstien I recorded the overlap. Liberty was also just starting but the log entry showed the cherries were in full bloom by then. We had about 4 hours of flying weather here on Sunday and the girls were coming in with white pollen. About the only thing going on now are hazelnuts (wind pollinated nut trees) going hard. I will do some homework and see if bees can use it. I need more drawn comb.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  17. #277
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    May 2010
    Location
    Pope county, Arkansas, USA
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    93

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    What do you mean 4th box? How are you wintering?

  18. #278
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    A R,
    If that 4 th box question was directed to me, I do winter in 4, but am not going to look for the reference in the above. The bottom shallow is empty - last fall's pollen box. A deep basic brood chamber, and 2 shallows of capped honey at the top.

    CBed a couple weeks ago. Config. now: Deep of brood on the bottom board, shallow of capped honey above the deep, and two shallows of CBed honey/empty at the top. Last year's empty pollen box at the bottom was CBed with the top shallow of capped honey. When the shallow above the deep is filled with brood, it willl be moved below the deep to generate this year's pollen box. Then,we just need to keep empty comb at the top and watch em grow.

    Walt

  19. #279
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama, USA
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    27

    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Hopefully a handful of beeks are around, weather has been nice. CB help...

    First, my location is Huntsville, Alabama. I hive (2) second year hives and one (1) captured swarm hive from the original(s).

    To date, all seem to be on task. The two original colonies are in one deep (bottom) and one medium (top). The smaller hive is in two (2) mediums.

    I have not yet inspected below the top mediums of any of the hives. Currently feeding dry sugar.

    All hives are pretty much filling the top medium(s). Hoping this indicates the girls have moved the brood chamber up. If so, can I reverse boxes, then start my checkerboard with the deep?

    This raises another query for advice. My goal is to transition out of the deep. I could speculate on how that might take place but likely to no end. Please, any beek that's made the switch or advice is duly appreciated. I have the drawn comb on medium frames to CB but no deep.

    Of course the most important question. Is it time to checkerboard, or am I too late? Or, should I just double up on the swarm traps. ;-)

    Thanks.

  20. #280
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding

    Supertad,
    You are rapidly approaching too late, or late enough to impair the reliability. Your schedule is 2 weeks ahead of mine and the season is advanced by a mild winter. I would normally be CBing between now and the end of Feb, but moved forward for the advanced season.

    Don't usually offer work-arounds, but will make an exception here. It may help someone else. If you can rationalize staying with the deep for another season, hope that at least one of the top boxes is full of capped honey. Ours had not expanded out of the deep as of last week.

    For any of the 3 that has a full box of honey at the top, you can CB that box with a box of drawn comb and add drawn above. You will not likely have enough drawn comb to keep them in empty comb through the swarm prep period, unless you reserve it all for one hive. (will take maybe 3)

    If one of the larger (D + M) has very little brood in the lower edge of the Med, it can be treated as above. It will not hurt that colony much this early in the season to sacrifice a small amount of brood to chilling.

    The 2 M unit will likely have substantial brood in both boxes. If you are a gambler, you might try reversal and adding foundation at the top. 2nd year colonies will sometimes start early wax making if the colony is convinced they didn't meet full establishment requirements in the first season. This slight of hand needs to be done quite early. Now is good.
    Reversal, with brood to the top bar, puts the insulating band standing on the foundation. Sometimes that gets their attention.
    No guarantees.
    Walt
    Last edited by wcubed; 02-16-2012 at 07:48 AM. Reason: add a word

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