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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Somerset County, PA US

    Default Checkerboarding results and number of boxes to overwinter in

    I would like to hear how everyone did with checkboarding this year, what their results were, (swarming, hive strength, etc.) and how it's tied into their decisions this fall on how many boxes to overwinter each of their hives in.
    "burr comb happens..."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Annapolis Valley, N.S. Canada

    Default Re: Checkerboarding results and number of boxes to overwinter in

    Not sure if what I did can truly be called checkerboarding but it is similar. Since late spring whenever I went into a hive that appeared to be crowded I removed 2 or 3 frames of capped honey from positions 1/2 and 9/10, spread out the center brood frames, and then put frames of foundation between them giving the bees something to do as well as giving the queen more room.
    My swarming dropped noticably and I also managed to collect over 6 deeps of capped honey that I am now trying to place back into any hives that appear to be light on stores.
    On another note, hives that were heavy and jammed full of bees mid/late Sept. are now still full of bees but a whole lot lighter!
    I was caught off gaurd by this, I saw lots of foraging going on after mid/late Sept. but apparently they were also going into the reserves as well. I will drop a third deep of capped honey on any that need it and put fondant patties on any that are questionable.
    If this is "checkerboarding", I would say it worked, particularily in regards to reduction of swarming.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Williston, NC, USA

    Default Re: Checkerboarding results and number of boxes to overwinter in

    I've been utilizing checkerboarding (nectar management) for several years now and find it to greatly reduce swarming. I had no swarms this year. I checkerboard a bit differently since I've gone to foundationless frames, so sometimes rather than checkerboarding with drawn comb, I will give them foundationless and it's been working just fine.

    Perry Bee, you've stated what I fear. . .lots of bees with lots of honey on my last inspection, but I'm afraid they're already going through it. I'll be checking once again before the first frost and feeding if needs be.

    As to number of boxes I overwinter in, it depends on the size of the box. Unfortunately, I have all three sizes of 10-frame boxes, so it can be a deep, a medium and a shallow, or 3 mediums, or 4 shallows--they're all about the same height but vary in number of boxes, depending on their size. I like to see them go into winter with a broodnest the size of a deep, with honey and nectar surrounding, plus a box of honey on top.

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