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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
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    900

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    "I wonder why nobody has mentioned checkerboarding above the brood nest?"

    I have to admit that I never heard of Mr Wrigth. I just had a read. Sounds interesting but I'm not aware of anybody in Australia using this method. Not sure if it would mean less work? I have to admit that I'm rather attached to using an excluder as it has worked for me.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    2,365

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    Quote Originally Posted by dr.buzz View Post
    According to Mr. Wright, queen excluders prevent queens from expanding the broodnest, and besides, opening up the broodnest requires you to open everything up every week and to start doing that early enough to nip swarm prep in the bud, you risk a cold snap chilling brood, plus you are being very disruptive when you need to be leaving them alone. Plus the math seems to show that all of that needless labor and disruption to the brood boxes (of replacing frames of brood with empties) doesn't really slow them down enough to prevent swarms....

    I Mr. Wright was more popular and would have many folks suggesting his methods here, is this not the case for some reason?
    When we talk about keeping the brood nest open, that also means removing excess nectar frames and placing them upstairs. I have no idea what your talking about when you say you have to open everything up every week. Simply not true. I've only had to open the brood nest on 12 of my hives twice this whole season all during normal regular inspections, What excess labor? You're already in the hives. As far as the cold snap issue goes, you just have to use common sense.

    I've never heard of Mr. Wright either.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,531

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    charlie b, would you describe how you opened up the brood nest in those hives?

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    charlie b, would you describe how you opened up the brood nest in those hives?
    First I took out the excess nectar/honey frames and either moved them upstairs, more towards the side walls or redistributed to other hives. I replaced the frames with empty frames. I also either moved some of the brood frames up to the center of an additional box or redistributed them to weaker hives to boost the numbers and also replaced those frames with empty frames.

    It really worked for me. Prior to knowing about this technique, I was just throwing on supers as they filled up and had two hives swarm. After I followed Mr. Bush's technique, not one hive swarmed. I'm not saying it will prevent swarming completely but it's been working so far and it's easy to do.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    thanks. that sounds like what i wanted to try next spring. by "empty frames", do you mean foundationless?

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    Yes. I have most of my hives foundationless but I still have a few that are plastic. Those hives I just used empty plastic frames and it had the same effect. I'm really going to stay on top of it this season and try to do as many splits as I can if I find swarm cells.

    Good luck!!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    thanks again cb. sounds like you had really good success doing this last year. this will be my first try at putting foundationless frames in. my thinking is that if i am going to split up the brood frames with an empty, that not having foundation will make it easier for the bees to 'reconnect' the nest.

    best of luck to you as well!

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,075

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    Well, by the time you think your hive just swarmed it's way too lat for checker boarding. In our area you would do it in (If I remember correctly) february - within 2 months of the winter solctice. That was long ago in Australia. Furthermore you kind of need to prepare the previous season, by leaving enough honey, and reserving enough comb to do the manipulation.

  9. #29
    dr.buzz Guest

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    I have no idea what your talking about when you say you have to open everything up every week. Simply not true.
    I guess I was referring to Michael Bush's proposed experiment between his chosen method of swarm prevention (opening up brood nest) and that of Mr. Wright (checkerboarding.) You can find info on all of that here on beesource.com. For that, Mr. Bush said to inspect the brood nest every two weeks to see if frames of brood/nectar need to be removed or moved up (or as I believe D. Lusby calls it; "pyramiding up.") Of course, Mr. Wright shows how even removing frames of brood is made up for by the bees in a matter of days, and so is not very effective at swarm control, even if done once a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    What excess labor? You're already in the hives.
    Maybe, but "in the hives" and "going deep into the brood nest" is quite different, especially if you have deeps, at least according to my back. And it is less intrusive to the bees to check the supers as opposed to messing around in the brood and most likely rupturing queen cells when breaking boxes open, which is bound to happen during swarm season and mucking around in the brood boxes too often.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    As far as the cold snap issue goes, you just have to use common sense.
    Depends on what you believe is happening. If you realize that bees are doing reproductive swarming preparation as part of the natural cycle, and you understand that this starts many weeks before the start of the flow, then you can see how effective swarm prevention must begin very early in the season, when cold snaps are still likely, even if short lived.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    I've never heard of Mr. Wright either.
    You don't even need Google, you can find dozens of his articles and reports here on beesource.com going back several years.


    As far as the OP....the usual thing is to assume that someone who doesn't know if something is a swarm or not is just witnessing orientation flights, as is usually the case. But something to keep in mind is that, depending, I think, on your race of bees, the queen follows a swarm out of the box, they don't follow her. You can sometimes find her walking around on the landing board or the ground after the bees have left the hive. She may be injured or just working up the ability to fly, since she is unaccustomed to doing it. If she doesn't join them in the swarming, they will usually return to the hive. So you may have had a swarm and they just went home because she didn't make it to them. Just a thought.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
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    900

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    "If she doesn't join them in the swarming, they will usually return to the hive. So you may have had a swarm and they just went home because she didn't make it to them. Just a thought. "
    I think this brings us back to the original question. Maybe they tried to swarm but the queen did not or could not follow so they went back.
    No doubt the next part of the saga is not far off. Exciting.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    2,365

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    To each his own.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  12. #32
    dr.buzz Guest

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    To each his own.
    To a certain extent, yes. To paraphrase Walt Wright, if everybody got too smart too quick, it would be bad for the price of honey.

  13. #33
    dr.buzz Guest

    Default Re: Has my hive just swarmed or what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermottj View Post
    On a previous thread I was told it was a good idea to put 2 supers on to assist with air flow, helping the honey ripen quicker.
    Something to keep in mind is that there are often unintended consequences to what we think will help. Some folks have been known to ventilate too much, which can actually prevent the bees from properly regulating the inside temperature by letting in too much hot air that they must cool. Trying to "help" them cure the honey can also result in the surface layer of the nectar developing a skin which actually prevents the rest of the nectar from curing. Better to let them do it on their own time, in my humble opinion.

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