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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    I can see that working in Danbury CT. but I would be afraid to do that in Upstate NY and Utica is pretty mild compared to most of upstate. A solid ball of bees is warmer then two separate clumps of bees.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  2. #42
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Wcubed - I must salute you as one of the best observers of bees.

    There are however some other factors that handicap the checkerboarding methods. One is separation of different floral sourced honey, and the increased potential of intermingling feed and honey.

    The use of more than one deep(or equivalent) for a brood chamber, allows more left over honey or feed from the previous year. Our goal is to have a near empty hive in a deep when dandelions bloom. All honey is collected as the supers are full, keeping the different flavors separate. There is little chance of feed getting into the honey if there is nothing left when dandelions bloom.

    What happens to all of the food, be it feed or honey, that is in the checkboarded hives? Have you colored your feed with food coloring to trace where it goes? If it is fall honey, which is usually strong, does it end up in your early summer honey?

    I am willing to bet that the law on honey will eventually exclude anything that is over 10 percent feed, which is the testing threshold. How certain are you of the final resting place of that what is left in the hive?

    I hope we all try to produce the best product, no matter the method.

    Crazy Roland

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    I hope we all try to produce the best product, no matter the method.
    Crazy, I figured this one out. Don't feed and only take the honey from the supers not the brood chamber.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #44
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    >What happens to all of the food, be it feed or honey, that is in the checkboarded hives?

    good point roland. i'll let walt speak for himself, but after reading his paper i'd be willing to bet that his bees make enough and he leaves them plenty as to not have to feed in the fall.

    as for me, i did feed this fall, and can't be sure there isn't any syrup in the one medium i have over the one deep brood chamber on all my 'big' hives.

    based on a tip from walt's paper, i plan on moving those mediums down below the deep. they were already getting some brood in them anyway, but the hope is that there will be a bunch of pollen down there by next winter. then i'll have no worries about the syrup.

    luckily i have enough drawn medium comb to put one super on each. no checkerboarding will be needed this season. my goal is leave them enough honey this year and try not to feed syrup.

  5. #45
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Rolands question is valid, as is his quest for different sources. When I started with std mngmt, and harvested my alloted 2 super average, we often had what I called "laminated honey." As sources changed during main flow, different colored layers were stored in each cell - both sides of the midrib. Have seen as many as 4 layers. We filled our cut comb jars with Dakota light to show up the laminated honey. Sold better than hotcakes.
    Since CB, we don't see laminated honey any more. Each of those different sources fills super or two. And when blended in the tanks, the aggregate color is much lighter. That may be because our major source is white clover toward the end of the flow. With CB, colonies still have strong populations at that time.

    About the feed: We do not feed in the spring. By leaving enough honey to have a box of honey to checkerboard, there is no need to feed. But even if we did, it would not be a problem. The colony builds brood volume through the CBed supers, consuming nectar/honey as they grow. Put some sugar water in there makes no difference. I'm sure you know how they expand the brood nest, but there may be some who don't know. They consume a band of feed at the top of the brood and prepare that band of cells for eggs. The increase band is arched like the top of the existing brood and is wider at the top. When the cells are prepared for eggs, they bring Momma up to lay that band in a batch. All the cells for the next expansion band are filled with liquid feed. Since those cells are filled, incoming nectar goes into empty cells at the top of the feed whether it is nectar, honey or sugar water. When CBed, nectar accumulation outruns brood nest expansion by a couple shallow supers here during the swarm prep period. There is no reason to believe that sugar water gets moved up into harvest supers. Surely, you wouldn't be feeding at the same time that the colony is storing nectar overhead.

    The whole objective of checkerboarding is to break up the band of capped honey reserve that stops brood nest expansion and starts swarm preps. This encourages broodnest expansion through the reserve, storing nectar above all the way. With a double deep overwinter config. you can get more than the equivalent of three deeps of brood, and outrageous populations.

    I do have to sometimes feed in the fall. Monitoring the broodnest backfilling at brood closeout, some seasons don't let them get it done. When it gets to early Nov and they still have substantial brood, we crash feed. Comb feeding provides better access to the syrup and they can move a lot of it in a few mild days. There is no danger that it will get into the capped honey overhead.

    Walt

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I can see that working in Danbury CT. but I would be afraid to do that in Upstate NY and Utica is pretty mild compared to most of upstate. A solid ball of bees is warmer then two separate clumps of bees.
    I am in CT, My bees have been in Northern VT for 19 years. Zone 3.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I can see that working in Danbury CT. but I would be afraid to do that in Upstate NY and Utica is pretty mild compared to most of upstate. A solid ball of bees is warmer then two separate clumps of bees.
    I am in CT, My bees have been in Northern VT for 19 years. Zone 3.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  8. #48
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Wcubed wrote:

    There is no reason to believe that sugar water gets moved up into harvest supers.

    That is the whole premise that is used in basswood comb honey section production, that nectar store during the queenless period(single deep) is forced into the sections.

    Crazy Roland

  9. #49
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    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
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    127

    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Crazy,
    I'm new and would love to hear more advice on management from WI based beeks. Is there somewhere I could find more info detailing your methods?

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Toadman - to respect the OP, please PM me.

    Roland Diehnelt

  11. #51
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    Jan 2011
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    Clackamas Oregon
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Thought I had a handle on the CB thing: two shallows replace the top deep of a two deep system. You then CB the top 2 boxes a month before apples. Now I am hearing mediums below deeps and moving boxes below the deep. The presentation showed putting an empty medium above the deep and a full medium below the deep. The photo of Walt with the two hives showed WR1 appears to be a shallow, deep, two shallows. So does the CB run 3,(d s s) 4,(mdss) or 5 (mdmss) boxes as the minimum? And is there a reverse done to the bottom somewhere in the mix? The tread also made it sound like the procedure was not followed in the presentation so confused. Yeah I hear about how great the manuscript is but I am cheap and waiting for the movie (figure maybe Michael Caine to play Walt). Maybe a Christmas present? I am still working on drawing comb in some shallows so I am not in the game this year.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  12. #52
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    minz, for me the take home lessons from the manuscript were more about understanding the life cycle of the colony and their activities coming out of winter and into spring leading up to swarming and beyond, rather than any specific hive configurations.

    how many boxes and what sizes can vary with location and the individual beekeeper.

    i am adapting my operation to take into account the observations and recommedations made by mr. wright.

    i think you will more than recoup your $10 in swarms prevented and increased honey harvest. more importantly you will gain an understanding of what the bees are up to, and that will guide you in your management decisions.

    to the op, mike gilmore said it best in post #8. checkerboarding vs. opening the brood nest is not an either/or question. checkerboarding is done pre-swarm, pre-new wax, pre-main flow and involves honey frames above the broodnest. ulbn, (unlimited brood nest), by opening the brood nest is done after this time, and involves the brood frames. no reason why not to use both methods, which is what i plan to try this year.

  13. #53
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    minz:
    Like I said those sketches are garbage. Maybe I didn't say it plain enough. FYI, more accurate sketches are free in POV here in beesource. The original article Nectar Management 101 (# 13 down the list) was an early description of the manipulation. That was written before the pollen box was incorporated into full season management. So it just treats checkerboarding. Two articles toward the bottom of the list treat the pollen box.

    Ace:
    I'm inclined to agree with you, and I realize how dangerous that is. But it is true that opening the broodnest is not for the amateur. Several factors involved.
    In the early season, judging colony population strength is difficult. On a flying day when you can open the hive, a major portion of the bees are out foraging. What you see is not the full cluster size.
    You need enough population to avoid brood chilling, if you are expanding the nest volume.
    As they build population (explode) to the point of being "crowded" they are likely already in the swarm prep period, and commitment to swarm by starting Q cells is less than 3 weeks away. That may sound like plenty of time but the weekender can easily get "weathered out" for two weeks or more in the spring.
    A little complicated to expect of the beginner.

    bluegrass:
    ludicrous?? Strong language. For the record, we have not advocated adding a box of honey in the spring, but we do recommend leaving enough honey on in the fall to have a full box of honey in late winter to checkerboard. Years ago we replaced the upper deep with two shallows (same amount of honey) to provide the flexibility for CB - among other reasons, like reliable wintering in the deep.

    Since neither of us has any experience with the other's scheme, neither of us is qualified to critique the other's system.

    Would adding a super of honey in late winter still be ludicrous if you got it back with two additional in the buildup period? Would it still be ludicrous if it had the potential for doubling your over all honey crop for the season?

    Walt

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Since neither of us has any experience with the other's scheme, neither of us is qualified to critique the other's system.

  15. #55
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Would adding a super of honey in late winter still be ludicrous if you got it back with two additional in the buildup period? Would it still be ludicrous if it had the potential for doubling your over all honey crop for the season?
    Walt
    Now that is something to consider very carefully. We, should say I because I shouldn't speak for anyone else, are in the habit of leaving on only what is necessary for the colony to "survive" the winter and make it safely to spring. This approach is more like an investment .... sacrifice a little now and get a bigger return later. Kind of like investing in a stock today that has a 75% + chance of doubling or tripling over the winter. There is some risk and immediate cost, but the future gains could be well worth the effort. If you look at it that way then leaving on an extra box of honey doesn't sound so bad. Something to think about.
    To everything there is a season....

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    No disrespect Walt. I just don't see it working well here in the Northeast. I can't open my hives as early as you can there in TN, So late winter manipulations are not an option. If I leave them in a Deep and two Supers over winter, buy the time weather is warm enough to open the hive the queen will be laying in the top boxes. The earliest I can really open a hive for a full inspection is going to be mid April. I would probably even have snow on the ground at that point. I have had snow storms some years into the first few days of May.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  17. #57
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Walt wrote:
    I'm inclined to agree with you, and I realize how dangerous that is. But it is true that opening the broodnest is not for the amateur. Several factors involved.
    In the early season, judging colony population strength is difficult. On a flying day when you can open the hive, a major portion of the bees are out foraging. What you see is not the full cluster size.
    You need enough population to avoid brood chilling, if you are expanding the nest volume.
    As they build population (explode) to the point of being "crowded" they are likely already in the swarm prep period, and commitment to swarm by starting Q cells is less than 3 weeks away. That may sound like plenty of time but the weekender can easily get "weathered out" for two weeks or more in the spring.
    A little complicated to expect of the beginner.

    I agree entirely. You must have a sense of what the hives are capable of.

    Bluegrass do not be mislead by his "winter" terminology. Key off the bloom references.

    Although I can comprehend what Walt is doing, regional differences in honey flow patterns may be more confounding than climate differences. We also strive to have an empty hive when the dandelions bloom, because after that, they can forage fro their needs. Leaving a super of honey would have no later benefits, and only get in the way.

    Crazy Roland

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Ed Holcomb says to NEVER let a hive get below 15 pounds of honey - at any time of year, or it will negatively impact brood production, hive population and ultimately honey production. Even months later.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Ed Holcomb says to NEVER let a hive get below 15 pounds of honey .

    We have never seen evidence of that. We have seen evidence of an empty hive with nectar incoming , for example a new package on foundation, exploding like crazy.

    At the same time, a hive with bees and food, but no incoming nectar, does nothing.

    It is the increase in food that seems more important, rather than the level of stores.

    Walt - what have you observed. Prove me wrong?

    Crazy Roland

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Walt, what size cluster do you have in late winter?

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