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  1. #21
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    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    The drawing is done in paintbrush, hosted at photobucket and linked here... Nothing special, thanks though. Good to know it has a name.

    Here is a link with another good illustration. http://www.k4vb.com/Walt's%20BIO%20reduced.htm
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    This is quite contrary to what I have read and was told by older beeks. As long as you have enough space in the brood chamber (defined as two deeps or three mediums) the honey cap will keep the queen from venturing upwards but will not impede the worker bee from storing honey in empty supers above. If you don't have the supers on you will be in trouble.
    Nothing is set in stone. Sometimes broodnests get backfilled and honeybound. Checkerboarding as I have read on the link I just listed above isn't going to work in our area. You should never have that much honey left in the spring to work with, not without keeping supers set aside strictly for this purpose and placing full comb on a hive in the spring is ludicrous and needless work.

    There are easier methods of preventing swarming.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #23
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    3,394

    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    As long as you have enough space in the brood chamber (defined as two deeps or three mediums) the honey cap will keep the queen from venturing upwards but will not impede the worker bee from storing honey in empty supers above.
    In my experience this is true after swarm season has passed. Until then, their #1 priority is to reproduce. That's what they are programmed to do. From Dandelion bloom until the main spring nectar flow their mission is to back fill the brood nest and swarm. During this period if they sense an overhead honey dome they will be preparing to swarm. After this period, if they are not crowded, they abandon swarming goals and switch to honey storage overhead. This is when you can use a dome to contain brood expansion and they start to focus on storing nectar up into the supers. In my region this is about early June.
    To everything there is a season....

  4. #24
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post

    There are easier methods of preventing swarming.
    I sent for the manuscript but I am all ears.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #25
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    Dec 2011
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    Victoria, Australia
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    660

    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Thanks for your comments, it does clarify a few things. My purpose though, in starting this thread was to get actual results from those who have tested the two methods.

    I would like to see actual results from a single bee yard where several hives were Checkboarded, several hives were had Opening of the Broodnest and another several that just had supers added. Then a table listing which ones swarmed and the honey yield from each and when in the season things were done.

    The site bluegrass listed is along those lines, but only two hives were Checkerboarded:
    http://www.k4vb.com/Walt%27s%20BIO%20reduced.htm

    Also this one where Dennis Murrell said he tried NOT Checkerboarding one year:
    http://beenatural.wordpress.com/lega...cker-boarding/

    I did see another site with some results but can't find it at the moment.
    Last edited by MattDavey; 12-22-2011 at 03:27 AM.

  6. #26
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    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    1,383

    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    ok, heres a question!!

    I run two deeps for brood/food and then super with mediums above that. I have limited drawn frames as I go into my second year of bee keeping, maybe a total of 40+ fully drawn deep frames, and a total of 10 fully drawn medium frames. The star thistle flow started about the first/second week of July this year and went through about mid-September. It was really strong through the month of August. Until then, I dont think we have much of a flow going on out here on the flatlands, except maybe bull thistle in the spring. I imagine that they will be growing hardcore (atleast I hope) until star thistle starts producing nectar and at that time could possibly swarm then?

    Before I got bees (last May) we had a swarm come through in Mid April and take up residence in a euc tree. So common sense would tell me to start swarm managment out here about the first part of march??

    Now, I will be having a couple hives in the city, where blooms and nectar happen all the time it seems, so that operation will need to be watched carefully I imagine. I will be checking those hives about every two weeks in the spring to make sure they dont get crowded.

    I dont know, maybe I am just thinking this swarm prevention thing over to much, and will just try to keep the brood nest open and give them some drawn frames to store nectar in. Im sure I will have a swarm or two happen until I can get enough drawn frames to checker board and such!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  7. #27
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    With all respect to Wcubed, I agree with another poster that checkboarding is not well adapted to the northern flows.

    I disagree, again with respect with most everything Bluegrass stated in post #2.

    We run a single deep brood chamber, and manipulate combs every 12-14 days between the dandelion bloom and Basswood bloom. These main production hives average more production than the couple hives that we have scattered at friends houses that get less attention.

    A wise man wrote:

    The goal in my area is to have the maximum number of bees in the colony at the end of May when the swarming season is winding down and the main flow starts to peak.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the above statement, with the addition of one month to compensate for our latitude differences. To achieve this goal we manipulate frames every 12-14 days from dandelion to basswood bloom. To test our methods, we invited a fellow local beekeeper to join us this July, and it appeared that the number of bees in our hives was intimidating.

    Crazy Roland, 5th genbeekeeper
    Linden Apiary, est. 1852

  8. #28
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    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    >we...manipulate combs every 12-14 days...

    please elaborate on how you manipulate your combs.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    To test our methods, we invited a fellow local beekeeper to join us this July, and it appeared that the number of bees in our hives was intimidating.
    Was it the number of bees in the hives or the number of ticked off bees in the air because you mess with their home so often? A hundred thousand bees in the hive spilling out all over wouldn't phase me in the least but 20, 000 bees in the air zinging by my head and doing the "your going to get it dance" does.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    There where bees in an upper entrance at eye height that was intimidating. They asked, "What do you want me to do to this hive?". Christian replied "Make it bigger!"(more populace).

    Square peg wrote:
    >we...manipulate combs every 12-14 days...

    please elaborate on how you manipulate your combs.

    With skill and care. There is no "20, 000 bees in the air zinging by my head and doing the "your going to get it dance" does. "

    I believe this was all worked out in the 30's or 40's, was his name Seely? Our methods have not changed much since then.

    Crazy Roland

  11. #31
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Roland,

    I'm interested in what you have to say, because I know you have a lot of experience.

    But so far, you're being too cryptic for me to make much out of what you've offered here.

    Adam

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    roland, that was ace's comment about the 20,000 bees. i was just wondering what kind of moves you were making with the frames. i also have brood in single deeps with medium supers above. i try to research seely. thanks.

    ps: is ernie von shlagon still on main st?

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Sorry about the misrepresented quotes, no offense intended.

    Yes, Ernie Von Schledorn is still on "Main street in Menomonee falls" .

    I will try to provide more details, but it is not complicated. Make sure the queen has PLENTY of open comb. The difficult part is knowing how much you can spread them out without chilling the brood because the bees cannot cover it. Every round of inspections is different because the bees are increasing in number.

    I will try to look for the authorities.

    Crazy Roland

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    In answer to the original question: No, there has been no valid comparison of the effects of checkerboarding versus "opening the broodnest." And further, there has been no test of CB vs any other swarm prevention techniques. I tried a test of CB vs hive body reversal, but Mother Nature threw a couple wrinkles in the flow that spring that made the results inconclusive. Short form: The double deeps were reversed early during good field forage, and brood jumped into the upper deep. The CBed team was manipulated later during a dip in field forage and they were dragging their feet in expansion. The lack of field forage continued and the reversed group had about the same population at the start of main flow as the CBed. Honey production ended in a dead heat.

    Tried it again the following year. For consistancy, supering was done with new Permacomb. The new plastic had not been treated for acceptance, and neither team would store nectar/honey in the supers. Another botched test. Turned my attention to other things.

    The demonstration at the Huntsville club yard is a constant embarrassment for me. It's my system and I did it wrong. No excuses. It's history that can't be changed, and denial doesn't help. The mistake made was putting the empty pollen box medium from the bottom board to just above the brood in the deep brood chamber. The checkerboarded supers should have been placed there and the empty at the top, above the CBed supers. Major blunder. The empty medium above the deep brood chamber stopped expansion into the supers for several weeks. It's a wonder that they didn't swarm from the single deep.

    The sketches of the demo debacle show up in two different links above. Those are good sketches of how NOT to do it, and they differ somewhat. When we realized the error and corrected the configuration, we sent Bob an explanation that got garbled somehow. We didn't know Butch also had reported it on his site. Note that in the pic of me between the two hives, the medium box is located next to my shirt sleeves. I don't think either description gets it there.

    It is reported that confession is good for the soul. Sorry, Father, I don't feel any better.
    Walt

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Thanks Walt. Much appreciated.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Bluegrass, have you being inserting a box of comb in the middle of the broodnest for some time?

    Do you have issues with chilled brood?

    Is the hive set back compared to hives that don't have that done?

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    >You should never have that much honey left in the spring to work with

    There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of the "when". You would not be checkerboarding in the spring. That would take place in late winter before they have burned through those stores in the early buildup period before the first nectar flow. Now I'm not saying checkerboarding will or wont' work in a particular climate. I have not had the time to spend on resolving my problem which is that the bees are in the top box and I would have to rearrange the whole hive to do it..., I hope to sometime work on figuring out if I can apply it... But Dennis Murrel is certainly in a "Northern" climate and he seems sold on it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of the "when". You would not be checkerboarding in the spring. That would take place in late winter before they have burned through those stores in the early buildup period before the first nectar flow.
    I am too new at this to consider tearing apart the brood nest in late winter up here. Doing major surgery on the brood nest is something I feel uncomfortable with anyway. So I may never try it. Besides, a bumper honey crop is of no concern to me. My only concern would be swarm prevention and it appears that what technique you use has to be adjusted based on where the bees end up, and what the conditions of the hive is when you first open it up.

    With this statement:
    You should never have that much honey left in the spring to work with
    It implies what you did in the fall when you put them to bed for the winter is also going to make a difference. So it looks like if either of my hives or both survive the winter I will have another whack and killing them next spring.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    mb,

    >I have not had the time to spend on resolving my problem which is that the bees are in the top box and I would have to rearrange the whole hive to do it...,

    if someone were running all mediums, could they rearrange in the fall so as to put all the brood in the bottom and all of the honey on top? i guess that would still mean rearranging, but in the fall instead of late winter.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Checkerboarding verses Opening the Broodnest

    Matt

    I have always expanded brood nest by inserting a box of drawn out comb in the middle of the brood chamber. I only insert one, but I know guys who will insert two or three boxes. They are done one at a time, once one is filled and the brood capped the next one is inserted. I don't start doing it until late May here in the Northeast USA. When you split the brood nest the same amount of bees are covering the same amount of brood. By time the queen has filled the new comb enough new bees have emerged to cover the new brood.

    MB: I don't winter with supers on, so it doesn't matter what time of year checkerboarding is done, I will not have the resources to do it. I am working to regressing bees back to wintering on a single box, I use my extra brood boxes on each hive to make splits in the fall. If I have two or three brood boxes on end of August the hive becomes two or three singles.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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