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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sewell, nj
    Posts
    524

    Default brood box reversal question

    if my bottom box is empty and all the bees and queen is working the top box should i reverse the boxes? if so is it as simple as "reversing the boxes" in addition to reversing them what else should i look for? what else should i do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    It's that simple...and if your ready for bee season start feeding
    Honeydew

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,001

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    Some feel that having your bees up off the bottom board and out of the draft is beneficial and just like in a tree, the bees will move down when they need more space. Just seems if they been doing something for millions of years they might benefit from keepin on doing it. Granted some very sucessful folks advocate it, so maybe it just doesn't matter. I would reduce the entrance till the bees get some numbers and it gets warmer so you don't chill brood if you decide it is what you want to do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,390

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    Bees have been moving up and down in the broodnest for eons...as you say. They've also been swarmoing for that amount of time...when they are located in the top of the nest, there's incoming nectar plugging the upper reaches of that nest, and they feel crowded, or the queen's available space for egg laying is being filled with nectar. Sure, some will move down easily...but some won't. Reversing and early supering takes off the pressure, allows the bees and queen easy upward movement and overhead storage of nectar.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Livingston County, NY
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    Michael,

    Do you super @ the time you reverse?

    I have two colonies that fill two deeps & a medium. Would you go to a third brood box?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    I would not reverse boxes, as the girls know better how to do what they do. Doing so will only stress out the hive. For example, when the foragers return, and the brood chamber is on the bottom, those returning will go where? And they don't need to go there. They need a place to off load their nectar and pollen without bumming out the queen, brood and caretakers. The Lady of the House will move down and fill what is necessary during the summer and the bees will store their honey where needed, which will be on the top! When that is done the natural excluder of the queen will be a top layer of honey on the frames. If you are a commercial beek and care only to make honey-money, then reverse, as that is what is written for that very purpose. If you want to enjoy bees and are fascinated with their life cycle, don't reverse.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    You can also "bait" the queen down into the bottom box by swapping some empty drawn frames into the brood nest with some capped brood frames. The capped brood will emerge shortly and clean the cells for re-laying and the queen will include the bottom box in the brood nest AND use the empty frames in the top box. This is less disruptive than just switching boxes, but takes longer. For a hobby beek, it doesn't matter, but for a commercial operation time is money (or not getting swarm prevention done before the bees leave).

    Room to store nectar just above the brood nest is the key here, I think. If they run out of room to store nectar, they will swarm no matter what configuration the hive is in, even if the cluster is still fairly small.

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,390

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    I super before I reverse. Early supering takes care of early flows and strong colonies, and reversing on the dandelion takes care of nectar going into the active broodnest. Normal years here its super first week of May and reverse after that.

    You already have a third box. Two deeps and a medium is best for the Northeast...IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by lakebilly View Post
    Michael,

    Do you super @ the time you reverse?

    I have two colonies that fill two deeps & a medium. Would you go to a third brood box?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,390

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    Quote Originally Posted by LenInNorCal View Post
    I would not reverse boxes, as the girls know better how to do what they do. Doing so will only stress out the hive. For example, when the foragers return, and the brood chamber is on the bottom, those returning will go where? And they don't need to go there. They need a place to off load their nectar and pollen without bumming out the queen, brood and caretakers .
    Foragers give their load of nectar to a receiver bee, they don't offload into cells. Reversing really isn't so stressful as you relate. And what does the queen care? She moves up, and is happy with all the empty comb overhead. Now if you allow her laying space to get backfilled...then you'll see the problem.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 03-26-2012 at 12:31 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pope, AR, USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    I reverse boxes. My girlfriend reverses boxes. My queen stays home all year where I can keep her safe from crazy people who want to kill them. My girlfriend's queens stay home and make tons of honey as a side benefit. If we didn't reverse boxes, our queens would leave the hives every year, as they do in nature and leave us with a new queen, just a few bees in each hive, and maybe not even enough honey to survive winter. I like the queens that I have and don't like to see them hanging in tree branches, exposed to the elements.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: brood box reversal question

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I super before I reverse. Early supering takes care of early flows and strong colonies, and reversing on the dandelion takes care of nectar going into the active broodnest.
    When you say 'on the dandelion', do you mean the first ones you see, or, when dandelions become prolific ? I saw the first dandelion of the summer this weekend, beside the road driving home from town. It's got me wondering, because it's VERY early for those things, the maples are barely started here.

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