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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    1,388

    Default Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    A few weeks ago I removed 4 frames of my 8 frame bottom brood box leaving a pattern similar to this XOOXXOOX. I then added a medium super of mostly empty foundationless frames above, and pulled frames from my top deep in the same pattern as done in the bottom box. I placed my top deep above the medium super. When I checked them yesterday, The bees still have not drawn any comb in the medium super. but have drawn lot's of comb in the top box. They did not draw any comb in the bottom box. They just backfilled it with nectar. I also saw about 5 hatched queen cells. These were not there when I checked them last.

    I am guessing they swarmed at some point and I did not notice it. This hive had recently been queenless, and I had just grown a new queen, who had just come on-line the last time I checked them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Mesa County Colorado USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    It sounds like you took frames out and didn't put them back in. Don't do that. Make sure the hive has as many frames as it can hold. If the hive swarmed, the old queen left, and one of the new ones will take over. Before one of the queens hatch, it lets the other queen she's coming, and she takes off with about 60% of the hive. When the new queen hatches, she kills all the other queens in their cells, and she becomes the new queen, plus this is swarming season, and if you didn't rotate, this could have caused them to swarm.
    Before a bee stings, it will be sure to let you know that it will hurt them more than it will hurt you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    No I replaced the frames I removed with empty foundationless.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Mesa County Colorado USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    Oh.
    Before a bee stings, it will be sure to let you know that it will hurt them more than it will hurt you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,437

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    Paul,

    I think you made a valiant effort but once they decide they're going to swarm, there's not allot you can do about it besides splitting. Opening the brood nest and checkerboarding are both good techniques but you have to do it before things get crowded. Even then, there are no guarantees.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,752

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    paul, thanks for sharing those results. i had similar experience with a few overwintered nucs that i was trying to add more boxes to. i also put empty supers in between the broodnest and the overhead honey, and they swarmed.

    it's like they didn't like that empty space there, or didn't perceive that it was there for them to grow into.

    i think that in the future, i will try to keep frames that they are working in each box so they can ladder up. and, i'll not put more than one empty frame at a time between those worked frames.

    this is my second full season, and i'm started to get more of an inventory of drawn comb. i'm hoping that will help out when it comes time to checkerboard and expand the broodnest next year.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,704

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    Errrrr, that doesn't sound like what is commonly called checkerboarding (which is done above.the broodnest, not in the broodnest) .

    Spreading brood like that without enough bees to fill in the gaps puts a lot of stress on the bees.....not recommended.

    Deknow

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,241

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    maybe because the brood was so unnatural for the hive they thought the queen was failing and superceded. I was told early in my beekeeping to never divide the brood nest.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Did my attempt to checkerboard cause a swarm?

    From my understanding of checkerboarding, you did not checkerboard. I don't know what I would call what you did, but it was not checkerboarding.

    Checkerboarding is placing alternating drawn out frames and frames full of honey above the brood nest.

    Even placing an empty drawn out super above the brood nest is not checkerboarding.

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