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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Checkerboarding question

    Hello all,
    I have quite a few hives that are more than ready for a second deep; however, the bees will not move up into the new box. Like I said, they are pretty packed into the first hive body. I would like to try checkerboarding, but I don't have any extra drawn comb to work with. So the question I have is this: can I checkerboard with undrawn plastic foundation? If so, should I brush extra wax onto the foundation. Any and all input is well appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Enumclaw, WA, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Sorry, what is checkerboarding?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Hi westernbeekeeper,
    I had the same problem a couple months ago. Bees wouldn't touch the upper box except to just walk around a bit and I didn't have any extra drawn out comb.
    I took two frames from the bottom deep (the two outermost on either side, like frame 1 and frame 10) and moved them up into the empty deep in like positions 2 or 3 and 8 or 9. Replaced the frames taken with new frames of foundation but I moved frames out so that these were put in positions 3 or 4 and 7 or 8.
    So it was not complete checkerboarding but I needed them to draw comb on the other frames so this was my best option. Then I sprayed the other frames of foundation that were not drawn out with sugar water 1:1.
    Bees still did not draw out new comb but did go up and clean the sugar water off the frames.
    So after a couple weeks I took two more frames from the bottom deep and moved them up into the top closer to the middle and finally they started to draw out comb. But remember that you replaced the frames in the bottom with undrawn foundation as well so they will have to draw those out too. I made sure that drawn frames put in the top had undrawn on either side of them and vise versa on the bottom.
    This hive is now 2 deeps and it swarmed on Easter Sunday, before I added the second deep.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Thanks lissa! Anything else from anyone?
    Last edited by westernbeekeeper; 07-05-2012 at 05:17 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    yes you can use UN-drawn frames. remove every other frame and replace with UN-drawn frame.no need to brush extra wax onto frames.then add frames to upper deep place drawn frames above UN-drawn frames so there staggered they should draw them out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,299

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    I had the same problem about three weeks ago, I use wax foundation and the bees just chewed on it until several sheets were pretty well wrecked so I scattered all the frames throughout both boxes in a complete checkerboard, two weeks later the upper deep was completely drawn out and four of the frames had capped brood, however I must say that feeding them 1:1 syrup I feel is a big help to stimulating them to draw out the comb.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,709

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    If the bees are not in the upper deep, then it is their opinion that they do not need it yet. I would like to think that the bees are smarter than I on matters of bees. Build their populations more, and they may change their mind.

    If you insist on them occupying 2 boxes, hang a couple of frames from the lower box up into the upper box.

    Crazy Roland

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    I have always moved brood up and placed empty frames in the bottom. Spaced every other one if there are enough bees to keep the brood warm.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,183

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    I checkerboard using PF100 plastic frames, brood and all. I started this early spring when day temp were in the 60s and night time temp were as low as 30s, right before drones appeared. They kept the brood warm and bee population exploded. I did lots of 50/50 or 33/33/33 splits and the bees had to draw all new comb. These hives now have supers or a third deep on them. And they have all give up frames of brood for swarms and cut outs.

    The first super I put on there was a good flow so they built/filled/capped in one month. put another supper on and did not touch it in the next month (except to eat the foundation) checker boarded that now too, but I think it will have to wait until fall for a flow.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,872

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Thanks for the link, JRG13.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    This may have been answered already, but a search on checker boarding resulted in more info than I am able to sift through.

    Checker boarding, as I understand it reduces the tendency to swarm by making the bees think that they do not have sufficient stores to swarm.

    My question is what is important about having empty comb in alternating positions? Why not several empty frames in the center of the box or even a whole box of empty frames?
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    i would recommend ordering the manuscript directly from walt. by far, it was the best $10 i have spent on beekeeping.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,949

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Splitting the brood nest by placing new frames in the middle can be quite lethal this time of year. The bees have to decide which half of the brood to save and sacrifice the other half. The outer frames of the cluster will not fare well even if they cluster on that half. Fall Winter is the worst time of year for comb manipulation, checkerboarding. If you do not know what it is or how it crashes the hive you should not risk it. You will be able to re-use the equipment from the dead out next year though.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    Splitting the brood nest by placing new frames in the middle can be quite lethal this time of year..
    I completely understand that. I have no intention of opening my hives until spring
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i would recommend ordering the manuscript directly from walt.

    Is the answer to my specific question in the manuscript?
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,641

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    .....I don't think what Walt calls checkerboarding is what people are describing here. Walt talks about checkerboard ABOVE the broodnest, not alternating brood with comb or foundation. I think Walt gets a bad rap by people hearing the term checkerboard and assuming they should separate the brood.

    Deknow

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    ... Walt talks about checkerboard ABOVE the broodnest, not alternating brood with comb or foundation.
    Deknow
    I understand that.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,641

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Ralph, then you are doing well. I don't have an opinion on Walt's approach, but almost everyone that I hear discuss it (from beginners to full fledged commercial beekeepers) don't understand this. Perhaps it is the $10 charge to read his own document that adds to the confusion.

    Deknow

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Checkerboarding question

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Ralph, then you are doing well.

    Deknow
    What I don't understand is why a specific pattern to the empty frames. Why not adjacent frames in the center of the box (above the brood), or a whole box of empty frames.

    Edit to add: or any configuration that has less stores above the brood.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

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