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  1. #21
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    May 2011
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    Gloucester County, New Jersey
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    213

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    i would be even more distressed that a thread on beesource caused me distress in the first place but that's for you to deal with lol....

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    This thread distresses me. Pamela asked for a way to maintain constant colony count without splitting. 3 of 4 responses recommended splitting. Don't you folks read the question? The 4th response recommended doing nothing - a viable answer, if honey production is not a consideration. But five colonies implies honey production is a consideration - too many for just garden pollination.

    Am also amazed how many beekeepers still think that splitting is the best answer for swarm prevention. Or, the only answer. Checkerboarding (CB) has been around for over 15 years and very few have tried it. CB beats splitting in so many ways, we will not go into all the advantages here, other than to report that it is simpler, cheaper, less work, and produces much more honey than any broodnest disturbance technique. An ideal way for Pamela to meet her objectives.

    Several advantages are treated in more detail in the last few articles in Point of View, this site, from home page, scroll to the end.
    Walt

    OP, you can just do nothing but if you have some dead-outs then you won't have 5 anymore. You said you didn't want to split so I imagine you could just keep adding boxes and have an unlimited brood nest and gauge how big each hive desires to become each Spring/Summer. If some die off you could capture your own swarms and have replacement colonies.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,390

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    4. The bees much prefer to rear brood in a deep over a shallow. Walt
    But not two deeps over the shallow? Evil you say! I must be seein' things...12 frames of brood in two deeps over a medium, with 150 pounds of honey on top. But I must be wrong. Bees don't do it that way, 'cause they resist jumping the bee space. Must be sumthin' else makin' by back feel as it does today.

    Now, with your configuration, and my queens, I can almost guarantee the bees would be in the trees. Correct me if I'm wrong...you have a shallow, a deep, and a shallow as your broodnest. From your POV, the bottom shallow is pollen. The top shallow is honey that will be CB'd at tree bloom. The deep...a frame of honey at each sidewall. A frame of pollen next to each of those. Then there are six frames left for brood rearing. Have I got it correct? 6 frames for brood rearing?

    That would never do here.

  3. #23
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    I wish I could draw a picture. I will try w/ words. When I was taught about reversing brood boxes, deeps, as a means of controlling swarming tendency and to prep the colony for early flows the illustration was a brood pattern in the shape of a ball, soccer ball size maybe, which existed from just under the top bar of the top deep and down into the top of the bottom deep.

    Imagine two deep frames, one above the other, and a circle starting at the top, just under the top bar of the top frame, extending down below the top bar of the bottom frame. That is what I often observe and what can be found in my hives right now. So, what's this flat bottom wcubed speaks of? If that isn't too challenging?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    3,361

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    I'm curious to find the research that says few have tried checkerboarding? Almost every beek I know, and I know many, have expressed interest it in, many have used is successfully, I promote it and use and I still do nucs and splits for maintaining numbers, increase, sales and for the same practical and fun reasons as both Mikes expressed. One methodolgy that is successful in one's operation we all know may not be successful elsewhere due to a wide varitey of factors which include experiance at the top of the list. Beekeepers have many reasons and goals for keeping bees and with the same processes get different results.

    I would suggest Pamela visit Walt's exceptional resources and practice checkerboarding as a great managment tool, but in the event as a newbie she does not have the perfect result of 5% losses, which is the absolute rare execption that results from years of experiance, intense study and disciplined practices as in Walts work, she's not facing 5 deadouts from inexperiance or factors beyond her control. Today unfortunately it's not the norm so she would be wise to also have a couple of nucs in reserve. A great deal can be learned from this very simple manipulation and "birthing" a new colony and watching it grow is fun and rewarding. Splitting and combining splits with hives in late spring is in effect making an instant 2 queen unit which studies by Dunham and Faraar for similar 2 queen production increased honey production in the study area by a minimum of 40lbs. per hive and as much as 100 lbs a hive in a season. So in addition to the goal of maintaining a set number of hives, if you do winter well you are increasing production for the following year by wintering nucs. Sounds like a win/win situation to me.

  5. #25
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    Hello all,
    If I have 5 hives that I start out with, how do I maintain them instead of splitting and making more if I just want to continue with 5???
    Are you averse to splitting in order to replace winterloss?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
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    2,698

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Or splitting and selling the extras?
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    1,339

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Plenty flac. Will work back up from the last, since it's in sight.
    sqkcrk,#23
    In the southeast, many local beekeepers winter in a deep and super. In late winter, the brood nest expands to fill the deep and the super is still filled with capped honey. (their reserve) The colony will often complete swarm preps entirely within the deep and not disturb their reserve in the super above. In that case, the brood nest will will be flat across bottom bars between the stores in outside frames. It's the bottom of the functional comb. No place to store the pollen reserve below. The same thing happens in the double deep. Our bees winter in the bottom deep and the temporary expansion into the upper to rear swarm bees does not alter the flat bottomed nest in the lower. The backfilling of swarm preps refills the upper with nectar and brood is limited to the lower deep for the rest of the season. Still no place to store the pollen reserve below.
    It's a slightly different scenario for the northern locations where the broodnest is in the upper deep and the lower is basically empty in late winter. Reversal puts the upper broodnest at the bottom to allow for expansion into the empty. Locally, the broodnest still expands across the bottom to the bottom bars and there is typically no pollen reserve stored below.

    MP #22
    Item 4. was poorly worded and misleading. What it was intended to say is that if a colony is given a choice of a deep or shallow to rear brood, they will choose the deep. Their choice of a deep instead of medium is not as severe as for a shallow.

    Since I use 9 frames from bottom board to cover, my brood frames are typically only 5 frames between frames of stores. If I had problems with wintering, I might tighten up the nest to get more brood cells within a given cluster size.

    You seem to keep forgetting that my spring brood nest is not limited to the deep. The brood nest expands up through several shallows. My total broodnest at peak build up would rival yours.

    Back to pg 1
    Walt

  8. #28
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    And drowned queens on bottom boards?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Still working backward.
    sqkcrk, #20
    Are conclusions from observations outlawed? When 6 queens were lost in one winter, and all were slightly tilted to the rear, thought it reasonable to assume there was a connection.

    MP #18
    Have yet to say you are wrong. On another thread I said that you and I both report what we see and they do differ in many ways. Because they are different is not necessarily a disagreement. Did you miss that post?

    "We" includes a friend and neighbor, Harold, who acquired the last of my colonies a few years ago. For the first time in several years, I have a combined colony in my backyard. An experiment that you may hear more about if it turns out well.

    Won't go into the differences in what we see. Some are quite subtle and you have seen them for so long that for you, they are normal. (a guess)

    Walt

  10. #30
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Still working backward.
    sqkcrk, #20
    Are conclusions from observations outlawed? When 6 queens were lost in one winter, and all were slightly tilted to the rear, thought it reasonable to assume there was a connection.

    Walt

    Conclusions from observatiopns are not outlawed. But when I ask you to tell me what you saw and explain what led you to that conclusion there is no need on your part to automatically think that I think you are full of something. It was a question asked for edification and a chance for you to illustrate your observation.

    I have never seen that. Which doesn't mean anything other than I haven't seen it. I may not be as observant as others. It may not occur to me to look. I don't know I just haven't seen some of the many things you have, so I ask.

    By the way, I believe you saw what you say you saw and your conclusion to tilt the hive to address the problem is probably the right reaction. I wonder why or how often queens drop to the bottom board?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  11. #31
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    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    sqkcrk,
    I would guess it happens frequently. Instinct. In the wild brood nest the comb is anchored continuously down both sides and over the top where it started with no "communication" holes. I would think that their natural instinct would be to go to the bottom of the comb to change sides for each comb. The Queen, with the heavy rear end could easily get pried loose, negotiating the turn. Falling the 3/4 to 7/8 inch jump up space would not hurt her, except in the case of collected, instantly-chilling water. Note that the lower edge of natural comb is not squared off and tapers to an edge that makes the turn almost a 180.
    Walt

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,576

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    pamela's biggest challenge to checkerboarding her five hives that she is starting out with is that she may not have enough drawn comb in reserve to do it with.

    i went from 4 hives at the beginning of last season to 10 last fall by splitting and adding nucs.

    9 of 10 made it through last winter, but i only had comb in reserve to checkerboard one of them this spring. i realize this is only one, but this colony did not swarm and produced very well.

    of the remaining 8 that were not checkerboarded, i was able to catch 2 of them prior to swarming by noticing the swarm preps described by walt in his papers. i.e. first the backfilling of empty cells just above the upper broodnest 'arch', and then backfilling in the broodnest proper. i split these two hives prior to their swarming.

    the other 6 were hives were not expected to swarm, because they were overwintered nucs ranging from a few frames of bees to one deep of bees. they went on to swarm anyway, (i wasn't watching them for that, but i was able to catch 4 back).

    i am looking forward to being able to checkerboard more hives next season, now that i have surplus drawn comb.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #33
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    Apr 2011
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    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    731

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    instead of splitting and making more if I just want to continue with 5???
    You have started quite a discussion here! Did you get your answer yet? In my opinion you do not need to worry about keeping your number of hives down. That will take care of its self. Is your concern that you don't want the expense of more equipment to make the splits? If so, you can utilize equipment from colonies that fail. If your concern is the process of splitting, you may eventually find yourself without bees or buying more bees.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  14. #34
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Are you averse to splitting in order to replace winterloss?
    Pamela seems to be busy w/ other things.

    I asked this question because I suspect it is possible she wants to keep bees w/out having to deal w/ them intimately.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  15. #35
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    Apr 2011
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    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    it is possible she wants to keep bees w/out having to deal w/ them intimately.
    I think that to be the case also. If so, keeping her number of hives down to 5 will be no problem for her, keeping it up to 5 may require buying more bees IMHO.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  16. #36
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    That's why I suggested buying nucs or packages to replace deadouts.

    More important to this Thread, how are we going to maintain one Pamela when we loose the first one?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  17. #37
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    Jan 2011
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    Athens, OH
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    2,698

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Is there a minimum number of Pamelas to be sustainable?
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    837

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    I have to confess that I didn't read all of the posts on page 2, but I have to ask a question. The desire to keep 5 hives. . . Please define this. Is that simply as stated 5 total hives, 5 production hives, or the space of 5 hives? You can put 3 nucs in a 10 frame deep with dividers in it. I started 2 this year as 2 frame deeps and they are going great now. (Well truth be told I started 3 but the third didn't turn out) There is GREAT value in my opinion to having nucs. In having the numbers. In my mind I'd consider 2 things. . . First off if the answer is the number of 5 hives, then to accomplish this you will need to catch swarms, or split, or buy once you have a deadout. (you will have them sometime) What I think would be better would be to keep 3 hives as production hives and have 4 or more nucs. Nucs expand well, but not super fast in my experience. My 2 frame nucs were in there for about a month before I gave them their third frame. Then about 2 weeks after that I inserted a drawn frame inbetween the others. (This was a Beautiful frame when it was all capped!!! Solid capped worker brood on a deep frame from top to bottom.)

    So bottom line for me I'd consider keeping 2-4 hives for production and 3-4 nucs. (minimum of 5 deep frames total. 6-8 frames would be better, or you can use 8 or 10 frame deeps and keep them on top of each other to use less space, but it does make it a bit of a pain to inspect)

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Chester Co, PA, USA
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    269

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    perhaps pamelas desire to hold the line at 5 hives is due to 1. A life/job, 2. a lack of space , 3.the inability to purchase more equipment or perhaps a desire to get more frames of comb to take better advantage of her flows. Ir was a very simple question. There was no information to draw any conclusions about her desire or ability to be intimate with her bees.
    Meridith
    I am frequently confused!

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    731

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by MeriB View Post
    Ir was a very simple question. There was no information to draw any conclusions about her desire or ability to be intimate with her bees.
    Okay, so how do you answer her? How can she maintain at a steady number of 5? Some will die and need to be replaced. Some will outgrow their hives and will need to be dealt with in some manner, or her neighbors may have Pamela's bees in their eaves.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

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