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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Wisconsin rapids Wi USA
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    41

    Default reversing hives ?

    If I have 2 deeps, come spring my bees are in the top deep. so I read that I should reverse the deeps and start with the brood in the bottom. then in another thread I read about needing to make a "hole" in the brood nest to make room for the queen to lay eggs because they back fill around the top and keep making the nest smaller.
    so my ? is, why not just let them in the top and as they fill the top of the frames it will push the queen and brood nest down naturally

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Gaithersburg, MD
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    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    This works to an extent but when the flow starts the nectar comes in faster than brood mature so the brood nest ends up getting back filled if the top is full while they wait for the brood nest to move down naturally. As a result, the hive senses that it is strong (space is limited in the brood nest) and resources are abundant (space is full above the nest). This signals the bees to start the swarming process. Once this is set in motion it really can't be stopped. As a result all extra resources go out the hive w/ the swarm instead of into your honey harvest.

    Putting empty frames on top gives them a place to put the nectar instead of in the brood nest. If they are really strong you sometimes need to put empty frames into the brood nest as well. And sometimes they swarm regardless. Your goal is to suppress this instinct as much as possible so you can get honey and/or make splits to get more hives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
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    2,869

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    Perfectly good option, remember they don't reverse in the wild.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    The reversing fairy does all the feral bees...

    I don't reverse. If there is only brood in the top box, it won't hurt to reverse, but it's more work and I don't see the benefit. If there is brood in both boxes, you'll break up the brood nest and make them rearrange the whole thing...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I don't reverse. If there is only brood in the top box, it won't hurt to reverse, but it's more work and I don't see the benefit. If there is brood in both boxes, you'll break up the brood nest and make them rearrange the whole thing...
    Good point. Should state I'm planning to reverse if the bottom box is empty and I don't have another box w/ drawn frames to put on top (this is my second winter--last year I put nothing on top and didn't reverse and had a swarm machine). I will use stored drawn frames first to achieve the same effect.

    My main concern w/ flipping boxes in early spring (or adding a box) from a theoretical perspective is the fact that the cluster all of a sudden has empty space overhead that heat rises into. To me this requires increased use of honey to maintain cluster temps. I'm assuming that, in a strong hive, this is not an issue if they have enough stores/feed. Is this the case? Don't have enough real world experience to draw upon. Would imagine if the nights are still cold this will be rougher on the hive than if temps are warming.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post

    My main concern w/ flipping boxes in early spring (or adding a box) from a theoretical perspective is the fact that the cluster all of a sudden has empty space overhead that heat rises into. To me this requires increased use of honey to maintain cluster temps. I'm assuming that, in a strong hive, this is not an issue if they have enough stores/feed. Is this the case? Don't have enough real world experience to draw upon. Would imagine if the nights are still cold this will be rougher on the hive than if temps are warming.
    If this is your concern, consider down supering.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    If this is your concern, consider down supering.
    Do you mean nadiring? Did this last year and they couldn't move the brood nest down fast enough to create space for the incoming nectar. So this would be the same as letting them move down naturally, correct? However, I did not super as I was sticking to the Warre protocol. This year I will try both on my Warre hive--put a box of comb I had them draw last fall on the bottom and a box of movable frames w/ foundation on top--and see which route they choose. Their cluster is still quite strong so they will be ripe for swarming in the spring. Think I have enough drawn frames to do the same for the lang--though it is a little small right now. Will have to go slow w/ them unless they explode next month. We'll see.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,720

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The reversing fairy does all the feral bees... .
    Yes it does them. Thay all swarm don't they? They don't give us any surplus honey, do they?

    See -

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    when the flow starts the nectar comes in faster than brood mature so the brood nest ends up getting back filled if the top is full while they wait for the brood nest to move down naturally..... As a result, the hive senses that it is strong (space is limited in the brood nest) and resources are abundant (space is full above the nest). This signals the bees to start the swarming process.
    Agreed

    If you want to farm your bees for a bit of profit rather than just let them be ferals, do not be afraid to reverse brood boxes when it's appropriate, it's a very useful tool.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin rapids Wi USA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    thanks guys, I think I,ll just wait untill i see what is going on in the hives in the spring and do what I think is best at that time . but now I see both sides and the pros and cons of each.
    again thank you!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    >Yes it does them. Thay all swarm don't they? They don't give us any surplus honey, do they?

    I have more effective ways to keep them from swarming.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
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    1,194

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    [QUOTE=, why not just let them in the top and as they fill the top of the frames it will push the queen and brood nest down naturally[/QUOTE]
    I tryed that last year and i ended up with 8 swarms .
    I'm going to try many things this year{but not that} to get them to not swarm i just got a copy of NECTAR MANAGEMENT Principles and Practice By Walt Wright.
    And i have The Practical Beekeeper and that has some good SPM in it also.
    Plus i've been reading about SPM since Sept of last year. Thats a goal this year is to not have any swarms. Good luck.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    >Thats a goal this year is to not have any swarms

    there ya go man. (but it won't hurt to keep an empty deep or two around to trap one just in case )
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,018

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    Because I don't mess with the brood nest much I like to remove the bottom empty box and clean it up. I will already have an empty box to place on top of the brood when I remove the bottom box. Then it is a case of waiting for the flow before I put on the third box which is the bottom box that was cleaned up. It helps to have your boxes all the same size. I have observed that the bottom box is mostly filled with old pollen which the bees will clean out fast after the hive has expanded a bit.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    good move ace. do you move any honey frames up to the top when you add the third box?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,194

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    I have 7 empty hives and i use all deeps plus i have 2 xtra dbl nucs and one TBH so if i get swarms i'm ok with it.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,018

    Default Re: reverseing hives ?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    good move ace. do you move any honey frames up to the top when you add the third box?
    If it doesn't have brood but most likely it does. Now that I have been at this a few years I have drawn comb and they go right into it as soon as I put the empty box on. I will pull up honey frames in a checkerboard fashion if the next empty box is foundation.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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