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  1. #1
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    Default Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    With spring soon to start in the northern hemisphere I'm looking for people interested in setting aside a hive or two to test the following method. I have previously referred to this as "Maintaining a hole beside the brood nest" but looking for something less than a mouthful have decided to refer to it as "Opening the sides."

    What you will need:

    One box of new undrawn frames.

    Conditions:

    No queen excluder
    No feeding
    Frames are all the same size
    Start after Plums have started flowering
    Do every 2-3 weeks until the box is all drawn comb

    Method:

    1. In early spring (when plum trees are well into blossom), move an outside frame from the brood box into the centre of a new box so that it will be directly above the brood nest.

    2. Find the edge of the brood nest and place a new undrawn frame beside the brood nest. There must be brood on one side of the new frame and drawn comb, or the edge of the box on the other side of this new frame.

    3. Repeat this process every 2-3 weeks, alternating sides. (The previously added frame should be at least 2/3 drawn.) After the second time, you could even put a new frame on each side of the brood nest at the same time. Once there is brood on the edge frame(s) of the brood box, remember to make sure when you move it up that it is centred directly above the brood nest.

    4. Once the frames in the top box are completely drawn comb you should be able to just concentrate on the supers. If there is no brood in the top box, you could checkerboard this box with the frames of a new super to go on the top.

    Purpose:

    • This method does not force bees to cover a larger brood nest than they are able to cover.
    • The bees still have direct access to the frame that was beside the brood nest, but it is now above instead. Not a problem, when heat rises.
    • The bees can build the comb in their own time, but it gives them an incentive to build comb.
    • Develops comb builders before swarm season and helps deter swarming.
    • Enlarges the size of the brood nest when the bees would usually be backfilling, as the queen lays in comb as it is being built.


    Posting results:
    Please post results in the following format:

    Week 1 - [Date started]
    Added Frame A
    Brood on 6 frames.

    Week 3
    Frame A, 2/3 drawn
    Added Frame B
    Brood on 8 frames.

    Week 5
    Frame A, 80% drawn
    Frame B, 2/3 drawn
    Brood on 9 frames
    Added Frames C and D, brood was on the right edge frame that was moved up.

    Etc.
    Then if you wish, discuss any observations.


    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Matthew, I did something like this last year to expand a 5 frame nuc into a ten frame box and then continued to a second box. I also started with 2 frames being added at a time. This is not exactly what you describe but here is what my records say. Also be aware I did feed the bees this entire time.

    May 10th 2012
    5 frame nuc well populated and with a laying queen is added to the center of a 10 frame box. 2 empty frames of foundation are placed on the outer west edge of box and three empty frames of foundation are added to the outer East edge of the box.

    My goal at this time was to gt one full box of drawn frames and give a laying queen more space

    The frames at this point are numbered 1-10 going from east to wast so frames 1-3 are empty, 4-8 are the original 5 frame nuc and frames 9 and 10 are empty. As frames are moved there number is changed. it is box position I track not individual frames.

    May 17 2012, Inspection shows very little comb has been drawn on east side of frame 9. bees appear to me to be reluctant to move away from the original 5 frames of the nuc.

    As an experiment I choose to move frame 8 a full frame of honey form the original nuc to the 10 position. sliding both frames 9 and 10 toward the center of the box by one position. frames 9 and 10 are now 8 and 9.

    Also note I did not wait any where near 2 or 3 weeks I watched very carefully and moved fraems as I saw necessary. I also agree with your to much brood to fast concern.

    May 19th 2012, (2 days not weeks later) Frames 8 and 9 are half drawn foundation.

    Frame 4 a full frame of honey from original nuc is switched with frame 3 an empty frame of foundation. all other frames are left alone.

    May 27th 2012 Take not that all frames in this box from frame 3 to 10 are either original nuc fraems or new foundation sandwiched between old nuc fraems. All fraems from the west side of frame 2 thru fame 10 are fully drawn and contain brood nectar or honey. The west side of frame 2 has some slight drawn comb on it and frame one is still untouched foundation.

    17 days from a a half empty box of foundation to a nearly full box of brood. Box is left untouched at his time. first concerns about to much brood to fast.

    May 28th 2012 Second box is added above first. containes 10 frames of of undrawn foundation. Take note hive is already exhibiting noticeable population increase and this is expected to accelerate over the next few days as I am right at that window of 21 days since queen was allowed to increase laying.

    May 30th 2012 frames from the lower box are removed and added to the top box in the following positions.

    Upper box frame 1 is replaced with frame 2 of lower box. frames 2-7 of upper box are left empty foundation. So I did not follow your center idea. Frame 8 is swapped with frame 8 of the lower box. frame 9 is empty foundation and frame 10 is swapped with frame 7 of lower box. Frames where selected in order to not disturb the brood nest as much as possible. frame 7 of the lower box had for some reason been filled with honey and no brood was being moved with this switch. Only full fraems of honey nectar or pollen.

    As you can see things in the hive are changing very fast at this point. Frames can go from being brood to being nectar or pollen in a matter of days.

    June 4th 2012 It is now noted that food source is influencing what comb is drawn as well as position of original hive frames. Inspection shows some comb being drawn up the center of the second box all frames from 3 thru 7 are to some degree being drawn. brood is present in some and nectar or sugar water is being stored in some. Frames are not manipulated in order to allow more progress to be made on these frames. No further manipulation of the lower box will be made.

    June 6th 2012 Frames 2,3 and 8 are largely untouched. other fraems have at least half the comb drawn on them. these last three fraems are moved toward the center so that each is sandwiched between two well drawn frames.

    No further manipulation of frames will be made of either box but I did continue to inspect for condition of brood etc.

    Mega bee was also added along with sugar water on 6-10 2012

    June 12th 2012 first super is added. no frame manipulations. Sugar water is removed.

    I cannot find it in my notes at the moment and I am running short on time but I did an inspection some time around this period that showed 17 frames of brood. THe queen had returned to the lower box and the upper deep was being filled with honey as the brood emerged. The added super was ignored for a month or more. eventually they did fill it with honey as well as a second med super that they filled in late summer early fall with the help of sugar water.

    As of today this hive is strong and foraging bringing in early pollen.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Thanks Daniel. I meant to mention that I used foundationless frames. I'm interested in if there is much, or any difference in how fast comb is drawn when using new frames of foundation verses foundationless when it's on the edge of the broodnest.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Matt, Later in the summer I needed to rob this hive of a few frames of honey and brood to support a trap out I was attempting. I want to say I began this trap out in August. My bees had long ago given up any indication of drawing any foundation. I did not have any new foundation so I had to place empty frames in the hive temporarily. Maybe 5 days or so. and the bees drew a large portion of at least one frame during that time. I removed it and still have it saved in my shop. I consider this a strong indication that bees will draw empty fraems when they will not even sniff at foundation. From nothing on foundation to over half a frame drawn in 5 days. that is a significant difference in my book. all 5 fraems where drawn to some degree this one just got the best attention. I am certain they would have drawn out all 5 frames had they been given the time. I saw it more as their reaction to an empty space in there home. they don't like holes. My attention was on the trap out as well so I was not paying as much attention to what the colony was doing or why. I am pretty sure it is just a mental thinking for me. but I simply cannot seem to get over the idea that I should keep using foundation. My rational side says it is not only not necessary but probably a negative at many times. When I get tired of spending the extra money I will probably get over it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    How is this a test? what are you comparing it to? how do you evaluate your failure or success? from what I see your just messing with the bees system and saying gee look what I did.......... need do establish a goal and a test critera or its just moving frames.

    Checkerboarding for swarm control is 50 years old. and proven....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    I am following on from my previous thread: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...rst-year-hives


    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    Swarming means a hive has been successful in filling the brood nest with the required resources for the next generation, but this usually means there won't be a honey crop for the beekeeper.

    I have studied the causes of swarming for some time and looked at the various methods for swarm prevention.

    Ideally the beekeeper wants to stop the bees from backfilling the brood nest with nectar in the first place, but the methods to do this require a couple of boxes of drawn comb for the beekeeper to be successful for swarm prevention. This includes Checkerboarding or Supering and reversing brood boxes. The first or even second year beekeeper does not have drawn comb to do this.
    The issue is that Checkerboarding, supering and reversing brood boxes requires drawn comb.


    The testing I am seeking is to verify is if this method can (and the goals of beekeeping in general are to) :

    1. Prevent Swarming

    2. Produce a honey crop

    without having drawn comb available.


    Other tests are:

    3. Can a full box of new frames be drawn before the main flow without feeding?

    4. Are foundtionless frames drawn faster than frames of foundation when placed beside the broodnest?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    from what I see your just messing with the bees system and saying gee look what I did..........
    And this is not exactly what all beekeeping is doing? In every way? It is the search for how to interfear with the least negative consequences. beekeeping got over the idea of interfering long ago.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    ....when plum trees are well into blossom...
    We (I) would need a better datum to work from than "plum" trees. I think you need to carefully define the timing of this procedure if you're to get any reasonable data.

    Also, your step 1 "move an outside frame from the brood box into the centre of a new box so that it will be directly above the brood nest" does this moved up frame need to be empty drawn comb?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    maybe, but with no control and baseline, you are actually accomplishing nothing.... you don't know that you helped or hurt. most of what we do does more harm than good. without a baseline its just a idea that makes you warm and fuzzy...

    To meet the 2 stated goal, I can put bees in a large cardboard box, and not open it until fall... preventing swarming is easy. watch your hives..... makeing honey is pretty easy also....

    The goal s need to be better than just what we already do.... you need to show you produced MORE honey this way........

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Astrobee, we have a fairly long transition between winter and spring. The use of Plums trees is because it is one of the first fruit trees to flower and signifies to me that winter has finished. The timing of it's flowering (in my area anyway) signifies temperatures are warm enough, and long periods of cold weather are much less likely. The average temperatures at this time are 13C (55F).

    Timing is variable, so i think it's better to use the flowers as indicators. Walt Wright in the previous thread said he has as little as 6 weeks between plums and the start of swarm season. For me it's at least 12 weeks.The more nectar available the quicker the buildup. If you only have 6 weeks between plums and swarm season you could probably do more frames or go in more often. I would be aiming for at least 5 frames drawn by swarm season. 1 frame the first week, then 2 frames each fortnight after that. Or go in every week.

    In terms of moving frames up. These should be frames of stores, ideally they should have some capped honey on them. As the broodnest expands the outside frames may have some brood in them as well.

    I should mention, if the hive doesn't have a number of frames with some capped honey, I would be reluctant to put any stress on the bees by making them drawn out more comb.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Gmcharlie, I think you've missed the point. This is for beekeepers who do not have drawn comb to give to the bees. For those is this situation the baseline is swarm/not swarm, which determines if there is a honey crop. It is NOT about producing more honey, as you can't compete with methods that have the comb already drawn. Producing wax uses up a lot of resources.

    Nectar sources, temperatures and climate vary greatly from place to place, and year to year. Even similar size hives at the start of the season can be quite different at the the end of summer.

    The control would be placing a box of undrawn frames on top of a hive and doing no manipulation of the brood box. In my experience it will usually get ignored.

    The thing that you can compare it with is "Opening the broodnest".

    So the next test is:

    5. Does disturbing the centre of the broodnest (verses not disturbing the broodnest) before swarm season set back a hive's buildup?

    I do not want this to be a competition with Michael Bush. I have great respect for him. I'm just offering this as another "tool" for new beekeepers.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    In terms of moving frames up. These should be frames of stores, ideally they should have some capped honey on them. As the broodnest expands the outside frames may have some brood in them as well.
    This seems counter to the checkerboarding philosophy, where Walt encourages openness above using drawn comb. What's the logic of placing the full frames directly above the broodnest?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Astrobee, when the first one or two frames are moved up, I've noticed that the bees seem to view these frames as isolated and outside of their nest. So they rob it out and move the stores back down. This means the first couple of frames end up being empty drawn comb.

    Also, frames of stores often have empty cells along the bottom third or so. When these frames are moved up, there is now empty cells above the broodnest. If not robbed, they will either end up with brood, or get filled with nectar (from the top down.)

    Thirdly, as the broodnest is encouraged to expand out sideways into the edge frames, these frames are then moved up to the new box above the broodnest. Then as you continue adding frames, the broodnest is also in the top box, and also gets expanded out sideways. What i'm not sure about is if there is capped honey inbetween the two areas of brood, is it moved out?

    This is also what I would like tested:

    6. Do the bees rob out the first few frames that are moved up? If so, how many frames, before they are considered part of the broodnest?

    7. If there is a band of capped honey between brood frames, one above another, is the honey moved out?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    Repeat this process every 2-3 weeks, alternating sides. (The previously added frame should be at least 2/3 drawn.) After the second time, you could even put a new frame on each side of the brood nest at the same time. Once there is brood on the edge frame(s) of the brood box, remember to make sure when you move it up that it is centred directly above the brood nest.
    In the spring wouldn't the outside frames be drones? Moving them to the center would not be something I would want to do.
    Your goal appears to me to be drawing comb and preventing swarms. As gmcharlie stated, how do you measure that vs. someone that lets the bees design their own nest and keeps ahead of them with foundation during the flows. If you are trying to develop a stimulant wouldn't feeding be easier? I foresee a huge variation in the data from one area to another with what you are suggesting.
    Brian Cardinal
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    I understand your point. In my experince the biggest problem with new hives is too much messing with them. I get a lot more newbies screwing up a hive and actually killing them doing stuff like this. I have put literaly hundreds if hives with empty frames on top hives and had no issues. Now that said i am all for expirementing. But trying to manipulate bees food and broodnest without facts DOES more harm than good. Breaking up a brood nest in a single story hive without enough bees, will set them back. Yes thats the goal if there ready to swarm, but if there not, then you make them move stores, and you screw with the queens laying pattern and in some cases kill brood.
    I realize your trying to add some "timing" .......
    To answer question 7 above the answer is yes. they will move that honey out. once again trying to condense the broodnest into a size and shape they can handle and that she likes..... which is where she lays best in my opinion.

    Not relavant to the test, but for my purposes, the only thing I would do is moving empty comb next to the brood nest if it gets backfilled.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Ace, the first few frames moved up would be the outside frames containing a lot of drone comb, but as stated I don't see those frames used, especially for brood rearing (at least initially). If they are used to raise drones, then the bees want drones. It also means it's less likely that the new comb will contain a lot of drone comb.

    As more frames are inserted, these outside frames will be moved outward. They will continue to be on the outside of the broodnest. The structure of the broodnest will be maintained. Think of it as two double ended arrows. Expansion is out from the centre.

    ---<-->---
    -<------>-

    It terms of feeding, that would encourage the broodnest to be filled up quicker. Thus leading to swarming. This is the opposite of what I'm trying to achieve.

    Gmcharlie, I don't see how this can be any worse that other methods, such as opening the broodnest and reversing. By the time brood frames are being moved up, the whole brood box would contain brood (as only the outer frames are moved up.) Remember they are placed in the centre directly above the broodnest, so by that time there should be amble bees to cover the small gap they have to make up for (between the upper and lower frame.)

    By what I've seen, and many on this forum report, is that bees will fill up existing comb until there is nowhere left for the queen to lay. They will then swarm. As the season moves into the main flow they will then start drawing out frames of foundation if they need more room. But by then it's too late, they have already swarmed.

    I actually started doing this method on a double width hive, as I would rather not break up the broodnest at all. But most people have a standard Langstroth, so having brood frames in more than one box is necessary. This is one of the reasons I'm wanting to test.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    the other methods of opening the broodnestand reverseing are for differnt reasons I reverse boxes not to keep them from swarming but to keep the queen low. I hate the fact that a double story hive around here will have the bottom box empty and be filling supers..... but its what bees do.

    the tendancy to swarm as you put it from filling up COMB is not exactly right. yes if they are completly backfilled you have a problem. but as a beekeeper if you allow that to happen your failed. supers should be placed long before that. And of course empty space will not stop them if they have decided. crowding is a clue,
    That said manipulation such as your recomending does more to slow growth. something Thats a problem IMO.
    swarming is more complicated than just moving frames to avoid.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    As more frames are inserted, these outside frames will be moved outward. They will continue to be on the outside of the broodnest. The structure of the broodnest will be maintained. Think of it as two double ended arrows. Expansion is out from the centre.
    It is my understanding that the colony will locate drone cells on the outside of the nest but not above it. If you put these frames directly above it in the center won't they have to chew it out and reconstruct worker cells?
    I only mentioned feeding because if it is not a flow the bees are not going to draw anything out. Feeding is a fake flow and in that regard a stimulant to the colony.
    Go ahead and do you procedure but you can't call it a test unless you have some comparison to a control. At least one hive in everyone's apiary has to be left alone as a control. Multiple hives would be much better.
    Brian Cardinal
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    Ace, drone cells outside the broodnest can be above as well. Have a look at threads debating queen excluders. You'll find a number saying that the queen went up into the supers, leaving areas of drone brood. I believe this happens when there is lack of drone comb close to the brood nest and the bees want more drones.

    in terms of a comparison to a control (and the debate with gmcharlie), the control needs to start off as an identical hive to the test hive, so it also should have a box of new frames with foundation and not be manipulated at all. But it should be inspected at the same time as the test, so as to compare the two hives.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Testers wanted: Opening the sides

    After the previous discussions please see the below as an addition to the original post.

    Control:
    The control needs to start off as an identical hive to the test hive. It should also have a box of new frames with foundation added at the same time as the test hive. it should not be manipulated at all during the test period. But it should be inspected at the same time as the test, so as to compare the two hives.

    Summary of tests:

    In comparison to the control, does this method:

    1.a. Prevent, Reduce, Increase or make no difference to backfilling of the broodnest?
    1.b. Prevent, Reduce, Increase or make no difference to Swarming?

    2. Produce more or less or make no difference to the honey crop?


    Other questions I would like to test:

    3. Can this method get a full box of new frames drawn before the main flow, without feeding?

    4. Are foundtionless frames drawn faster than frames of foundation when placed beside the broodnest?

    5. In comparison to "Opening the broodnest", does disturbing the centre of the broodnest (verses not disturbing the broodnest) before swarm season set back a hive's buildup?

    6. With this method, do the bees rob out the first few frames that are moved up? If so, how many frames, before they are considered part of the broodnest?

    7. If there is a band of capped honey between brood frames, one above another, is the honey moved out?

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