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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default Brood nest on top?

    This is probably a wacky idea, but has anyone ever tried putting the queen and brood on top of the stack over an excluder during the flow? You would have to move the brood boxes off to add empty supers, but it sure would make it easier to check for swarm cells - until the stack got tall that is. But by then your honey crop is made anyway. Either way you have to pull supers to do an inspection, this way it would just be the brood supers.

    I suspect that it might cause some kind of problem like really excessive backfilling, but maybe not. Anyone ever tried it?

    I'm going to try the inspect for cells every 7-10 days method on a few hives, and already I'm trying to think of a lazy way.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
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    995

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Nature (genetics) always wins. Bees naturally work from top to bottom, honey, pollen, brood. I suspect your bottom supers would end up empty. Even without an excluder my bottom medium in my M-D-M configuration is often empty most of the summer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Galt, CA
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    881

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    I had a hive that I forgot to reverse last year, the queen moved into the 2nd deep during the winter months and never went back down. I cracked the lid, saw how full of bees the hive was, so I put a 3rd hive body, I run all deeps even for honey. Another inspection later and I noticed the queen was laying in the 3rd deep as well as the second deep, so I did a deeper inspection going to the 1st hive body. Ten frames of drawn comb......all empty.

    C2

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Trinity, NC, USA
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    142

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Yes, get them started storing above the nest and then move the super under them. The queen will lay wall to wall and to the bottom bar! They will store and cap under the nest.

    Brood chamber in middle of supers.


    Brood chamber above supers.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Rail, I am not seeing any excluder to keep the queen up top. I would be leery of swarming.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,593

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    I've done it to make it easy to find young larvae to graft, the bees usually raise a queen below the excluder and move all the honey up to the top box...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    If that happens then it means the bees can move eggs, No? Or are you saying the egg is there before you put the excluder between the boxes?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Trinity, NC, USA
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    142

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Rail, I am not seeing any excluder to keep the queen up top. I would be leery of swarming.
    Acebird,

    Every high-fecund bright yellow queen bee (heavy laying italian from Georgia) has "always moved up instead of down" if she has a path, no nectar or capped honey to cross. I feared swarms also but they did not. Most if not all of the honey and nectar was moved down into the super when the brood chamber was installed on top. I also give them an upper entrance with a screen, that could have helped in there decision to keep the nest up.




  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    6,071

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Busy hives you got there Rail!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Trinity, NC, USA
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    142

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Busy hives you got there Rail!
    And educational. That same hive in the late summer I moved the supers above the brood chamber and installed three empty combs in the middle of the second super. The queen moved up and started laying.

    Brood chamber below.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Trinity, NC, USA
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    142

    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I've done it to make it easy to find young larvae to graft, the bees usually raise a queen below the excluder and move all the honey up to the top box...
    What strain of bee?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Rail - Thanks i was hoping someone had seriously tried it.

    Michael Bush - I know you dont practice swarm cell removal. I am trying a system taught by Ed Holcomb to get heavy honey harvests out of our 6 week nectar flows.

    You have to always check for cells after manipulations that add an excluder. I learned that lesson in spades last year.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    >If that happens then it means the bees can move eggs, No?

    No. It means there are eggs on both sides of the excluder.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    David, what is the method that was given to you to get lots of honey in a short time? Was it some type of a cut down split? John

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    It boils down to this - have really strong hives when the flow starts, and keep them from swarming by inspecting every brood frame every 7-10 days and cutting down queen cells. It's labor intensive for a few weeks, but it really works if you do it. There are a few hobyists who follow this method and get up to 200 pounds of honey per hive.

    The really strong hive part is basic bee keeping - but especially to requeen in late July/August, and furnish good nutrition all the time making sure that they never get short and go into famine survival mode. I don't know for sure, but I imagine that mr Holcomb will teach at the HAS conference next july - in my home town - since he is always a popular speaker, and lives in this region.

    Here is an article that I wrote based on one of his presentations - How To Build Strong Bee Hives for Maximum Honey Production - at and HAS conference a few years ago.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 03-20-2013 at 06:09 PM.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    David, if you only have a small number of hives to keep track of its not that bad, I used to do the cutting out of cells to prevent swarming, but seems you somehow miss a cell and they're in the trees. If you take each frame and shake the bees off to look for cells that is the best way to not miss one, but again its more work. If you are looking for a good way to get lots of honey quickly, a type of cut down split I used works incredibly well, and its not as much work as looking for queen cells every week. John

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    That is exactly why I have been resistant to using this method before now - and why I'm only doing 3 hives. Also why i'm thinking about possible ways to make it easier.

    I think Ed shakes them onto a sheet in front of the hive.

    I did some cut down splits last year - which worked well on some hives - on some others I missed the fact that they were already working on swarm cells and my massive honey hive issued multiple virgin swarms, and requeened itself.



    This is the primary swarm from that particular hive. And by the way - because it had been an early spring that hive made a decent honey crop despite flying the coop in the middle of May.

    I just happened to walk up as the swarm was issuing and got this video of the swarm issuing on my cell phone. If you look really close at about 45 seconds you can see a queen going back inside. I assume the one that took charge.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 03-21-2013 at 07:55 AM.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Brood nest on top?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I assume the one that took charge.
    I thought queens were under the rule of the colony not the other way around.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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