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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    381

    Default Reversing Mediums

    I typically overwinter in 3-4 mediums and every spring the bees are in the top or second box from the top and eggs and brood are always there. I've been reversing because the bottom two boxes are usually totally empty and by putting those empties on top I believe it will slow any swarming inclination. I'd like not to do this but when I've added a super with drawn frames to the stack, the bees just expand the brood next up. this year, I've added a queen excluder to a couple just to see what happens, but I still reversed them due to fears of crowding and swarming. I would like to hear from those with more experience whether they think the bees would eventually move the brood nest down into the bottom two boxes with drawn frames. I know Mr. Bush says don't bother with reversing but it seems to me that the bees always move the brood nest up in the early spring.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,889

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    As long as you don't break up the brood nest it won't hurt. I just don't like to work that hard...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    san leandro, CA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    I reversed my two deep boxes last weekend for the same reason. I found a lot of drone comb, no queen comb.. I hope it did some good, no swarm yet

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    What I'd like for someone to tell me is whether or not the queen will move down to the bottom boxes and lay eggs there or will the hive swarm because the top two boxes are filled?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    In my experience, they sometimes will swarm because they're use to leaving the bottom box empty over the winter and the queen won't go down to lay. I reverse the brood boxes every spring and the queen always lays in the empty.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    Quote Originally Posted by applebwoi View Post
    What I'd like for someone to tell me is whether or not the queen will move down to the bottom boxes and lay eggs there or will the hive swarm because the top two boxes are filled?
    It would be nice if there were a rule like that. Unfortunately a certain percentage will swarm as they are forced down and others will not....at least at first.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    san leandro, CA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    well, it's done now two weeks ago and no swarm that I saw. My new paranoia is I might have lost the queen. Now she should be in the bottom hive, but I'm reluctant to open it up and look. I have never seen her, perhaps my eyes aren't trained enough. I'm pretty confident I saw eggs. This is where having some experience would help, or an experienced helper.

    Fingers crossed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,291

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    Quote Originally Posted by applebwoi View Post
    What I'd like for someone to tell me is whether or not the queen will move down to the bottom boxes and lay eggs there or will the hive swarm because the top two boxes are filled?
    She will move down as the cells above the nest get filled with honey. She will not move down if that doesn't happen. If there is no space below to move down to then a swarm is possible if not likely.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clintwood VA USA
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    I have reversed hive bodies for years to prevent swarming. Yes it is correct that the queen seldom goes down and will always go up if room is available. So keep moving the bottom suppers to the top so she will have room to lay and this will greatly reduce swarming! you may need to the this 3 or 4 times in the spring!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    Ok, so I am overwintering in four mediums. The bottom two are empty and the brood nest is in the third and bottom half of the frames in the forth box. I place an empty super with drawn frames on top (box five), so now there are two empties on the bottom, the brood nest in three and the bottom half of four, a honey barrier in the upper half of the forth box and an empty box above that. So will the queen will move down and honey will be stored in five, or will the queen will leave 1 and 2 empty, the bees will clean out the honey barrier in the top half of box four and the queen move up? From the replies above, so think she will move down and others think she'll move up. I haven't been doing this long enough to have a good idea. Is there a concensus of opinion?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,291

    Default Re: Reversing Mediums

    I think, and someone can correct me, that if the honey dome is solid the foragers will fill the top box with honey and continue pushing the nest down.
    In your case, or if my hive turns out the same, I will remove the bottom box. I could even remove the bottom two boxes and put in a 1/2 box. When the top box gets full of honey then I could slam on thee more boxes and let her rip or checkerboard that top box to draw out foundation. Depends on whether I am trying to make comb or honey.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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