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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrysville, pa
    Posts
    111

    Default Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    Hi,

    I CBed a hive early march here in pa. They were at top of medium on top of deep over winter. I only had deeps w stores so i CBed two deeps over the cluster and added an empty drawn medium above that.

    I checked them today and well, they moved! they moved up innto the top deep for some reason. There were some in the medium at the very top but the cluster skipped over an entire deep that is CBed. Now if CBing is dependant on expanding upward this would kill my CB in theory.

    Well since i was in there i decided i knew best and i dropped the cluster back down to the bottom and put the deep they skipped back on top.

    Question has anyone noted this behavior before? why would they move so far up? For more warmth maybe?

    It was continued cold later than average here and im wondering maybe they ran out of stores and headed up and just went too far.

    Or did they chose exactly where they wanted to be?

    Just wondering if any have seen this.

    Thanks,

    MP

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    Bees do what bees do, and some of them want to be in the top of the hive for winter. Make sure they have empty comb over the brood nest for the next few weeks and all will be well.

    Pete

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    Tenn may be different than Penn. One letter but big climate change. With bees everything must be adapted to your region.
    Also, Remember that WW said that bees like larger frames of comb for brood as in an unbroken comb of a tree. That is why WW talked about a deep and the all shallows. They may have identified your deep up above as perfect because it was a large block of unbroken comb.

    Walt is on the forum I beleive, He would love to here about what is happening because he wants to hear about other bee keepers observations.
    Good Luck.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Oakland, California, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    Hi MP,

    The flip answer is that the bees didn't read the checkerboarding reference you did.

    Seriously... have you CB'd before or is this the first time?

    Are they actually clustering at the top of the hive?
    If they are they better be in contact with their stores or they're done for.

    Is it still too cold for the bees to forage in your climate?
    If it's that cold do they have so much space that it's difficult for them to
    keep it warm?

    We live in the SF Bay Area where the bees raise brood all winter long.
    Our timing is very different.

    Jerry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,978

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    did the hive have brood in it in early march? if they did they shouldn't have moved, if they didn't they went up to where they could keep warmer easier.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,113

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    That is strange if they had any viable brood at all. I have done CB two years in a row now, and it has worked great to give the bees access to both empty comb and plenty of food during late winter/early spring - but I have never seen the cluster just skip across a large area. I do typically see brood spread out a lot vertically - are you sure that there wasn't an "empty" section of comb that just had eggs in it?
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    Mr P
    Seems we had a round earlier - last season? Don't remember the context.
    The only time I have seen them relocate the cluster is when they have substantial brood in the fall when forage terminates. They can't backfill the broodnest with nectar, and they are not going to try to winter on empty cells (fuel for winter warming) So, they relocate up on solid capped honey. Not applicable to your circumstance.

    Won't guess why they skipped across a deep of stores in the early season. Genetic variation might be all the answer needed.

    Am inclined to agree with Peter. Where you are should produce the desired effects.

    Walt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,925

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    Yeah, need more details, is there any brood in the hive and what's your temps now? You don't checkerboard a hive unless a box is getting full or they're running out of places for the queen to lay because of nectar and pollen taking up a majority of the space.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrysville, pa
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    All,

    Lets see, i did not check for brood earily march as it was still to cold to mess w the cluster. i just CBed the two deeps over the cluster.

    My layout from bottom to top was over winter was

    Deep-Deep-Med

    Early march cluster was all the way in top of medium

    When i CBed my layout was

    Med,found - Med,w cluster-Deep CB-Deep CB-Med,drawn

    So they skipped an entire deep + and were in top of 2nd deep w a medium drawn above.

    I did not check for eggs, but i did pull some frames from the med they were in, empty w no abandoned brood.

    Temps r up now and i will inspect for eggs as soon as I can.

    Davids comment...."empty".....hummm.....i do recall 2-3 frames in my CB that were not completly full, had middle less than 1/3 missing. i believe i put them to outside but i dont remember exactly. if they came up in one of those maybe they kept going for a completely full frame?

    Walt yes we had a go in the past. you have a good memory!

    I did put the skipped deep back up above. they r bringing in some pollen and very earily nectar now. the cluster does not appear very large to me, how many frames do they cover earily spring for nothereners?

    Aand now that i think of it without seeing egg or brood evidence, who knows if queeny is still alive?

    Maybe lack of queen could be reason for move? they were quite calm with my manipulation which is often sign of being gueen right.

    Well ill get in there and let u know. maybe they have moved again? lol

    Thanks all for your imput.

    MP

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrysville, pa
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    Ok, I did my inspection. They are queenless. No brood, no eggs. nada.

    They moved again to the top of the upper deep again, staying on stores. There are not tons of bees but some have that lighter appearance making my think they are newer bees.

    I guess I lost her sometime late winter. Oh well that would explain the behavior, with no brood to care for they are just "hanging out" in some clumps here and there with nothing to do, and move around and head upwards for more warmth on the cold nights I guess, or just for fun.

    Well I don't think I'll re-queen. I had to move all my hives to a location a good bit away and that makes it difficult to care for them, hence my sloppy maintenance and such. I lost 2 over winter and 2 others when I tried to CB improperly, all swarmed and then for some reason all but one did not re-queen properly and went laying worker. What a mess. I weakened the other hives too much in my attempt to get the other hives new queens. I will not waste my time on that again. If they go laying worker, I'll buy new queens.

    Darn, I really wanted to see the results of a proper CB...I'll guess that will have to wait, I have just to much to do.

    So, what is my best LONG TERM storage strategy to preserve my comb till I get the itch again in a couple years? The wax moth around here will get me unless I'm really careful and I know comb is like gold. How too?

    Thanks much,

    MP

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Checker boarding, my bees not following rules?

    IMO All beekeepers should have at least one large chest freezer to protect comb.
    Walt

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