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  1. #101
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    Sep 2010
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    Auburn, Washington, USA
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    318

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Mike,

    From my reading of Walt's material the reason the shallow with brood is moved down is to artificially stretch the broodnest downward for pollen storage. After the brood is hatched, the workers start storing pollen in the bottom super, using the natural break between shallow and deep as break between pollen storage and nursery. It is not to make more room overhead for laying, as it would be the case in reversing deeps, since reversal dedicates bee energy toward moving stores around.

    The shallow that is moved below deep should be heavily populated by capped brood, so moving capped honey to the supers above should not be consequence of that reversal.

    One does not have to reverse deep and shallow, this is simply done to enable pollen storage in a separate box, rather than bottom of a deep. This way the deep is wholly dedicated to raising brood, and bottom box is dedicated to pollen and bee bread making.

  2. #102
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    Sep 2010
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    Auburn, Washington, USA
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    318

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Ace,

    I do not use excluder, I let my bees eat their way with expansion to the very top and then I let them store honey from the top toward the bottom. I checkerboard and leave them alone, with exception of stealing capped honey and putting wet frames back for more honey. They do not swarm and I know this because I mark my queens.

    The point that you wanted to demonstrate is that the location of the deep matters, so the one on top will be overlooked by a queen in favor of a medium in the middle. You are correct. But what Walt says is that the queen favors the deep (all else being equal). So in a DSS or SDS configuration she will be found in a deep more often than in shallows. Since your proposal violates all else being equal assumption and takes the case to the extreme, the results logically do not match. That's to be expected. The queen wants to be below honey, so a deep on top is not a natural habitat for a laying queen, but she will make her way there in early May if there is no flow and she is expanding her way to the top.

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    1,357

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    AramF described the pollen box thing pretty well. Will add a few notes. Separate swarm prevention from the pollen box concept in your thinking. It is coincidental that checkerboarding and the pollen box concept came from the same source.

    After a couple years of CB, and satisfied that it was reliable swarm prevention, turned my attention to wintering. We didn't lose colonies over winter except to queenlessness. Fixed that first - proper bottomboard drainage was all that was needed.

    We did have about 25% of colonies emerge from winter with smaller clusters. Why?? They all looked strong in the fall. They all had the same type of environment and field forage.

    We still had some double deeps - whole outyards of 12 per yard. We noticed that some CBed double deeps, were trying to store beebread in the lower deep. Not a full box, but some frames. Well, if they "want" to store pollen below, lets try to help them get it done. Tried foundation first - no help. Same with empty comb. But when we put a shallow of brood below the deep, it was reliably filled with bee bread. When the pollen box was incorporated across the board, there was a definate improvement in wintering. All colonies came through winter with consistent cluster size. Well worth the 5 minutes spent in March - 2 to 3 weeks after checkerboarding.

    The third improvement was confirming backfilling of the broodnest at brood closeout in the fall. There are so many variables in that subject, we will not go into it here.

    Walt

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,156

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Quote Originally Posted by AramF View Post
    The queen wants to be below honey, so a deep on top is not a natural habitat for a laying queen, but she will make her way there in early May if there is no flow and she is expanding her way to the top.
    I don't see it that way. The colony not the queen decides and it seems natural to me that they would want a dome of honey directly overhead of the brood nest. In cool weather the bees can close off the space between solid honey frames to maintain heat for brood in a dome structure. Also the food they need to generate the heat is right there. When you checkerboard you open up the dome and remove the food from one side of the space between frames. The queen will be allowed to lay in it only if there is solid honey above. If there isn't I believe they are going to try to move honey so there is or they are going to keep going up until they reach the cover. If you put supers on too quick the bees fill the center first. If you pull two frames up from the center into the next box they will fill the empties in the bottom box first or the queen will be allowed to lay brood in these empties which means they will be filled.

    Checkerboarding is a manipulation that requires perfect timing for the area the bees live in. The timing will vary from year to year. It is far from non intervention and requires access to the hives. That does not lend itself to areas that are snow bound and cold. Does it work better in Tennessee? Some people think so. Would it work better in VT, Upstate NY, and Canada? My guess is no.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #105
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    10,156

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Quote Originally Posted by AramF View Post
    So in a DSS or SDS configuration she will be found in a deep more often than in shallows.
    That is not my experience. When I was changing from deeps to all mediums I had a deep on the bottom and 3 mediums on top. The brood nest moved up and never looked back. They completely ignored the deep on the bottom that was completely full of pollen. I do not see a preference on the part of the bees for a deep vs. a medium. However I will admit I am not in the hive breaking up all the burr comb on a regular basis that they decide to put between frames.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    1,357

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Ace
    You are right. There is not much preference for a deep over a medium. But some colonies DO show it for brooding. The preference for a deep over a shallow is much more pronounced. Seems strange in that a medium is closer to a shallow in height than a deep. We stopped using mediums in the potential broodnest (Bottom 3 feet) after just a few years. Any mediums still in inventory were used above 4 ft as honey supers. It's subtle, but it is consistent.

    Your description above actually has a couple of the reasons we shifted away from mediums in the potential brood volume. First, the brood nest tends to climb away from the bottom, and secondly, the extra gaps at interbar spaces tend to restrict broodnest reduction to the bottom. (Quote: never looked back)

    The fact that the bottom deep was filled with pollen implies that they intended to recede the broodnest to the bottom and winter there. That's what happens in the wild broodnest on continuous comb. But mediums disrupted their natural instincts.

    Even the basic reason for the all-medium approach does not stand up to scrutiny. The weight thing. We deliberately shifted away from the weight of a deep of honey by substituting 2 shallows of honey over the basic deep. Works very well. Will not go into all the advantages.

    Walt

  7. #107
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    Aug 2008
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: "liar or a fool"

    Quote Originally Posted by Walts-son-in-law View Post
    This is it.
    Attachment 7995
    I asked Roy to find this pair of pictures in our e files and he posted it without my telling him where. Thought I might use it on the Tim Ives thread. As long as it's here, might as well add some notes:

    That was an outstanding production season. The pics were taken on the 20th of may - about the middle of our spring flow. It's not over, yet. Had fractured a single supersedure cell on a colony not in view on the other side. Wanted to arrest the growing height on the near unit by moving some supers to the other side on the unit slowed by a double SS. Two partial supers can be seen set off on top of the next adjacent shorter stack. The next 3 supers down in the tall unit, complete with workers, were moved across the isle. The relief was temporary. They went on to make nearly 16 supers - counting the 3 moved with workers. But they started as a combine of two overwintered clusters. Note the two deeps at the bottom.

    Coming in second on that trailer was the unit on the rear, same side. A second-year colony that made 13 supers without any help. 2nd year colonies will often store through our "lull" between Repro c/o and the start of main flow.

    Walt
    Last edited by wcubed; 10-16-2013 at 04:35 AM. Reason: typos

  8. #108

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Walt, concerning the deeps' size: it is a special German frame standard. 370 x 223 mm. (~14.5 x 8.77 inch) and 370 x 311 mm. (~14.5 x 12 inch).

    The fact that the bottom deep was filled with pollen implies that they intended to recede the broodnest to the bottom and winter there. That's what happens in the wild broodnest on continuous comb. But mediums disrupted their natural instincts.
    Is this an observation or assumption? Can't find it in fixed comb hives with no topbars or frames whatsoever. (Comb going top to bottom of the log hive.)

    I reckon it is the prevention of the broodnest becoming pollen bound that makes the difference in swarming activities. Brother Adam (Karl Kehrle) - that is what I read and hear - threw away all the pollen combs in Spring and acutally this is done when using method A described above. All pollen combs are removed in Spring when the bees forage for their first pollen. And the broodnest is restricted, to prevent too much pollen intake by the colony.

    In studies it has been shown, that bees do hoard nectar when empty comb is present, the more empty comb, the more they forage for nectar. But in early Spring there is more pollen than nectar and I reckon the bees tend to hoard pollen instead of nectar when emtpy comb is present.

    By giving them a shallow of empty comb below, you actually trigger pollen hoarding - and prevent the broodnest from becoming pollen bound the very same time. This might have a much more effect on swarming tendencies than the checkerboarding itself.

    By restricting the broodnest as in method A, the early pollen hoarding is prevented and fresh pollen is used up much quicker, turning pollen into bees. You do the same thing but with less material/supers/combs.

    Maybe nectar management turns out to be pollen management.

    Bernhard

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Bernhard,
    Have considered changing the name to Stores Management. But the effects of CBing were demonstrated well before incorpoation of the pollen box.

    Have a full day scheduled. Need some rest. Will get back on this ASAP.
    Walt

  10. #110

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Of course checkerboarding does the same thing - empty drawn comb, triggering hoarding behaviour and storing of pollen. Since the queen can sidestep up and down in an artificially stretched broodnest, the effect of becoming pollen bound is prevented. (Nectar binding can be prevented by simple supering.) I reckon this is the same mechanism as in Tim's method. Lot's of comb, lots of escape possibilities for the queen.

    By method A you restrict the broodnest, which restricts excessive pollen foraging in early Spring. With a super and a queen excluder you prevent the broodnest from becoming honeybound, and because the size of the broodnest is restricted with a follower board, the bees readily populate the supers, so the excluder is not much of a barrier. (Some Carnolians still tend to flood the broodnest with nectar, though.)

    Just presumptions. One needs to look more deeply into the matter.

    Bernhard

  11. #111
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,939

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    mike palmer said:

    >>In fact, a strong colony on a strong flow with no overhead nectar storage will swarm. It doesn't matter if it's May, June, July, or August.<<

    thanks for replying michael, and let me start here by saying that my few years of experience pales in comparison to your life long career with bees. i would also like express thanks for your 'sustainable apiary' talks and posts here, which have inspired me to raise queens and overwinter nucs.

    but with regard to reproductive cut off and whether or not all you need is a strong hive on a strong flow with no overhead storage to get swarming...

    i have been keeping careful records for most of my 3+ years of beekeeping. when i look back to when in the season i experienced swarming it was not spread out over three to four months but rather three to four weeks in the early part of the season, with no swarms after that except a few really small ones in the fall.

    more interestingly, swarms are issuing prior to what would be considered our 'main flow', which coincides with the tulip poplar bloom and is evidenced by very strong foraging and new wax production. swarms are issuing well before the colonies get to full strength and nectar availability peaks.

    with regard to the availability of empty comb overhead, i had several colonies swarm this year after stopping their expansion upward even though there were supers of empty drawn comb for them to store nectar in. these colonies stopped at a functional break between boxes and created a solid honey dome on the early flows and went on to swarm.

    i realize that i am only observing a dozen or so colonies and i concede that what i am seeing could be do to chance, and maybe it's a matter of location because i live relatively close to walt, but my observations are similar to his.

    i.e. my bees are swarming before the heaviest flows, all within a pretty tight time frame, and the ones that don't swarm at that time don't swarm. they tend to supercede instead and fill many more boxes with bees and honey.

    oldtimer describes a similar timeline in another thread, in which his bees are swarming prior to the heaviest flows. he is also is a milder climate similar to what we have here in the southeast.

    my thinking is that checkerboarding the supers is one way to discourage the bees from establishing an upper limit to their working level. i'm leaving more honey this year, and i suspect that having some honey frames in the upper boxes will help draw the bees up into them. if it doesn't, and they get 'stuck' at a break, i'll move up a couple of frames they are working to the next box.

    as i said michael, i have a lot of respect for you and the other veterans who are kind enough to share their experiences here. walt goes out of his way in his writings to say that his interpretation of his observations are only just his best guess, and he has openly welcomed competing hypotheses.

    it comes as no surprise to me that observations and interpretations vary from place to place and from beekeeper to beekeeper. indeed, for me it's what makes all of this so interesting.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #112
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,812

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    The Imker wrote:

    In studies it has been shown, that bees do hoard nectar when empty comb is present, the more empty comb, the more they forage for nectar.

    So why make your tower hives? Remove the supers as soon as they are full. Less lifting, eh?

    Walt, If you like deeps better than mediums for brood, why not go to Jumbos in the vrood chamber. The will be even less breaks in comb.

    Crazy Roland

  13. #113
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    covington ga
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    170

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    well said squarepeg...
    22 hives and holding

  14. #114
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,625

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    I have been doing this long enough to have seen any number of times that while there are many things a beekeeper can do do lessen the probability of swarming the only sure things in my mind are that bees are unpredictable and the urge to reproduce is the most basic of instincts. I have no doubt that when properly done, Walt's procedures are quite effective. But then, swarming is something that I always figured I had a pretty good handle on controlling as well. Our "secret"? Young queens, lots of room overhead, and mixing in a few sheets of foundation directly above the broodnest for good measure. Seems like it worked every year.....well until this year anyway when many of our hives chose a different path and made significant contributions to the "feral" bee population of the area. .
    The only real issue I take with the kind of hive manipulations advocated in this thread (and there are many well thought out procedures here) is that this forum has a pretty high percentage of enthusiastic yet inexperienced beekeepers that may not recognize this stuff as the advanced beekeeping that it is and that it should only be undertaken by those who have mastered the basics of beekeeping.
    The basics? Dont let bees run short on feed or expansion space and understand your locality, how to recognize the timing of local honey flows and how heavy they might be. How to recognize hive diseases and how you should cope with them and that you can be a successful beekeeper without ever doing any of these more advanced manipulations.
    Soooooo with that in mind, carry on. No liars or fools here.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  15. #115
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    Aug 2008
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Bernhard,
    In post #108, you ask if my opinion on the pollen reserve are "observations or assumptions?" Candidly, it's some of both. The observations were made in Lang hives, and the assumption is that the observations can be considered valid for the wild hive in the tree hollow.

    Walt

  16. #116
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,286

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    So what's the concensus? "liar or fool"? Or something else?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  17. #117
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,594

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Neither Mark. Walt took my quote out of context to discredit my opinion. The original post containing my quote wasn't about Walt, checkerboarding, whether or not Walt's bees ever swarm, or the repro-swarm c/o date. It was about whether or not one can raise queen that will never swarm. Of course he wouldn't mention that, would he.

    I believe Walt...who said in an earlier post in this thread, that we're overdue for a confrontation, had an agenda in his postings. Time for Mr. Wright to apologize.

    And as far as his skyscraper photos...nice photos. Nice flow. Proves one thing.

    Walt's is bigger than mine.

  18. #118
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,594

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    ...swarming is something that I always figured I had a pretty good handle on controlling as well. Our "secret"? Young queens, lots of room overhead, and mixing in a few sheets of foundation directly above the broodnest for good measure. Seems like it worked every year.....well until this year anyway when many of our hives chose a different path and made significant contributions to the "feral" bee population of the area.
    Exactly Jim. All swarm control works until it doesn't. Never say never, eh?

  19. #119
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post

    And as far as his skyscraper photos...nice photos. Nice flow. Proves one thing.

    Walt's is bigger than mine.
    Snapshots are just that, snap shots. I could show you photos of hives in apiaries in Chateaugay or Louisville, near Massena, had I taken photos of those hives taller than me. What would that prove? Since, as you, Michael Palmer, know, my crops are never as good as yours.

    Besides, just because a hive is stacked high doesn't mean it is full of honey. If enough hives were above shoulder height, why wouldn't you extract them?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  20. #120
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,594

    Default Re: "lier or a fool"

    >>squarepeg; but with regard to reproductive cut off and whether or not all you need is a strong hive on a strong flow with no overhead storage to get swarming...

    i have been keeping careful records for most of my 3+ years of beekeeping. when i look back to when in the season i experienced swarming it was not spread out over three to four months but rather three to four weeks in the early part of the season, with no swarms after that except a few really small ones in the fall.<<

    Well, if the strong colonies swarmed early, why would they swarm later?

    >>more interestingly, swarms are issuing prior to what would be considered our 'main flow', which coincides with the tulip poplar bloom and is evidenced by very strong foraging and new wax production. swarms are issuing well before the colonies get to full strength and nectar availability peaks.<<

    Well, of course. You didn't know what you were doing and didn't know how to manage your bees so they wouldn't swarm. No different that any other beginner.

    >>with regard to the availability of empty comb overhead, i had several colonies swarm this year after stopping their expansion upward even though there were supers of empty drawn comb for them to store nectar in. these colonies stopped at a functional break between boxes and created a solid honey dome on the early flows and went on to swarm.<<

    I don't doubt it. Did they stop short of entering the supers because of the space between the brood nest and the honey supers or because the colony wasn't populous enough to enter the supers. Swarming is a re-queening process that some stocks use to re-queen themselves. Is has nothing to do with a so-called functional break between supers.


    >>i.e. my bees are swarming before the heaviest flows, all within a pretty tight time frame, and the ones that don't swarm at that time don't swarm. they tend to supercede instead and fill many more boxes with bees and honey.<<

    Well certainly, some swarm readily and must be managed early. Some never swarm no matter what management method you use. And, some will swarm later in the summer on any strong flow when there isn't any overhead nectar storage room.

    And that's my point. The idea that prime swarms issuing before some contrived date are reproductive swarms, and those after are considered as something different is just false. All prime swarms are reproductive swarms...if that's what you want to call a prime swarm before Walt's special date.

    Just because in your 3+ years you haven't had prime swarms go off during a heavy flow...after the special date...doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. It does, and it will if you don't keep ahead of the bees with proper supering.

    The main trigger to swarming is the backfilling of the broodnest. But, is backfilling the result of swarming preparations, or are swarming preparations the result of backfilling? I believe the later, and why I see swarms when there isn't enough overhead nectar storage room...emerging brood comb space is backfilled because there is no where else to store it. Walt believes that backfilling comes first, as an intentional procedure the bees use to initiate a reproductive swarm. I believe backfilling is caused by lack of storage room and is the trigger for swarming.

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