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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Newton, GA
    Posts
    24

    Default Reversing hive bodies

    I have left the ladies alone over the winter, but I am planning on doing a my first major inspection of an overwintered hive tomorrow. Temps should be about 70 and the bees have really been active during the past couple of weeks. I last inspected during October when I left them with two deeps underneath a medium full of honey. Everything I have read suggests that the brood chamber has likely moved up, and I would not be surprised to find brood in the medium. I was planning on reversing the hive bodies, but then wondered exactly how I should do this given I have the super on top. If they have brood in the super, should I simply reverse the order (i.e., super on bottom, followed by the old top deep, then the old bottom deep)? Or, would I be better off to simply move the bottom deep to the top (i.e., old top deep, super, old bottom deep)? OR is there something else I should be considering?

    I may want to split this hive later, but I am anxious to see how much honey we can get from this hive as we got nearly 5 gallons from it last year after starting from a package in April (They really did well).

    As always thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clintwood VA USA
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Reversing hive bodies

    If you have brood and the queen in the super then yes you should move it to the bottom and put the two deeps on the top!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: Reversing hive bodies

    Reading your account reinforces the value of having all boxes either deep OR preferably mediums. I have a mixture of Deep and Medium 8-frame boxes, wishing all were mediums. I would then have complete freedom to move individual frames anywhere.

    The main thing I would inspect for is for brood, which you should certainly have in south Georgia by now. I would make sure that there is an drawn open comb near the queen (likely near any open brood, if there is any). Open comb would encourage the queen to not move into an adjacent box.

    It would be good to head toward moving frames, if possible to get all frames of one box to be nectar and pollen (no brood).

    Congratuations on last year's yield. Here in Maryland we had the worst honey yield on record (according to the State Bee Inspector). My results were certainly consistent with the state results.

    We are still in the grips of the coldest winter ever; we are expecting 5-10 inches of snow on Sunday night-Monday morning. Hopefully, sometime this month I will be able to determine if my bees made it through the winter.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    tacoma, wa. usa
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Reversing hive bodies

    It's always good to get as much information that you can....

    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...for-all-areas/

    If you have a solid honey dome, checkerboarding may be another option...if your goal is honey production, if it is splitting, ....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Dickson, TN
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Reversing hive bodies

    Thanks for the link to that article. I was planning to reverse my hive bodies in the next couple of weeks myself but this has given me something to think about since he is writing about my neck of the woods. I may try a few both ways to see for myself.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Reversing hive bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by jtgeor View Post
    Thanks for the link to that article. I was planning to reverse my hive bodies in the next couple of weeks myself but this has given me something to think about since he is writing about my neck of the woods. I may try a few both ways to see for myself.
    I wouldn't do it just yet and for the same reasons Walt mentioned in the article as well as the prospect that I think Old Man Winter ain't done with us yet. The bees are oriented towards how they have stored their resources inside the hive. Moving everything around may have a similar effect of rearranging everything inside a blind person's house.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,333

    Default Re: Reversing hive bodies

    The referenced article was written by a junior beekeeper - maybe 4 to 6 year novice. Have learned a little since. Had not read it in years and currently do not advocate the use of a double deep configuration. Too tough to stop swarming. But that goes away if a super is added to the wintering config. to checkerboard in late winter. We now winter in a single deep and shallows for the added flexibility at the top.

    The article was also written during a period when seasons were predictable - last frost, 7 Apr; first frost, Oct 15 - plus or minus a few days. In this period of climate change, the last four years have all been different. Saw the change start in 2000.

    Back to the OP's question:
    The ever-present "It depends" on current colony developement status and where you are on the vegetative season bloom sequence.
    In south GA, you would normally be in the swarm prep period at this time on their season, and swarm commit/issue coming in the next three weeks or so. But the run of extra cold weather delayed some southeastern colonies by three weeks - About a brood cycle. In any case, I wouldn't expect you to find brood in the med at the top, but it is possible. If they got the bottom deep backfilled in the fall and started winter there, you may have 2 deeps of mostly brood now, and enough population to just reverse the deeps - leaving the medium of honey at the top.

    If they didn't get the lower deep backfilled in the fall, and relocated up on the capped honey of the upper in early winter, the bottom deep could be essentially empty comb. With some cold weather left in Mar, you wouldn't want to separate them from their honey reserve, and a top to bottom reversal would be better. They would still be in contact with their honey reserve on the bottom board.

    We are coming out of another cold period now, and your action is already done. Let me know what you found and what you did. I'm interested in the results.

    Walt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Newton, GA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Reversing hive bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    The referenced article was written by a junior beekeeper - maybe 4 to 6 year novice. Have learned a little since. Had not read it in years and currently do not advocate the use of a double deep configuration. Too tough to stop swarming. But that goes away if a super is added to the wintering config. to checkerboard in late winter. We now winter in a single deep and shallows for the added flexibility at the top.

    The article was also written during a period when seasons were predictable - last frost, 7 Apr; first frost, Oct 15 - plus or minus a few days. In this period of climate change, the last four years have all been different. Saw the change start in 2000.

    Back to the OP's question:
    The ever-present "It depends" on current colony developement status and where you are on the vegetative season bloom sequence.
    In south GA, you would normally be in the swarm prep period at this time on their season, and swarm commit/issue coming in the next three weeks or so. But the run of extra cold weather delayed some southeastern colonies by three weeks - About a brood cycle. In any case, I wouldn't expect you to find brood in the med at the top, but it is possible. If they got the bottom deep backfilled in the fall and started winter there, you may have 2 deeps of mostly brood now, and enough population to just reverse the deeps - leaving the medium of honey at the top.

    If they didn't get the lower deep backfilled in the fall, and relocated up on the capped honey of the upper in early winter, the bottom deep could be essentially empty comb. With some cold weather left in Mar, you wouldn't want to separate them from their honey reserve, and a top to bottom reversal would be better. They would still be in contact with their honey reserve on the bottom board.

    We are coming out of another cold period now, and your action is already done. Let me know what you found and what you did. I'm interested in the results.

    Walt
    There was no brood in the super. The both hive bodies contained brood. I reversed the hove bodies and kept the super on top. BUT something went wrong. Bees bearded for 2 days following reversal. I saw what I thought was an open queen cell when making the reversal, so they may have swarmed as the bearding is now gone and I have not been back inside to check. It also appears that I lost some brood in the process as there were 20 - 30 larvae on the bottom board this morning. There are still bees in the hive, but I will need to wait until it warms before I would dare risk checking out my damage. I wish I had not reversed. Live and learn.

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