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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Sudbury, Ontario
    Posts
    150

    Default Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Ian, thought I'd poise the question on the forum, so others could benefit from it.

    http://stepplerfarms.com/Honeyblog/?p=3029

    I'm pretty sure I understand correctly, but wanted to be sure.
    -Hives start the Spring in singles (coming from your storage building).
    -You add 2nd deep, make splits, install packages/nucs/etc... make them strong
    -you end up with 2-deep hives, with a mix of brood and honey (like most 2-deep hives).

    So now... you're taking that 2nd deep off, shaking all the bees down into the bottom box (to ensure the queen is in the bottom), putting an excluder on, putting the 2nd back on (still has brood in it), then adding a 3rd empty deep honey super.

    Brood in the 2nd deep hatches, and that space is backfilled with honey, giving you a nice strong single and two supers (plus add'l boxes you add) of honey.

    Does this increase potential for swarms since the queen only has 1 deep to lay in?

    Are you moving any of the frames in the 1st box up to the 2nd to organize brood/honey, or leaving it up to the bees to move honey out of the way to allow brood nest expansion in 1st box? (obviously organizing frames = time + labour... I assume it isn't necessary?)

    Just curious... I'm a double-deep guy... never tried to run singles.
    Beekeeping since 2009; currently running 20+ hives.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lee County, Illinois
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    I do the same thing in a sense. Once the hives get up from down south, let them lay a full 2nd box then excluder and shake the bees down. Essentially what your doing is make a huge population for the main flow. By allowing the bees to hatch out and not allowing the queen to lay on two boxes, your drastically reducing the nurse bee population which equals more foragers. It also forces the bees to need to go through the excluder. Also it is easier managing singles as we all know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    How would you transition back to double deep configuration for wintering outdoors.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Quote Originally Posted by dtompsett View Post
    Are you moving any of the frames in the 1st box up to the 2nd to organize brood/honey, or leaving it up to the bees to move honey out of the way to allow brood nest expansion in 1st box? (obviously organizing frames = time + labour... I assume it isn't necessary?)
    I have found that they will move the honey upward themselves clearing all ten frames for brood in the bottom box.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,952

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Quote Originally Posted by dtompsett View Post
    Ian, thought I'd poise the question on the forum, so others could benefit from it.

    http://stepplerfarms.com/Honeyblog/?p=3029

    I'm pretty sure I understand correctly, but wanted to be sure.
    -Hives start the Spring in singles (coming from your storage building).
    -You add 2nd deep, make splits, install packages/nucs/etc... make them strong
    -you end up with 2-deep hives, with a mix of brood and honey (like most 2-deep hives).

    So now... you're taking that 2nd deep off, shaking all the bees down into the bottom box (to ensure the queen is in the bottom), putting an excluder on, putting the 2nd back on (still has brood in it), then adding a 3rd empty deep honey super.

    Brood in the 2nd deep hatches, and that space is backfilled with honey, giving you a nice strong single and two supers (plus add'l boxes you add) of honey.

    Does this increase potential for swarms since the queen only has 1 deep to lay in?

    Are you moving any of the frames in the 1st box up to the 2nd to organize brood/honey, or leaving it up to the bees to move honey out of the way to allow brood nest expansion in 1st box? (obviously organizing frames = time + labour... I assume it isn't necessary?)

    Just curious... I'm a double-deep guy... never tried to run singles.
    Yup that about covers it.
    This is where excluders shine.
    In the spring I'll double up my strong hives with brood boxes, usually with winter dead outs. Later in spring I'll pull off that box to make an equil split, two boxes of bees sitting on 4 frames of brood each. Right away I add a honey super on top of all my hives and continue to allow the queen to work into the overhead box. On the onset of our flow I place the queen down into the bottom, which in theory should be hatched where as she continues to lay. The excluder keeps her down, and in three weeks we time our harvest. This method allows you to keep all that first flow honey, and provides the ability to remove as much of the honey as possible (which is essential for indoor winter)
    The queen will use 9 frames for brood, so you need to watch the hives stores when pulling honey. If there is no flow while pulling the hives will starve within days, so you need to be aware of what's going on at all times.

    Single management is tonnes more work but it pays back in dividends. More honey harvested, more control with winter stores, better mite control, easier to move around, less brood equipment to manage.

    Try it!

    I shake my bees down so that I don't have to search for her. I find this method time consuming but I save more queens as compared to fumes or smoke. The key is keeping the bees from driving out the frount, where as the queens leaves and does not find herself back .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,952

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    As for swarm control, a queen will only use about a box comb during the summer months, in a double arrangement that would be spread over two boxes with resources surrounding it. So in a single, there usually is very little room for honey stores aside from a couple frames of pollen

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Ian, do you not end up with a lot of pollen in the frames in the second box after knocking her down into the bottom box below the excluder?
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,952

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    Ian, do you not end up with a lot of pollen in the frames in the second box after knocking her down into the bottom box below the excluder?
    Yes there is pollen stored in the second. Not a lot . The bees will either use it or clean it out as the boxes cycle through the flows.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    459

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Yes there is pollen stored in the second. Not a lot . The bees will either use it or clean it out as the boxes cycle through the flows.
    So the box is relatively pollen free by harvest/extracting time?

    Thanks again,
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,952

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    So the box is relatively pollen free by harvest/extracting time?
    ,
    No, pollen will run through the extraction machinery. When the empty boxes are sent back out, the bees will use it or clean it out.
    We are currently sorting foundation into honey boxes as we send them out. There is pollen in some of the frames, very little.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Guthrie OK USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Ian, when you pull the honey after the first 30 day period do you pull the excluder and allow the queen to lay the second box up again or does the excluder stay on the rest of the summer? Thanks for sharing your process it is very insightful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    The only time of the year the hive is managed as a double unit is during the spring, the rest of the time she keeps her nest is the single box .

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,698

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    What is the advantage of shaking them down (or blowing) versus adding another queen excluder between the deeps and returning to swap the box she is in down(if needed)?

    Crazy Roland

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Sudbury, Ontario
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    What is the advantage of shaking them down (or blowing) versus adding another queen excluder between the deeps and returning to swap the box she is in down(if needed)?

    Crazy Roland
    In a commercial setting it means one less visit to the yard, less handling of boxes, less time spent inspecting in a hive.


    Thanks for verifying what I thought I was seeing Ian. I don't think I'm ready to attempt managing singles yet. Long cold winters here in Sudbury, with just enough temperature swings to cause bees to move around and eat stored frames. I'm definitely in no position to be wintering indoors like your setup. I think vertical space is important here, allow the cluster to move up without having to break cluster and move over to a different set of frames. Even some 5F nuc boxes, stacked 3 high (15F total per "nuc"), wintered well considering they weren't incredibly strong and didn't have a ton of stores... or even properly drawn frames.
    Beekeeping since 2009; currently running 20+ hives.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Roland we are working through 7 yards per day. I'd say75% of the time she is in the top, as that is how I have the timing figured. I had one of my guys work through this week to check on how many we missed. Less than 1% missed during shaking and less than 1% killed during our work.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,202

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    Ian, what indicator do you use to tell you when spring is over, and it is "safe" to keep her to one box. A calendar date, the end of dandelions, the start of something blooming?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,952

    Default Re: Ian Steppler... question re: your blog - shaking down queens

    I like to leave the hive in two boxes for as much of June as possible, but every year is different and I manage my hives according to the year . One of the hardest things for me to figure our in this business is not to manage the hives by the calendar but rather by the conditions . I'll start shaking them down soon as the flow begins . Here, there is no mistake when the nectar flow begins. Most years it's mid to late June. This year it was first week if July.

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