When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    How much does variable weather factor in?

    I'm seeing orientation flights on about half the hives, girls are bringing in a pretty good bit of pollen. April 1 is definately swarm season for us though March 15 isn't unusual and my local queen breeder is raising Qs by then.

    Temps in F
    Feb 5 Low tonight 28
    Followed by 10 days above 60 and headed towwards 77.
    Next 10 days on and off below 60 (if you believe the long range forecast)
    And I'm guessing we get a hard 3 or 4 day freezing ice storm thrown at us early March

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    BeeAttitudes is correct, the outermost frames of the brood BOX. Frames 1 and 10 in a 10 frame box.

    As stated, it's better that the first drawn frames in a new box are together.


    So the first time do this:

    EEEEDDEEEE
    DDEBBBBEDD

    (E = empty new frame, D = drawn frame with some stores, B = brood frame)
    Last edited by MattDavey; 02-05-2015 at 03:30 PM.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Like the idea. But what id the temps go back down, lets say 20f for a night or two?

  5. #24
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Most of the comb gets drawn in the first week.

    So I would be looking at the low temps forecasted for the next week to be above freezing.

    Because the frames that are moved up are directly above the brood nest, they still have direct access to those frames. Ideally those frames should have a decent amount of capped honey on them. As long as they have direct access to honey they can cope with a few freezing nights.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Now I am confused.

    If you have drawn comb that is empty next to the comb with brood in it how does putting a different frame in that place help with anything? Do you replace an empty drawn frame with an undrawn frame?

    If the frame on the outside of the brood is gilled with honey, nectar and pollen you then put it above the brood nest and replace with what...drawn or undrawn frames.

    so as per the schematic is "E" drawn empty or an undrawn frame? I understand it to be undrawn and best to have foundationless with a starter strip or peek a boo foundation such as what Lauri tried.
    The purpose being to keep the bees building rather than making swarm preps.

    Does undrawn plastic foundation not work at all?


    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    The new frames go beside brood frames, not outside walls. Encouraging the broodnest to be expanded outwards. Also, the two outside frames go above the broodnest and encourage the nest to be expanded upwards.

    I said when temperatures start getting to 15C/60F, not talking about when those temperatures are every day.

    It may be a climate thing, but we can have temperatures drop back down for several days at a time. So inserting frames inside the broodnest at this time can cause issues, such as chilled brood and/or Chalkbrood.

    So the thought is: why risk chilling brood when putting a new frame on the edge of the broodnest works just as well.
    Last edited by WBVC; 02-06-2015 at 10:03 AM.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  7. #26
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    First of all I realize that in the throes of urgent bee work last Spring I did not return and thank Matt for his explanation of this technique. Since I was coming out of my first winter I had virtually no empty, but drawn, comb to work with. So I decided to follow Matt's instructions - and it worked. Thank you, Matt!

    I had three hives and although I did eventually split my largest one when I started to think they looked swarmy, my two others never really got swarm-minded. And they grew into enormous colonies over the summer as I just steadily kept doing this right through and into our main early summer flow. One colony started with only about eight frames of drawn (or partially drawn comb) and finished up in four 10-frame deeps. Thatsa a lotta wax! (This huge colonie is probaby already perusing travel brochures so I expect I'll have to keep on my toes to keep them from swarming this year.)

    What I did was remove the outermost frame (or frames) from the brood box and insert a foundationless frame with a starter strip on one (or both sides) of the brood-frame cluster. I did this starting the third week of April and carried on until mid-June. And unlike Matt's instructions I found that I needed to do this (or at least check on the progress) every 5-10 days. So it was an enormous amount of work and intrusive to the bees. But it worked to prevent swarming. Aside from queen cups, which greatly alarmed me at first, I saw no serious swarm preps in two of the three.

    Now, my situation is a little atypical, so your mileage may vary. Here's what was different from normal practice:

    1) My hives are insulated with foam panels in the winter, which I kept on the stacks until Memorial Day, so I really had little risk of danger from sharp cold snaps (with temps well below freezing) in April and May which are very common here in northern NY. For reference, no one around here plants out peppers and tomatos before the end of May, and beans don't go in until June 5th. And last Spring winter lingered on into April, then it gave up and while it was cool, it didn't go backwards as it sometimes does.

    2) During the first couple of manipulations I did not remove outside frames, I just removed part of the internal insulation panels that I winter with - which functionally expanded the space that had been reduced all winter and allowed me to add the empty undrawn frames beside the brood nest. But I did not have frames to move up, in the usual way. I had a some empty undrawn frames (the rattiest of all left from the cut-out) which I placed above the brood nest since that was all I had. The frames were so unloved that in some cases the bees ignored them completely so I inadvertently created a gap in the center of the brood nest in the second from bottom box. I eventually worked these outwards and out of service.

    3) The bees drew large amounts of drone comb/honey cells before they settled down to wall-to-wall worker brood cells. I plan to use Lauri's partial sheet/centered approach this year to see if that makes a difference.

    4) Eventually (first week of June with Black Locust about to pop) they were drawing so fast I could hardly keep up with them so I just plunked down full boxes of empty, undrawn, foundation, with scarecly one or two frames having even a hint of drawn wax on them. The bees just went to work on box after box, right up to early July. This was the same in both the hive stack that was all deeps and the one that was nearly all mediums. And it was the same for a hive that used a bottom entrance and the one that used a top entrance. (In the latter case I just added the empty box below the entrance shim.)

    5) I don't use queen excluders and let the bees decide where to put their brood as the season progresses. And I do have a 2" wind skirt around the bottom of my lower box between the bottom board and the lowest box (like a slatted board, but no slats.) I run a SBB over a solid board. Reduced entrances, and often, robbing screens more or less constantly.

    I am trying to formulate a plan for my (now) four colonies this spring. I expect I will have lots of drawn comb, but since I took no honey it may still be filled with honey. (Come on, girls - start eating!) As I mentioned above, I think I will try Lauri's partial sheet idea. And if I have them, I can checkerboard frames in the boxes above the brood nest. And I am thinking of using a Snelgrove board if I get antsy about swarms towards the end of the build-up as I'd like to make splits from my two that weren't split last summer anyway. But I'd like to wait as long as possible so I have flow-fed drones for the virgins to mate with.

    Matt's method worked well for me. But was a lot of work, perhaps because the pace of the seasons up here in the north is compressed, not long and slow and spread out as it is in warmer climates. And it worked without having to make increase in two out of three, which was what I had hoped for.

    Enj.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    Now I am confused.

    If you have drawn comb that is empty next to the comb with brood in it how does putting a different frame in that place help with anything? Do you replace an empty drawn frame with an undrawn frame?

    If the frame on the outside of the brood is gilled with honey, nectar and pollen you then put it above the brood nest and replace with what...drawn or undrawn frames.

    so as per the schematic is "E" drawn empty or an undrawn frame? I understand it to be undrawn and best to have foundationless with a starter strip or peek a boo foundation such as what Lauri tried.
    The purpose being to keep the bees building rather than making swarm preps.

    Does undrawn plastic foundation not work at all?
    Sorry used "Empty" frames in reply to Arlindi's example. I would prefer to call them "New" frames.

    These frames are undrawn and have no more than half a sheet of foundation so that there is a hole that the bees need to fill.

    As stated in the original post:
    "The new frames should have only a strip of foundation as a comb guide. I would have no more than half a sheet of foundation on a new frame at most. There must be a HOLE close to the broodnest. The hole in the broodnest is what triggers comb building, (to fill the hole)."

    If using plastic foundation (or wax foundation), I would cut it in half vertically as Lauri does and place it in the middle of the frames.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Thanks Enjambres.

    Others in the US have said every 1-2 weeks is more suitable for them. I can get away with 2-3 weeks here. It really depends on the amount of nectar coming in.

    After the third time of doing it, I've found that as long as there is evidence of wax making, you don't need go into a brood box. I just put another new box on top and move up a few drawn frames.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Arlindi version:
    For example,
    (E = empty frame, D = drawn frame, B = brood frame)
    EEEDEDEEEE
    DDEBBBBEDD

    Matt's version:
    EEEEDDEEEE
    DDEBBBBEDD

    D = the New frame now.

    The difference is where Matt put the 2 drawn comb in the upper box at the center. What if they had stop drawing the 2 new comb? Do I need to go in to inspect the brood nest for a possible swarm cells? Do I need to feed 2:1 to stimulate a flow if outside nectar not available for this to work?
    How long to keep up with this hive expansion using this method? Can I combine this method with other method like checker boarding, excluding the queen to the lower box, slat matt, etc?
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  11. #30
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Sorry Beepro that is NOT correct.
    In the above example:

    E = A new undrawn empty frame with no more than 1/2 a sheet of foundation.
    D = A drawn comb with some honey on it.

    If they are ignoring new frames and not drawing wax, then look for swarm cells.

    I can checkerboard supers after repeating the steps for the third time.

    I usually start this method once nectar is coming in and there are a few frames with at least a 1/3 of capped honey on them. I prefer not to feed.

    The bees will draw out comb as long as there is nectar coming in.

    You could use a queen excluder above the second brood box.
    Last edited by MattDavey; 02-07-2015 at 05:34 AM. Reason: Clarification.

  12. #31
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    For clarification, I would prefer to use the following notation:

    N = A new undrawn empty frame with no more than 1/2 a sheet of foundation.
    H = A drawn comb with some honey, nectar or pollen.
    B = a frame with some brood on it.


    So let's look at an example:
    I have made the frames that I expect the bees to draw out in Bold.

    START:

    HHHBBBBHHH


    AFTER FIRST MANIPULATION:

    NNNNHHNNNN
    HHNBBBBNHH


    AFTER 2 WEEKS (top two drawn frames were emptied out):

    NNNNHHNNNN
    HHBBBBBBHH


    AFTER SECOND MANIPULATION (expect the bees to work on at least 4 new frames):

    NNHNHHNHNN
    HNBBBBBBNH


    AFTER 2 WEEKS (Brood on bottom of frames in the top box, bees expanded in top more than expected):

    NHHBBBBHHN
    HHBBBBBBHH


    AFTER THIRD MANIPULATION (Add a new box on top, 8 new frames for them to work on):

    NNHNHHNHNN
    NHNBBBBNHN
    HNBBBBBBNH

    In the last example I'm expecting the bees to work on 8 new frames because there's 2 in the bottom box, 4 in the middle box and 2 in the top box. This is usually enough to get them past the swarm/repo cutoff and into the main flow.

    The next time I go in I'm just looking at the top box and making sure it is continuing to be drawn out. It may need another box on it by then. Again I just move up a few frames of the outer honey frames.

    If they appear to have stopped drawing comb, just put two new frames beside brood in the middle box to trigger wax making again.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    3) The bees drew large amounts of drone comb/honey cells before they settled down to wall-to-wall worker brood cells. I plan to use Lauri's partial sheet/centered approach this year to see if that makes a difference
    I have used a similar technique to control swarming, but with full sheets of foundation, to prevent the drone comb, excess drone brood on the hive and after drag the mites .

    To get closer to the Matt's technique, that involves creating a hole at the ends of the nest area, and to avoid the problem identified above I will do the following to try: put a portion of foundation sheet from the top to the down on the right side and left side of the frame. I leave the hole on the center from the top to the down. My idea is that in the center of the frame bees have less impetus to produce drone comb. Has anyone tried it?

  14. #33
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    The bees will fill any hole with drone comb initially, especially if there is no foundation on the top bar. Once they are happy with the number of drones in the hive they start building worker comb.

    With a strip of foundation along the top bar they will build worker cells for a while but then transition to drone cells. I typically see the bottom third built as drone with the foundation strip.

    Better to use worker foundation down the middle of the frame.
    Last edited by MattDavey; 02-07-2015 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Added point about foundation strip.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    I understand now what works best.
    Having said that I do not have partial frames of undrawn comb.
    Will this work at all if for the N space one has drawn but empty comb or full sheets of undrawn comb?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  16. #35
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    I can see that in a large operation it is harder to monitor and do the frame manipulation unless you have
    more helpers. But in a small scale this can bee done successfully. I would take out the drone comb to put in another
    hive without any drones. This way they will think there is enough drones to make some more worker
    cells. The bees are not too picky about which drones come from where. They're just as happy with them all.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  17. #36
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    I understand now what works best.
    Having said that I do not have partial frames of undrawn comb.
    Will this work at all if for the N space one has drawn but empty comb or full sheets of undrawn comb?
    The purpose of this method is to get the bees to draw comb, but yes you can put an empty drawn comb in the 'N' positions. It will buy you some time as they will now need to fill that comb.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    I have used a similar technique to control swarming, but with full sheets of foundation, to prevent the drone comb, excess drone brood on the hive and after drag the mites .
    To get closer to the Matt's technique, that involves creating a hole at the ends of the nest area, and to avoid the problem identified above I will do the following to try: put a portion of foundation sheet from the top to the down on the right side and left side of the frame. I leave the hole on the center from the top to the down. My idea is that in the center of the frame bees have less impetus to produce drone comb. Has anyone tried it?

    Eduardo, the first technique to provide them with a full sheet of foundation is different from Matt's because without the hole.
    The 2nd technique will confused the bees a bit with a hole in the center of the frame. So they might draw out the drone cells in the center of the frame. Bees tend to draw out the worker cells in the center of the frame and then the drone cells on the top and 2 sides of the frame. Looks like you are reversing the process by providing the worker foundation on either side of the frame. Lauri's method is to give the worker foundation in the center so that they will draw out the drone cells on either side.

    W: You can buy or make your own partial foundation strips to
    put on the empty frame. The whole purpose is to creat a hole for
    the bees to see that they have not complete their hive building
    yet. So time to draw out more comb by tricking them this way.
    But with the 'drawn but empty comb' then you can do checker boarding. If you put the drawn empty comb or full sheet foundation in they cannot see the hole or no hole to draw at all. The more drawn empty comb you have the better to have them fill everything up. This method is for newbiees that do not have enough drawn comb to start with in their first year of beekeeping. By removing the side 2 frames close to their brood nest will create a hole for them to draw out the new frames accordingly.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  19. #38
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    ..... but yes you can put an empty drawn comb in the 'N' positions. It will buy you some time as they will now need to fill that comb.
    Yes, the whole purpose is to make more drawn comb to expand the nest area.
    By putting the empty drawn frame in they will fill it up with nectar and pollen. More pollen they will fill in unless the queen find this
    frame to lay eggs in. She might not notice this frame if there is enough worker cells for her to lay in a 10 frame box. So with a frame of
    already drawn empty frame I would put it inside the middle of the brood nest for the queen to lay in. You will not get any chill brood as it is
    hot in the center of the nest. The nurse bees will take care of the larvae once they are hatched. And then open up the sides of the nest with the partial strip of frame.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  20. #39
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    As this is started before swarm season I prefer not to touch the brood frames, I especially do not insert any frames into the brood nest. There many not be enough bees and we still get cold nights.

    Inserting frames increases the volume of the brood nest and they now have to heat that. If you get a cold night you may get chilled brood on the outer edges, or a reduced temperature in the brood nest which encourages chalk brood.

    If it's very cold it could even cause the cluster to split, so that there is a cluster with a queen and cluster without a queen. The one without may then start emergency or supersedure queen cells. Exactly what you are trying to prevent!

  21. #40
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    Default Re: When to Open the Sides of the Broodnest

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    AFTER FIRST MANIPULATION:

    NNNNHHNNNN
    HHNBBBBNHH


    AFTER 2 WEEKS (top two drawn frames were emptied out):

    NNNNHHNNNN
    HHBBBBBBHH


    AFTER SECOND MANIPULATION (expect the bees to work on at least 4 new frames):

    NNHNHHNHNN
    HNBBBBBBNH


    AFTER 2 WEEKS (Brood on bottom of frames in the top box, bees expanded in top more than expected):

    NHHBBBBHHN
    HHBBBBBBHH


    AFTER THIRD MANIPULATION (Add a new box on top, 8 new frames for them to work on):

    NNHNHHNHNN
    NHNBBBBNHN
    HNBBBBBBNH
    Matt as a matter of standardisation of my hives I work most of my hives with mediums over depth nest.

    My question is: if I open the holes in 4 hives, put the mediums on them with drawn comb, and on the second handling and following H and N frames of these four hives go up a fifth hive with two or more depth over, this will result for swarm prevention? My idea is to avoid having too many colonies with two or three deep at the top and only have some hives with this design, 2 or 3 deep above the nest. All others will have over the nest, mediums for nectar and then I will use in these mediums the chekerboarding. If I was not clear I apologize , I'll rephrase my statement.

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