Rotating Deeps
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Thread: Rotating Deeps

  1. #1
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Rotating Deeps

    The weather is starting to warm up to mid 50's daily. Bees are bringing in Pollen. I will be getting into the hive today to briefly check on things. When is a good time to rotate the deeps? What should i be doing to prep for upcoming spring? I will attach the video i took the other day of all the bees bringing in pollen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEbgj1Bw_4c

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    I wait till the top is full of brood

    And I would give them a bigger entrance . They sure look nice

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Apparently you don't understand rotating boxes. You rotate boxes to put the queen down. If the queen is up top and you rotate you put her down and if she's down and you rotate, well that's defeating the purpose of rotating the boxes. Bees move up and that's why you rotate her back down.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by frustrateddrone View Post
    Apparently you don't understand rotating boxes.
    Just for clarification, who was this directed to. I can't find anything above that indicates there was a lack of understanding regarding reversing.
    To everything there is a season....

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by clangen625 View Post
    Nice video! What camera are you using?
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by frustrateddrone View Post
    Apparently you don't understand rotating boxes. You rotate boxes to put the queen down. If the queen is up top and you rotate you put her down and if she's down and you rotate, well that's defeating the purpose of rotating the boxes. Bees move up and that's why you rotate her back down.
    But in nature, don't bees move down as they build comb?

    In my colonies I always struggle to get them to move into the upper boxes as I put them on, even if they have drawn comb. My bees just seem to like the bottom box.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    In nature the bees usually attach the comb to the ceiling of the cavity, they have no choice, they must build down. In a Langstroth hive the bees build comb in frames, starting at the top of the frame and building down, again no choice.

    When a beekeeper wishes to expand the hive area, he adds boxes with frames of comb, foundation, or foundationless frames. Notice this is no longer the way Mother Nature operates, so forget what you read about beekeeping the way Mother Nature does it.

    Bees do not like empty space above the brood nest, or empty cells of comb above the brood nest. Also heat from the brood rises and warms the box above, and bees always like to move in the direction of warmth. Bees move up in the managed hive much faster than they move down in the managed hive. Usually my bees will move into a box above the brood area and have it filled with brood or food in half the time it will take them to occupy the box below the brood area.

    If you have to struggle to get the bees to build into upper boxes, you are doing something wrong in your management, or your bees are sick and can't build their numbers up to the point where they need to move.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    I need you to come talk to my bees!
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  10. #9
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    the main thing not to do is reverse the boxes if the broodnest is split across the gap between the boxes, as this will separate the broodnest in two putting half at the very bottom and the other half at the very top.
    Last edited by squarepeg; 03-01-2018 at 07:12 PM.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Often I find people get in the mode of feeling like they have to reverse boxes. I have seen people reverse boxes with only four or five frames of bees! Now you put struggling bees down in the colder part of the hive, it only sets them back. When you have that half box of bees, take the bottom box and store it until its needed. Then put it on top. BTUs make bees.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    But in nature, don't bees move down as they build comb?
    In nature the cluster has typically moved up to the top of the cavity in the later winter/early spring months. From there the brood nest expands downward, and then the bees begin to fill the overhead comb with honey as the brood nest moves down. When they have enough stores overhead they switch to backfilling the brood nest in preparation to swarm.

    That is what the bees tend to do in nature if they are left alone. The beekeepers job is to interfere with their natural springtime cycles and try to prevent swarming. When the top box is filled with brood, but an overhead honey dome has not yet been established, that is the best time to reverse. With empty cells moved above they will continue to expand the brood nest upward. It's not foolproof, but will help as one of the tools to prevent swarming.

    Building new comb on foundation is a completely different situation. In this case we are working with all drawn comb.
    To everything there is a season....

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    And the Waterbug is in CA so maybe his bees shy away from the hotter, upper part of the hive, for the same reason bees in cooler areas in the spring start their brood in the uppermost box: choosing the most "ideal", from their perspective which is likely to be the least energy-costly one for them to manage, place for their brood from the options they have.

    Vance writes: BTUs make bees, which is certainly true where I am in the spring (northern NY.) But perhaps BTUs may also control where the bees make bees.

    As far as rotating the boxes, that's a swarm control manipulation, not an imitation of the "natural" conditions in an unmanaged hive. The OP is in IN, so spring rotation is likely to be a useful tactic for him if his bees are filling the top box with brood, with an empty one below it. Timing is important on this, and local timing is the best. Maybe other IN beeks will chime in?

    Nancy

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    >When is a good time to rotate the deeps?

    IMO usually end of Mar beginning of April for us here. It's too early to be in the hive right now, there is nothing you can do, except possibly damage a queen, to where the bees can't replace her. Wait till you have drone flying. If the bottom box is empty put it on top. If they are brooding in the bottom make sure they have room above. Not all hives need to be rotated. If the box is packed with honey remove some. If they have too much room remove a box. I find they are quick to move up, and rarely move down, empty room above will prevent them from swarming empty room below will not.

    >What should i be doing to prep for upcoming spring?

    Assess the hives for stores, probably the most important thing you can do. Many hives starve this time of the year as they use the last of there stores to raise brood. Feeding pollen sub will help them raise more brood earlier but they will consume more stores.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    And the Waterbug is in CA so maybe his bees shy away from the hotter, upper part of the hive, for the same reason bees in cooler areas in the spring start their brood in the uppermost box: choosing the most "ideal", from their perspective which is likely to be the least energy-costly one for them to manage, place for their brood from the options they have.

    Vance writes: BTUs make bees, which is certainly true where I am in the spring (northern NY.) But perhaps BTUs may also control where the bees make bees.
    Interesting thought! Yes, it was in the 80s and even low 90s during early February. The last week we've been "shivering" in the mid-40s at night and low 50s during the day, so I'll see during tomorrow's inspection whether they've moved up.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    We reverse boxes on many colonies in the spring and use the manipulation to set the colony up for further management as the season progresses. It serves as much more than a potential swarm control measure, timed correctly it is done well before swarm season and not used for swarm control at all.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Clyderoad,

    You are correct to point out a semantic sloppiness on my part. Of course, reversing boxes as a swarm control measure would do nothing besides slightly confuse the bees, and certainly not it would not stop a swarm the bees were already committed to.

    I should have written "As far as rotating the boxes, that's an anti-swarm tactical manipulation." Or perhaps even better, "that's an early-season, swarm-deterrent tactic."

    Would you care to comment on what else reversing boxes does for you in your operation? And how you select which colonies to reverse?

    Nancy

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    enj, I run story and a half's for winter, so only those with the deep on top coming out of winter are candidates for reversing. My primary goal is honey, bees secondary. I run single deep brood nests during spring and summer.
    The colonies with the half on top coming out of winter are not reversed. My first step in managing is to equalize brood between the hives giving frames to weak hives from strong hives, strong hives 7+ frames and weak are those with 5 or less during maple bloom but before dandelion. Nothing is reversed at this time.
    At dandelion (first week or 2 of April here) I evaluate again checking for strength of build up and nectar stores from earlier blooms with a eye toward keeping open comb for the queen to lay in and keeping open comb above the brood nest. At this point I reverse stronger colonies that came out of winter with the deep on top and put it down with a QE on it and then the half that was on the bottom for winter, adding 2 drawn supers above the half. Subsequent checks are to be sure the bees are working comb above the QE and that the bees are beginning to polish the comb in the box immediately above the QE as if waiting for the queen to arrive and lay in them, (open comb above the brood nest this time maintained by the bees). We are still before swarm season at this point (first of May) although if during my visits between dandelion and fruit I either do not see the bees moving through the QE or not keeping the comb directly above the QE empty and polished I take measures to open comb in and above the nest and weaken the colony by removing capped brood and bait them above the QE with brood frames. Colonies for making splits/used for resources are managed somewhat differently at/after fruit bloom but are judged as non honey producers after having received the same equalizing and reversing
    as production colonies.
    The colonies with the half on top coming out of winter are equalized and begin to store honey in the half and many brood nests are starting to move into the deep below pushed by wet nectar leading up to and into dandelion. As I see the queen laying in the top part of the frames in the deep and most brood in the half is capped, I shake the bees down into the deep, QE over and the half with capped brood and honey on top of the QE, supers above. I check for queen cells in the half over the QE a week later and then manage as above.
    Reversing sets my bees up with open comb ahead of the queen and above the brood nest a box at a time, it's rare to have to manipulate individual frames. The brood nest is organized and operating at maximum efficiency before the time of our flow with an expanding broodnest and a large population of bees.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    My first step in managing is to equalize brood between the hives giving frames to weak hives from strong hives, strong hives 7+ frames and weak are those with 5 or less during maple bloom but before dandelion.
    Do you go thru all your hives and assess/record the strength of each one - then go back and equalize? Interested if you put your hives back together after assessment and then take apart again for equalization.
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Rotating Deeps

    No. Assess and equalize on the same day. Donor colonies and receiver colonies are fairly obvious into early spring brood up so assessment is not a one day process, although the final decision of who gives how much and who receives how much is.

  21. #20
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    Default

    Clyderoad, do you ever let the queen lay in the medium above excluder after honey flow starts?Yes you are keeping that area with polished open cells but they arenít getting used. Also they inevitably fill w honey. How do you combat this or do you just let them fill with honey and continue to super?

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