Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method
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  1. #1
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    Default Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Opening the Sides of the Broodnest - OSBN

    Main points:


    • Develops comb building before swarm season, which helps to reduce swarming. Due to extra comb for nectar storage and using up of nectar to make wax.
    • Enlarges the size of the Broodnest when the bees would usually be reducing it by backfilling, because the queen lays in empty comb as it is being built.
    • Can be done at colder temperatures than Opening the Broodnest.
    • Does not touch the Broodnest, so it doesn't force bees to heat a larger volume than they are used to heating. Which can cause chilled brood. (Especially with Carniolans).
    • Does not split the Broodnest, so if cold weather sets in there is no possibility of having the cluster split and emergency queen cells made by the queenless cluster.
    • The bees still have direct access to the frames that were beside the Broodnest, but now they are above instead. Not a problem, when heat rises.
    • The bees can build the comb in their own time, but the empty space (Hole) gives them an incentive to build comb.

    What you will need:

    At least 1 box of new undrawn frames, which are the same size frames as your brood box. (If a few of these are partially drawn, empty frames, this also helps.)

    Conditions:


    • No feeding
    • Frames are all the same size
    • Start about 3 weeks before you usual Swarm Season (or when you see Drone Brood).
    • Do every 2 weeks until bees are drawing out multiple combs in the New Box.
    • New frames have a Hole large enough for the bees to want to fill it.

    Purpose:

    OSBN is a Swarm Prevention method for Beekeepers who have enough Bee Hives
    (IE, when you don't want to do Splits and make more Bee Hives)
    AND for New Beekeepers or Second Year Beekeepers especially those who don't have any spare, empty comb coming into spring.


    Aim:

    To get the bees building comb in a New Box/Super before swarm season starts, to help reduce swarming and to get a honey crop.

    Objectives:

    1. Develop Wax Makers well before Swarm Season.
    2. Maintain wax making throughout Swarm Season and into the Main Flow.
    3. Encourage enlargement of the Broodnest until the Main Flow.


    OPENING THE SIDES OF THE BROODNEST


    Steps:


    1. About 3 weeks before your usual Swarm Season, move each outermost frame from a brood box up into the middle of a New Box (of undrawn Frames), placed directly above the Broodnest. (So that 2 Frames have moved up.)
    2. Insert a New Frame (with a large "hole") on each outside edge of the Broodnest of the brood box. So that Brood frames are only on one side of each new frame. (2 new frames inserted.)
    3. Check the Hive in 2 weeks and repeat the steps if comb has been at least partially drawn on the New Frames in the Brood Box. (2 Frames moved up, 2 Frames inserted into the Broodnest.) You will now have 4 Drawn Frames that have been moved up into the New Box.
    4. Check again in 2 weeks. The New Box should now be mostly drawn. You can repeat the steps again with another New Box on top.


    PLEASE NOTE:



    • The New Frame can be empty drawn comb or foundation, but should have a large "hole" that is equivalent to at least 1/4 of the frame. You can just cut off the bottom corners off the comb or foundation.
    • The Hole will be filled with Drone Comb.
    • If the outermost Broodbox frames are moldy, you may wish to remove them completely and not put on a new box until the third step.
    • If you want the bees to use the honey on slightly moldy frames, then move them up to a new box, but have at least a few frames of foundation between them. The frames will usually get emptied out.
    • You can start doing this method as soon as Drones are starting to be raised and the weather forecast for the next week is warm.
    • For the bees to move into a box, I have found it best to have at least 3 or 4 drawn combs together, in the middle of the new box. When there is less than 3 frames in a box and not together, they usually get emptied out. So if you have a spare drawn comb, the more the better.
    • The timing of 2 weeks is for deep frames. If you use mediums, the times will be shorter and can be more like 1 week.
    • Best to use all the same size frames.
    • As a guide for when to start Opening the Sides of the Broodnest. I would start around half way through the period between Cherry blossoms and Apple blossoms. The period between these blossoms is quite long where I live, as much as 2 months. If it is around 1 month for you then you may initially need to use drawn comb instead of a partial frame of foundation. (Some areas still have snow around at this time.)


    I have been working on this method for several years now and wish I had known about it when I first started out beekeeping. Give it a go and let us know how it goes for you.
    Last edited by MattDavey; 02-07-2019 at 06:16 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Thanks so much for this! I will be trying this on some of my hives this year (3rd year in).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    I should also add that it helps to scrape the capping of any capped honey on the Old Frames that are moved up to the New Box.

    If you still want to use slightly moldy frames, then cut off the capping off any capped honey like when you are extracting. Move them up to the New Box, but have at least a couple of frames of foundation between them.

    These frames will often get emptied out, so it can simulate a bit of a flow.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    good job matt, many thanks for the bump.

    that the bees will draw comb to fill up empty space much earlier in the season but just ignore foundation until it really warms up and the strong spring flow arrives is something that i proved for myself a few years back. i used frames that were completely foundationless.

    and yes, that comb tends to be drawn out almost exclusively to drone cell size, (which is a good thing if one is rearing queens). the partial foundation is something i did not try, but several here on the forum are reporting the effect is the same, i.e. the initiation of early wax making which appears to help thwart swarm ambition.

    if i were going to try this i would probably do something like lauri does here:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...mes-experiment

    also, i think for those in southern latitudes it's possible to get away with placing foundationless frames a little earlier the a few weeks before prime swarming. we are about 2 months from that time here and just now starting to have the first substantial pollen and nectar flows, albeit they are intermittent as good flying days are cycling with cold and rainy days.

    surprisingly, i transferred a nuc from 5 frame to 10 frame equipment a couple of weeks ago and moved it to another yard before the frames became propolized. the move resulted in the frames shifting a bit and when i checked a week or so after the move i found some new comb being built in the empty space.

    it's important to remember that the hive has to be exactly level left to right when placing foundationless frames, otherwise the comb started at the top bar won't hit the bottom bar as it tends to be drawn plumb.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Matt, I have worked a similar system with a queen excluder over the second medium brood box. I then manipulate mostly capped brood to above the excluder and bring empty comb or heavily waxed plastic foundation down into the brood boxes. This opens up the brood nest for the queen and also draws workers and nurses up above the excluder I also have holes in the handle area of the 3rd box so a second entrance becomes available. The reason I went to excluders is that many of the Carni type of queens I have would work upwards into the supers and when checking for queen cells one had to check every box. With the excluders on all supers are lifted off and only the brood boxes need checking. Also using Lauri's half sheet of waxed plastic foundation I try to have a couple on the outsides of the lower brood boxes so that drone cells are drawn in the spaces which I find prevents a lot of drones being made between frames.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Matt,

    This a such a clear recapitulation of your method. Thank you!

    As you know I do your method, after I've done Walt's method, and before I start in on Mike Palmer's tilt-box instructions. My bees wouldn't dare swarm after all that! And most year's I don't have any issues, though I always ready with Snelgrove boards to head them off, if needed. Since I don;t want more hives this is how I manage to keep my apiary under control.

    I adopted Lauri M's partial frame ideas, too. The frames the bees make on the outside of the broodnest are usually not added to my permanent store of drawn comb. They are not as nice as the combs my bees make of full sheets of foundation. Instead, I work them out of service by mid-summer, scrape the face of the foundation and cut off the combs in the voids left by the partial foundation and render all the nice, mostly fresh wax for use in adding extra coats to new foundation.

    I rarely use more than 3 to 4 OSBN partial frames per colony, so I just have a set of partial foundations frames that use each spring.

    I use 2/3 of a foundation sheet per frame, just whackiing off roughly a third and then combining two off-cuts in another frames.. I snap them in and smush a piece of wax in each lower corner of the foundation which is mostly centered in the frame. Takes only seconds to do.

    In my area I start Matt's OSBN by the last week of April/first week of May in an average year, and I only do one side of each box with active brood at a time. I rarely have to do it a third time. It takes about 10 days for the bees to make enough progress on the first frame that opened the side, and to need another OSBN reminder. The reason I don't do two sides at once is that at that time of year I am still experiencing nights that will dip into the 20s F. In climates with a steadier warmer-up, I would probably do both at once, too. I have never seen any sign of chilled brood - and shortly after I start this I begin checking under each brood box for signs of swarming on very short intervals, 5 or 6 days, so wouldn't have missed any chilled brood. I think I am starting earlier than between cherries and apples; we don't have sweet cherries here and I think this is just barely at sour cherries, and not quite wild black cherry, either.

    I don't fuss with moving frames into another box - I just pull a frame out to make room for the new one. Often I have frames that i want cull anyway. Or if I have wintered on less than a full complement of frames, I just shove them over to accommodate the added OSBN frame. And then in turn, when I've had enough of often odd-ball partial foundation frames (uneven with fat drone on either side of normal worker, which doesn't play well when you want to keep the frames as close together as I like) as I approach the mid to end of June, I just work them out of brood production and replace them with full sheets of extra-waxed foundation, which they draw out eagerly. And that's how I get the comb rotation I like, or extra combs to share out for splits, etc.

    This idea really works, so don't hesitate to add it to your anti-swarm repertoire. I wouldn't give up doing regular swarm-prep checks, though, just because you read about it on the internet. You need to discover whether your proposed timing, your bees, your typical flows, your hive config, etc., all react in the same way. So ADD this, but keep watching closely, too.

    Nancy

  7. #7
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    Default

    Thanks Matt , that helps me a lot. This was above and beyond cutting your plastic foundation when you normally don’t use it for this

    Thank you,

    Anthony

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    A number of people have asked about Plastic Foundation so thought it was worth doing. I'll use it anyway.

    From now on I will be recommending that if using Partial Foundation then use the Wedge shape, and have at least 4 Frames per Hive.

    That way 2 Frames can be made with 1 Sheet of Foundation.

    It is would also be worth gluing the foundation in the groove of the Top Bar, especially with making a Wedge shape with the 2 Off-Cuts.

    Turn the Frame upside down, put a line of Wood Glue (PVA) in the groove of the Top Bar, then place the Foundation in position. Wait until it is dry.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Mathew I want to ask your permission to translate the op post to portuguese and put it on my blog to make known to my compatriots beekeepers. If you are in agreement how should I refer the credit to you?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    One of the Objectives is to "2. Maintain wax making throughout Swarm Season and into the Main Flow."
    I haven't really explained how to do that in the Steps, so will add one last Step:

    5. Ensure that there is at least 2 Undrawn Frames, either beside or in the Box directly above the Broodnest throughout the Swarm Season. This is to maintain Wax Making by getting the bees to draw out new comb. (These Frames can be full sheets of foundation.)


    The reason I add this is the experience I had with one hive.

    It had completely drawn out the New Box and I had moved 2 Drawn Frames up into another New Box (3rd Box).
    They had started to drawn out the Foundation in the 3rd Box, but then stopped and started Swarm Preparation.

    The reason this happened was because they had completed the Honey Dome around the Broodnest.

    Do not allow the bees to complete the Honey Dome around the Broodnest!
    Think of the Broodnest like a watermelon shape. Where the Red part is Brood and the White part is Honey.

    You want to maintain a Hole in the (White) Honey part.

    So throughout Swarm Season ensure there is always at least 2 Undrawn Frames beside or in the Box above the Broodnest for the bees to work on drawing out comb. Keep them working on building new comb until well into the Main Flow.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    @Eduardo

    Thank you for asking.
    Yes, you may translate and use the content of the OP, this Thread and my Web Page.
    Please refer to my Web Page as your main source of information, as it has all the details in one place.


    The Web Page for Opening the Sides of the Broodnest is:

    http://daveybees.wikidot.com/openingthesides


    For Credit, please use the following:


    Opening the Sides of the Broodnest
    Matthew Davey
    Victoria
    Australia

    Web Page: http://daveybees.wikidot.com/openingthesides

    The content of this web page is licensed under:
    Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post

    For Credit, please use the following:


    Opening the Sides of the Broodnest
    Matthew Davey
    Victoria
    Australia

    Web Page: http://daveybees.wikidot.com/openingthesides
    Very grateful Matthew . I will do as you say.

  13. #13
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    Default

    Fantastic Bgosnell!

    Sorry, didn't see you post until now.

    1. I would focus on the box above the Broodnest for drawing foundation. Because Nurse bees graduate to Wax Makers. Note: I would have at least 4 Drawn frames in a box before expecting the bees to move into it and start drawing foundation, especially early in the season.

    2. With a mix of Mediums and Deeps, you could swap out the Deep Box for 2 Medium Boxes and place the Deep Frames in the Top Medium hanging down into the Bottom Medium. You then get 2 Medium Frames instead of 1 Deep frame getting drawn in the OSBN positions.

    So that will give you your 4 Drawn Medium frames to move up into the New Box. They will likely have Brood on them. But you can fix that later.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Thank you both for the feedback! It's exciting to see this working so well. Given how quickly the bees pulled out that first manipulations, I'm just hoping we can keep up with them. Cold, wet weather isn't helpful in that regard.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    Opening the Sides of the Broodnest - OSBN

    Main points:


    • Develops comb building before swarm season, which helps to reduce swarming. Due to extra comb for nectar storage and using up of nectar to make wax.
    • Enlarges the size of the Broodnest when the bees would usually be reducing it by backfilling, because the queen lays in empty comb as it is being built.
    • Can be done at colder temperatures than Opening the Broodnest.
    • Does not touch the Broodnest, so it doesn't force bees to heat a larger volume than they are used to heating. Which can cause chilled brood. (Especially with Carniolans).
    • Does not split the Broodnest, so if cold weather sets in there is no possibility of having the cluster split and emergency queen cells made by the queenless cluster.
    • The bees still have direct access to the frames that were beside the Broodnest, but now they are above instead. Not a problem, when heat rises.
    • The bees can build the comb in their own time, but the empty space (Hole) gives them an incentive to build comb.

    What you will need:

    At least 1 box of new undrawn frames, which are the same size frames as your brood box. (If a few of these are partially drawn, empty frames, this also helps.)

    Conditions:


    • No feeding
    • Frames are all the same size
    • Start about 3 weeks before you usual Swarm Season (or when you see Drone Brood).
    • Do every 2 weeks until bees are drawing out multiple combs in the New Box.
    • New frames have a Hole large enough for the bees to want to fill it.

    Purpose:

    OSBN is a Swarm Prevention method for Beekeepers who have enough Bee Hives
    (IE, when you don't want to do Splits and make more Bee Hives)
    AND for New Beekeepers or Second Year Beekeepers especially those who don't have any spare, empty comb coming into spring.


    Aim:

    To get the bees building comb in a New Box/Super before swarm season starts, to help reduce swarming and to get a honey crop.

    Objectives:

    1. Develop Wax Makers well before Swarm Season.
    2. Maintain wax making throughout Swarm Season and into the Main Flow.
    3. Encourage enlargement of the Broodnest until the Main Flow.


    OPENING THE SIDES OF THE BROODNEST


    Steps:


    1. About 3 weeks before your usual Swarm Season, move each outermost frame from a brood box up into the middle of a New Box (of undrawn Frames), placed directly above the Broodnest. (So that 2 Frames have moved up.)
    2. Insert a New Frame (with a large "hole") on each outside edge of the Broodnest of the brood box. So that Brood frames are only on one side of each new frame. (2 new frames inserted.)
    3. Check the Hive in 2 weeks and repeat the steps if comb has been at least partially drawn on the New Frames in the Brood Box. (2 Frames moved up, 2 Frames inserted into the Broodnest.) You will now have 4 Drawn Frames that have been moved up into the New Box.
    4. Check again in 2 weeks. The New Box should now be mostly drawn. You can repeat the steps again with another New Box on top.


    PLEASE NOTE:



    • The New Frame can be empty drawn comb or foundation, but should have a large "hole" that is equivalent to at least 1/4 of the frame. You can just cut off the bottom corners off the comb or foundation.
    • The Hole will be filled with Drone Comb.
    • If the outermost Broodbox frames are moldy, you may wish to remove them completely and not put on a new box until the third step.
    • If you want the bees to use the honey on slightly moldy frames, then move them up to a new box, but have at least a few frames of foundation between them. The frames will usually get emptied out.
    • You can start doing this method as soon as Drones are starting to be raised and the weather forecast for the next week is warm.
    • For the bees to move into a box, I have found it best to have at least 3 or 4 drawn combs together, in the middle of the new box. When there is less than 3 frames in a box and not together, they usually get emptied out. So if you have a spare drawn comb, the more the better.
    • The timing of 2 weeks is for deep frames. If you use mediums, the times will be shorter and can be more like 1 week.
    • Best to use all the same size frames.
    • As a guide for when to start Opening the Sides of the Broodnest. I would start around half way through the period between Cherry blossoms and Apple blossoms. The period between these blossoms is quite long where I live, as much as 2 months. If it is around 1 month for you then you may initially need to use drawn comb instead of a partial frame of foundation. (Some areas still have snow around at this time.)


    I have been working on this method for several years now and wish I had known about it when I first started out beekeeping. Give it a go and let us know how it goes for you.
    Matthew i have a couple questions:
    1. If one reverses the brood boxes at the beginning of the dandelion flow ( end of april here), is it all just business as usual until they fill the 2nd deep with brood?
    => then start the OSBN method with a 3rd deep above the brood boxes?
    2. Where do the outside drawn combs come from? the second deep brood box or the bottom one?
    3. You said to do this when the weather forecast is for warm weather? what temps?
    We can get drone brood as early as early april here some years. But the average temps are still only 35-55 F.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Quote Originally Posted by aran View Post
    Matthew i have a couple questions:
    one question it says to not feed, in this area during the time specified, the flows are used up making brood, I would not expect them to be able to draw comb??
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    @Aran

    1. I have't reversed Brood Boxes in several years, I believe it caused Chilled Brood, which then caused Chalk Brood. Also, I have moved to wintering in just the one Brood Box. Reversing is really just a time delay. You mess up their Broodnest and they have to fix it up by emptying out the honey between the split nest. This gives the queen space to lay, but I prefer not to touch the Broodnest at all for the reasons listed in the Main Points.

    Just add the 3rd Box as the New Box.

    2. You can insert OSBN frames to just the top Brood Box or both Brood Boxes. If you do both Brood Boxes you are moving 4 old Frames up into the New Box. As long as there are a few of frames of Honey directly above the Broodnest for feed, in case of several days of cold weather.

    3. When the bees can forage most days. So temperatures around 13C/55F or higher.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    @Wildbranch2007

    The bees will use up honey stores as well as incoming nectar to draw comb, in order to fix the holes in the Broodnest. Filling those holes seems to have a high priority.

    I'm wanting the bees to use up most of the capped Honey in the hive by the time Swarm Season has started. But also want to make sure there is around 1-2 frames equivalent of capped honey per box, in case of bad weather, so enough for a week or two.

    So I would only feed if their Honey stores are getting lower than the equivalent of 2 frames per box.

  19. #19
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    If anyone is trying OSBN and would like to take photos or videos of how the bees have drawn out the Partial Foundation (Wedge shape) Frames and post them here, it would be great to see. It would also be good to show if they started drawing out frames in the New Box.

    (I checked and realized I only have photos of frames in the New Box, later in the process, from a few years ago when I used starter strips.)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Want Swarm Prevention? Try the OSBN Method

    Here are a couple of pictures of what the bees did in 12 days from the first manipulation. We did that first one at the end of January. There was tree pollen available to them from elm and juniper and very limited nectar from small flowers like henbit and a little dandelion. Three days after we did the manipulations another cold front came through with nights about 26 degrees fora couple of nights and highs in the 30s. We were completely amazed at what they had accomplished in that time - and they had moved up into a super of heavily waxed frames we had added just above the top brood box.
    DSC07072.jpgDSC07072.jpgrsz_dsc07077.jpg

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