Early reversal - rolling the dice
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  1. #1
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    Question Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Well, spring is here, or is it? Next few days high's in 60's, low 70's, but lows in the 30's predicted next week.
    I went though 4 of my more swarmy hives ( all medium 8 frame), found 3-4 frames of brood, drone brood & actual drones in one. One goal was to switch boxes needing maintenace for boxes already repaired. Checking stores, found uncapped nectar & pollen. No wonder they aren't taking much syrup, but they are going to town on sugar cakes, so i am making sure they dont run out.
    I switched brood from top box to bottom box in 2 hives. I fear i may have done this too early. Will the bees abandon the brood next week when the night temps drop? I moved the food combs down with them, but continue to place sugar cakes on top of the top (2nd) box, which is only empty drawn combs.
    Still too early for me to consider making splits, but i reconfigured my stored equipment stacks as bait hives ... just in case.
    Last edited by tech.35058; 03-02-2019 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Typo's
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    I donít know the time frame of when you did this but if itís not too late switch them back. I mean if you just did this yesterday or today.
    Proverbs 16:24

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    I would never switch boxes if there is brood in both boxes... If you did and there is, yes, you may bet abandoned brood in a cold snap.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Thank you both for prompt responses.
    I was feeling pretty confident, as one of my other hives has brood only in the bottom box.
    But ... I didn't take much to convince me this was a mistake. Last nights, & this mornings temps were not in the high thirtys as predicted, but in the high twentys. ( Yesterday was a major push in another feild, no time to worry about bees )
    About 2 pm, today,should be almost as warm as it gets, thermometer reading low thirty's, I swapped these two boxes back to "brood on top", absolutly working to minimize heat loss in the process.
    I did not spend any time checking the underside of the frames, but the lower boxes with the brood in them seeemed to have lots of bees between the frames, so just maybe brood losses will not be too bad. Or perhaps with the higher day time temps they went back down.
    What ever the outcome, whats done is done, & I shall learn a bit more about bees watching these hives, & comparing them to their sisters, as the season progresses.
    CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Have you had a look at Opening the Sides of the Broodnest?
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...he-OSBN-Method

    Looks like it would be a good time for you to start it in the next week or so. You could try it on one hive and compare with reversing boxes.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Thes are double box 8 frame medium hives.
    Late winter, early spring, the bees begin brood nesting where they are, in the top box.
    Before they get too heavy, i move the top box of brood to the bottom. I thi nk the bees tend to move up rather than down, so this lets them do what they want to do, move up, and do what i want them to, fill all the frames.
    Maybe i will omit this step on one hive this year , just to remind myself exactly why i do this.
    As always, there is always the exception to every "rule". I have one hive that has started or kept the brood nest in the bottom box over winter, & another that has started building comb in the feeding shim, in early March! I was going to refill with sugar, but maybe i should add a super instead. (Or also?)
    " rules, rules, exception, rule, rule"
    This is "The South" after all.
    Good luck with your bees ...CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    I reversed my boxes last year and won't do so again. I run with double deeps and found that most swarm cells produced will appear on the bottom of the frames of the top box. After reversing, those swarm cells are now in the bottom box. That made checking for swarm cells a real pain. I had to remove the top box to check the bottom box. It really added a bunch of time to each hive's inspections.
    Lesson learned.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Quite a few of my hives have their brood in the bottom box since the top box is still full of capped stores. The bees should have stayed with the brood and all will be fine. That said, is is early to be rotating boxes for me in zone 7a. I just do not like rearranging the configuration until the temps stabilize a bit. Maybe in another two weeks as the top boxes fill up with brood in the other hives. With the nucs I am making, I can control the amount of both bees and brood to some degree so there is less of a concern. I over wintered several nucs containing just three frames of bees in a single deep 5 frame on screened bottom boards with the plastic insert.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    we've been rotating but the colonies are 14-16 frames of bees and need more brooding space. If the food and brood is down below I wouldn't worry about it
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    I tried reversing and it didn't do much in the way of Swarm Prevention. It might if your Swarm Season is shorter than mine.
    Also had issues with chilled brood and then the resulting chalk brood.

    Using 2 x 8 Frames Mediums for a Broodnest is quite small. Most people I have heard of using 10 Frame Mediums have 2 Boxes for the Broodnest.
    So I would think you need 3 x 8 Frame Mediums for the Broodnest.

    I suggested Opening the Sides of the Broodnest to add an additional Brood Box and because it can be done on any configuration, I even do it with a Long Hive.
    It's more about the principle of making sure there is no restrictions with honey or nectar on the Sides of the Broodnest. To make sure the queen is not restricted from laying and that the Broodnest fills the width of the box.

    It's also about triggering wax making, so that the bees are drawing out new comb during swarm season. (Make sure you have a few boxes per hive ready to go!)

    I use a 10 frame single deep in my example because it makes is easier to understand and I winter in a single deep. But no reason why you can't do it with 8 Frame mediums.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    I reversed my boxes last year and won't do so again. I run with double deeps and found that most swarm cells produced will appear on the bottom of the frames of the top box. After reversing, those swarm cells are now in the bottom box. That made checking for swarm cells a real pain. I had to remove the top box to check the bottom box. It really added a bunch of time to each hive's inspections.
    Lesson learned.
    I wonder if that is because in the top box the queens pheromone is more diluted due most likely to the congestion?
    Last edited by Cloverdale; 03-08-2019 at 01:20 PM.
    Proverbs 16:24

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    I believe it is because of the large number of newly foraging bees backfilling the Broodnest with nectar. Once the Brood frames are full, there is no where else for the queen to lay except at the bottom of the Brood frame. She is busting to lay eggs, so lays them in the queen cups the bees have made.

    The other box may not be considered part of their Broodnest and so is ignored.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    I manage my bees with an unlimited broodnest, and don’t use an excluder. I find that backfilling occurs after the swarming impulse is set in motion not the cause of swarming.
    Proverbs 16:24

  15. #14
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    I was thinking more on the positions of queen cells, being on the bottom of Brood frames.

    I agree that the amount of Queen pheromone the bees get will be lower because of the higher population of bees. Causing queen cells to be started.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    I found that if I leave boxes un-rotated, 95% if the time, the swarm cells are on the bottom of the frames in the top box.
    When the boxes get rotated, even though the top box is now on the bottom, the swarm cells will still be in that box.
    I wonder if that is because I use deeps.

  17. #16
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    Which box? The one that was originally on the Top and moved to the bottom?

    I would assume that is because that is where the majority of the Broodnest is.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    I found that if I leave boxes un-rotated, 95% if the time, the swarm cells are on the bottom of the frames in the top box.
    When the boxes get rotated, even though the top box is now on the bottom, the swarm cells will still be in that box.
    I wonder if that is because I use deeps.
    When the boxes get rotated, even though the top box is now on the bottom, the swarm cells will still be in that bottom box (which was the top box).

  19. #18
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    Just thinking about why Reversing can fail at preventing swarming.

    Assuming that the Broodnest is all in the Top Box, so that it's safe to Reverse, then the next question to ask is:

    Is there a Honey Dome around the Broodnest?

    If there is a band of capped honey along the top of the brood frames, then the capped honey needs to be scraped so that it gets removed.

    The band of capped honey will act as a barrier and stop the queen from moving up into the Top Box.

    (I would also argue that any frames of honey on the sides of the Broodnest should also be swapped with empty frames. To open up the sides of the Broodnest and allow sideways expansion.)

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Early reversal - rolling the dice

    Thank you to all contribtors, several points i I had not cosidered. CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

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