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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I got inspired about Walt Wrights nectar and pollen box management and would like to give it a try. I have question about my equiptment if someone has experience with the subject.

At the time i have all
deep boxes. And if i undestand correctly ideal would be one deep and rest shallows? How does checker boarding work with all deeps? I was allready thinking to cut my deeps to mediums, but would it be even better to cut them to shallows? So what should I do? Cut my boxes to mediums or
shallows? Does it matter much if i have mediums
or shallows from checker boarding / pollen box management point of view? One point I grasp was that if using deep and rest shallow, brood nest will stay at bottom deep all the time. If using deep and rest medium brood nest has tendency to "climb" to the upper boxes.

Also would be interested if anyone knows beeks from far north like canada
or so having done cb, what was the succes and what to take in
considertion in such cold climate and short summers. Thank you very much.
 

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I keep bees in all mediums (no shallows, no deeps) in Syracuse, New York about 90 minutes south of Canada. It is not as cold as interior Canada, although our winters are long, as we don't start getting flowers until late April, with flowers ending by early October. I have been using Walt's techniques for years now with the all medium hives and have been happy with the results.

ekrouse
 

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Hi, thanks. Syracuse sounds almost like Finland. Here also long and cold winter exept this winter was warmer than ever I think. We hardly had any snow and now spring is coming weeks too early.

Are you also applying walts pollen box management? Im wondering how thats working with all mediums? Its pretty tempting idea to have all hive bodies same size for fully interchangable frames. In the other hand deep brood chamber is better for bees and closer to wild nest continuous combs as we get. Would there be any other good reasons to shift to deep & rest shallows?
 

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I checkerboard with shallows. An added benefit to checkerboarding is that there is no need for spring feeding since, if you truly checkerboard correctly, you place alternating frames of honey above the brood nest. I have never had a swarm from a checkerboarded hive.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ekrouse, at what time you make your cb management? How do you winter? With how many supers? Honey or syrup?

C10, so you have deep and rest shallows? Im still trying to figure out what way to go. Do you find it any difficult to have two different size of frames? For example when making nucs etc. How do you winter? With how many supers? Honey or syrup?

Is there some specific reason that Walt told to use deep and shallow?
 

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i'm following walt's recommendations but using mediums instead of shallows and it's working very well.

this is the first year that i have had enough comb drawn and enough honey still in the hive in february to properly set up four colonies with the three supers over the single deep. the first super was left solid honey except for one empty frame in the middle, and the top two were checkerboarded empty frames and honey frames.

these are my strongest colonies. they have taken off nicely and were still expanding the broodnest upward as of last sunday. (confirmed by walt who was gracious enough to join me for the inspections) the strongest one has brood to the middle of the third super. a fourth super of drawn comb has now been added to all four hives.

i have a few other hives for which i was only able to checkerboard two medium supers above the deep. these are expanding up nicely as well and have had additional supers added.

my hope is that i have enough room to get us to new wax production because all i have left is foundation. we are just around the corner from swarm season and main flow here.

so far, so good. many thanks walt.
 

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It may be that the deep and shallow methods Walt uses contribute to the success, but I don't think they are necessary for success. It does seem to help to manipulate the bees into being in the right place at the right time...
 

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Squarepeg why do you have full box of honey over deep? I thought you should CB right above brood nest? So there is no really reason why should i have shallow instead of medium as supers?
 

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Ok so thats the main reason to get broodnest "anchored" to bottom deep... Otherwise medium is as good as shallow.
 

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lehi,

yes, so far my bees have been anchored to the deep year round which makes manipulations easy. they brood up into the supers at this time of year in anticipation of our main flow and then recede the nest back down to maintenance levels afterword.

the conventional approach to overwintering in my area is to have a single deep with one super of honey going into winter. at walt's behest, i left two supers of honey last fall. the idea was that the bees will use the extra honey to build up faster and stronger in the spring, and boy did they ever.

the first super was consumed quickly as the bees brooded up through it and now they have stores and empty comb to work with in the second and third supers. as walt has described, they are simultaneously eating last year's honey in one frame while storing and processing new nectar in the adjacent frame.

michael raises a good point about other methods being effective, and some of this is location driven. i have been able to confirm many of walt's observations which is not surprising since we live not far from each other.
 

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Thanks square and others. So it seems im turning to medium side since thats the trend in finland anyway. Actually shallows are unknown here. Still you would say its more benefit to have deep as brood nest vs. all medium?

So if i understand correctly you left one almost full medium over deep? Only one empty frame in middle. Was that on purpose or would it had worked as well with completly full super or with starting to cb right abow BN? I guess its up to volyme of particular hive? But generally you would cb just above the deep? Sorry just trying to get all the details...

I cant wait to get enough drawn comb to get cbing!

Are you also applying pollen box below brood?
 

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you are welcome lehi, but please remember that i haven't been at this as long as some of the others here. :)

walt strongly believes that having a deep at the bottom is beneficial. on the other hand there are many on the forum that use all mediums with success, and there are more options for moving frames around if you have all the same size boxes. since i am already set up in single deeps with medium supers i'm making that work and happy with the results. i am going to set up an all medium hive or two this year for comparison's sake.

i did leave that empty frame in the middle of the first super on purpose, which is a slight departure from what walt describes in that he left honey all the way across. i did that to see if it would encourage the bees up into the first super coming out of winter which it did. but it may be that they would have moved up anyway.

last year i only had enough resources to checkerboard two supers right above the deep on a couple of hives, and it did prevent these from swarming. i had several other hives last year that i had two supers of empty comb only over the deep and these swarmed. what they did was create a solid dome of nectar/honey in those empty supers and then backfilled the deep and swarmed. leaving the extra honey this past year allowed them to build up faster and expand the broodnest into the checkerboarded supers in advance of swarm season.

so far i have not tried the pollen box below the deep, and if i find that i can get effective results without that maneuver i will go that route to save time and effort. using all mediums has the added result of the bottom box becoming the pollen box on it's own.
 

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I start a colony and build it up to a deep and a medium. The exception to this that I have seen is the addition of a shallow below the deep as a pollen storage location. I have read where Walt mentions this but have not seen much in the way of further information.

I have seen comments form Michael Palmer that I consider additional to this issue. but it comes from his sustainable Queen Rearing. He places a super full of honey below his cell builder when he separates it as insulation against cold air and cold ground. This makes me wonder if a shallow of pollen does not act in the same way.

Checkerboarding becomes a problem with two different frame sizes. for this reason I start colonies in a 5 frame deep nuc. I then expand them with a 5 frame medium nuc on top. Once filled I will move this entire 10 frames to a 10 frame deep and medium. I then have the resources to start expanding upward into additional mediums. The idea is that the deep remains an undisturbed brood location. I am then free to take liberties with brood frames as necessary in any mediums.
 

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I start a colony and build it up to a deep and a medium. The exception to this that I have seen is the addition of a shallow below the deep as a pollen storage location. I have read where Walt mentions this but have not seen much in the way of further information.
the pollen box maneuver was an afterthought to walt's already proven nectar management scheme that took checkerboarding one step further.

coming out of winter the cluster is almost always in the deep, especially if the bees did a good job backfilling the deep with fall honey at pre-winter close out. the super below the deep was emptied of pollen during the previous fall when the overwintering bees were being reared. after that the bottom super served the purpose of keeping cold drafts off of the cluster through the winter months.

keep in mind that the cluster is in the deep all winter and using the honey in the deep to keep warm but has in reserve those two supers of honey overhead. interestingly, around here there's enough honey stored in the deep to get them through winter and they generally don't consume any honey in the upper supers until the maples start in late february. that's when they start expanding the broodnest from the deep into the first super of honey eating their way as they go. (those two supers of honey left from last fall end up being used to explode the new population)

at this time, the empty comb is brought up from the bottom of the stack and checkerboarded with the top super of honey. the deep is now on the bottom with three supers above it. the first super is full of honey, and the second and now third supers are checkerboarded with the empty comb from the former bottom box and the honey that was in the second super. this sets the stage for the broodnest to explode upward taking advantage of the heat rising from the cluster.

this is my first year to have enough honey and comb to set up six colonies in this way, and they are already expanding the broodnest up to the equivilent of three deeps. i've recently added a fourth super of empty drawn comb and will probably have to add more soon.

i'll be running out of comb though, and my hope is that i can get them to new wax making (main flow) so that i can add additional (foundation) supers before they run out of room.
 
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