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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well we had a 55 degree day with 60’s in the forecast so I figured I was about a week late to CB (by apple bloom). First super I was impressed with about 3 or 4 frames of honey, (figure they have been cleaning out the dead outs on the uncapped). Second shallow I ran into pollen followed by brood. About 2 frames of brood. By this time I was excited. I dug into the deep and found absolutely nothing. All of the frames were perfectly empty. All 10. I put back 9 since one of the fames was broken. Was not going to Checkerboard anymore after last years results but I figured the hive was set up for it I may as well use it against different approaches. I did alternate the honey in the top box, since I was doing it before I realized what I had for a situation.
 

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I've tried checkerboarding brood from a medium into a deep with little success. The bees just let the brood hatch out of the mediums I moved down, and then they back filled with honey.

What I have found to work instead is simply forcing them down. If you're adamant about having them in the deep, move as many shallows down as you can, and inter-space with deeps. Them remove all the supers to crowd the bees, and feed. It worked for me and they rapidly drew the new combs. Once I put the super back on they did not move the brood back up.

I can't guarantee this will work for you, but it worked for me on at least two different hives. If you have extra hives to move the supers to that's great. Otherwise I guess you can just harvest it. Not sure what your first flow will be up there.
 

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You don't checkerboard brood. You checkerboard honey over the brood.

Sometimes, if the queen starts laying brood over honey in a top box, you can combine moving the brood down and checkerboarding the honey above the brood.

However, you never, ever checkerboard the actual brood frames.
 

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You don't checkerboard brood. You checkerboard honey over the brood.

Sometimes, if the queen starts laying brood over honey in a top box, you can combine moving the brood down and checkerboarding the honey above the brood.

However, you never, ever checkerboard the actual brood frames.
I have to disagree. I don't know that it is the best thing to do, but it has certainly helped me avoid swarming this spring. Just don't do it when it's still too cold. I'm assuming it may be up in Oregen. But down here it's plenty warm for the bees to still cover the brood.

Perhaps we are at a conflict of the definition of "checkerboarding" and perhaps it means different things to different beeks. To me it simply means to interspace drawn combs with empty, regardless of the content of those combs. For me it expands the hive, and puts the bees to work to slow or altogether remove the desire to swarm.
 

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The "checkerboarding" I'm talking about is done early in the year when there is likely to continue to be cold weather. Putting empty comb in the brood area when it is warm is okay but not what most people mean by "checkerboarding," which is a method developed by Walt Wright.

I posted what I did because I worry that people who sort of know what Walt Wright's checkerboarding is sometime think that it involves checkerboarding brood, which could result in a lot of chilled brood and mess in general.
 

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Agreed. So indeed, just a difference in definition. That should be corrected! I'm not familiar with the climate up there, but assuming there is more cold to come. Heck, it was still down to something like 40° here this morning. I did have two small mating nucs get frozen out after a cold snap down to 28° last week, but that was unseasonably cold and I took the risk.
 

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What's fundamentally unfair is that it is colder here now, but come August it may very well be hotter in Tulsa than Houston.
 

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Agreed. So indeed, just a difference in definition. That should be corrected!
I sometimes wish Walt's system had been coined something else besides checkerboarding. Folks throw the word checkerbaording around and it gets confusing to those trying to use Walts system. Not that folks did not use the word before Walt's Nectar Management was coined checkerboarding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am familiar with Walt’s CB method and was posting an anomaly on what I have previously seen. Last year when I did the CB the top shallow super was at 80% capped honey, the second shallow super was at 20-30%, the brood was up into the deep (the queen did not leave the deep) but moved to the sunny side of the box (entry facing east). A classic CB configuration. This year I was intending to place the empty shallow on the bottom for a pollen box to see if that improved my swarming success (they only filled half of all the frames on the south side of the box and swarmed after building at half the rate of the other 3 hives on the same stand). I did not evaluate the total configuration before starting to CB the top shallow and it got me into a problem when I hit all the brood in the second. I did not move the brood nest.
 
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