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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have five hives and it's amazing how different they are. One, which I started from a swarm last year, is stronger than any hive I've ever had. In fact, today I added a sixth super—they've filled two shallows and three mediums and are still working hard. The other four have not drawn out a single frame in their supers. Nothing. Nada.

Other than possible genetic differences, the only thing I can think of that separates these hives is that I checkerboarded the strong colony in early March. I had enough drawn comb to do this for a single hive, so I selected the one that was strongest last year.

Can checkerboarding be responsible for such a big difference in production and behavior?
 

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I would venture to say it's because it was a swarm and in the mood for comb-building along with everything else. If it were mine, I'd be trying to score a couple queens off that puppy. They've already proven they're survivors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mothergoosemagic,

The good hive was a swarm I captured last year, as were two of my other hives which aren't doing squat, so I doubt that's the reason. But I'm totally with you when it comes to getting queens from that colony. I'm hoping to requeen my four other hives with queens from this stock.

I'm still curious if anyone has experienced such dramatic differences in production between hives due, possibly, to checkerboarding. Anybody?
 

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I have just begun checkerboarding the biggest hive I have...ironically from a cutout earlier this spring. Put on my reading glasses and checked each frame last night. I suspected there was a queen due to seeing white larva but not sure if it was a worker or a true queen.

I found the queen. I also was able to confirm that it was a queen laying eggs due to the position of the eggs in the cells. There was a single egg in the exact bottom, center of each cell. This queen is a laying machine. I cannot get over the patterns and the width of pattern she is laying. I wish I could clone her. I took one of her frames of eggs last night and transfered it over to my latest cutout that shows no signs of a queen, no eggs, just polished cells waiting for eggs. I can't wait to check in 3-4 days to see how many queen cells the bees draw out.

This big hive is so big, I could split it at least once, if not twice. My son wants to keep the big hive all intact and see how much comb and honey it can produce by this fall. The cotton has just started growing and the anticipated bloom date is mid-July.

I checkerboarded the hive to get the queen to lay more eggs. She had completely filled the bottom hive box but the bees have done nothing with the next box up of frames and foundation. They haven't drawn out the foundation at all, so I checkerboarded Comb-Foundation-Comb-Foundation in both boxes.

The other option is to just bring the middle 4-5 frames of brood up from the bottom into the next higher box and replace the bottom frames with foundation.
 
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