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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had planned on reversing 2 hives this weekend, but when I got into them, the queens had brood/eggs in both top and bottom deeps, so I basically ended up doing spring cleaning on the equipment and did not reverse. It's obvious the queen has gone down or is atleast going between the 2 deeps when need be. Soooo...from what I've read, reversing is usually done in spring for several reasons, do you think I'll be able to skip this process, or maybe do it later. Any pro/cons with this. Thanks, PP
 

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I ran across this same situation a couple weeks ago. I fed 1:1 for four weeks then found the same thing when I went to do my annual reverse in mid April. I went ahead and did the reverse but later, on a frosty morning, I felt that the resulting splitting of the brood area was not good. On the other hand the box I moved down weighed twice what the lower box weighed so I did provide more room to grow by doing it. I never saw any sign of the girls dragging dead chilled brood to the landing board so I assume they kept things warm enough. They were a rather strong hives for mid April in NY. Good thing the bees make the best of what they have in spite of what we do to them!
 

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The idea of reversing, as I learned it, was to give more access to unoccupied comb to the queen. This is done when the brood pattern, basically a circle or sphere, is in both supers. The lower super will have a hemisphere of brood w/ empty cells below and the upper super will have a hemisphere of brood w/ pollen above it and honey above that.

By reversing the two boxes' positions the empty comb space from what was the bottom super is now above what may be the majority of the brood and since the queen tends to want to lay ever higher in the hive she has comb to lay in and this will hopefully reduce swarming.

The brood and bees from the now lower box will keep the brood in the now upper box warm, if you do this procedure somewhat early.
 

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Sounds like it's time for supers if there that strong. I reverse if the bottom deep is mostly empty and the queen is layin in the top deep. This gives the queen more laying room and i think it keeps swarming off there mind. Jack
 

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I only reverse if there is nothing going on in the bottom box. I have found the less distubance to the the brood nest the better the bees will be for splits and other munipulations.
 

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Yes, we always reverse and here is why. When the hives are coming out of the winter they have mainly moved upward. We reverse to get the empties up top so they can expand out. Then as it comes time to split we pull from the top box. This gives us a good idea as to the strength of the hive and how the queen is laying going into the season. If the hive doesn't have three to four frames of brood in the top come splitting time then I mark those to watch to see if they are just starting late or the queen needs replaced.

All that being said. If you have brood in both the top and bottom I don't see a reason to reverse but I would see a reason to split them right away unless you have the flow on for honey supers...get them on quick.
 

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Nope, I don't always reverse. Most of the time I do but often enough I find that there's no need. As mentioned, a booming hive needs space, not necessarily a reversal. Had that situation a couple of weeks ago and I split that colony last weekend.
 

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Essentially all of the above replies are valid, but let's see if we can answer your question with some circumstance IFs.

If the brood dome in the upper reaches to the top bars over a space of a few inches, front to back, you can get away with just adding drawn comb above. That's assuming field forage is available now in your area, and the cluster spilling upward into the empty comb encourages overhead nectar storage.

If the brood dome in the upper stops short of the top bars, leaving a band of the capped honey intact, they need to be reversed in the interest of swarm prevention - adding the empty comb above at the same time. Again assuming field nectar, the colony will often feed on incoming and protect their reserve above. Ignoring empty comb above and start backfilling the brood nest - the first step of swarm preps.

If field nectar is not readily available yet in your area, they may still build brood to the top bars. Keep track of progress, and if you see backfilling, reverse at that time and add comb.

If you have 6 to 8 frames of mostly brood, the colony can normally be reversed without concern for brood chilling. The cluster has enough bees.
That's a southern guideline. It might be more in your area.

Walt
 

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Who?? Me??
I NEVER reverse because I don't do double deeps. But those who do need to understand that DD wintering config is an excellent way to insure swarming.
Been there; done that.
Walt
 

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Ever had to reverse more than once? I reveresed my doubles last month, doing a regular inspection today, I saw that there was no brood in the lower hive body and swarm cells in the upper. So for one reason or another, my queen continued to move into the now empty 2nd hive body and never decided to return to the lower once it was empty.

Craig
 

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Walt, what configuration do you use and why do DD "insure swarming" ? Please elaborate. ( Personally, I would never use a deep super for anything ! )
Raymond - victory1504
 

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I really like many of your ideas Michael, especially using lighter equipment and only ONE frame size. I really believe in a big brood nest, so I used 3 mediums when I was in Langstroths. We part company on reversing tho. Any time I find that bottom brood super partially empty it is going on top. It pushes most queens to cover 3 mediums. They tend to abandon that bottom one especially when laying slacks off.
This forum is preoccupied with swarms. I never had many swarms because I managed for swarm control with big brood nests and young queens. Sure, I lost a few. Even I am not perfect. It is just a matter of whether a person is willing to spend the time doing it. Many choose not to. I respect that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the comments all and here's what I ended up doing. I split the 2 strong hives into 4 hives. Took 4 frames brood from each for splits. . Also took out a few frames of honey and replaced with new undrawn frames to give the nurse bees something to do, thus giving more space in hive(a variation of chekerboarding) Waited 1 month, and made 2 more splits from the 4 hives for a total of 6 hives. Had a heck of a dandelion crop this year, so going into June, I've already placed and filled 2 supers on the 2 parent hives(a first for me for the time of year), and the splits are coming along nicely.Pumpkinpiper
 

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This is a reply to Raymond from Walt (computer down):

Raymond:

Sorry for the delayed response – on the road for almost two weeks and when I got back, couldn’t reach beesource. If that problem can’t be corrected promptly, will you give this to someone else to post.

Glad you asked about “insures swarming.” I feel so strongly about this subject that a whole article was written on reservations of the DD. (See a late article in Point of View). To respond directly to your question, will try to condense that article to a few brief statements:

First, understand that checkerboarding (CB) is a “reliable” swarm prevention approach. Anything less than 100% swarm prevention doesn’t meet my standards. To say that another way, any other technique of swarm prevention that is iffy, doesn’t measure up. Other techniques that are almost good enough, but less reliable, “insure to certain degrees some swarming.”

Cycled through DD on my way to the current recommended wintering config. A deep and shallows. The shallows provide more flexibility for CB.

Colony preference for rearing brood in the deep anchors the basic brood nest there, and it has brood for the full season. Expansion and reduction of brood volume takes place in the shallows above. To implement CB in an overwintered DD, you need to be prepared to add a third deep. Most folks who winter in two deeps are reluctant to add a third. (Some of that old thinking to the effect that a single deep is all the brood volume a queen can use.) Not true. Supporters who have given the space for 3 deeps of brood have been impressed with the increase in honey production.

If your concern about using a deep is the weight thing, try this on. A deep dedicated to brood generally weighs less than a medium of capped honey. Both times in the season that I have to lift off the deep, it has nearly maxed out brood volume. The empty shallow in late winter is used to CB at the top. Two or three weeks later, a shallow of brood is placed below on the bottom board to be backfilled with the pollen reserve. The pollen reserve is used for fall expansion and the empty comb is wintered in place till CB time next season.

I didn’t arrive at my wintering config. By accident or someone else’s suggestion. It’s (an integral) part of a full-season management plan.

Perhaps this short answer will suffice for now. Intend to elaborate on closeout of the CB thread. Have procrastinated on that all winter. May be too late to make a difference on that thread.

Walt
 
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