Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im going to this year try Michael Palmer's way with not splitting the larger 15 colonies i have ( currently all in 3+ boxes) so as to maximize the honey crop. All nucs i make this year will come from overwintered nucs + any swarms i catch + breaking down any non productive larger hives.

Im really struggling to figure out how to achieve this with the exception of weekly full brood chamber inspections and removing queen cells and making sure there is plenty of space above the brood.

Ill reverse the brood boxes on the dandelion flow as Mike suggests and make sure they have plenty of supers above them but again apart from just inspecting and removing/killing QCs as they form does anyone have any better suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,127 Posts
Have a look at the method I have developed for that purpose:

Opening the Sides of the Brood Nest (OSBN)


Really it only involves cutting foundation or comb on at least 4 frames and having a new box with foundation to put above the Broodbox.
Then just before and during early swarm season move the outermost frames into the middle of the New Box, and insert 2 New Frames, one on each side of the Broodnest.
Do this on a fortnightly basis.

I often only need to do it 2 or 3 times before the new box gets drawn out.
Then make sure the bees are continually working on drawing out new comb until the main flow.

This puts them in Establishment Mode rather than Swarm Mode.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
I don't look in (as in pull frames) every brood box, but I do tip each box up to look at it from underneath to check for swarm cells during the peak of the season. I learned how to do that from MP's description here on BS. I aim for every 5 days, but the reality is that some intervals are approaching a week. I pay special attention to some hives/queen lines.

Of course by then I have already deployed a version of Walt Wright's checkerboarding in boxes I also sequentially "reverse" above the active brood boxes (all mine are deeps) starting at my earliest inspections. (This is very different from what MP does - he supers up like mad, multi boxes of empty drawn comb at dandelion.) And a bit later in the season (while still simultaneously employing the WW/checkerboard/reverse box program() I add in MattDavey's OSBN with partial foundation frames.

The tip ups are really from right on the cusp of reported local swarm seasons, through wild black cherry blossom, and up to about a week before black locust hits. Usually by then my bees have settled down, without splitting or swarming.

I use white wax as a cue that we've gotten through the worst of it, but I still usually give them one more check.

And as you know, I am ready to immediately slap a Snelgrove board on any colony that makes cells (it's a rare one that does, but still...). I don't bother trying to cut them out - if I see cells during a tip up, I set the box down and immediately divide the colony unless it's the last one of the day, in which case I am back at first light to do it. I don't trust them later than 8:30-9 am at that warm, early sunrise time of the year. If I don't want more colonies (such as last year when I was determined not to make any more colonies until my yard had been EFB-free for a full year) I just interrupt the split before the new queen can go out, and then re-unite all the boxes, again. Which is easy with a SB split.

The advent of a very fierce small hive beetle surge last summer, however, has caused me to rethink my huge honey-and new comb-making hive plans a bit. I need a better balance on bee population and defense of real estate. Maybe last year was a fluke, but if not, I need a more proactive solution, from the git-go.

This seems to work well (assuming you get a good early flow from cherry and black locust through to basswood) to get capped honey, ready for harvest and lots of new combs made early in the summer What I need to do now that SHB are here in force, is get that honey out of the hive (even just to my freezer for storage if I plan to use it for winter, or hedge my bets about that.). Previously I could safely leave it in the bees' care all summer with no issues on strong, populous hives. But four and five 10-frame deep colonies are as vulnerable to SHB as weak ones for the same reason: too much real estate relative to the number of available beetle-wrangling bees.

Since I am not particularly interested in either selling bees or honey harvesting, I need to make sure I am not inadvertently fomenting a SHB population explosion such as happened last summer.

Nancy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Have a look at the method I have developed for that purpose:

Opening the Sides of the Brood Nest (OSBN)


Really it only involves cutting foundation or comb on at least 4 frames and having a new box with foundation to put above the Broodbox.
Then just before and during early swarm season move the outermost frames into the middle of the New Box, and insert 2 New Frames, one on each side of the Broodnest.
Do this on a fortnightly basis.

I often only need to do it 2 or 3 times before the new box gets drawn out.
Then make sure the bees are continually working on drawing out new comb until the main flow.

This puts them in Establishment Mode rather than Swarm Mode.
So this makes sense to me however this would make for an every expanding brood nest would it not? Im hoping to eventually have colonies in 2 deeps and 1 medium for wintering.
At the moment i have 15 colonies some of which are 4 deeps and a medium tall.
I was aiming to shorten up the brood nest to 2 deeps and then put on QEs then honey supers on top.

Opening up the brood nest also makes sense although i see this would need to be done when a little warmer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't look in (as in pull frames) every brood box, but I do tip each box up to look at it from underneath to check for swarm cells during the peak of the season. I learned how to do that from MP's description here on BS. I aim for every 5 days, but the reality is that some intervals are approaching a week. I pay special attention to some hives/queen lines.

Of course by then I have already deployed a version of Walt Wright's checkerboarding in boxes I also sequentially "reverse" above the active brood boxes (all mine are deeps) starting at my earliest inspections. (This is very different from what MP does - he supers up like mad, multi boxes of empty drawn comb at dandelion.) And a bit later in the season (while still simultaneously employing the WW/checkerboard/reverse box program() I add in MattDavey's OSBN with partial foundation frames.

The tip ups are really from right on the cusp of reported local swarm seasons, through wild black cherry blossom, and up to about a week before black locust hits. Usually by then my bees have settled down, without splitting or swarming.

I use white wax as a cue that we've gotten through the worst of it, but I still usually give them one more check.

And as you know, I am ready to immediately slap a Snelgrove board on any colony that makes cells (it's a rare one that does, but still...). I don't bother trying to cut them out - if I see cells during a tip up, I set the box down and immediately divide the colony unless it's the last one of the day, in which case I am back at first light to do it. I don't trust them later than 8:30-9 am at that warm, early sunrise time of the year. If I don't want more colonies (such as last year when I was determined not to make any more colonies until my yard had been EFB-free for a full year) I just interrupt the split before the new queen can go out, and then re-unite all the boxes, again. Which is easy with a SB split.

The advent of a very fierce small hive beetle surge last summer, however, has caused me to rethink my huge honey-and new comb-making hive plans a bit. I need a better balance on bee population and defense of real estate. Maybe last year was a fluke, but if not, I need a more proactive solution, from the git-go.

This seems to work well (assuming you get a good early flow from cherry and black locust through to basswood) to get capped honey, ready for harvest and lots of new combs made early in the summer What I need to do now that SHB are here in force, is get that honey out of the hive (even just to my freezer for storage if I plan to use it for winter, or hedge my bets about that.). Previously I could safely leave it in the bees' care all summer with no issues on strong, populous hives. But four and five 10-frame deep colonies are as vulnerable to SHB as weak ones for the same reason: too much real estate relative to the number of available beetle-wrangling bees.

Since I am not particularly interested in either selling bees or honey harvesting, I need to make sure I am not inadvertently fomenting a SHB population explosion such as happened last summer.

Nancy
Yes i have SG boards as well and had thought about doing a prophylactic SG split then reuniting the hive and just using the new mated queen to make a nuc from one of the overwintered nucs. I dont have 15 SG boards though i think only have 5 at the moment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,127 Posts
I usually have an unlimited Broodnest, but you can easily stop upward expansion with capped honey directly above the Broodnest.

Opening the Sides of the Broodnest (OSBN) causes the Broodnest to widen and fill the width of the box. Moving honey frames up and out of the Brood box.
There is no reason why you can't have 2 Brood boxes with a Queen Excluder and still do OSBN.

Also, if there is Brood across the 2 Brood boxes you could move up 4 old frames above the Excluder at once.

Once your weather is warm enough, I would get you boxes back to 2 Deeps by removing a box worth of the worst or empty frames (or maybe just the bottom box). Then OSBN by placing Partial Frames beside the Broodnest.

Instead of moving old Deep Frames up above the Excluder, just use a few of your Drawn Medium Frames in the Medium box and the rest Foundation.

You can then use the spare Deep Frames for you Nucs, swarms etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
I don't use Snelgrove boards to make pre-emptive splits, just rescue splits when all else fails. That may seem like a very subtle difference, but my main effort (using a combination of every technique I know of short of splitting plus intensive monitoring) is to forestall the need for a split.

But I think without having Snelgrove boards on hand I would not be able to take it right up to the line and would have to split earlier, just to be safe. And that defeats my goals, especially in cases like last year when I was determined not to make any new colonies until I was confident I had gotten through my little EFB problem of the year before that.

Most other kinds of splits that I have tried, and read about since I haven't tried all of the many dozens of techniques, seem less reliable in the presence of actually started queen cells than SBs. I am aware of only one hive with well-established queen cells that was also Snelgroved that swarmed in the aftermath . And that hive was already a hot mess at the time it was done, having had no earlier anti-swarm interventions nor any observations.

Unlike MattDavey's technique I don't always move a frame upwards into a new box when inserting the OSBN frames - I just as often make space by culling a frame, or even just removing one temporarily. (It's actually the OSBN frames that I consider as the temporary ones, since they don't always have such a nice form nor dimensions, because of the combination of foundation/foundationless areas on the same frame. I try to get them out of use by August, at the latest.) And I think in your hives that are wintering tall, you could remove a box at the end of the winter, and then let them enlarge/expand back into it ahead of the locust flows (grow your foraging population). Then shrink it back down after midsummer as you harvest frames/boxes.

Nancy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,728 Posts
Im going to this year try Michael Palmer's way with not splitting the larger 15 colonies i have ( currently all in 3+ boxes) so as to maximize the honey crop. All nucs i make this year will come from overwintered nucs + any swarms i catch + breaking down any non productive larger hives.

Im really struggling to figure out how to achieve this with the exception of weekly full brood chamber inspections and removing queen cells and making sure there is plenty of space above the brood.
:D this is why Mike said you don't replace all the queens in one year in the other thread. You develop a management style that suits you, and breed off the bees that work in that management style and don't swarm. That's one of the reasons I only keep swarms that I requeen, breed off of them and that's what you will end up with. Young well bred queens, and large amounts of brood area, with the least amount of work. :ws:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
:D this is why Mike said you don't replace all the queens in one year in the other thread. You develop a management style that suits you, and breed off the bees that work in that management style and don't swarm. That's one of the reasons I only keep swarms that I requeen, breed off of them and that's what you will end up with. Young well bred queens, and large amounts of brood area, with the least amount of work. :ws:
Im going to follow ur advice with buying in queens for nucs from the 4/4/4 overwintered nucs but im hoping to not split the large colonies at all if possible. Just trying to figure out how to condense the brood nest down to 2 boxes, then harvest maximum honey from them without having them swarm...may be im being too wishful in that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't use Snelgrove boards to make pre-emptive splits, just rescue splits when all else fails. That may seem like a very subtle difference, but my main effort (using a combination of every technique I know of short of splitting plus intensive monitoring) is to forestall the need for a split.

But I think without having Snelgrove boards on hand I would not be able to take it right up to the line and would have to split earlier, just to be safe. And that defeats my goals, especially in cases like last year when I was determined not to make any new colonies until I was confident I had gotten through my little EFB problem of the year before that.

Most other kinds of splits that I have tried, and read about since I haven't tried all of the many dozens of techniques, seem less reliable in the presence of actually started queen cells than SBs. I am aware of only one hive with well-established queen cells that was also Snelgroved that swarmed in the aftermath . And that hive was already a hot mess at the time it was done, having had no earlier anti-swarm interventions nor any observations.

Unlike MattDavey's technique I don't always move a frame upwards into a new box when inserting the OSBN frames - I just as often make space by culling a frame, or even just removing one temporarily. (It's actually the OSBN frames that I consider as the temporary ones, since they don't always have such a nice form nor dimensions, because of the combination of foundation/foundationless areas on the same frame. I try to get them out of use by August, at the latest.) And I think in your hives that are wintering tall, you could remove a box at the end of the winter, and then let them enlarge/expand back into it ahead of the locust flows (grow your foraging population). Then shrink it back down after midsummer as you harvest frames/boxes.

Nancy
makes sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK i found it ! I found the part of the video where Mike Palmer specifically addresses his swarm prevention method in the larger colonies in Spring.
Its in the video about keeping bees in Frozen North America.

Ill give it a whirl and see how i go.
I have the snelgrove boards there and a bunch of extra hives if i need to make splits as a back up plan.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top