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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey from New Haven, CT!

I'm working 4 colonies. Two were packages purchased last spring that originated in Mississippi (I think) that were reportedly headed by Minnesota Hygienic queens. These two packages each got put into dead-out colonies and were able to build themselves up and become 10 frame double-deeps by the end of the season. My other two colonies were started as 5 frame nucs in August with frames of capped brood and shook bees pulled from the first two colonies, and these each got Connecticut Carniolan queens the day after the frames were pulled. They were fed through the fall to the point that they both were 10 frame single-deeps going into the winter, and they spent the winter one atop the other. The other double-deeps are on their own stands.

It was a relief to see all the colonies had bees flying yesterday and today. I peeked under the lids and saw bees in the upper super of the two double-deeps. My goal is to use frames taken from the bottom supers of my two double-deep colonies to checkerboard. Recommendations about how to go about re-distributing these drawn frames and new undrawn frames among my 4 colonies are needed. All of these plans will, of course, need to have no brood being raised that spans both the upper and lower supers in those colonies in double-deeps, and having some empty frames within those supers that could be used for expanding the brood nest.

Going in and rooting around the way that I think will be required could be quite disruptive, and having a good plan established before I begin will minimize the disruption and potentially improve all 4 colonies potential for production.

Should I not try to checkerboard with all four colonies, but keep things simpler by only trying to checkerboard with the two double-deep colonies, and simply try to feed a bit of sugar syrup and protein patties to the colonies in single deeps so as to try to get them to move up and start making new comb in new 'empty' deep supers?

Your recommendations, please...

1,127 Posts
Give "Open the Sides of the Broodnest" a go:


1. Several weeks before swarm season, move each outermost frame up into a new box and alternate them with new frames, directly above the Broodnest.

2. Insert a new frame on each outside edge of the Broodnest. (So that a Brood frame is only on one side of the new frame.)

3. Check them in 2-3 weeks and repeat if comb in the frames has been mostly drawn.

When to "Open the Sides of the Broodnest"

1. Temperatures having reached 15°C/60°F recently and a good weather forecast for the next week, with a few warm days of 13°C/55°F or over in the forecast.

2. When Drone brood is being raised.

3. When you see a large number of young bees starting to do orientation flights in the afternoons. (Think - wax makers!)

4. When a good deal of pollen is being brought in.

5. Start to Open the Sides at least 4 weeks or more before your typical swarm season.


New frames only have a strip of foundation as a comb guide. Do not use a full sheet of foundation, as it may be ignored. I would use no more than a half a sheet of foundation.

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