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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I just got 2 starter hives and I know it is late to do that. I figured I would at the very least get some hands on experience if neither made it through winter.

I live in NC Piedmont area, zone 7a and have 2 set ups which consist of a deep with 2 frames of honey, 3 frames of brood and 5 plastic foundation(yuck).

I did purchase separately 2 medium supers with wax foundation to be ready for adding on for brood and honey(hopefully).

I was told by a friend to "checkerboard" the deeps and feed 1:1 sugar water to help them draw the comb on the foundation frames, I did that today and am looking for thoughts on if doing this will help get me to a good spot for wintering.

I plan on slowly transitioning to foundationless, but thought it's too late in the year to put them that far behind, I'll start that next spring.

Thanks in advance for any replies :)
 

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Welcome to the world of beekeeping. Your friend told you to checkerboard and you just started? Is he/she giving you drawn frames?
Enjoy your bees and see what you can learn that is the best you can hope for.
 

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Is that an advanced skill? I put the honey frames on the outside and checkered the brood with the undrawn frames. It seems to make sense to me, although I'm not a bee, so my ideas may not be the best. They haven't touched them, that's why I thought it couldn't hurt to try it. They are bringing in pollen all day long, so it seems as if they think they need protein for brood. Good sign right?
 

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I assume that by "checkerboarding" your friend meant for you to place undrawn foundation between frames of drawn comb. That is fine up to a point, but not really necessary. Checkerboarding has a particular meaning based on the writings of Walt Wright, and sometimes the use of the word in another way is confusing to some folks. Feeding is good advice since your bees need to build comb and increase their numbers. Give them plenty of 1:1 sugar syrup and watch what they can do!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Awesome, thanks for the optimism, it helps.

Actually, the frames go like this now. Honey, foundation, brood/pollen/ foundation, brood/pollen, foundation, brood/pollen, foundation, brood/pollen, honey.

Please tell me that's okay, haha
 

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When I used to checkerboard frames like that I would usually end up with extremely fat original frames that had vey deep cells extending to within bee space of any foundation. It is far better to draw them between two frames of capped brood as the bees will quickly drawn them out to rationalize their brood nest. Other than that drawn them a full box at a time or in a solid block as tight together as they will go. Once you learn how to do it, I notice very little difference between well waxed plastic foundation or frames and wax foundation. I can get either one drawn. Put wax foundation on at the end of a honeyflow and the bees will tear it to little pieces to do repairs because no wax is being secreted by the non expanding colony. The plastic frames you obviously distain for some reason will be undamaged and will eventually be drawn when conditions are right and you know how to manage the bees.
 

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I only use plastic foundation.
Have for the last ten years.
For some strange reason the bees seem to like it and give me tons of honey most every year.
its a lot less work than using wax foundation.
Be careful what you read here.
There is no "right" way.
There is only the way that works.
Whatever it is.

There is no need to checkerboard a new hive.
 

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I put the honey frames on the outside and checkered the brood with the undrawn frames.
This appears to me to be a 5 frame nuc that I would not separate until they expanded to 8 frames. Pollen they can get anywhere. The real need is honey or nectar. If your flows are over you might need to feed. I agree with Trouts-, no need to checkerboard and I wouldn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I put the cart before the horse and asked here after I already did it...

I'll revisit later and let you all know whether they prospered or fizzled.
 

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It's not that they will have prospered or fizzled, but that they would have gone about their business more efficiently if you left the brood frames together, so yeah, prosper is the word. If I were you and I could correct my "cart before the horse" I would. In addition to the separation of the brood frames, the plastic foundation will sit there until they HAVE to use it with a divided workforce, not an efficient one.

Curious why you asked for replies and then pretty much wrote them off....
 

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I wouldnt be overly concerned with what you "already did". If you are asking for advice to better your hopes and knowledge of how the bees work then whos to say you dont take whoevers advice you like and rearrange your hive? When I first got started it was torture not going in the hive way more than neccessary. I wanted to be in it daily. Go fix it and give em the best chance. Good Luck. G
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I asked for opinions after I already did it. Nobody was written off, I don't know where you get that idea..
 

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I wouldnt be overly concerned with what you "already did". If you are asking for advice to better your hopes and knowledge of how the bees work then whos to say you dont take whoevers advice you like and rearrange your hive? When I first got started it was torture not going in the hive way more than neccessary. I wanted to be in it daily. Go fix it and give em the best chance. Good Luck. G
I think this is my biggest problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I want to dive in an inspect every tray every day......I know I shouldn't bother them more than once a week or so, unless I notice something amiss at the entrance.
 

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When I first got my bees I was their biggest pest. While not ideal I believe this is how you learn.
When you put a undrawn foundation in the broodnest the bees often see it as a barrier and will often just use one side of it. With foundationless this is not the case, they can see through it.

When using foundation whether wax or plastic I put it at the edge of the broodnest. Foundationless I put in the middle.

If it was me I would go back in and put all the brood together. Then one undrawn frame between the brood and honey. Rest of the undrawn on the outside. As the one frame is drawn out I would scoot the honey frame out one and put a new one in its place.
 

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While not ideal I believe this is how you learn.
Hmmm. I think you learn how to be a pest. Granted there are some things that you should do which you can learn here on beesource. But you do not learn by being a pest. You have no idea what would occur if you weren't a pest.
 
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