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Discussion Starter #1
Starting to see reports of swarms in the southern states of the US, so if you live there consider OSBN.

Opening the Sides of the Brood Nest is a great Swarm Prevention method for Beekeepers who don't have spare drawn comb.

Here is a quick summary of the method.

Opening the Sides of the Brood Nest

Main points -

During Swarm Season:

  • Place undrawn frames on the outer edges of the Brood Nest.
  • Trigger wax making with a Partial Foundation/Foundationless Frame.
  • Maintain at least 2 undrawn frames in every box throughout Swarm Season.
  • Move honey frames up and out of the Brood Box(es).
  • Can start as soon as Drones are being raised.
* This assumes that the hive is looking nearly full, healthy and has a few frames of honey stores.


Steps:

Start 3-4 weeks before your usual Swarm Season (or when Drone Brood is being raised):

  1. Move each outermost frame from a Brood Box up into the middle of a New Box (of Undrawn Frames), placed directly above the Broodnest. (So that 2 Old Frames have moved up.)
  2. Insert a New Frame (Partial Foundation or Full sheet of Foundation) on each outside edge of the Broodnest of the Brood Box. So that Brood frames are only on one side of each New Frame. (2 New Frames inserted, at least one Partial Foundation initially, the other can be a Full sheet of Foundation.)
  3. Check the Hive in 2 weeks and repeat steps 1-2 if comb has been at least partially drawn on the New Frames in the Brood Box. (So that 2 Old Frames are moved up, 2 New Frames inserted into the Brood Box.) You will now have 4 Old Drawn Frames that have been moved up into the New Box.
  4. Check again in 2 weeks. The New Box should now have comb getting drawn out. Repeat steps 1-2 if needed.
  5. Throughout Swarm Season ensure that there is at least 2 Undrawn Frames in each Box. This is to maintain Wax Making by getting the young bees to draw out new comb. (These Frames can now all be full sheets of Foundation.)

For more details see:
http://daveybees.wikidot.com/openingthesides

If you have tried OSBN and have photos or would like to share your results, please feel free to do so in this Thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
When using a frame of Partial Foundation to trigger wax making, I suggest making the Foundation into a wedge shape like this, this keeps a large area in the middle for worker size comb. The gaps on the sides are usually filled with drone comb:




The off cuts can then be used in a second frame like this:



When using Plastic Foundation, for best results make sure they are wax coated.
 

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Hi Matt

couple of questions
1- Do you find this technique to be sufficient or do you use it in conjunction with other methods to prevent swam, on stronger hives?
2- Do you feel this reduces the honey production as some resources are spend for wax building?
Thanks
DP
 

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Discussion Starter #4
1. No other methods are used. The only thing I haven't mentioned is that I winter in a single Deep. 2 Deeps are kept for Brood Boxes for the warmer half of the year.

2. This method is for Beekeepers who don't have spare drawn comb, so any honey crop is good, but find I get a larger honey crop with this method. Obviously if you have drawn comb the bees can get more honey.

I used crush and strain for years, so rarely had spare drawn comb. Since using this method the honey crop is as much as double what I used to get. This is because the bees are drawing comb 4 weeks before I was previously putting on a box of Foundation. (Around the first week or 2 of swarm season.)

This year was good.
My largest hive (wintered as a single Deep) drew out, filled and capped over 40 Deep frames! (So the hive got to 5 Deeps.)
A 5 frame Deep Nuc drew out, filled and capped 25 Deep frames. (Hive got to 3 Deeps.)

Previously when wintering with 2 Deeps and using other methods I was only getting 1-2 Deeps of honey.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
With cutting Plastic Foundation, some suggest scoring the plastic with a knife or hive tool and then putting the foundation on a straight edge where you want it break off and then snapping it off.

I have also used Tin Snips to cut it, others use a Jigsaw.

Lastly a warning about using a Circular Saw, some have said the plastic can shatter, especially with the larger teeth. So the more teeth and the smaller they are the better. One guy also said he turns the blade around so it runs backward.

Remember to coat the Plastic Foundation with wax. It is drawn out much better and quicker when it is coated with wax.
 

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Matt
I have 10 Snelgrove boards and that is what I have been using, this year I have 14 hives I like to use your technique on four of them.
All my hives are two deeps and then I put my medium super on top (I have drawn frames in the supers). Do you recommend I put just two cut out frames on either side of the first brood box or each brood box should have its own cut out frame, total of two or four cut out frames?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
... Do you recommend I put just two cut out frames on either side of the first brood box or each brood box should have its own cut out frame, total of two or four cut out frames?
Hi Deepster,

Only one Partial Foundation is needed per Brood Box. It is used to trigger Wax Making.
The frame on the other side of the Brood Nest can be a Full Sheet of Foundation.
So a total of two Frames with Partial Foundation in a Double Deep.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Does this work in Northern, cold climates, like Maine, or New Hampshire?
I believe so.

If concerned about cold temperatures, the Inner Cover can be left on the Brood Box and the New Box put on top of that. So that the Inner Cover is inbetween the boxes. The bees can still access the frames moved up into the New Box via the hole in the Inner Cover, but not have to heat up a larger area. It helps to scratch any capped honey on the frames that are moved up into the New Box, to encourage the bees to empty out those combs and build new comb on the foundation.

Also, if you have a strong initial flow from Maples then you may need to use empty Drawn Comb for the New Frames instead. With those frames, still cut the bottom corners of the Comb off to encourage Wax Making.
 

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Matt
I have 10 Snelgrove boards and that is what I have been using, this year I have 14 hives I like to use your technique on four of them.
All my hives are two deeps and then I put my medium super on top (I have drawn frames in the supers). Do you recommend I put just two cut out frames on either side of the first brood box or each brood box should have its own cut out frame, total of two or four cut out frames?
How, exactly, are you using the Snelgrove Boards? Are you making vertical splits, or doing something else?
 

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How large do the spaces need to be?

Also - does it matter where the space is?

Can I drill a big hole in the middle of a foundation? Would that work?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
How large do the spaces need to be?

Also - does it matter where the space is?

Can I drill a big hole in the middle of a foundation? Would that work?
1. Technically any hole large enough to violate bee space will do. But I would go for at least a third of a frame. As initially bees will take wax from existing comb to build the new comb instead of making the wax. It takes a few days for wax making to start.

2. It doesn't matter where the hole is on the frame.

3. It would need to be a large hole. Remember it is usually filled with Drone comb, so that is why I put it on the bottom corners.

It's not difficult to score plastic foundation with a knife or hive tool and snap off the corner.
 

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What do you do if the brood nest is larger than 1 deep box?

Do you need to add a hole on either side of the brood nest in every box?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If the Brood Nest is across 2 Brood Boxes then I would do OSBN in both boxes. You may wish to only do it on one side instead of both sides. It depends on if the hive is really full of bees.

I check every 2 weeks for convience, that is using Deep frames. If you use Medium frames or only open up one side of the Brood Nest, you would need to check weekly instead.
 

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So the ideal time to start OSBN is when the hive is fully loaded with bees, and the weather is warm enough to warrant removing frames of honey adjacent to the brood nest without having to worry about starvation or stress?

Is that correct?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
As a guide:
I would wait until the bees are covering at least 90% of the frames.
(ie. 9 frames of bees in a 10 frame box.)

50% or more frames having some Brood in all stages.
(ie. 5 frames with Brood in a 10 frame box.)

At least 25% of frames with mostly capped honey or nectar.
(ie. 2.5 frames in a 10 frame box.

If you see 2/3 Brood and 1/3 Honey/Nectar then it is getting urgent.

I don't feed during swarm season as there is ample nectar and pollen coming in (that is why it is swarm season.) But if somehow the hive has over 90% bee coverage, but has little food, then feed them. They won't draw much comb unless there is ample nectar and pollen coming in.

The day time temperatures should be warm enough for the bees to be able to break from the cluster. This allows them to empty out the frames that have been moved up into the new box. Also helping to simulate a nectar flow, if there isn't one. Especially when starting 3 weeks before your normal swarm season.
 

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Questions for Matt:

I have a real healthy hive that I'm trying to keep in three medium boxes with a queen excluder above. Hoping they aren't too cramped in that amount of space. So I wondered what you think about pulling capped brood up above the excluder and adding foundation plus drawn comb (judicious combos) in its place, as a variant for opening the brood nest. We're having extended cool and rainy weather in SW Ohio, so while there is nectar, the bees have been limited in getting out to it. So I've been cautious about giving them much to draw out , with the demands of brood to feed and limited opportunities for gathering. Meanwhile, the population is really building up. Seems like getting some of the capped brood out would be the best way for opening the brood nest and having frames up above that will be great for honey storage once the bees emerge. Thoughts/recommendations?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi Karen,

3 Medium Boxes should be enough for the Brood Nest. I don't have an issue with putting brood above a Queen Excluder, except that Brood Frames should be placed in the middle of the box directly above the Brood Nest. It does help to get bees to move into a box above the Excluder.

BUT the issue with putting a Brood Frame above an Queen Excluder is that the bees still see it as a Brood Frame. So they will put pollen in it and often leave a dome shape of open cells or even empty cells for the queen to lay in, but of course the Queen can't get to those cells.

With OSBN your focus is on making space on the sides of Brood Nest (because it is Swarm Season).
You want to make sure the Queen has space to continue to lay eggs and that a good percentage of Open Brood is maintained.
This is to stop the Brood Nest from shrinking or getting back-filled with nectar.

So first priority is to move frames that are just nectar/honey up and out of the Brood Nest. (Especially the bottom 2 Mediums).
If all frames have some brood on them, then move up the ones with the least amount of brood.

Once plentiful nectar is coming in, comb building can happen quite quickly.
 

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Thanks Matt. Those frames I pulled up had primarily capped brood with almost no open brood. It will be interesting to see how that works out - hopefully the queen will have enough new space down below to not feel pulled to those higher frames. I understand that the newly emerged bees do a lot of wax building before becoming field bees, so there should be a lot of population for drawing comb before long.
 
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