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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you reverse your boxes each year ? By that I mean to put the top box on the bottom . Does this help to keep the brood chamber full ? I have been told the queen doesnt like to move down to the bottom box and start laying in there.
 

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Bees like to build down and move up. Swapping boxes is nearly a must. although when things get tight they will use the bottom box. The hive will build much quicker, and maintain a more productive season if you swap. it is also much easier to determine the proper time to add a super.
 

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How many of you reverse your boxes each year ? By that I mean to put the top box on the bottom . Does this help to keep the brood chamber full ? I have been told the queen doesnt like to move down to the bottom box and start laying in there.
I do it. I do it a cpl times some times, each spring. Depends on the colony and whether I have taken brood and bees out of it.

The way I see it, reversing brood boxes gives a colony more room w/out adding boxes. Doing so helps lessen swarming.
 

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How does this work for a 3 medium brood nest setup , I assume the bottom will be empty but what about the middle box . Or do you only move the bottom box know matter what , I would think there straddling the top 2 box's.
 

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Reversing boxes is a cheap and primitive effort at swarm control. I do it, if only because sometimes I want the brood nest in the bottom box with empty comb on top.

A caveat: don't reverse your brood boxes if the cluster bridges your boxes. You want to move the entire cluster.
 

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A caveat: don't reverse your brood boxes if the cluster bridges your boxes. You want to move the entire cluster.
Actually, if I could draw a picture to illustrate how I was taught to reverse reversing when the brood pattern is shared between two sets of frames is a good idea when done at the right time of year, when brood is not likely to get too cold to survive if it doesn't have enough bees covering it.
 

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I agree with Michael Bush, from his website and book:

Stop switching hive bodies.
In my opinion switching hive bodies is counterproductive. It's a lot of work for the beekeeper and it's a lot of work for the bees. After you swap them the bees have to rearrange the brood nest. It's true it will interrupt swarming, but so will other things. Here's what I'd do: Swarm Control

Here's what Richard Taylor says in The Joys of Beekeeping:


"Some beekeepers, trusting the ways of bees less than I do, at this point routinely 'switch hive bodies,' that is, switch the positions of the two stories of each hive, thinking that this will induce the queen to increase her egg laying and distribute it more widely through the hive. I doubt, however, that any such result is accomplished, and in any case I have long since found that such planning is best left to the bees."
 

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Stop switching hive bodies.
In my opinion switching hive bodies is counterproductive. It's a lot of work for the beekeeper and it's a lot of work for the bees. After you swap them the bees have to rearrange the brood nest. It's true it will interrupt swarming, but so will other things. Here's what I'd do: Swarm Control
Would you go as far as moving a couple of frames of brood to the center of bottom deep to encourage bees downward and open brood nest with an empty frame on each side of top brood?
 

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As my wife reminds me everytime I go out to mess with the bees...."leave them alone, they know what they are doing"...though I would never admit it to her, she usually turns out to be right. I have found that some of my furthest away apiaries that I don't get to regularly do just as well if not better than the very close ones that get a lot of personal attention......
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I guess it does not really make any difference that I run a 3 medium brood chamber instead of a double deep would it? I would guess the bees don't really care the configuration they just move to empty comb either way , up or down ?
 

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Would you go as far as moving a couple of frames of brood to the center of bottom deep to encourage bees downward and open brood nest with an empty frame on each side of top brood?

If one doesn't reverse or move brood frames from top to bottom broods, what is signal to add honey supers?
 

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I did this year in February because the bottom was empty, the top full of bees. I did it so that I could do a quick look to see how the buildup goes without having to go into the bottom box.
 

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I stopped reversing boxes. What happens is the bee population decreases through the winter so there is alot of open space. I take the empty boxes off so the bees are concentrated. This prevents demoralized bees and lets them build up quicker because the hive is easier to regulate and keep warm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So if you don't manipulate the boxes , how often , or do you even open up the bottom boxes ? or the brood nest? Does this leave you with a scenario that you can just manipulate those frames that you have access to through the top box to do swarm control or splits/nuc making? The more I learn , the less I know I know .
 

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Beek for dummies states reverse then switch back one month later. Also gives you the opportunity to clean the bottom board which after a long winter is important.

Makes sense to me.
 

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Beek for dummies states reverse then switch back one month later. Also gives you the opportunity to clean the bottom board which after a long winter is important.

Makes sense to me.
Cleaning the bottom board is standard practice.

As stated above, it is counter productive to reverse the two deeps if the brood nest spans the two brood boxes. Worst case is bees may not be able to keep all brood warm and may be spread so thin that you loose adult bees in addition to brood, in a really cold snap.

Bee keep pollen at the bottom, pollen and honey to the sides and an arch of honey above the brood nest. Reversing the boxes can result in brood at the bottom, arch of honey, layer of pollen and then brood. Bees will spend a bunch of resources moving food around and you are likley slowing the population build up. Less NUCS/splits and less honey.
 

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If I happen to be to the bottom board inspecting a hive and the bottom box is empty, I put the empty box on top so I can see when it's full. But I don't go through and routinely switch hive bodies. George Imirie was fond of switching them constantly every 10 days all the way up to the main flow. I don't think breaking up the brood nest constantly is good...
 

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How does this work for a 3 medium brood nest setup , I assume the bottom will be empty but what about the middle box .
I run 3 mediums over winter and typically in early spring brood is in the the top two boxes and the bottom box is empty. The empty bottom box goes to the top.

A few weeks later they have probably moved up into the top two boxes, and once again the bottom empty box is moved to the top. Soon after, brood will be spanning the 3 boxes. At that point we are well into dandelion bloom and it's time to begin adding supers. Then it's time for selective brood nest frame manipulation to control swarm prep.

I use upper entrances, so that may have something to do with it. And as always, the bees sometimes have their own plan in mind that doesn't exactly jibe with my plan. Gotta be flexible too.
 
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