Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my strong colonies came out of winter just fine. I fed pollen patties early and sugar water as soon as they would take it. There were good amounts of working brood and drone brood.

I wintered over in two deeps. Early April inspection found the bottom box nearly empty of anything. The upper box had all the bees, some stores, some pollen and some brood. Mid April inspection showed similar.....good brood patterns in the upper box, lots of pollen and some honey. Bottom box void.

I decided then to reverse the boxes thinking I want the brood box on bottom and the upper box for stores. I did it mostly on a gut feeling and some reading I have done. So that was 10-14 days ago. I checked this afternoon, and I found more brood in the top box. I even found the queen in the top box doing her thing.

So what's the best plan here? Just let bees bee bees?
 

·
Super Moderator
Santa Cruz, CA
Joined
·
1,157 Posts
Yup, sounds like you did everything right. Rotating boxes is fairly common as the bees move up in the winter to eat stores and go where the heat is. Moving them back down allows them to stay down and start utilizing the top box.

So yes, leave them bee.

Once they start filling the second box up get your supers on. Sounds like they're doing great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,380 Posts
I seldom reverse brood boxes. In my location we have cool or cold nights until the fourth of July. moving the cluster down next to the cold ground is not good business. I seem to do everything the hard way, but I prefer moving honey frames from the sides of that cluster in the top box to the center of the bottom box. They are readily available there for feed and the bees moving the honey back above the brood where the bees feel it belongs stimulates them. Additionally, moving empty brood frames to the sides of the brood nest in the top box is every bit as effective as reversal in damping down swarms. But the fact heat rises and btu's make bees shows automatic reversals to be a fallacy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,054 Posts
I tried reversing boxes in one season. The bees moved back into the top box after a week or so. Now, I save myself some work and don't reverse boxes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Try a slatted rack if you want the brood nest to stay in the bottom--but they will expand into the top in spring. Guessing you have a screened bottom board. I've never been able to get my bees to utilize the bottom box for any length of time past spring growth when I had screened bottom boards (even when I kept the mite board in the bottom). Switching to solid bottoms and slatted racks fixed this. Now I don't have a hive that isn't in the bottom box--even at the end of this past winter. Of course, now, the brood nest is in both boxes. Never tried a slatted rack w/ a screened BB so not exactly sure if it was the rack, the solid BB, or both, that gave the observed effect.

Not really concerned w/ having them in the bottom until fall. When I ran screened BBs I'd just kept a medium as the first box on the BB under the brood nest. This kept them in the bottom deep for winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. So much of beekeeping seems to be letting bees be bees. :) They clearly want to be in the upper box right now, so I guess that's where they will stay. I had a positive queen sighting last time I was in the hive, and the brood pattern is solid. This has always been my strongest colony. Oh, and I am running solid bottom boards.
 

·
Super Moderator
Santa Cruz, CA
Joined
·
1,157 Posts
Ask 3 beekeepers a question, get 10 different answers.

It likely doesn't matter. I always removed the bottom box and later put it back on the top as the colony needed the space. Mainly because our wax moths are so bad here.

However, I've since switched to single deeps and will never go back!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,374 Posts
From my observations here, people reverse too early. It can be a challenge in colder climates for sure, but I hold off until dandelion flow unless it remains too cold or wet.
It can be a pain, but running a shim or a medium pollen box on the bb will give the necessary distance for them to be happy in your bottom brood chamber. J
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
718 Posts
Ask 3 beekeepers a question, get 10 different answers.

It likely doesn't matter. I always removed the bottom box and later put it back on the top as the colony needed the space. Mainly because our wax moths are so bad here.

However, I've since switched to single deeps and will never go back!
Hey Myke, you don't have our winters where it might be 40 for two weeks and then hit -10 for a few days with ice, snow and rain. Alan, since we're so close, did you have brood over the winter? I did, all winter long, had 1" pick foam top and sides with a vented quilt box but like Deb's idea on the Valvadi boards. I'm going to break open all of my triple deeps tomorrow and do splits, figuring 3 nucs plus 15 frames plus 5 new for the mother colonies. Alan, PM coming!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am unsure if I had brood over winter. I only peeked in a couple times to make sure stores were okay and to add a pollen patty in March. I did have a solid brood pattern the first week of April and the colony is BOOMING right now. It's definitely on swarm watch.
 

·
Super Moderator
Santa Cruz, CA
Joined
·
1,157 Posts
I am unsure if I had brood over winter. I only peeked in a couple times to make sure stores were okay and to add a pollen patty in March. I did have a solid brood pattern the first week of April and the colony is BOOMING right now. It's definitely on swarm watch.
Very true, which is why I typically suggest northern beekeepers to run double deeps. Yet, I stand by removing the lower box until they need it, or it's warm enough to add the second on the top. This way you're reversing them, but it's not so traumatic on the hive. But with beekeeping, there are many ways to accomplish the same thing as proof by this post.

And I kept bees at high altitude in Northern Utah longer than I've had them in CA. I certainly did winter in single deeps, key was to backfill the whole nest in the fall. But, still wouldn't recommend it and only did it to weaker colonies who were only one deep in size.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,675 Posts
Hey Myke, you don't have our winters where it might be 40 for two weeks and then hit -10 for a few days with ice, snow and rain.
Yeah, we can get some crazy shtuff to deal with sometimes. Last night I was looking at my notes from last year- I hived three nucs on the 8th of May, my note for the next day was "Effin blizzard, heavy wet snow. Good thing I got them boxed."

A blizzard the 2nd week of May. I want my global warming.

By June all three of them had swarmed. Never seen anything like that before- nucs to swarms in under six weeks. Must be some hella queens. Going to have to watch them close the next few weeks, I think one is close to swarm mode now...and it's pouring rain...betting they might try to bolt the next clear day we get.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top