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When is the best time to do this?
 

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I'm wondering the same thing. I hope the more experienced NC beekeepers will announce when they do it so I can go out there and do it too :)

Without any more information, I might reverse brood boxes on the next warm day when I see them flying. I also am going to distribute the frames of brood mixed with empty frames (for natural comb building) between my two deeps pretty soon (...I think... but when?) and eventually into my third deep once it warms more steadily.

Someone tell us when!
 

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I'm a bit North and East of you guys but I wouldn't do anything that would distrupt the brood nest until the Maples are blooming and some nectar and pollen are coming in. If you're feeding pollen and syrup you might reverse then but only if you're not splitting the brood nest. We're still in for some chilly eveninings and you wouldn't want to kill the brood that is unprotected. Same for opening up the brood nest. I wouldn't do it until I knew there was pollen and nectar coming in and the evening temps where much below 45.

My opinion, one of many I'm sure. Good luck!

Pete0
Bena, VA
 

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Can't tell ya the calendar date because I don't know your area. However it should be about a month before the start of swarm season in your area. Doing mine now.
 

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I reverse on the Dandelion flow, which is the first big one here. I used to go earlier. Last week of April. Didn't like that time of year as it's too cold, and the broodnests aren't developed enough and get split up. Also, why are you reversing? If for a swarm control method, then don't do it too early.

When you reverse too early, the cluster moves up and re-establishes higher up. Then when the Dandelion flow starts, they are right back to where they would have been if not reversed...the queen competing for laying space with incoming nectar storage space. Reversing on the Dandelion flow places empty comb space above the active cluster during the flow and decreases the liklihood of swarming.

To get the bees to reversal time, you might need to add a couple supers early...especially if you keep bees in a small brood nest area. Early supering acts like an early reversal...without breaking up the broodnest. Then there's room for the bees to expand upward, and store nectar overhead. When you do reverse, when the flow is on, some will have very young cells present. Deal with these colonies as you normally would in your swarm controls. The rest will build into strong colonies ready for the main flow.
 

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I'm fond of never...
I know!! I am going to follow your writings about opening the broodnest by incorporating empty frames into the brood boxes once the weather warms up. I feel like I might need to do something before then "just in case" - last year they swarmed on Easter Sunday (April 12) which I thought was pretty early. Counting the weeks backward from that date, I am getting anxious to do something pretty soon so they don't get any ideas in their heads.

Last year, I did nothing and they swarmed. I think I'll do too much this year and see how that works out for me ;) If they swarm again I'm going to cry.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm
 

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i have already swapped some of mine. i run a deep and a medium. i only swap them if the bees have moved up in the medium and that is where the queen is laying. dont do it before the maples bloom. if i seen brood in the bottom box at all i wouldnt swap. check now for stores and feed if they are light. alot of the guys in our club have lost hives in the last two to three weeks from starvation. Good luck David ....www.johnstonshoneyfarm.com
 

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I'm fond of never...
I assume, then, that the queen will move down on her own and everything will be fine. If the queen starts laying brood in the upper chamber before she moves down, how do you accomplish opening the broodnest with brood in the upper chamber where you would put the brood from the lower? Are you able to follow that confusing question?

I am not questioning anyone's methods here. I am really just trying to learn.
 

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If the queen starts laying brood in the upper chamber before she moves down, how do you accomplish opening the broodnest with brood in the upper chamber where you would put the brood from the lower?
If I under stand it correctly, you don't move brood from the bottom deep to the top deep to open up the brood nest. You remove a frame of honey or two from the sides, spread the brood nest and insert empty frames keeping two frames of brood between each empty frame. You need to have enough bees to festoon the space inside the empty frame/s so the cluster can stay intact, and it's not recommended until night time temps are above freezing or higher. This is very simplified so you should do more research.

I too had a hive swarm about the middle of April and I reverse last year. Obviously I did it wrong, but this year I'm going to try opening the brood. I'm also a little nervous I'll get a swarm before I can start. We'll see!

BB
 

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you take the bottom deep box and all frames. and place it on top that may help prevent a swarm. see in spring the bees have moved up in the brood nest the bottom hive is near empty so swap them they have new comb to work. so they they think and it makes them think hey no need to swarm.
 

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I too had a hive swarm about the middle of April and I reverse last year. Obviously I did it wrong, but this year I'm going to try opening the brood. I'm also a little nervous I'll get a swarm before I can start. We'll see!

BB
So what nectar source is blooming in the first half of April that would increase the chances of swarming? When does it start? Add a couple supers of comb at the end of March, or April 1.

That will take the pressure off, and give you some time to manage the colony.
 

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>I assume, then, that the queen will move down on her own and everything will be fine.

That's what they do in a tree every spring...

> If the queen starts laying brood in the upper chamber before she moves down, how do you accomplish opening the broodnest with brood in the upper chamber where you would put the brood from the lower?

If they are all the same size frames you just add another box, move some of the frames of brood up and swap them with empties from that box... Of course everything has to go somewhere.
 

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I have a lot of swarming problems, so I can't give advice, but, there is also the Checkerboarding method. There was a great thread on it just recently.
 

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I am moving from some deeps to all medium equipment. Most of my colonies have mediums on the bottom and deeps on top where most of the winter stores were stored. I have just reversed about half of my strongest colonies which have 4-6 frames of all stages of brood. There was a strip of sealed honey above the brood nest which I scrapped open before moving the mediums above. I have not done any reversing with the weaker colonies [3-4 frames of brood] yet, but rather will give them more time to strengthen. The queens naturally moves up during the spring but I don't want her to be hindered by the honey barrier after reversal, so I scrape the honey and let the bees move it where they need it. Hopefully the queen will move up into the empty [drawn] medium box so I will have brood in mediums when I make splits the first week of March. The mediums did have some stored frames of honey on the outside which I then moved to the outside of the corresponding 4-6 frames [anticipated new brood area] on the now upper medium box. These empty drawn frames were placed to correspond with the now lower brood nest, with the outside sealed frames of honey bordering the new brood area. I hope this picture makes sense.

Danny
 

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The original question seemed like it was oriented to calendar time. Others have indicated that calendar time is not as important as status of colony development. Although "time" can be seen as either, colony status is by far the more significant. In a group of hives some are typically more advanced than others. The timing of reversal should be adjusted in accordance with the stage of colony development.

A second factor is the PURPOSE for the reversal. For example, If the reason for reversal is to put the bottom empty hive body back into use (Yankeeland) It can be done safely quite early - like late winter, With little regard for colony development.

If reversal is intended as a swarm prevention manip, it needs to be timed to individual colony development for multiple reasons. To name a few:

It's not a good plan to divide the brood nest with the capped honey reserve sandwitched between the two segments of brood. For that circumstance, You must wait until the population is sufficient to create an hourglass cluster that can protect both segments of brood. This scenario is relevant to the DD where the colony wintered in the lower and is expanding into the upper.

You wouldn't want to reverse at all if the cluster/brood is all in the lower. They need the overhead honey to grow into. That would be a weak colony in the swarm prep period. They need all the help they can get.

The colony that has expanded the brood dome into half of the upper will have enough population to reverse the deeps without much impact. It helps to provide some empty drawn comb above to assist them in rebuilding their nectar feed band at the top of the brood nest.

The strong colony that needs reversal early in swarm preps may need to be reversed again at two week intervals until repro cut off. At each reversal, the colony starts over with backfilling as the first step of swarm preps.

Did I mention that I don't like double deeps?? Even more problems in fall preps.

Walt
 

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When is the best time to do this?
Tomorrow.

No, sorry, couldn't resist. I know you are serious.

Seriously I would think that some time in April, in your area. When the colony needs more room. Knowing what is going on in your hive is important to knowing when to do a particular manipulation.

Do you have a mentor, someone you can get your hands on, not a cyber mentor like beesource. Having someone who lives where you do is a good way to learn what works where you live. Beekeeping is similar to gardening. What works for me amy not work for you. What works here may not work in NC.
 

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I'm wondering the same thing. I hope the more experienced NC beekeepers will announce when they do it so I can go out there and do it too :)

Without any more information, I might reverse brood boxes on the next warm day when I see them flying. I also am going to distribute the frames of brood mixed with empty frames (for natural comb building) between my two deeps pretty soon (...I think... but when?) and eventually into my third deep once it warms more steadily.

Someone tell us when!
CJM: Don't feel bad, I have been reading a lot this winter on methods to prevent swarming & I still don't understand the timing.

I have always reversed around dandelion flow plus opening the brood nest with empty comb drawn & undrawn. I still have swarming problems in half my hives. I think my timing is off. I also want to try checkerboarding several hives this spring.

Also, genetics has something to do with it, too. Some hives never seem to swarm while others seem to do it no matter what you do.

Good luck.
 
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