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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read the backlog of information on this subject and I think it's safe to say that the general consensus is that about 50% of the people who run double deeps for brood don't swap boxes to force the queen into the lower box. The other 50% who run double deeps don't switch the boxes.

Which 50% is correct and WHY do you do what you do? I want to try to prevent swarming in my first spring to have overwintered bees. I want to make honey with 4 of my hives and split the 5th one as much as I can.
 

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are you finding the broodnest in the upper box in all five? i have one double deep hive that had the nest in the upper box. i reversed the boxes putting the broodnest downstairs and checkerboarded honey and empty comb in the top box. the thinking is that it is easier for them to expand upward by taking advantage of the heat rising from the cluster.
 

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I almost always swap boxes because I usually find the bottom box empty of honey and brood in early spring. This and early supering has helped to minimize swarming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sp, the brood is in the top boxes in 4 of the 5 boxes. Weather permitting I think I will change them tomorrow unless I get some good reasons not to.
 

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i think the only time i have heard advice against reversing is when the broodnest is split across the gap between the boxes because it separates the nest. i had a five over five nuc that had the nest split across the gap that i transferred to a 10 frame box, but i was able to keep the brood frames together.
 

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furthermore to squarepegs point, like if brood stretches from deep to medium box. And you don't want to put another deep onto. You want the deep above the 1st deep. In this case put an exluder inbetween the 1st deep and medium and what for brood to hatch then insert deep or medium between
 

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I almost always swap boxes because I usually find the bottom box empty of honey and brood in early spring. This and early supering has helped to minimize swarming.
Like DPBsBees a couptle of weeks ago was the first time I was able to get into the hive. all bees were in the top box. The bottom box was all drawn comb, all empty. I swapped boxes and started feeding 1:1 sugar water. This is a good queen, and today I had planned to add another box and add some empty drawn comb frames in the brood box. Temp was 50F, but winds were up some and chilly so I have to put this off as I will be pulling out brood frames to put into the new middle box.
 

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sorry, it means that instead of being all in the bottom or all in the top box, the broodnest is split between both boxes. the 'gap' is the space between the top bar of the bottom box frames and bottom bar of the top box frames. if you reverse the boxes in this situation part of the nest ends up at the very bottom of the hive and the other part is at the very top, with lot of space in between. this makes it hard for the colony to keep all of the brood warm when the temperature drops.
 

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This question will reveal my complete newbie-ness but it's on my mind, so here goes.

I expect that I will find all of my bees in the upper boxes (double deeps for two; double deep plus medium in one). I am (and have been all winter) feeding sugar bricks, and just yesterday added a global patty. For most of the winter the bees have been packed into the feeding rim under the quiltboxes, but lately there are fewer bees in "the attic". I'm assuming that this is due to onset of brood rearing because I'm not seeing tons of dead bees anywhere and my bees have only been out twice since Dec., even then only once in any strength (about ten days ago.)

So my question is this: assuming I will get warm-enough temps sometime before Memorial Day (only half-kidding there), it's highly likely that I'll have a few warm days and then reversions back to the deep freeze for some period. If I reverse the boxes, won't that break the physical connection the bees now have between where they are clustered on their brood in the upper bodies and the feeding place within the rim that's placed on the top bars? I haven't seen the inside of my hives for five months so I have no real idea how much, if any, surplus food they still have. I am woefully bad at estimating the weights by lifting. (Which was why I fed them sugar all winter, to be safe.)

After all this, I don't want them to starve or freeze just because I reversed the hive bodies and they needed to stay in the bottom with their brood and couldn't or wouldn't cross the empty combs of the former bottom box, now moved to the upper position under the feeding rim.

I can feed syrup when if finally warms up, but that's weeks and weeks away, so solid food is my only option right now.

I believe they already have brood because the hives have that delicious smell.

I'm in northeastern upstate NY. Expected minimum temps are still going down into the single digits at night and barely budging out of the 30s in the daytime, except for those rare, unpredictable days when it makes a run at 50. I probably wouldn't be digging deep into the hives until we have 60 F day. It could come without much warning though so I am making plans, just in case.

Thanks for your advice. It's a point I've been perplexed about all winter. I've been reading and reading and thought I would discover the answer without having ask. But no joy, so far. Thanks for your help!

Enj.
 

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What you need to check is if all your bees are in one box. For me, that meant my bottom deep was empty of store and brood. Just clean empty frames. If you reverse your boxes, you need to make sure your bees can break cluster daily or every other day for a reasonable amount of time 4-5 hrs. If the temps support that, then during the warm periods, they can cross the empty frames to feed w/o a problem. What you don't want to do is wait too long, because if a large honey barrier develops above the bees, it's a swarming signal. The reality is reversing boxes depends on temperature
 

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Enj-

Those guys down south are *weeks* ahead of us upstate New Yorkers.
Some of them have had nectar flow already for 3+ weeks, while we've not seen *anything* blooming yet.

Don't worry about reversing boxes until the maple trees bloom.
The willows in wet areas around the rivers will bloom first, and provide the bees w/ pollen.
They'll start serious brood build up then, but will have plenty of empty comb.

When the maples start blooming, they'll start filling more of the comb around the brood w/ nectar and eventually things will get crowded and the queen will run out of laying room.

You want to revers the boxes before that happens, a few weeks after maple is blooming / when you start seeing blooming dandelions.

Once dandelions start blooming, make sure you have supers and frames ready so that whn your brood chambers start filling up, the bees have room to put nectar in.

As long as they have work to do -drawing comb, storing nectar, etc -- and room to do it in, and they don't have a solid band of honey across the tops of the the frames in the top brood box they're unlikely to swarm.

Not saying that they won't, just that it's not so likely.
 

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If the bottom box is empty and it is still cold so there is concern about the bees not leaving brood to reach food can't just remove the empty box creating a single deep hive...as with a new nuc or package, put solid food on the frames and when it warms or the bees are bursting in one box add the second deep?

What you need to check is if all your bees are in one box. For me, that meant my bottom deep was empty of store and brood. Just clean empty frames. If you reverse your boxes, you need to make sure your bees can break cluster daily or every other day for a reasonable amount of time 4-5 hrs. If the temps support that, then during the warm periods, they can cross the empty frames to feed w/o a problem. What you don't want to do is wait too long, because if a large honey barrier develops above the bees, it's a swarming signal. The reality is reversing boxes depends on temperature
 

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I have read the backlog of information on this subject and I think it's safe to say that the general consensus is that about 50% of the people who run double deeps for brood don't swap boxes to force the queen into the lower box. The other 50% who run double deeps don't switch the boxes.

Which 50% is correct and WHY do you do what you do? I want to try to prevent swarming in my first spring to have overwintered bees. I want to make honey with 4 of my hives and split the 5th one as much as I can.
The correct 50 percent is the other 50 percent:D In my experience each hive is a little different (number of bees/number of boxes), and how they are building up (rate/my timing/ & if the bees decide to move/expand down on their own). However, most of the time I do not flip boxes in Spring. Typically, most of my hives will work themselves back down the supers (if they are at the top), restoring the honey barrier in the upper supers on their own. This may have something to do with me not scrapping burr comb off in-between boxes? Of course as spring progresses into late spring/ early summer, they will need more honey supers, as the hive is filled. I am sure I do this because it is less work/lifting/manipulating, and I have success with it. On a side note, in feral hives, nobody is flipping comb/brood/boxes:) for them, they work themselves around the hive and utilize its size on their own, until it is overcrowded and then swarm.
 

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If the bottom box is empty and it is still cold so there is concern about the bees not leaving brood to reach food can't just remove the empty box creating a single deep hive...as with a new nuc or package, put solid food on the frames and when it warms or the bees are bursting in one box add the second deep?
If it's so cold that that is an issue, it's not time to be reversing boxes yet.
Reversing the brood boxes is an early spring task to prevent swarming, not a winter task.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I ended up switching the boxes on one hive. The weather is supposed to get cold again during the first of next week so I didn't want to risk messing up more than one hive. There were no queen cells in the hive. The top box of the double deep was packed with eggs, brood, pollen and honey. I don't remember ever seeing eggs on the #1 or #10 frames last year but there were eggs on both. The comb in the bottom box was completely empty. Not a speck of anything in them.

I swapped the boxes, put the empty super back on top and closed the lid.
 

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i have always enjoyed when winter winds down and spring begins, even more now with the bees. it's pretty cool to see them change gears and exploit the blooms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
sp, the field force from this hive for this time of year was amazing to me. There were 100's of bees waiting on me to finish my work so they could head into the hive. They were really packing in the pollen too.
 
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