Opening the Sides of the Broodnest - OSBN
What you will need:
- Develops comb building before swarm season, which helps to reduce swarming. Due to extra comb for nectar storage and using up of nectar to make wax.
- Enlarges the size of the Broodnest when the bees would usually be reducing it by backfilling, because the queen lays in empty comb as it is being built.
- Can be done at colder temperatures than Opening the Broodnest.
- Does not touch the Broodnest, so it doesn't force bees to heat a larger volume than they are used to heating. Which can cause chilled brood. (Especially with Carniolans).
- Does not split the Broodnest, so if cold weather sets in there is no possibility of having the cluster split and emergency queen cells made by the queenless cluster.
- The bees still have direct access to the frames that were beside the Broodnest, but now they are above instead. Not a problem, when heat rises.
- The bees can build the comb in their own time, but the empty space (Hole) gives them an incentive to build comb.
At least 1 box of new undrawn frames, which are the same size frames as your brood box. (If a few of these are partially drawn, empty frames, this also helps.)
- No feeding
- Frames are all the same size
- Start about 3 weeks before you usual Swarm Season (or when you see Drone Brood).
- Do every 2 weeks until bees are drawing out multiple combs in the New Box.
- New frames have a Hole large enough for the bees to want to fill it.
OSBN is a Swarm Prevention method for Beekeepers who have enough Bee Hives
(IE, when you don't want to do Splits and make more Bee Hives)
AND for New Beekeepers or Second Year Beekeepers especially those who don't have any spare, empty comb coming into spring.
To get the bees building comb in a New Box/Super before swarm season starts, to help reduce swarming and to get a honey crop.
1. Develop Wax Makers well before Swarm Season.
2. Maintain wax making throughout Swarm Season and into the Main Flow.
3. Encourage enlargement of the Broodnest until the Main Flow.
OPENING THE SIDES OF THE BROODNEST
- About 3 weeks before your usual Swarm Season, 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 Frames have moved up.)
- Insert a New Frame (with a large "hole") 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.)
- Check the Hive in 2 weeks and repeat the steps if comb has been at least partially drawn on the New Frames in the Brood Box. (2 Frames moved up, 2 Frames inserted into the Broodnest.) You will now have 4 Drawn Frames that have been moved up into the New Box.
- Check again in 2 weeks. The New Box should now be mostly drawn. You can repeat the steps again with another New Box on top.
- The New Frame can be empty drawn comb or foundation, but should have a large "hole" that is equivalent to at least 1/4 of the frame. You can just cut off the bottom corners off the comb or foundation.
- The Hole will be filled with Drone Comb.
- If the outermost Broodbox frames are moldy, you may wish to remove them completely and not put on a new box until the third step.
- If you want the bees to use the honey on slightly moldy frames, then move them up to a new box, but have at least a few frames of foundation between them. The frames will usually get emptied out.
- You can start doing this method as soon as Drones are starting to be raised and the weather forecast for the next week is warm.
- For the bees to move into a box, I have found it best to have at least 3 or 4 drawn combs together, in the middle of the new box. When there is less than 3 frames in a box and not together, they usually get emptied out. So if you have a spare drawn comb, the more the better.
- The timing of 2 weeks is for deep frames. If you use mediums, the times will be shorter and can be more like 1 week.
- Best to use all the same size frames.
- As a guide for when to start Opening the Sides of the Broodnest. I would start around half way through the period between Cherry blossoms and Apple blossoms. The period between these blossoms is quite long where I live, as much as 2 months. If it is around 1 month for you then you may initially need to use drawn comb instead of a partial frame of foundation. (Some areas still have snow around at this time.)
I have been working on this method for several years now and wish I had known about it when I first started out beekeeping. Give it a go and let us know how it goes for you.