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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I have been beekeeping eight years and have learned a lot from numerous sources and my own experience. I help out with our local association classes and mentor first year beekeepers. But I am going back to some basics trying to refine my hive management techniques and have one issue I cannot find clear instruction on.

In our local classes they teach to always move brood down at every inspection to fill the bottom with capped brood and build honey/pollen stores in the upper box. It is always preached to us to not be lazy and not perform this task every time we work a hive.

I am rethinking this and wonder if I am causing more disruption than is necessary and possibly hurting the hive.

So, what is the consensus on working a hive? Is there reference material on how best to do this and the reasons behind it?

I do not think the commercial guys do this and wonder how they know what is going on in the boxes without going thru every frame every time they work the hive.

What are the pros and cons of my method vs. not moving brood at all?

I appreciate any feedback on this and the reasons why you do it your way. Like most, I have had good and bad years but cannot tell you why my good years were good. Most of my bad years were due to my inexperience and not preparing my hives well enough. So I am reviewing everything and figuring out the reasons I need to continue or discontinue my methods.

Thanks in advance.
 

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If the brood starts moving up in the hive leaving empty space below, I'll move frames of eggs and youngest larva to the bottom. This keeps the broodnest down low. I've never heard of moving capped brood down, only up. Bees will naturally tend to store pollen beside and below the brood, and store honey to the sides and above the brood. Most of the time, no manipulations are needed. I only do it if brood starts moving up too far leaving empty space below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Ray for your response. I am assuming you still go through both deeps a frame at a time and only move eggs and young larvae down when you think it is necessary. I usually move all uncapped brood to the bottom box and leave capped brood in the center of the top box. If there is not much uncapped brood, I have moved capped down and surrounded the uncapped with it.

How often are you doing inspections? Some say not to disturb during flow.

I still feel this part of hive management is not covered in things I have read. Maybe I need to expand my reading sources.

Thanks again.
 

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I don't add another box until the bottom box is all drawn and used. Then I add a box. I then seldom need to look into the bottom box, by judging the conditions in the upper box I can tell if the hive is doing well or not. I guess it comes with time of experience with beekeeping. Two full deeps is way more room than what is needed for broodnest, so the top box should have over 1/2 of the frames as honey stores. The broodnest can move up into both boxes, more honey in top box, more pollen in bottom box, nest centered between both boxes. So checking a few frames in the upper box gives me enough info to see what condition the hive as a whole is in.
 

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I've never heard of constantly moving brood around (not that I've read or heard everything known on beekeeping!). I only move frames for a distinct purpose, but then my bees, with a few exceptions, keep their brood more or less in the center of the deep I use above and below a medium for a brood nest, and I can't move frames anyway between different depth boxes. I think that the two mediums one deep brood nest works better here -- I start them with two mediums on top of the deep, then move one medium down late in the summer. They put pollen in it, then leave it empty for winter, more or less, sometimes move down into it late fall when they backfill the nest in preparation for winter. I intend to checkerboard the empty with the medium full of honey on top in the early spring. Didn't happen this year, the bees were all the way up to the inner cover in late Feb.

During the spring flow I will have a deep and usually two mediums above it full of brood, and this year most of a shallow above that, with two more shallows and a medium for honey supers. Lots of honey, tons of bees. All ten frames of the deep were solid brood, even the outside faces had a large patch in the center.

When I ran two deeps, I tried to feed them down into the bottom box in the fall, but I didn't move frames around, and neither does my brother. His hives usually have a full deep of honey over the deep with the brood in late summer, and fill the outermost four frames or so with honey and pollen before winter.

I suspect the bees will manage where they want brood better than I can.

Peter
 

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I leave the brood nest alone unless something causes me move brood frames. This past month I had 2 queen failures that caused the hive to become honey bound. I removed some frames and extracted them. Then added the frames slowly so the queen had time to lay and the bees would not refill comb with honey.
 
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