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Author Topic: Checkerboarding the brood nest.  (Read 5159 times)
beehappy1950
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« on: April 02, 2011, 11:45:14 PM »

I was always under the impression that CBing the brood nest caused swarming. But I got my Bee Culture today and on page 49 there it was talking about CBing the brood chamber to get more brood. Anybody got any input on this? Harold
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 12:20:44 AM »

Checkerboarding is done by placing empty drawn comb alternating with honey frames directly above the brood nest.  This seems to convince the bees that they do not have adequate stores to swarm.  It's used as a swarm prevention method in early spring, about the middle of March in North Carolina.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 07:49:47 AM by FRAMEshift » Logged

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beehappy1950
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 09:03:32 AM »

FRAMEshift, I think you didnt read the Bee Culture Mag. It talks about expanding the brood chamber.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 09:37:56 AM »

FRAMEshift, I think you didnt read the Bee Culture Mag. It talks about expanding the brood chamber.

No, I generally don't read Bee Culture.  If you are talking about putting frames into the brood nest, that is not checkerboarding.  That is  brood nest opening, which is another swarm prevention technique.  Instead of drawn comb, you use empty frames, either foundationless or undrawn foundation.  They are spaced out to prevent chill brood.... maybe every third frame.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesexperiment.htm#background

I'm sure there are many variations on this same theme.  Adding frames above the brood nest does provide space for the brood nest to expand.  But I think it is useful to distinguish between adding frames directly to the brood nest and adding space above it.  

« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 09:58:23 AM by FRAMEshift » Logged

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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 10:44:18 AM »

Afraid I would hate to be w/out Bee Culture or its 'catch a buzz' emails Smiley.

I've been waiting for this discussion to commence, many thanks for posting.

thomas
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 10:41:35 PM »

Checkerboarding:  Placing alternating frames of drawn and undrawn comb in the super directly above the brood chamber.  The objective is to trick the bees into thinking there isn't enough honey stores to support swarming.

Opening the Brood chamber:  Removing frames of honey from the brood chamber and replacing them with undrawn foundation.  In a 10 frame hive the 2 outer frames (1 each side) are normally honey storage combs, the next ones in are usually predominately drone combs.  By removing the storage combs and moving the next frames to the outside and then inserting the frames of foundation the bees are supposedly fooled into believing the brood nest is not completed and therefore reducing swarming tendencies.  This is usually done in conjunction with supering.

If both systems are done at once the swarm tendency is reduced further.  In a 2 deep or 3-4 medium brood box the storage frames from the brood chambers are used to checkerboard the super(s) just above the  the brood nest.  Essently the hive is 40-50 % undrawn combs, depending on whether deeps or mediums are being used. 
It is my observation that these two systems, particularly when used together, work best in an all medium box management style.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 11:00:04 PM »

I guess I need to go pick up my Bee Culture now. I know the article is by Walt Wright -- I spotted it but have not gone back to read yet. Walts (checkerboarding) method usually does not deal with brood manipulation but increases brood production by creating the overhead space needed.

Walts method usually deals with manipulating shallow frames (although can be done with other size frames) w/stores 6-8wks before white wax--- nectar flow.

Maybe he has written something dealing with just brood frames ---- gotta go check grin

I have asked Walt several times to join us over here!
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sweetdonna27601
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 08:10:30 PM »

Thanks for this article. Our hives have swarmed this year so much that I'm afraid they're gonna swarm themselves to death...I will go out tomorrow and try this on some of our hives and see if it helps. We came out of the winter with 14 good hives...I thought. We have had 15-17 swarms since the middle of March and nothing we do seems to get them to stop.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 08:25:22 PM »

FRAMEshift, I think you didnt read the Bee Culture Mag. It talks about expanding the brood chamber.


beehappy- I think you better read the article again! In particular paragraph two " The manipulation consist of removing alternate frames of honey from the top box of an overwintered colony and replacing those frames with empty comb suitable for rearing brood. Since there is no brood nest disturbance, it can be done in late winter."

Anything else technically is not checkerboarding but another method of swarm prevention ---- checkboarding does not involve moving brood!

Also note in the next to last paragraph ---- checkerbaording has to be done 6-8wks before nectar flow (white wax) and you have to have drawn comb (of brood rearing depth) to start. You can not use foundation until white wax starts.

I have been following Walts work for about five years and have had good success with it, when I do it properly!

Here is a link to a large majority of Walts articles ---- it is not up to date! Also some of his recommendations changed but the basics are the same. He now overwinters with two shallows of honey of the deep (brood chamber) and a shallow used as a pollen box @ the bottom beneath the deep.

http://www.knology.net/~k4vb/all%20walt%20articles.htm
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beehappy1950
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2011, 08:58:10 PM »

I think I need to thank all you on here and apologize for getting things messed up. I read the column  and then searched out checkerboarding on here and must have got them all mixed up. But you have to admit I got a lot of really worth while info about checker boarding and brood expansion, that is what this forum is about. Right? Thanks Harold
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sc-bee
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2011, 10:45:57 PM »

That's correct ----no problem here Wink Try the checkerboarding if you get a chance.
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T Beek
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 06:04:07 AM »

Its all about KYBO this time of year cool.  Keep Your Broodnests Open.  Both methods described will accomplish that but using them together is best.

thomas
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 07:30:38 AM »

Its all about KYBO this time of year cool.
thomas

That's exactly right.  We are religious about adding foundationless frames to the broodnest every week in the spring.  Once they start drawing wax, things move fast.  Since we have migrated to using only long hives we don't have the option of checkerboarding.  There's no way to add frames above the brood nest.  

The nice thing about checkerboarding is that you can use it earlier in the spring while it's still cold, since you are not disrupting the brood nest and chilling the brood.  In North Carolina, KYBO could start in the middle of March.  Checkerboarding could start two weeks before that.
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 08:05:54 AM »

FRAMEshift;  I've been contemplating a full size second story for my Long Hive(s), with insulated movable follower boards.  I'm thinking I could either empty it of frames for winter and insulate or close up area around both sides of brood nest (beyond followers) and insulate, allowing for ample room to feed 'if' needed. 

I think you can tell I'm still just in the thinking stage Wink  That said, I'm certain it was COLD that killed my Long hive colony (a 2009 package) a few weeks ago and if I'm going to continue using Long Hives I've got to get them better protection from our winters.  They are well worth it to me (and my back), and such fun to work, so I'll keep trying.

thomas
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 01:01:50 PM »

FRAMEshift;  I've been contemplating a full size second story for my Long Hive(s), with insulated movable follower boards.  I'm thinking I could either empty it of frames for winter and insulate or close up area around both sides of brood nest (beyond followers) and insulate, allowing for ample room to feed 'if' needed.  

I have considered the idea but how do you access the bottom level without getting back into lifting BIG boxes?  Can you just slide the top level frames out of the way?  Makes it hard to see and adjust the bottom level.  
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I think you can tell I'm still just in the thinking stage Wink  That said, I'm certain it was COLD that killed my Long hive colony (a 2009 package) a few weeks ago and if I'm going to continue using Long Hives I've got to get them better protection from our winters.  They are well worth it to me (and my back), and such fun to work, so I'll keep trying.

If bottomless hives can work in a given climate, I don't see how long hives could be any worse.  Why do you think cold killed your Long?  Did they just burn through their stores?
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luvin honey
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2011, 01:13:22 PM »

Just please learn from my mistake last year--I "checkerboarded" the brood nest, not having carefully reviewed old notes, and I had bad brood issues. Probably chilled brood. I have read MB (I hope I am accurate this time) suggest one empty between 2 full brood combs, but I did every other and it was definitely not a good idea.

Good luck!
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2011, 01:40:43 PM »

I have read MB (I hope I am accurate this time) suggest one empty between 2 full brood combs, but I did every other and it was definitely not a good idea.

We do the BBEBBEBBE pattern, where B is brood and E is empty.  So every brood frame is next to at least one other brood frame for warmth.  And we avoid two foundationless frames together because the bees will continue extending comb right through the second frame, making extra thick comb.  Having the drawn comb on either side blocks overextension of the new wax on the foundationless frame.
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T Beek
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2011, 02:12:28 PM »

FRAMEshift; Thanks, you've made some good points for me to ponder.  There are so few beeks using Long Hives so I'm glad you were/are around and posted.  I wasn't planning on using the whole length of second story for frames, and may not use it at all during midsummer, except perhaps to experiment w/ venting, and at its most occupied it would be the area of a medium super maximum (perhaps to collect honey), hence the movable followers.  

My primary motive is having the option to place a candy board 'over' brood nest area with 2-4 inches of insulation over that for winter.

I feel they froze during a cold snap (well below zero) in February, following an explosive cleansing flight during a slight warm up (never saw so many yellow polka-dots Wink.  By the next warm up (2-3 weeks later) I could already smell them.  There was one soccer ball size cluster, with queen in middle, sitting right on top of a near full frame of honey with more all around, along w/ three tiny (baseball) clusters spread out toward back.  As in past years they had created tunnels allowing for access throughout the hive, the little geniuses cool.  They never touched the sugar I left them on the back end behind the follower, or the last 9 frames of honey.  I put them to bed (for the second time due to unusually warm Fall) last November, downsized from 35 frames to 29.  This Long Hive takes 40 frames max.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks again.

thomas
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sc-bee
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2011, 02:13:34 PM »

Just please learn from my mistake last year--I "checkerboarded" the brood nest, not having carefully reviewed old notes, and I had bad brood issues. Probably chilled brood. I have read MB (I hope I am accurate this time) suggest one empty between 2 full brood combs, but I did every other and it was definitely not a good idea.

Good luck!

Semantics I know--- but you did not "checkerboard" the brood nest grin Checkerboad is the term used for Walt Wrights Nectar Management! You opened the broodnest.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2011, 05:02:52 PM »

at its most occupied it would be the area of a medium super maximum (perhaps to collect honey), hence the movable followers.  

Ok, that makes sense.  We size our Long Hives to match three standard migratory tops (33 frames) so we could just remove one migratory top, add a standard hive box, and move the migratory top up.  You are correct, we could use that to add frames over the brood nest, but we have not done that yet because we would be lifting boxes again.  I guess I'm being VERY lazy.  We have had such good success with Long Hives that we haven't really tried to go up as well.  It might make sense to add a single medium for June flow and then remove it altogether.  Something to experiment with.

 I'm not sure what the bees would do with the space.  Would they put honey there and maintain the brood nest to the side, or would they expand the brood nest upward.  Do you have any experience with that?
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My primary motive is having the option to place a candy board 'over' brood nest area with 2-4 inches of insulation over that for winter.

We want to use a half hive sheet of insulation in winter to cover an expanded brood nest.  This would not work well if we had a discontinuous level on top.  If you have a better way of insulating, maybe you could just add a shallow box on top to hold your candy board.  So far all we have done is add dry sugar on newspaper but there is only room for maybe 1/4" of sugar.  That is enough in our climate but not enough for you.
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I feel they froze during a cold snap (well below zero) in February, following an explosive cleansing flight during a slight warm up (never saw so many yellow polka-dots Wink.  By the next warm up (2-3 weeks later) I could already smell them.  There was one soccer ball size cluster, with queen in middle, sitting right on top of a near full frame of honey with more all around, along w/ three tiny (baseball) clusters spread out toward back.  As in past years they had created tunnels allowing for access throughout the hive, the little geniuses cool.  They never touched the sugar I left them on the back end behind the follower, or the last 9 frames of honey.  I put them to bed (for the second time due to unusually warm Fall) last November, downsized from 35 frames to 29.  This Long Hive takes 40 frames max.

Ok I guess they did die of being trapped by cold.  This is the pattern with so many Langstroth hives as well.  I don't think there is anything unique about the Long Hive in that.  I'm very interested in your Long Hive experience so please keep me updated on what you are doing.  grin
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 05:30:46 PM by FRAMEshift » Logged

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