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Author Topic: reversing deeps - top to bottom etc  (Read 2473 times)
dfizer
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« on: March 29, 2013, 11:53:28 AM »

Hello all -

This is my first year with bees making it through the winter therefore my first spring with over-wintered bee hives.  What I've read says that I should reverse the deeps in the spring.  When, or what signs do you look for, should I pull the ole swither-roo?  It's in the 50's here during the days and the nights are in the high low 30's. 

Please offer any advice you may have on the timing of when to switch the two deeps.

David
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mikecva
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 12:33:50 PM »

First of all, way to go!!  cheer

That decision is one you will need to make 'on the spot'. The way I decide is by where the cluster is (or if not in cluster - where the queen is). If the queen/cluster is in the top box, then I switch. If the queen/cluster is in the lower box, then I leave them be. Hope this helps.
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 01:41:40 PM »

or just leave them alone and don't mess up what they have built  Wink
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
oliver
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 02:26:11 PM »

what Kathy said
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goatmanbees
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 03:43:01 PM »

I was just thinking about the same thing. Thanks for the question and responses.
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dfizer
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 04:30:23 PM »

Ya know... I was thinking the same thing... why do the books recommend to switch them anyway?  I am inclined to just leave well enough alone!

David
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kathyp
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 05:17:54 PM »

there are time when you may need to.  most often, you will be able to rearrange a few frames to accomplish what you need to do.  if the bees are following the script, they will have made the brood nest in the middle of your box configuration.  they will fill in honey over the top of the brood.  as they do this, they move down.   that's why you put the honey supers on the top.

so...if they are doing what they are supposed to do, what happens when you swap the boxes?  you break the brood nest, put whatever honey there is on in the middle of the brood nest so that the queen may not cross it either up or down (depending on where she is).  at the least, you will disrupt whatever they are doing because they got busy way before you got a chance to get in there and check.

because you are confining them in a space youhave chose, you may need to adjust frames from time to time.  if there is to much honey, you may need to remove some and expand the brood nest.  if they really won't move up or down, you may need to move a frame of brood up or down to attract them.  lots of this stuff takes some experience to evaluate, but with bees i have found that it's better to do nothing than to "help" when i'm not sure. 

why do the books say swap boxes?  because that's what's always been done so we keep doing it.....and because on occasion you might need to....but IMHO, not often.

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
dfizer
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 08:32:13 PM »

Thanks Kathy - I think I understand.  I am going to let them do their thing and watch for signs that they brood nest is not moving down.  Right now it's still a little chilly although I did feed some pollen patties in early march I don't think there's much brood.  As soon as we have our first 60 degree day I'll open up the hives to see how much stores are left and how much brood is there and most importantly where it is.  There is quite a bit of bee activity however I think it's just cleaning and house keeping on their part. 

I am really curious how much stores are left...  Also I don't think were far off from the flow to start.  I saw the daffodils poking their heads up.  The are about 3 inches out of the ground so in a couple of weeks the bloom should have started.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

David
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bailey
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 08:37:41 PM »

Lift the back of the hive. If it has weight there are stores present. If not well they are hungry.
Kathy had all other points very well covered.
Bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
dfizer
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 09:05:19 PM »

Interesting you mention that since today I lifted all three hives here and noticed that two of the three have a lot of weight but the third one was noticeably lighter.  I think I'll feed that hive a honey ball (honey and sugar mix) early next week.  With the bloom getting ready to begin I'll probably not feed them too much I just hate to see them stressed this early in the year. 

What I believe I'll find when I open the hives is that the bottom deep is nearly completely empty.  If that's the case - is that alright?  If there's a little brood started I think I'll just leave everything as it is.  If there's nothing in there I may just move it to the above the other.  There sure were a lot of bees right on top of the frames of the top deep when I lifted the inner cover today and they were very active!

David
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bailey
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2013, 10:55:41 PM »

Any reason why you want to do something with this hive? 
Other than confirming its queen right why change anything?   If they are and you have the temps for it pull a frame of honey from a strong hive and give it to the light hive.
If you have blackberry blooming they should be able to feed themselves from then on.
Bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
kathyp
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2013, 11:46:40 PM »

Quote
I think I'll feed that hive a honey ball (honey and sugar mix) early next week.

ditto what bailey said.  if they are lite they need food.  no food, no brood. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Finski
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 04:28:42 AM »

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Reversing prood boxes is very usefull, but mostly people make much harm with that.

It is conected to enlarging the hive too.

First: after winter even big colony needs only one box at the level of NY.
It takes time that the colony grows. Wintered bees die off and new will be born to fill the hive.

Even if the upper box is full of bees, and you lift the box, the lower box is empty. It meand that whole gang is needed to keep the brood warm. If you reverse in that situation the boxes or you put second box on top, bees cannot keep brood warm and perhaps 30% will be destroyed. - How do I know it- I have looked what happens.

So if I have one box of bees, I add second box under the brood box. Bees enlarge downwards when colony grows.
Nights and rainy days use to be too cool to bees that they stand 100% more space orver the brood.

When it is time to put a third box to the hive, it is time to reverse lower boxes, but not allways even then.
When you lift the upper box, you may see that queen does not lay in lower box and it may be that it  needs only one box. Let it be so and add the medium box over brood box as honey box.


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capt44
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 05:37:05 PM »

I went and checked the hives here at the bee yard here at the house.
I had 8 hives and 6 clusters were high in the top deep box.
I reversed them and done some checker boarding to give them more room.
I will be using 2 hives for the cloake board method of rearing queens.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
L Daxon
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 06:46:33 PM »

I used to reverse boxes every spring, but this year I have decided to leave well enough alone.  The girls know better than I do where they should be/want to be.  As long as they have plenty of space to expand, they will arrange things the way they want them. Thousands of years of practice on their part have made it so.

As to what the books say, the sooner you learn that the bees don't read the same books we do, the better off you will be.  There is lots of stuff I read/learned back in the 1980s when I first started bkeeping that is now not recommended, like prophylactically treating for AFB.  I also have my first bee book, "How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey" that said medium boxes were on their way out and hardly anybody used them.  That sure has changed.  I keep in all mediums now and didn't own a medium the first 10 years I kept.

ldaxon
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linda d
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2013, 10:30:19 PM »

I guess bee keeping is no different than anything else....

One year eggs are good for you, the next they aren't.

I say "let the bees lead and I will follow".  Mostly anyway.  Smiley Smiley Smiley

David
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Finski
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2013, 07:41:31 AM »



Reversing helps bees to use frames evenly when cells change the position in brood ball.

A typical upper box frame. When reversed bees  rear brood in white area.
They too clean the winter food from frames if it exists.

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RHBee
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2013, 09:12:10 AM »

I was under the impression that the reason for the spring reversal was simply to provide more area for the queen to lay. During the winter the cluster moves up as stores are depleted and to move to the warmer parts of the hive. Reversal in spring encourges the use of the otherwise empty bottom box. I found my bottom box empty this spring. When I reversed them the bees took to them and the queen began to lay in the empty comb. This is only what I observed. After talking around in this area I found that most don't even winter in double deeps.
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kathyp
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2013, 10:55:34 AM »

Quote
Reversal in spring encourges the use of the otherwise empty bottom box.

if you reverse early they might move up and start over.  that's probably what you are observing.  they would move down and use that space anyway in the natural course of things.
if you reverse late, as weather forces many to do, they won't move off the brood they are raising and you may, if you are not careful and experienced, put honey in the middle of your brood nest.

+ you have messed up the brood nest that they have developed over the last year.

it's not the end of the world if you do it.  it's just disruptive and unnecessary.   first wall i cracked and saw the way the bees do it without our interference, was the last time that i considered swapping boxes a good management technique....but....i do still move frames when i need to, so i'm not into the totally hands off approach, and if a colony doesn't build up properly or the weather doesn't cooperate, i remove that empty bottom box.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Finski
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2013, 01:46:38 PM »

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I have used electrict heating 10 years in spring.
When lower box is warm, queens comes down  easily and start to lay in bottom box too.

But one important thing is to mobilize last winter food a crytsallized honey at the beginning of summer.
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