I wrote the following two parts description of what I do here in the early spring time for a Texas bee forum and though I would share it here also.. mind you this is just how I do things. Part 2 -Reversing- I will add tomorrow. Part 1: i suspect there are some bee keepers new to this stuff that really have little direction as to what might be an appropriate or well tested method. below I will give some idea of what I am doing at this time of year to get the bees ready for the coming season. lets start at the end objective of this manipulation.. the ultimate object (end results) of the first manipulation of the season is three fold... 1) set up the brood chamber for the coming growth season 2) access how much stores you have on hand (remember here historically a lot of hive will starve in early March) and 3) clean off the bottom board. again starting from the last or #3... inspection of the bottom board can tell you something about the hygienic tendencies of the hive. the idea here is to scrape any accumulated debris from the bottom. if very clean this suggest some hygienic capacity. if you find some shb, live or debris, burn this <do not toss this on the ground. #2: the reason for this should be self evident. with no experience for the audience to fall back upon act here in a very conservative manner. if you have some question at to 'is that enough' then be prepared to feed. feeding also stimulates brood production which can and will somewhat enhance the honey harvest a bit later on. #1: the meat of this tread and what you do here will have a large effect on how your bees do in the year/season that follows. the idea here is to set up the brood nest in some fashion and to more importantly remove any limitation to the expansion of the brood nest horizontally. typical road blocks to brood nest expansion horizontally are 1) a solid frame of pollen and 2) a solid frame of capped honey <what is happening here... pollen is consumed slowly and 'the girls' have this resistance to uncapping honey. this process is often times called 'opening up the brood nest'. it is not checkerboarding.... about 1/3 of hive will have began brood rearing at which ever side of he box warms up at this early spring date. as such the brood nest will appear very much uncentered in the box. I myself like to slight adjust this by sliding the frames of the brood nest to be more centered in the box. the first thing you should make certain of is the queen is laying in an adequate fashion... some small number of queen will come out of the winter as drone layers. these hives need to either be stacked (on other hives) or a frame of young larvae added to get some possibility that the hive may rear a new queen <the old queen needs to be killed.. or if she can not be located the bees should be shook out on the ground prior to the box being stacked on another hive. next the area of and around the brood nest needs to be closely examined and most especially any limits to an expanding brood nest should be relocated. I myself move capped honey to the outside position in the box and any frames of solid pollen the next/second position from the outside wall. often times the frames at the outside of the box will be empty these need to be moved up next to any currently brood up frames... it is good to notice the quantity of drone cells in these empty frames and if you think there is too large a proportion of drone cells situated these as close to the outside position as possible. this simply limits too many drones being produced too early <if you were in the queen rearing business* like my good neighbor to the south you would look at this in a quite different fashion. a resevation: do not move feed resources too far from the brood cluster most especially if the later winter cluster is small... location of frames of feed beside or above the early brood nest are both quite acceptable <added feed/syrup in the same location are good substitutes if there is litte feed in the hive. *my long term primary theme in beekeeping is that PURPOSE does drive a lot of decision in regards to beekeeping. different purpose often time yields a very different decision.