First Checkerboard becomes first split

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Gypsi, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My first cutout hive is thriving, rather well. Robbed out 2nd cutout hive a day after I brought it home, sending a swarm into the bee tree trap and another into my little nuc. When I fed the nuc, it suffered some robbing damage.

    So I started robbing the bigger hive. Swiped a frame of uncapped brood for the nuc last week, put an sbb and a tight robber screen on it. Last night after I talked to my mentor I moved the nuc into the big hive's position (after dark) so this morning any foragers that leave are liable to come home to the wrong hive.

    The big hive is on medium equipment. I put a deep box full of frames under the medium box that is FULL of bees and brood, but so far no takers in the deep. Instead they had filled the 9 frame medium above. Yesterday before sunset I broke it up, alternating a brood frame with an empty wedge frame all across, making 2 medium boxes. On my mentor's advice I'm splitting off these 2 boxes, on their on bottom board and feed. I can order a queen, but actually there is a queen cup on one frame, and I THINK the queen is in that packed box that is the main hive body. Don't know.
    But the bees will sort it out with far less damage than I could. I don't want to roll what MIGHT be my only queen in proper hardware. I THINK there is a queen in the nuc, they act like they are guarding one and they are building elaborate brood comb in the center 2 frames, but I haven't seen here.
    I'll give them a couple of days to draw the empty frames in that deep frame box on the bottom, or I'll add a box of empty frames on top, and see if I see eggs there.

    These are nice bees, they are not super aggressive bees, but they sure are a swarmy bunch. Perhaps some new queen genetics are in order

    Gypsi
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""I put a deep box full of frames under the medium box that is FULL of bees and brood, but so far no takers in the deep. Instead they had filled the 9 frame medium above.""

    They will never draw comb below empty space. They will always work high first, then work downward.
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll swap them out in a few minutes if it is warm enough. I realized that AFTER it was too cold last night.
     
  4. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I hope I'm correct when I have mentioned to folks that swarms will build downwards, but that otherwise it's better to put foundation/empty frames directly above the brood to encourage them to draw comb above the existing heat source and where they will want her to lay eggs, like Iddee said.
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Since this is a cutout, should I put the empty deep above or below? Last night it appeared they were drawing upward into the medium above, so after I thought things over I figured I should move the deep to the top to try to move them up.

    Gypsi
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If there's no brood in the super, you can put the empty deep in the middle and bring a couple frames up to it. If there is brood in the super, put the empty deep on top until it is drawn.
     
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll put the deep on the top when it is warm tomorrow. Going down to a lovely 52 tonight. Goodnight all.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    but I haven't seen here.

    tecumseh...
    have you seen brood in various stages? seeing her is much over rated.... you simple need to know that she is doing her job and that she is doing this one task well. what all this thread has to do with checkerboarding* is beyond me.

    *us old school guys use to call this opening up the brood nest but none of us thought of how neat it might be to rename it with some cool handle.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have seen brood in various stages in the main hive, and I think I got an assortment and a queen cup in the split. Breaking up the brood box by whatever name - and I am NOT sure I did it right. The old guys on here didn't explain how, I'm afraid I caused chilled brood by putting an empty frame between each brood frame. Maybe I should have piled all the brood in the middle and just made the one box into two?
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I'm afraid I caused chilled brood by putting an empty frame between each brood frame.

    tecumseh:
    this seems to be a fairly regular down side of what some folks call checkerboarding. it is not the first time this has been reported to me... and not always by someone absolutely new to beekeeping.

    at a certain time of the year (anytime low temperatures are possible) any splitting of brood frames is fraught with danger and should be absolutely avoided. I also suspect another downside is you are actually encouraging a queen to build a small narrow brood nest up thru the center of the stack. of course the bees have no concern here but myself as a beekeeper like to see all the bee furniture from the bottom to the top of the stack fully utilized.

    I myself suspect what is being attempted to be done with 'checkerboarding' is something that can be done in a much more simply way. reversing boxes and opening up the brood nest (moving unused and empty comb up next to the brood area in the lowest box).
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Lost ten frames of brood, whether it
    Died, hatched or got robbed out.
    Ouch
     
  12. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    big set back for sure,sorry to hear of the loss.

    Sometimes the test is given before the lesson. Better luck on the next one.
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It was an educational event. I had the time. I had half the plan. I stopped half way through to call my mentor. By the time I got his reply, it was after dark and I was tired. If I'd taken a minute and stacked them back on the hive I pulled them from, I wouldn't have lost them. Once burnt, twice learnt!

    Gypsi