Would you Checkerboard this time of Year?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by lazy shooter, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    My hives are in West Texas. It will probably be another three to four weeks before we have our first freeze or hard frost. My questionable hive consists of one 10 frame deep that is full of brood and honey, and one 10 frame medium that is about 90 full of mostly honey and couple of frames of brood. Just last week I added a third box, a 10 frame medium to this hive. Our area still has lots of blooms, and the bees are bringing in large amounts of pollen. These bees were reluctant to move up into the first medium. I had to move up a large frame of brood to finally entice them to move into the second medium. Should I move up a frame of brood or maybe checkerboard the two top boxes to entice the bees up, or should I just wait and let the bees be bees?
     
  2. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I wouldn't,here anyway. tec. would be the one who would know in your area. Was the third box foundation or drwn comb? Jack
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Not knowing your conditions:
    If the bees are reluctant to even move up into the second medium I would remove the third. Don't know how long your winter there is but I would imagine they have the stores they need. I would just leave them.
     
  4. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    The frames in the third box were rite cell foundation.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I would take it off. If it was drawn comb I might leave it on but just foundation I wouldn't bother.
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If they need a bit more space maybe freeze a couple of frames of honey from the medium, and give them a couple of blank frames instead of a whole box?

    (I have a frame in my freezer for this reason - one of my hives was crowded.)
     
  7. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Thanks to all for the replies. I have two other hives in this apiary that have one frame of deep and one medium. The mediums on these hives are not filled, so I can easily move some frames to the other hives. Or, I could follow Gypsi's advice and put a couple of honey frames in the freezer. My real problem is not being able to "think outside of the box."
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    It's not swarm season, or honey season, it's getting-ready-for-winter season, so probably best to remove excess empty space. They are not really in comb building mode right now, even though they are bringing in pollen and nectar. My opinion is to let them fill their deep and their first medium and just take away the second empty medium.
     
  9. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    " My real problem is not being able to "think outside of the box."

    shooter, how about inside the box......:lol:

    what perry and omie said. your foundation will most likely not be drawn. and as you said, you can move frames of feed around or "equalize" your colonies with feed, and honey frames can be stored in the freezer to feed back to the bees.
     
  10. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Bees have been surviving for millenia without us, and for a couple thousand years in spite of us. They were doing what allowed their ancestors to survive, doing what comes natural.
    "But we really never have had or ever will have a mastery over the honeybees. She is wild by nature and will at all times have her own way and will unfailingly and unerringly follow her instincts. It is up to us to understand her ways and adjust ourselves to her truly marvelous nature, not attempting the impossible of `mastering’ her, but rather doing all we can to serve her needs."
    If you want to be the most natural, bee biology appreciative beekeeper you might consider another observation from Bro. Adam as quoted above. . .
    "The spreading of brood by the insertion of empty combs or frames fitted with foundations in the middle of the brood-nest, as widely advocated at one time, violates every convention of good beekeeping. If left in the middle, they tend to form a barrier to the queen with the result that she will be inclined to restrict laying to the combs on one side of the foundation until a good honey flow supervenes. It may also occasionally give rise to swarming."
    "At Buckfast we endeavour, so far as possible, to respect the inviolableness of the mainspring of the life of a colony, namely, the brood-nest. The `spreading of brood,’ the removal of pollen-clogged combs to hasten the spring build-up, stimulative feeding, every unnecessary examination and disturbance are strictly banned and have no place in our management. "

     
  11. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    It should be mentioned for clarification that the term 'checkerboard' does not mean putting empty comb frames interspersed in the middle of a brood nest. Checkerboarding means to position some open comb frames directly ABOVE the brood nest, eliminating any 'honey bound' barrier frames over the brood nest, so that the queen can move upwards and have new room to lay. Providing the queen access to new laying spaces supposedly helps discourage swarming.

    New folks sometimes mistakenly think that 'checkerboarding' means to arrange the brood nest with alternating frames of brood and frames of empty comb. Never a good idea to drastically split up the brood nest like that, and that's not what checkerboarding is.

    If you don't have or want another box on top but want to give the queen more room to lay, insert an empty comb frame at the side of the brood nest, alongside the last frame of brood. Pollen frames typically go next, alongside the edges of the brood nest (pollen to feed the brood), then honey frames last of all towards the outer sides of the box.
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would agree with Bro. Adam other than one point. Pollen LADEN frames. I have seen a queen trapped on 2 frames between 2 pollen laden frames in spring and will not cross them to lay in other frames. At that time, the pollen frames must be moved outward or the brood nest will not expand past the 2 frames until the pollen is used up.
     
  13. Minz

    Minz Member

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    When to checkerboard is based on the hardwood bloom times (from memory of what I have read). I think it was given in several different bloom times and 4 weeks prior to apple bloom sticks in my head. I just planed down a bunch of 6†wide stock to make some shallows and will try it a few hives for 2014 spring (if I can keep from cutting comb).
     
  14. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Omie,

    I got inadequate checkerboard / split instructions and ran out of time on a cool night in early April. I successfully killed off 9 frames of brood. Fortunately my hive survived. And I changed forums. Now a frame or 2 up in the medium super honey storage area, I have no problem swapping empty for full. But I will never again break up a broodnest.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suggest to you lazyshooter that I don't really know what checkerboarding means but seems to be another of those recently invented terms that may mean whatever you want or nothing at all. I have myself heard of too many examples in regards to checkerboarding that sounded like a repeat of Gypsi's response. this tendency of a process that leads to disaster by folks employing this process evidently goes right over the head of the author of this idea.

    by and large if you carefully read what Americasbeekeeper and Iddee wrote I cannot add any more content than is included in those two well considered responses.
     
  16. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    People grab hold of a catchy term and run with it, without actually bothering to read the definition or description, then they innocently repeat this mis-information to others and it winds up being repeated and passed along by lots of people online who have never read the 'author's' definition. This happens in life with a lot of things, hard to avoid in my opinion. Now 'mountain camping' is fast becoming an online BKing term as well, taking on a life of its own beyond its origins, just like 'checkerboarding'. Fun new beekeeping verbs to be thrown about with wild abandon! ;D
     
  17. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I think some manipulations are very specific to local conditions and dont apply when taken to a different climate, day length etc. Also there appears to be considerable difference in the instinctive behaviour of different bee breeds and crosses. I think even the mite load an individual hive is coping with can affect how a new scenario will play out.

    That said, there is likely a long list of notions that might only happen in a dream! One that comes to mind is pulling off the tops of all the hives in a yard to quell a robbing circus!
     
  18. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Very well said Omie and Crofter:thumbsup: Jack
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think I would also add 'proper timing' to your list of primary consideration Crofter... but yes #17 was nicely stated.

    there is a significant learning curve in beekeeping and once you have grasped the basics and applied these just a little, you pretty well come to understand that any and all manipulation are done within boundaries and exceeding these boundaries typically means you are placing the hive or the hive's potential production at risk. some folks I suspect don't need much understanding or experience to fully understand the implication of this notion. most new bee keeper (who seem to me to be the only people doing this pointless process) for the above reasons are likely the worst audience to attempt this procedure. to somewhat quote the author's own words (loosely stated)... 'he could not sell the idea to the academics and he could not sell the idea to the commercial folks'...which really only leaves him with an audience of novice beekeepers.

    I think none other that Michael Palmer suggested to the author that there were easier and much more simple ways to accomplish the underlying purpose of 'checkerboarding'. in the old days we simply called this 'opening up the brood nest' and as far as I know was only attempted in the spring of the year. I am not certain why there is some human requirement to create a new term for some well worn and understood process?
     
  20. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    My bees are currently in a small flow and they need additional space, as their top box is 90 percent filled. I thought I needed to add a box, which I did, to prevent the bees from making a very late season swarm. In my opinion, it is late for the bees to survive a swarm, and I am quite sure I don't want to make a split this late in the season. There is a looming possibility of a freeze in the next two to three weeks. In my neophyte mind, I wanted the top box to be mostly filled with honey and brood, so that in the late winter or early spring I could feed them on top of their frames (sugar candy or Mountain Camp) if necessary. Also, in my twisted engineering mind, I wanted the box to be level full. Uniformity, is a sickness of mine.

    In brief, I wanted to know how to accomplish the above tasks. To me, the best suggestion so far has been to move a frame or two to another hive, but I am still reading with an open mind.