6 responses

  1. Rusty
    February 15, 2011

    Phillip,

    This post that I wrote last week http://www.honeybeesuite.com/?p=2993 discusses the question of whether the bees move up or down or both. As I say in the post, I’m really re-thinking the reversal of boxes. I’ve decided that unless there is some compelling reason, it is a silly thing to do.

    • Phillip
      February 16, 2011

      As I say in the post, I’m really re-thinking the reversal of boxes. I’ve decided that unless there is some compelling reason, it is a silly thing to do.

      Your post makes sense to me too — based on scientific articles and books I’ve read about feral honey bees. The bees start from the top and build down. That’s it.

      But then I go on the forums and half the beekeepers are talking about swarm prevention by reversing their boxes or checkerboarding, etc.

      Many beekeeping practices seem entrenched not because they make sense, but because that’s what everybody does. And as a novice beekeeper, to play it safe, I mostly do what everyone says works for them. And therein lies the challenge for novice beekeepers: finding your own, because there is no one right way.

      I’m really looking forward to the spring and summer, because, assuming my colonies survive the winter, I’m going to learn so much just by watching the bees, I’ll be in a much better position to decide for myself what should work best. Every beekeeper has to adjust their methods to their local environment and to the specific behaviour of their bees. It’s going to take more experience for me to sort it out, but at least I know what to look for now.

      Anyway, I’m just going to watch the bees and if I don’t need to mess with them (e.g., reversing the boxes), I won’t.

  2. eggyknap
    February 15, 2011

    I’m glad that’s the topic for your next post — because I don’t know what a section box is :)

    • Phillip
      February 16, 2011

      I didn’t know what a section box was either until a few weeks ago. I plan to go with foundationless honey supers. I picked up some Bee-o-Pacs a while ago. But I would have gone with sectioned boxes had I know there was such a thing. I have no idea where to get them, at least not from a Canadian supplier.

      But, yeah, I’ll write about that as soon as I can. Certain challenges arise from going off the beaten path, and going entirely foundationless like I plan to do (I wish I’d done it from the start) does introduce a few complications, and I haven’t decided how I’m going to deal with them yet. I need to do more research. (Or what passes for research when I barely have time to read anything these days. I need to find a new line of work.)

  3. David Lansing
    February 15, 2011

    This is something I also need to give some thought to, my initial idea is to have an open brood chamber and see where and how the queen tends to lay.
    One thing I’m wondering about is….with moving thing around too much does one risk mixing up the queen’s laying pattern? I’ve heard that when working in the brood chamber it is quite important that the frames be returned to the same location to enable the queen to keep track of where & when she’d laid.
    Thanks for sharing your beekeeping adventures, as mentioned previously, I’m looking forward to getting my first 2 Nucs in the spring and am grateful you’ve decided to share what you’ve learned in your first year.

    • Phillip
      February 16, 2011

      This is something I also need to give some thought to, my initial idea is to have an open brood chamber and see where and how the queen tends to lay.

      Ditto.

      …with moving things around too much does one risk mixing up the queen’s laying pattern? I’ve heard that when working in the brood chamber it is quite important that the frames be returned to the same location to enable the queen to keep track of where & when she’d laid.

      That’s another reason I’d rather not reserve the boxes. Why risk screwing up the queen’s work? I don’t think moving honey frames around (and placing empty frames in between) is such a big deal. But brood and pollen is another story.

      We messed it up last summer when we added the second brood box to our hives. I know we split up the brood nest when we did it (I realize it now anyway). This year, when we do it with our new hives, we’ll put empty frames between fully drawn frames to encourage the bees to build in between, but we’ll make sure not to split up the brood nest.

      By “brood nest,” I mean only the frames with worker eggs, usually in the middle. Apparently drone brood can be moved to the sides of the hives, if it’s not already there to begin with. Pollen should stay close to the brood (because it’s brood food), though from what I’ve seen, the pollen usually surrounds the brood on the same frame anyway.

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