Checkerboarding- How it's done

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For those that would like to try CBing in the future start keeping a notebook of bloom now if you don't already. This will help you look at indicators and pin point white wax in the later years. Note tree bloom ex: red maple, elm etc and also flower and fruit bloom ex. blackberry etc. Also note insect activity and what kind. Note: green-up and what kind of trees ex oak. Theses indicators may let you know later if your white wax is likely to be early or late. Ex. Once you note the bloom a few years --- White wax may come 4 weeks after oak green-up.

I say this now as many are just beginning to enter their bloom season and it is a good time to start notes. I will admit I have been Lazy at doing this but always write the date of first white wax down.

Thats one reason I started the follow the bloom thread. If we take notice to it, we can judge progression form southern areas to Northern tier areas with slight variables. Some blooms are daylight dependent and others are temp dependent. Some both. It can give an indicator of when we should start planning the buildup. In all cases you need maximum foragers for maximum honey production.


--- Quote from: chux on March 06, 2014, 09:27:24 am ---Second, I am using foundationless frames. Walt says that after things get going good you can use foundation instead of drawn out comb. I will be using foundationless frames. This will leave a void until they build. I am wondering how this will affect the system????

--- End quote ---

I Pm'ed Walt and asked about the foundationless. He said he has never tried the system with foundationless and based on no reference from him i am assuming he is not aware of anyone that has. Also if you decide to try it ... which based on no drawn comb would have to be next year ... please provide some feedback.

What do you do when you don't have a super full of honey to work with? My bees are all up into the top box and into the emergency feed at the end of a brutal winter. There are boxes of empty comb below them. If what you are trying to prevent is the perception of a honey band above the brood nest, no such thing exists at the moment. All I can really do at this point is reverse boxes and feed, right?

Here is a method you might want to try if you do not have drawn comb to CB with. This page is off the other bee site. I have not tried it because I have drawn comb but I am going to try it with a couple hives this year to see if it works. I think it will work.
The mans name that post about this method is Matt Davey. I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here.

 I would show beginners "Opening the Sides". It's really worth giving it a go.

 It's specifically for beekeepers who don't have spare drawn comb.


1. Several weeks before swarm season, move each outside frame up into a new box and checkerboard them with new frames, directly above the Broodnest.

 2. Insert a new frame on each outside edge of the Broodnest. (Brood only on one side of the frame.)

3. Check them in 2-3 weeks and repeat if frames are drawn.

 (This is assuming all frames are the same size.)

 The new frames have only a strip of foundation as a guide. Bees will often build only drone comb before swarm season if the frame is completely foundationless. But with the foundation strip it ends up being about 2/3 worker to 1/3 drone comb. (The comb needs support, such as wire, fishing line, or in my case bamboo skewers.)

 Its good for beginners because it gets them to identify the outside edge of the Broodnest, looking for eggs and larvae.

 I prefer to Open the OUTSIDE of the Broodnest for the following reasons:

 - Inserting new frames inside the Broodnest forces the bees to have to cover a larger area in order to heat the Broodnest. So if bad weather sets in you can have chilled brood. On the outside doesn't.

 - If there are not enough bees to completely fill the gaps inside the Broodnest, it's possible that a group of nurse bees could become isolated from the queen and experience lower pheromone levels for a time, causing them to start emergency queen cells. (This is very rare, but I believe it happened to me once, may have been a cold night.) On the outside bees don't get isolated

 - The response to fill the HOLE in the Broodnest is the same even if the new frame is on the outside edge of the Broodnest, with brood only on one side

 In my opinion Splitting should only be done if the hive is already in swarm mode, or you want more hives. If you are doing it purely to prevent swarming, it's not ideal.

 Splitting is best done after the main flow before a dearth, so as to reduce population. It's best if the old queen is moved to a Nuc and the main hive is left to produce a new queen as it has all the resources.



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