spring management

How to checkerboard a hive

Before I explain how to do it, I want to repeat that checkerboarding is done above the brood nest. Many beekeepers believe that checkerboarding a hive is done in the brood nest. But on the contrary, you do not disturb the brood nest in the process. Checkerboarding is often confused with opening the brood nest, pyramiding, or unlimited brood nest management—all of which are different, and all of which I will describe later.

The following applies only to checkerboarding:


Checkerboarding is done in the early spring before the bees begin swarm preparations. Since there is no disturbance to the brood nest, many beekeepers like to do it as early as possible. In any case, it needs to be completed before the expanding brood nest starts to contract due to backfilling.


Checkerboarding is done in the two supers that are directly above the brood nest. The boxes may be of any size—but they should be the same size.


Alternate frames of honey are removed from one box and replaced with frames of drawn empty comb. For example, in your first super you may remove frames 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 (which are all full of honey) and replace them with frames of empty drawn comb. When you’re done, the even-numbered slots have honey, and the odd-numbered slots are empty.

You take the frames of honey you just took out of the first super and put them in the second super in the same position they had before, that is, in position 1, 3, 5, 7, And 9. This time, the even-numbered spots have frames of empty drawn comb, and the odd-numbered slots are full of honey. When stacked atop one another, the boxes look like this from the side:

Full Empty Full Empty Full Empty Full Empty Full Empty
Empty Full Empty Full Empty Full Empty Full Empty Full


Checkerboarding breaks up the solid band of honey that rings the top of the brood nest. This band of honey signals the bees that winter preparations are complete and it’s time to swarm. When the band is interrupted, more storage areas are exposed, and the bees defer swarming until the empty spaces are filled. Eventually, optimal swarming conditions pass and the colony may not swarm at all.

How to checkerboard a hive

When the first honey super begins to fill, simply add another empty honey super and alternate full and empty frames in the pattern shown above.

If you have two brood boxes, you can reverse them in spring (or not). As soon as the first honey super is nearly full, add another and checkerboard the frames.


The original checkerboarding model used only empty drawn frames between the frames of honey—and the purists still do. Many beekeepers, however, have had good results using frames of undrawn foundation or even foundationless frames.

If a colony does not span the entire box, you can just checkerboard the middle frames, say 3 through 8, and leave the end frames alone.


Done properly and at the right time, checkerboarding will

  • Prevent or delay swarming
  • Increase hive population
  • Produce a larger crop of honey
  • Eliminate the need for invasive swarm-control manipulations
  • Prepare the hive for winter without supplementary feed

For more information, see “Checkerboarding: the x-files of beekeeping.”


Checkerboard a hive above the brood nest, in the honey supers.

Checkerboard a hive above the brood nest, in the honey supers.


  • Rusty,

    Thanks for this. I have read some of the other websites (BeeSource, etc.) descriptions of checkerboarding, but regardless of which thread I looked through, it very quickly degenerated either into bickering about details, or esoteric concepts of theoretical bee behavior. This is the first time it has been clearly explained in a straightforward manner without extraneous noise derailing the topic.

    I am sure I will have questions about details later, but for now I have only one, and it is about the third brood box.

    Right now I am running two deeps. I have two hives that have come through the winter with a LOT of stores. I expect some of it to be used up during the build up, so I am only supplementing with MegaBee patties at present, along with spring treatment syrup once.

    The other two have essentially used up 75% of their stores, and I am feeding them syrup along with MegaBee patties.

    If I want to go to three deeps on these hives, when would be the best time to do it? I have enough empty drawn comb to give each third deep two frames of empty drawn comb and the rest plain foundation. Should I do it now? Would that not set back or interfere with the amount I would be able to extract? Should I wait until after the spring flow is over and put on before the fall flow we have here that most everyone lets the bees keep to build up their winter stores?

    I realize that is more than one question, but it’s all about the same thing…when do you add the third box to the hives.

    • Joel,

      When you go from two deeps to three, you will naturally lose some production because you will be leaving another nearly full box of honey on each hive. But over the long haul you will gain from healthier, more productive hives. You are trading a short-term loss for a long-term gain. If you checkerboard (or checkerboard as much as you can) some of the decline in production will be offset by more production per hive.

      I would get the third box on there as soon as possible. If you can grow a big population early, they have the entire summer and fall to store nectar.

  • I’ve read more than a few contradictory and confusing descriptions of checkerboarding. Your concise explanation is clarifying. Thanks.

    My hives consist of two deeps each. I may add a third deep and checkerboard them when I reverse the boxes in early spring. If there aren’t any honey frames to checkerboard, I’ll just reverse the boxes and be done with it.

    Whatever I do, I’ll reference a few of your posts before I do it. Due to work commitments, Honey Bee Suite is pretty much all the beekeeping reading I have time for these days. The effort you put into your writing is much appreciated on my end.

  • Rusty…I’m excited! I believe you are saying that time must be spent understanding the nature of Honey Bee Reproduction and what species of plant materials in a given region fuel the reproductive process. I’m learning Rusty… Timing is a very important factor. Got to get in tune with nature! Wished I had a better sense of what time factors Mother Nature Had in store. I’ll learn how to adjust to her.

  • I agree with all the comments here – love the very clear picture you painted regarding something I was heretofore uncertain about. Thanks as always.

  • I’m trying to get my mind wrapped around what it would look like with my hives’ configurations. They are each overwintering with 2 deeps and a medium. Currently they are clustered at the top of the 2nd deep, with the medium still full of honey (and, I imagine, the 1st deep basically empty). I could checkboard with the existing medium and another, but what does that mean for reversing the deeps? Seems like a more complicated configuration.

  • That certainly simplifies it! The reversing post also answered for me the debate I’ve been having with myself about hives being built up, but in nature bees going up, down, and sideways. Plus with checkerboarding that top super, I may be able to sneak out a few frames of maple honey, foraging weather permitting!

  • Rusty,
    Thanks do much, have been trying to get my brain around this all week, now I’m feeling confident. Checkerboarding doesn’t seem to have taken off in the UK yet, so I have no local people to check their experiences. Can I ask a possibly stupid question? I’m guessing that you don’t exclude the queen from the checkerboarded super, or do you?

    • Hi Sharon,

      I would not exclude the queen. I consider the checkerboarded supers as “theirs” to do with as they please. My own honey supers would go above the checkerboarded ones.

      I’m sure other beekeepers will disagree, but this is how I see it. If the checkerboarding prevents the bees from swarming, you should have a huge colony which will continue to store honey all summer–even in “your” honey supers.

      Furthermore, even if the queen does lay a bit in the checkerboards, some of the frames will still be extractable. In my experience a queen that lays way up there generally sticks to the middle two or three frames.

  • Rusty,

    Thank you for making this easy to understand. I hope I am not too late to chime in with a question and request for confirmation but here goes. I like others here have overwintered my first hive of Russians in northern Virginia and have been debating reversing, checkerboarding, splitting etc. to manage the bees best. The hive is two deeps with 1 med super of honey on top.

    Can you confirm that to checkerboard I could add another super and checkerboard that with the other and not switch the deep bodies? Could any of these frames be empty?

    Next, how does the lower deep get filled if it stays empty? Will they build down?



    • Tony,

      Before you do anything else, read my post on reversing hive bodies: “Reversing brood boxes? Is it necessary?” It explains why it is not necessary to reverse and when you can expect the box to fill up again. As for checkerboarding, yes, you can use a new super along with the one with the honey in it. I think it is ideal to use empty frames of drawn comb, but if you don’t have it, you don’t have it. Lots of beekeepers report success with empty frames or frames with foundation, so you should be fine. If you happen to have a few frames of empty drawn comb, use those toward the center of the box to encourage the bees. Otherwise don’t worry about it.

  • Rusty,

    Great website. Wanted to ask you about CB in Seattle Area. I am in Auburn. I was curious what you think is the latest to checkerboard and when is the swarm cut-off date. I am looking for actual date ranges.


    • Aram,

      I can’t actually give you a date for the latest time to checkerboard. If your bees haven’t started to build swarm cells, there is still a chance that checkerboarding will prevent a swarm. If you do have swam cells, you are too late because the swarm impulse is already underway. This impulse will vary with the individual hive, but around here it will usually happen between mid-May and mid-July.

      Last year the last swarm I saw was June 28. The latest one I ever saw was July 3. In my opinion, the swarm cut-off date is going to be right around the first week in July for western Washington.

  • Hi Rusty,

    Is it possible to checkerboard with two deeps?
    The queen and brood are in the lower deep, the upper deep has just about 10 frames full of honey, I was going to replace 1,3,5,7. & 9 with empty drawn frames. Do you still suggest a third super?


    • Bruce,

      Since the brood nest is in the lower deep, you should be fine with just a second deep. If the colony builds up really fast you could always use the frames you saved to add another deep later. But really, most people checkerboard with just two.

  • Rusty,
    Reading Walt Wright’s comments on checkerboarding, he says that the technique encourages queen supersedures. If I wanted to manually requeen instead of allowing the supersedure, when would be the best time to introduce the news queen so the hive doesn’t attempt to supersede her?

    • David,

      Checkerboarding can produce strong, vigorous hives. Sometimes in a very populous hive the queen pheromone becomes diluted because of the sheer volume of bees. Afterall, she produces the same amount of pheromone regardless of whether there are 40,000 bees in her colony or 80,000. Whether a supersedure happens in any colony cannot be predicted with certainty, but a lot will depend on the age of the queen . . . young queens produce more pheromone.

      If you want to prevent the supersedure you can re-queen proactively during spring build-up or you can wait to see if supersedure cells appear and do it then. Re-queening can be accomplished in the spring, summer or fall, but my favorite time is in the fall because first year queens are rarely superseded and a fall re-queening doesn’t interfere with spring build-up or major honey flows.

  • Never heard of “checkerboarding” before but it makes sense.
    I used to just take as much honey as I could get and maybe that helped to lessen swarming…….

  • Rusty,
    I’ve splits on 5 frame nucs. Is it possible for them to checkerboard?

    Also, most of my colonies wintered in one single deep (with nothing above). Should I put a checkerboarded deep above them?


    • Cem,

      Sure, you can checkerboard a nuc the same way you would a full-size hive. The purpose is to get them to move up in the spring and expand their nest into the upper box. And yes, in the spring you can checkerboard your singles as well.

      • Thanks for your quick reply. My only concern about the CB is will the bees be able to cover the brood on upstairs? Because sometimes it is 3 or 5 Celsius in my region in March.

        • Cem,

          The bees won’t put brood in the checkerboard until it is warm enough and they have enough bees to cover it. As humans, we can provide the structure, but the bees won’t use it until they are ready. They will make the decision.

  • Rusty,
    I live in Central Minnesota, and was wondering when would be the ideal time to checkerboard my 3 deep hive?


    • Darwin,

      I’d wait for a warmish day, at least 60 degrees. If you don’t disturb the brood nest you should be fine even if you get some nighttime freezes.

  • Hi Rusty!

    Just did my first checkerboarding, and just went through my first winter with three deeps..gotta say, they did extremely well, the hives are booming right now, and I haven’t had to feed anything at all…they made it all the way through just on their stores.

    I had to make some adjustments to the brood when I was doing this because they had created an elongated brood area with some in top part of frames in the bottom body, most in the middle body, and some on the bottom frames of the top body.

    Essentially I moved I the middle box to the bottom, put the other frames with brood in the center of the middle body, put a full frame of honey on each side of the brood in the middle box, then checkered from there out…in the top body I did the typical checker pattern

    The second hive was essentially the same, and I did the same thing, but had fewer full frames of honey to checker with, so in the top box I checkered the 5 frames in the center and just put empty frames on each side of that.

    Was wondering if you thought what I did was appropriate/ acceptable…

    Thank you so much for this site…


    • Joel,

      That sounds excellent. My experience with triple deeps is they make that long narrow brood nest. I think they stay warmer that way because they are all tucked in the very center of the hive and are surrounded by lots of honey, pollen, and comb that acts like insulation.

      It was good to checkerboard because it sounds as if your hives are going to explode with bees very shortly. I love to hear it. Congratulations.

  • Dear Rusty,

    I am a beekeeper in the west of Ireland and I am fascinated with the simplicity of checkerboarding as a method of swarm prevention. The facts that it is not invasive of the brood nest and avails of natural bee behaviour is most appealing. In the west of Ireland ( my nearest neighbour as I look west is the Untied States of America) the prevailing winds are south westerly and consequently we receive a lot of rainfall throughout the year. Most beekeepers in Ireland use the British National hive. Some use brood and a half (brood chamber and shallow super). The commercial beekeepers have begun to use double brood. I use what is termed a Modified Commercial brood chamber (it is about one and a half times the area of the National) and simply used to add supers as and if required throughout the summer. This year I wintered on brood and a half because we had a mild autumn with ivy flow up to a few days ago. I don’t like disturbing the brood nest or clipping the queen, practices promoted in modern beekeeping education, and hence my appreciation of checkerboarding.

    Although I have read articles on the subject on Beesource and understand the logic of the technique I am not sure of its application.
    As I understand it (I am open to correction) I must checkerboard the overwintered honey super in the spring which will result in two checkerboarded honey supers over the brood nest. Do I continue to check these two supers (weekly or whatever) so as to maintain the checkerboarding effect above the brood nest? Is it permissible to leave full supers above the latter? I would greatly appreciate your comment.


    • Biddy,

      The purpose of checkerboarding is to reduce the chance of swarming. Bees like their honey storage area to be full before they swarm, but checkerboarding makes it appear half empty. In most places, the primary swarm season lasts only six or eight weeks, so after that amount of time, you don’t have to keep re-checkeboarding. Swarming, like everything else in beekeeping, is seasonal. Read “Checkerboarding: the X-files of beekeeping” for more about why it works.

      By the way, there’s probably no problem with leaving full supers above the checkerboarded ones.

  • How do you go about accomplishing something like this in a top-bar hive, if that’s even possible? If you’ve already explained this elsewhere, I apologize; if you could just point me in the right direction.

    • Roy,

      You can do this in a top-bar hive if you super it. I’ve never supered a tbh, but I’ve seen it done. The beekeepers usually make a sort of half roof for part of the hive and make a box with top bars in it to go over the other half of the hive.

      Do any readers have a photo of this? Or advice for Roy?

  • Roy, In the TBH just simply do the same thing but horizontally. Move each bar of honey over and put in a new empty bar. It basically opens things up. If you run out of space you may need to take some honey to open things up. But just leave one new empty bar between each bar of honey.

  • Rusty,
    I am going into my 2nd season with both hives surviving to date. In both hives, I have 2 deeps (langstroth 10 frame brood boxes) and that’s it (no supers). To checkerboard, would I remove every other frame of honey from the top box, and replace with empty comb or foundation? I understand disturbing the brood box in general is desirable, but since I have no supers on, the only conceivable way to ‘checkerboard’ is to do it in the top brood box. Or would it be better to add a 3rd deep with empty foundation?

    • John,

      It depends on what is in the boxes. If it is just honey in the upper brood box, you can checkerboard in the normal way (replacing every other frame of honey with empties). But if it contains brood, then you shouldn’t—at least until it is very warm outside. Checkerboarding should never interfere with the brood nest.

      However, if your brood is all in the top box and none is in the lower box, you could reverse them instead of checkerboarding. Or you could add a third box.

  • Hey Rusty, I’m trying to figure out a question, and I THINK you answered it, but I want to be sure. This will be my first year checkerboarding… I understand that I am to checkerboard the supers above the brood nest… what I’m wondering is, does this encourage the bees to expand the brood nest up thereby increasing the population via a larger brood nest AND no backfilling of the original brood nest, or just an increase in population over non checkerboarded hives via no backfilling? I hope that made sense.

    • Matt,

      For an explanation, please read “Checkerboarding: the x-files of beekeeping” if you haven’t already. If you are worried about your bees expanding the brood nest into the honey supers, you can use a queen excluder to prevent that. Checkerboarding delays swarming in many cases, but it won’t prevent backfilling once the bees become hell-bent on swarming.

  • Matt,

    When you increase the broodnest with CB upper bodies, the queen will lay up into the supers. She will use it as a brood nest and when the flow starts, they will begin filling up at the top and start moving down. As long as she has empty cells to go down they will backfill w/o compressing her laying ability. If she is squeezed at the top and at the bottom, the swarming impulse will start. Some time being pollen bound in the bottom super will squeeze her laying space enough to get it started also.

    In Puget Sound area CB accomplishes huge population growth, but our early flow is just enough to sustain that population, then mid May our bees are in between flows and need to be fed, otherwise they consume any extras saved from early flows and the queen slows down. Then the main flow starts in early to mid June and they start filling the supers, but that slow down in May had decreased the foraging population. So spare feeding is an absolute necessity. Some time the late summer brings us into a nice situation to capture a late flow from asters and knotweed. Not totally dependable and often just goes into the winter storage for bees, but it is nice if we can capture it.

    • Aram,

      Checkerboarding, also known as “nectar management,” is done entirely above the brood nest. Basically it does two things: increases honey production and delays swarming. Secondarily, it may increase (or maintain) the size of the brood nest because backfilling is reduced, or at least delayed. It sounds like you are referring to “opening the brood nest,” which is a different technique. For the most complete description of these techniques, Walt Wright, who refined the techniques and named them, has all his writing online. You can access them here.

  • I have read most all documents that Walt Wrote a long time ago, I just never find it to quite increase my honey production because of the extended period of marginal nectar flow, though I have completely stopped the swarming. My colonies eagerly eat all of the checkerboarded honey to raise brood, but the flow does not quite start early enough, so the supposed supers of honey stored before the main flow do not happen to me.

    I get a hive full of bees, that don’t want to swarm and not a drop of saved honey, so the queen really slows down her laying and then the flow starts with a bunch of older but rested bees. Good enough for the start of the flow, but by the time the population growth caught on, the flow is over and now I am in the middle of July and early August with matured foragers. Welcome to ROBBING.

    I think it is a good idea for swarming control. That works every year. I think the increased honey yields are more of a toss up.

  • Hi Rusty, enjoy your site. Planning on doing some checkerboarding. So you are saying if you don’t have empty comb, some have found success with foundation or empty frames? Any problems with the bees just over extending out the drawn frames on both sides of the foundation? Have had bees do that when frames weren’t pushed together. It can create a real mess. Thanks.

  • I am new to the bee business, this is my first experience. In October I found an old wooden box with a hive in it. I bought a new large super and transferred bees to the new super by cutting comb to fit frames and rubber banding the comb into the frames, enough to fill super. I have been feeding sugar patties since. Bees seem to be ok.

    I am now trying to decide what to do next, a second large super with foundation? Suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Asa,

      Depending on your climate, you can keep your colony in one brood box or two. So if you live in a cold climate (with long winters) you may want to add a second brood box as spring approaches, or when about 80% of your current frames are covered with bees. Then, when your nectar season begins (also dependent on your climate) you can add a honey super.

  • Rusty,

    I’d like to hear more on your opinion of running three deeps (basically) year round. I am also in the NW, and it seems that most beeks around here run two deeps, honey supers through the flow and scale back down to two deeps for overwintering. I’ve generally got hives that are two plus years old and for the most part, the 1-3 and 8-10 frames are full, capped and often just unused and since I started beekeeping, have always run two deeps, and left a honey super on after harvest (late July early August). Let them clean it up or fill it in whatever fall flow we have and overwinter on it. I’ve done Walt’s checker boarding, and found if helpful, but a challenge with the shallow above the two deeps. I’m thinking about either adding another deep and running them with three and then just adding supers as needed or just adding another super on these established hives (and drawn comb) and checker boarding to break up the honey dome…I ran 8 hives last year and got WAY too much honey (500lbs plus), a success by most measures but I also left 100 plus in the hives and am starting out pretty honey bound…I’ll likely harvest in the next month or so just to swap out older frames and to open up the hives for expansion…but back to my question, from a management standpoint, should I work toward two deeps and supers or will I help avoid swarming and/or manage it better with three deeps?

  • Rusty,

    Thanks for your response. I live in far West Texas, Chihuahuan Desert area. With high mountains, my home sets at 4,400 ft elevation, small pines, Mesquite, Cat Claw. Our first freeze is usually end of October, last freeze about Easter. Our average rain fall is 12-14″, but can be very hot and dry at times. My thinking is two brood boxes, more bees, more honey, and storage. Am I going in right direction?

    Thank you for all your educational info on site, I have read most of it.


    • Asa,

      Yes, that’s a long winter, so I think two brood boxes is appropriate. That will give you a larger winter cluster and more storage space.

  • I’m a bit confused about checkerboarding. I’ve read quite a bit on it and am still unclear if it is just something you do to the two supers immediately over the brood nest or do you continue to checkerboard each time adding a super as honey storage expands? In other words, you are removing all supers each time you manage nectar and readjusting frames to alternate capped and drawn comb, all the way down to the top of the brood nest? I guess what is confusing me is that Walter wright describes his nectar management as easier than other methods. But I wouldn’t necessarily call this easy, compared to just throwing an empty super of drawn comb on top.

    • Paul,

      Just throwing another super on top does nothing to halt swarming, and that’s the whole point of checkerboarding. Most swarm controls measures are pretty onerous and don’t work well. If you checkerboard, you only have to do it during swarm season which is mostly over in six to eight weeks. If you’re more worried about the amount of work than losing the bees to swarms, then don’t do it.

  • Paul,

    If you just want to throw an extra super of drawn frames, then in early spring do it under the honey dome, not above it. During the summer main flow you can throw it anywhere you like as enough wax makers will be there to draw it out. Walt says to alternate two boxes and then place empty supers over those immediately upon checkerboarding. As the top supers get filled up he suggest putting more on top. That last advice did not work well for me, supering under worked better for me, but then again I don’t have two boxes of drawn frames to throw over CBed ones. I continuously extract and throw them back for bees to use.

    This year there was such a nice spring flow in my area that bees hardy touched the capped CB frames and simply started filling the empty ones with nectar.

  • Hi
    Thank you for this excellent site
    I’m new beekeeper and I’m asking how to checkerboard in early spring when there is no honey super full of honey. I’m in Iraq in a poor nectar area and have read in one site that checkerboard is done in late spring at the end of the nectar flow which means that the super is full of honey and this seems reasonable for me.

    • Ahmad,

      Checkerboarding is used to break up the barrier of honey above the brood nest. So if you don’t yet have a barrier of honey, there is no way to checkerboard it.

  • Hi Rusty,

    I don’t know what to do.

    Today I killed the queen without intention. I’m a new beekeeper and I bought three hives in January, I made splits and now I have five. One of them I did not split. The other four I made them two deeps from the beginning. I listened in YouTube to an Egyptian beekeeper who uses vertical expansion as he names. He divides the frames whatever their number into to bodies. He puts pollen above pollen and honey above honey and brood….. And so on then he adds two new frames, one in the upper body and the other in the lower. He does this in winter with good feeding. He says that the hive expands very fast in every week , I did this in spring with my four splits but without feeding. They are expanding naturally but one of the splits build comb under the inside feeder and under on of the frames, the eighth frame in the upper box, because I was lazy to put eighth frame in the lower one so lower box has seven frames. Today l wanted to put more frames because the hive is very crowded. When I removed the combs from under the eighth frame, I killed the queen which I did not notice in the other side of the comb, then I noticed that the new combs are full of eggs. When I inspected, the lower box is full of pollen and honey but pollen more. The upper box has the brood. I noticed in this vertical expansion that they tend to work in the upper box. Should I leave my hive makes its own queen or should I combine or bring a queen which is difficult to get at this time.

    Is this way of expansion good. Is it really new as he says that they have discovered it newly.
    I’m sorry to bother you but I’m learning from net only without asking anybody near me.

    • Ahmad,

      I’m not familiar with your system, but bees are adaptable. If it works, then it is probably fine. As for the queen, I would just let the bees raise a new one. You should be seeing queen cells by now, and if you are, they are doing fine.

  • Thanks for your interest. They are raising queens, many queens. It is a strong hive, but the problem is that it is very hot and my hives are on the house roof and I’m not sure if the queen will mate. I made two mini nucs in addition to the original hive to increase the chance of mating. No one has queen in my city cease they say they won’t mate in such hot weather but I don’t have another choice so I’ll let them raise as you advised.

    Thanks again.

  • Rusty, I have a smaller hive that was created late in the season, that is doing well. 2 brood boxes of medium frames all drawn out with active bees. I would like to add a 3rd box with wax foundation (not drawn). Is it too late? Would I checkboard the wax foundation? Or just put on top? Or pyramid?
    Thank you Erika

    • Erika,

      You could can try to add a third box but the bees may ignore it. It sort of depends on how far north you are. With nights getting cold, I wouldn’t expect to see comb building.

  • Rusty,

    Thank you for writing so much on swarming and prevention. This is my 3rd season, and I must say that I am still trying to understand how to do this part of beekeeping well.

    I’ve got an overwintered hive that here at the end of April is 3 boxes full of brood and bees – doing amazingly well. Yesterday, I looked through it and though bees were festooning abundantly, there was no signs of queen cells though the drone population is definitely growing too.

    The nectar flow is on here and I was thinking of pulling the queen into a NUC with some brood and supplies. My thought was that the large colony could make a queen and in the meantime devote their attention to the nectar flow.

    What are your thoughts?

    • Neil,

      That will work. I often do just that to avoid a swarm an/or increase colonies. This time of year, they produce queens effortlessly—or so it seems.

  • Hi Rusty,

    Very well done articles that I’ve read so far.

    Question about checkerboarding. I live in central Saskatchewan, and we winter our bees in two deeps. We feed pollen supplement and syrup in spring, and super when necessary. We really are intrigued with how we can make checkerboarding work for our operation. Can I put a super on early, and when they’ve got it partially full, checkerboard it with the 2nd super? What hive configuration do you use for winter? How many years have you kept bees?


  • 6 October 2020


    I’ve been assigned to line up speakers for the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association for 2021. No one knows for certain where we will be with regard to group meeting restrictions due to COVID-19 but we are interested in having you as a speaker either in person or via ZOOM. Please let me know if either of these two options would be of interest to you. Should COVID restrictions permit, would you consider coming to the Bay Area for a few days and speaking to anywhere from 1 to 5 of the Bay Area Bee Clubs that would share the expenses of your trip and speaker fee. Please provide your fees for either venue.

    Thank you.

    Ralph Carter
    Ralph L. Carter
    Office Address: 737 Snowdon Ct. Walnut Creek, CA 94598
    Email: r.carter7679@sbcglobal.net
     925-933-5777 [Home Voice]
    626-825-1287 [Cell Phone]

    • Ralph,

      Thank you for your interest, but right now I’m not doing any presentations, either in person or otherwise. I’m too backed up with other work.

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