Hi All, Coming into my first spring in Canberra. I have been trying to find the steps involved in Nadiring a hive, but am confused by the different techniques. Do I add a 2nd box of full empty frames underneath my current brood box? Do I take frames from the 1st brood box and swap some of these for empties? Do I checkboard the frames in both boxes? Or should I just super the current brood box and not worry about Nadiring it at all? Sorry for the silly questions, I am still very new to bee keeping
I would start by asking why you want to nadir the box? I do it if the hive isn’t quite ready for more space, and I won’t be available to look after the hive for several weeks. However, nadiring can be very heavy work, so I would want to be sure that it is worth it before taking it on.
That is what I would do, yes. I don’t normally checkerboard, because that is very stressful for the bees, but if the existing box is very overcrowded, putting a couple of old frames into the new box can reduce swarming tendencies. I do that less than one in ten times of adding boxes though - usually it isn’t needed if you are actively managing the hive.
That is my preference. It is much less disruptive for the bees and easier on my back. I only nadir if I think I am adding the box a little early, and I won’t be able to inspect again for more than 2 or 3 weeks.
Your questions are not silly. These are difficult judgment calls, and it is always better to get some advice from others who have done it. I am sure that your bees will appreciate your care.
@Dawn_SD Thanks for your extensive advice, much appreciated. I have been advised by our local association here in Canberra to do this to prevent swarming in early spring. I have yet to get into the hive after winter, to see what the bees have been up to. I check their activity outside the hive twice a day, morning and afternoon. I did have to feed them over winter because of the cold and wet winter we have had here in Canberra. Also I was a late starter, December 2020 I installed a nuc, so was unable to put on a super last summer and had to build up the colony for overwintering. The colony seems to be thriving, in the last few weeks there has been a lot of activity, particularly on the warmish still days, temps only reaching 15 degrees C though. My preference would be to put another box on top, as the brood seem to be really close the top board, so much so that they have built comb in the funnel of the feeder (see pics attached)
I would try that, then. Especially if you are going to be watching them for the next month or two. You are very thoughtful about your bees. Well done.
I would still take a quick look in the top of the brood box. You are going to have to lift the crown board/inner cover to put the new box on top, so you will get some idea of population when you do that. If there are not many bees, I would wait before adding the box.
Hi @KSJ ,
A combination of what you’ve listed but without checker brooding
The logic of putting a new box under the existing brood box is based on the natural tendency of bees to expand the nest down during the growth phase. However, you do still have quite cold nights and the queen could be reluctant to move downwards if there is room for laying in the upper brood box. It is warmer there. Eventually, they will move down and will begin to use this box, so you can do this, but as @Dawn_SD said it is extra work with results that can be achieved with less effort. If you want to intensify brood production and combine it swarm prevention step, then, yes. It is worth the effort, but it includes confining the queen to the bottom box by an excluder. This is an intensive method of beekeeping that involves constantly moving empty frames under QX. It works wonders in both swarm prevention and honey production in short intensive nectar flows. A bit more about this here.
But if your goal is as simple as increasing the size of the hive, just put a box of frames with foundation on top and walk away. You may promote things a bit by moving a couple of frames with open brood in the middle of the top box. It will make nursing bees building adjacent frames. Add a couple of frames with the foundation in the middle of the nest in bottom box to break it and to keep bees busy with repairs to reduce the chance of swarming somewhat.
On the subject of “Nadiring”, I would try to talk you out of it, in favor of using single brood boxes while exercising swarm prevention techniques by splitting the colony into that box you were going to nadir with. All that’s needed is an extra bottom board & roof.
A single brood box is much easier to manage than a double brood box, in my view.
Plus, if the colony does decide to swarm out of a double brood box hive, it will be massive & heartbreaking if you don’t catch it.
It would be handy to find out what commercial beekeepers around your way do, as a guide.
A photo from Canberra Region Beekeepers Association website
Thanks @JeffH @ABB for the advice, much appreciated. It was the ACT Beeks Association that suggested the Nadiring in the first place. They usually do this at the start of spring as a swarm prevention technique, which has worked for some members. It appears that most beeks in Canberra run two brood boxes. I would be happy to keep a single brood box, as I am a bit limited for space for a second hive if I were to do a split. To be honest, I won’t know until I do my first inspection after a cold and wet winter. We have a top temperature of 11 degrees C here today and rain, an a possibilitiy of snow down to 1300m. Expecting temps in the low 20s mid to later this week Still waiting for it to warm up considerably before opening the hive up.