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Author Topic: Hives not touched for ten years  (Read 1220 times)
cherami
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« on: November 05, 2008, 11:49:39 AM »

I have been given two Hives that have not been touched for at least 10 years and they are in very poor condition. I have put them in the place I wish to keep them. They have all settled down since thier removal and did poke thier head,s out when it was a bit warm last week. This is in fact my very first set of bees, I have new Hives for them. Q How do I make them vacate thier old hives and enter the new ones as I don't think it is going to be possible to open the old Hives. I know that I must not attempt anything yet, but I belive that April will bo ok, but how? I live in the centre of France and it will be warm around that time.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2008, 12:24:38 PM »

Is it possible to remove the bottom board?  If so, you can place the old hive on top of the new hive and eventually they will move into the bottom part.  Problem is, at some point you will have to get ALL of the bees out of the top.  To do so, get a bee escape and after you have verified the queen is below in the new hive, put the escape on and allow the bees remaining in the old hive to move down without going back up.  Another problem is that if there is brood in the old hive, workers will be less ready to move down but you will get the majority of them.  They don't like to leave brood unattended.

Why can't you open the hive from the top?  Hive might fall apart or is it just that the lid is excessively sealed with propolis and wax?

In any case, I think this is one method to get them into the new hive.  I'm not sure what else you can do if you can't get the top open.  I bet the frames will be very hard to get out.  10 years....wow.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2008, 01:59:43 PM »

If you can't get the frames out (probably not, after ten Years) if you can separate the supers it will help. Separate the supers, Place a new box with drawn comb on bottom and use lots of smoke to try and smoke the bees down (hopefully the queen will move too). May need to use whatever you use to move bees with to clear supers before you remove honey. After you have moved what you can down place a queen excluder between new box and old box. Wait several days and go back and check new box for queen or eggs etc. If none present try again, may take several attempts.

If eggs etc present in new super leave excluder on and add new boxes beneath excluder as needed. Eventually brood above will hatch and queen is left below. Then deal with old boxes (honey etc.) as you wish.

I used this method on a hive that was similar that had no frames in it. Still had to deal with the mess after the queen moved down!

I would try this before tearing hive apart. May have to tear apart and tie combs in new frames as a last resort. And as you said wait till good weather.

Others mat have a better idea --- GOOD LUCK!!!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2008, 07:18:09 PM »

First I'd wait until spring.  Then I'd have new equipment ready (if you think the old stuff is falling apart) and work slowly and pry each frame loose and out.  If the combs are decent (in the frame and not all crosscombed) I'd put them in the new hive.  If they are all crosscombed and they have brood in them, I'd tie the brood comb into empty frames.  If they are crosscombed and honey or pollen, I'd scrap them (shake off the bees and put them in a bucket with a lid to keep the bees out).  Work your way down putting each frame in the new boxes until you get to the bottom.  If a frame is falling apart decide if you can repair it or if you want to cut brood out and tie it into a frame or, if it's honey or pollen, scrap it.
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Michael Bush
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cherami
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2008, 07:41:25 AM »

First may I thank you for your replies. One hive may be possible to put on top of a new hive as suggested, but the other is so damaged that I fear to move too muchmay cause a complete colapse as the base is already in a very poor state. However I shall try all that has been said and hope that I can complete the transfer so these little creature's are once again happy. I forgot to say that there are no supers just the main box (not sure your name for this) the frames I should imagine would be of very little use if one could remove them. I will let you know if I am succesful.
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2008, 10:18:22 AM »

i agree.  wait until spring.  you may be able to put your new supers on top and let them move up.  there are probably a number of ways to do it, but for the moment, they are probably ok until the weather warms up.
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2008, 10:25:03 AM »

wait until spring. They made it for ten yrs w/o your help, they will wait until spring. This will enable the bees to fix what you break w/ new reasources. If you do it now, and a mistake occurs, they cant fix it. They cant make honey, collect pollen raise a new queen brood etc.  Then do waht MB says. Take your time, break hive into individual components and decide on a frame by frame basis on whether it can be saved, or needs to be cut and rubberbanded into a new frame. It seems overwhelming now, but by taking a frame by frame methodolgy, it will be easier than you imagine. Big jobs are always easier when you make them into little jobs. Good luck.
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