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Author Topic: Moving old hive to new one  (Read 4109 times)
ArmucheeBee
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« on: March 05, 2009, 09:40:44 PM »

So i got the nerve up to go down the street to the man who neighbors said had bees.  he was very nice and showed me the hive.  it was sitting in a little patch of woods with saplings all around it and vines.  the bees were like a highway in and out.  however, they were going under the top cover--odd.  the hive was one deep and one shallow sitting directly on the ground.  he said i could have it.  then i asked how long the hive had been there.  he said TEN years, yes 10.  without opening, without checking, without anything, 1 deep and 1 shallow.  that is crazy.  i got to thinking, this patch of woods was not here when he put the hive here!!!!!   the saplings were younger than the hive!!!

so my plan is to take some blocks, BB, deep, super, and new frames.  open it tomorrow and see if i can get the old frames out and put some in the new box with new frames and then leave it there, removing the old box.  he has a garden so i'll let them work it.  no need to move to my house 1/2 mile away.  can you imagine all the swarms this one hive has produced in 10 years!!! 

does this sound like a sound plan?
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 10:18:48 PM »

I think you will find that hive pretty much a solid mass if you can get it open. If I were you I would just add a box with new frames on top and wait for the queen to move up. I'm sure she's dying for more space to lay anyway.Then you can take that box off (with queen) to a new BB and leave it in the same location. Move the old boxes somewhere nearby leave them open and let them rob it out.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 05:58:42 AM »

Keep in mind that a move of only a few blocks will leave many bees returning to the old location.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm
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Michael Bush
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BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2009, 06:15:52 AM »

What a great find... Wink 

Yes, it sounds like a good plan. I'd get them on a bottom board, for the day you would want to move them, or if not, you could just set them on a piece of plywood at that time.

Nothing wrong with what you suggest.

Since he says you can have them, I get the sense that perhaps he may want them moved eventually?
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009, 08:33:33 AM »

Great suggestions.  I had not thought of adding a box.  Of course if the wood is rotten and filled with termites (big problem here) then it might not support a box.  today is the day i find out.  i'll take pics. 

a friend here said she set up a box for a neighbor, but the neighbor got sick and the hive set unattended for 3 years, boxes askew and leaning.  during that time my friend has lost hives in the winter and to shb, etc, but this hive is thriving!!! 

so i'm starting to see that over-management does not "always" improve the results???
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Stephen Stewart
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2009, 09:00:50 AM »

I think you will find that hive pretty much a solid mass if you can get it open. If I were you I would just add a box with new frames on top and wait for the queen to move up. I'm sure she's dying for more space to lay anyway.Then you can take that box off (with queen) to a new BB and leave it in the same location. Move the old boxes somewhere nearby leave them open and let them rob it out.

ArmucheeBee, These ^^^^^ are exactly my sentiments as well. If you do decide to try and pull the frames from that hive please take pictures, better yet a video. I would love to see what's in there! I would guess it would be nearly impossible to lift a single frame up and out of this hive.

Read M.B.'s advice for moving a hive less than 2 miles.

Quote from ArmucheeBee "so I'm starting to see that over-management does not "always" improve the results???

Correct.

Brian Bray has said many times here that he likes to keep his hives as close to feral as possible. I don't go into my brood nests unless I have to.

Don't take my word for it, but listen to Brian, he's been keeping bees for well over 70 yrs.



 ...JP Brian

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gmcharlie
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2009, 09:19:07 AM »

I would say start a new hive 2 feet away.  move all you can one piece at a time.   since they are used to that location  let tehm keep it for now in the new hive as there will be nothing left of the old one.   once they are set and moved in good  ponder if and when you may move it....
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ccwonka
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2009, 09:36:23 AM »

Hey man!  Wish I didn't have the HVAC guy over all day today (switching out the system) it'd-a been a good time to meet up and see what each other are up to (I'm the guy down the road on Old Summerville)!

Best of luck, lemme know how it goes!

CC
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 09:20:05 PM »

Here are the pics from this hive.  I took the advice here and placed my box on top.  The old hive was just a shell riddled by termites and now inhabited by ants.  There were also about 100 of the big red roaches under the top.  The top came off pretty easy (it was rotten).  A hole in the frame of the top cover was the entrance.  They were really not that hot.  I used sugar spray, no smoke and they were really happy to get that so I did not have much aggression.  Needless to say the boxes could not be moved nor could the frames be taken out.  I had never seen propolis 1.5 inches thick-that was something.  The top bars look pretty good for ten years.  He said none of the trees were there when the hive was first placed, only the large one to the right of the hive.  Oh yea, that is an oil drum beside the hive, half full.  I'll check the top box in one week to see what's happening and I plan to put out a feeder tomorrow.  I don't want to add much weight to this thing.  Unfortunately I only had new frames to put in, saving my drawn ones for packages next week.








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Stephen Stewart
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JP
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 11:30:58 PM »

Boy you sure made them happy by giving them more room. Nice find.


...JP
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2009, 11:57:07 PM »

Brian Bray has said many times here that he likes to keep his hives as close to feral as possible. I don't go into my brood nests unless I have to.

Don't take my word for it, but listen to Brian, he's been keeping bees for well over 70 yrs.



 ...JP Brian

That's an overstatement, it's only been 50 years, I'm not even 70 yrs old yet myself  (60 last BD).  I just had a very good mentor who tried to teach me 60 years of beekeeping in 60 years and started when I was 10 years old.  A good mentor and a younger mind makes you a Spert before you know it.
A Spert is what you are before you become and Expert.  But I do believe in keeping your bees as close to feral as possible and let mother nature take it's course.  If more did that we'd have varooa resistant bees nation wide in just a few years.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2009, 08:25:30 AM »

Brain

Do you manage for swarm control?  I want to be chem-free and close to natural possible.  How do you keep them from swarming and if you don't does that affect your honey yield?
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Stephen Stewart
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mherndon
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2009, 09:05:20 AM »

I inspected an old hive yesterday that hadn't been touched in 6 years.  Looks similar from the pics.  Adding a box on top would be the best way to go in this situation also.  Comb all tied together and top bars are rotten in one end.  Also has termites.  I'm clad I read this post with all the ideas.  Probably would have done major damage trying to break into this hive any other way.

Mark
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2009, 03:21:22 PM »

Brain

Do you manage for swarm control?  I want to be chem-free and close to natural possible.  How do you keep them from swarming and if you don't does that affect your honey yield?

Keeping the brood chamber open is the best way I know, but is only one of several things that have to be done at the same time to be successful in reducing swarming.  Also of note is that one of the trade off towards more hygenic bees is a greater swarming tendency, something to be aware of, the two seem to go hand in hand.

1.  Keep the brood chamber open, bees building comb in the brood chamber seldom swarm as the hive isn't "complete" until that happens and with a few exceptions (Russians, Casucasians, and crowding) bees are reluctant to swarm until the hive is "complete."  Complete is a brood nest not a storage comb condition. Storage comb has no bearing on swarming tendency other than providing expansion space.  The process of keeping the brood nest open is that in every box that has brood present the outer frames of brood must be moved outward and empty frames placed between the 2 outer frames of brood on each side of the brood chamber.  This is done by moving up the outside (storage) frame into a super.  So if the hive has 2 deeps with 6 frames of brood in each box Frames 1 & 10 are removed to the super (or harvested) frames 2 & 3 and 8 & 9 are moved to the outside and empty frames are place in the empty 3 & 7 slots.  Moving the frames up helps with drawing the bees up into the supers by baiting it.  If desired an excluder then can beplaced to separate the harvestable honey supers from the brood box  because the placement of the storage frames has already baited the bees with motivation to move up into that box.  This system works better in an all medium or all deep approach over a mixed super size system.

2. Timely supering is also essential to provide space for emerging bees as they hatch.  One sure way to force a hive to swarm, and an excemption the rule #1 above, is to crowd the bees.  Once there's more bees than the interior space of the hive can accomidate a switch to swarm mode is made.  The first visible sign of this to the beekeeper is often Bearding but by the time the beekeeper notices it, it may already be too late.  Use the 70/30 or 80/20 rule of supering, which is when 70-80 percent of the frames in a super are covered in bees (not drawn comb) super it immediately.  Waiting even a few days, with brood hatch and comb building can mean the hive is suddenly over populated.  If a flow exists, even a minor one, don't hesitate to place more than one super on at a time, particularly if you're using drawn comb.  Bees can fill 2 frames of drawn comb with curing nectar in a week, which means the hive is now short of forage space and must be supered again.  Look at it this way: 3 supers of curing nectar makes 1 super of capped honey.

3. Nutrition: Healthy bees will be more prone to work and enlarge the hive if ample space is provided.  Bees swarm or abscond for several reasons: 1. reporduction of the species, 2. corwded or congested conditions in the parent hive, 3. lack of forage (dearth or Drought) and 4. uninhabitable home (too much disruption, flood, fire, etc).  Healthy bees make more honey, more healthy bees make even more honey.

4. Pollen collection: MOst people don't consider pollen traps to be a part of swarm management but consider: When the ammount of pollen being brought into the hive by foragers is reduced by trapping, that means that the size or turn over rate of the brood chamber must be reduced. So, trapping pollen slows the brood production down, delaying the crowding/congestion within the hive, but this is only a short term solution as trapping should be limited to 2 week intervals.  That is 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, repeat.

5. Don't destroy queen cells:  Removing queen cells is the absolute worse form of swarm management I have ever encountered.  More often than not the mere act of removing the cells will render the hive queenless.  Why?  Consider: When the hive switches to swarm move it produces a number of queen cells usually, but not limited to, the lower half of the frame.  Once those cells are capped the old queen, who has begun being denied food and laying space by the attendent bees after the queen cells were established, is already slimming down prior to swarming.  That means that once the queen reaches an adequate weight reduction she can swarm at any time.  That swarm time can vary from the day the other queen cells are capped to a few moments after the 1st virgin queen hatches and begins to pipe inside the hive.  That is a space of about 7-8 days.  If the beekeeper enters the hive and removes those cells it might be after the mother queen has already departed.  Result, a queenless hive.  Best bet, make some nucs via splits using the mother queen, if still there, as one of the nucs.  This gives the beekeeper the resources imitate a natrual swarm, killing the swarm tendency, and provide a queen back if the new queen hatched in the parent hives should fail, or for requeening other hives experiencing queen problems.

6.  CAUTION:  There is mounting evidence that feral or survivor colonies are using a self-imposed brood dearth after the main honey flow as a varroa control.  That is the queen suddenly quits laying post flow and the beekeeper thinks the hive has gone queenless, when in fact, all the bees are doing isdisrupting brood production to put a stop on varroa population.  After a short period of 10days to 2 weeks the brood cycle is resumed.  This is actually a good thing as it not only does a number on the varroa but it helps the hive develop and maintain a larger number of late fall bees that are going to see it through the winter. 

I hope this helps your IPM for swarm control.
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2009, 01:02:25 PM »

Alright, it's been a week and I want an update.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2009, 02:07:12 PM »

Great informative post Brian  cool!!!
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2009, 02:13:53 PM »

You got it.  Went yesterday, a few 100 bees are up in the new deep and frames, but no drawn comb there.  I do have  one frame that I put in that has drawn comb but they were not on it?  Puzzling?  It turned cooler on wed. here.  So I put on a couple of med. which allowed me to put in a chick feeder with 1:1.  it sits on top of the frames in the deep.  I'll wait and check it again on Sunday when temps. go back to the high 60's.  If they do not move up by the end of next week I'll go in and start demolishing the old frames!!!  The bottom box is totally rotted, with a big hole in the left rear corner.  I guess they would have sealed it cause no bees and exiting it.  I hope by removing some old frames in the shallow that they will not have as much surface area to get on and be forced up.  The original deep and super and pretty cramed with bees.  Hope they do not swarm before I get them in the new box.  What do ya'll think about that?
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2009, 11:31:29 PM »

Brian,

Those are great directions, thank you,

SH
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2009, 04:35:29 PM »

I think they won't move up into your frames very well at all.  tried this several times and and they just don't like to move,  period   the newespecaly undrawn frames are an issue to them.........  Might try some of the bee quick   just a thought....... I never seem to have luck getting them (especialy the queen)  to move to a new home in any sort of timely manner.....  yes they will move eventually.......  but you will have to interven if you want it done soon.
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RayMarler
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2009, 06:43:16 PM »

If you've any other hives, grab a frame of open larva and put in the box that is right on top of the old hive. The queen will move up to check out the larva and it will "bait" the box and they'll start moving up into it. Add a frame of open nectar or honey right next to the frame of open larva also.
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