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Author Topic: What would you do?  (Read 1088 times)
hjon71
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« on: February 16, 2013, 08:56:08 PM »

I am completely new to Beekeeping.
My father had a hive that he hasn't tended for 3yrs. at least that I just moved to my property. I'm curious about what to expect and where to start. Here's what I've done so far just to start.

Old SBB was rotten so I replaced it with a new plastic one with vents.
Current set up is 1 deep 2 medium no excluder or inner cover.
The deep hive body looks bad so I have a replacement ready to swap out. I haven't been through the hive to look at the frames due to it still being rather cool most days. I live in SW TN.

I also have a new medium with new wax coated plastic frames for honey(I hope) and an excluder.

How should I procede?
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divemaster1963
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2013, 09:40:13 PM »

Do you Have Bees?
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 09:41:19 PM »

Got a smoker?   Just checking.   That's the most important thing besides having the bees themselves.  One warm day open it up and see how they look like.  Then you can change the frames over to the new boxes.   You do not have to have an excluder, in fact, with new undrawn frames like what you have, you will not get any bees to move up there.   An excluder will only work if your honey frames are already drawn out.   What kind of top cover is on there?  
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Joe D
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 10:30:38 PM »

That's kinda how I got started.  I bought some established hives from an estate.  I replaced the bbs with SBB's the day I got them.  A little later I replace the brood boxs.  When you are taking the frames from the old boxs you can see what else you have and need to do.  Good luck.  Check for SHB's.  Check into a local bee club.



Joe
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hjon71
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 05:36:13 AM »

The bees appear healthy and quite active on warmer days (50-60 degrees). It was mid 40s the day we swapped the bottom board and they were very active but not overly hostile and settled down fairly quickly when we backed off.
I have all the equipment necessary. I've practiced with the smoker. The top cover looks like fiberglass or plastic. I have read Beekeeping for Dummies twice and watched about every YouTube video lol.

When should I swap the deep box out? Now, on a warm day or wait until April/May? Beekeeping for Dummies recommended rotating the hive bodies which would put the deep on top of the 2 mediums. Good idea? Judging by weight I believe they have plenty of honey left so I don't intend to feed them. And as far as I know, they have never been medicated and I don't plan to start. So what's my next move and when?
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oblib
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 08:15:45 AM »

If you are using a telescoping top you are going to need an inner cover. It will be very hard to get the top off otherwise.
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RHBee
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 09:01:20 AM »

I am completely new to Beekeeping.
My father had a hive that he hasn't tended for 3yrs. at least that I just moved to my property. I'm curious about what to expect and where to start. Here's what I've done so far just to start.

Old SBB was rotten so I replaced it with a new plastic one with vents.
Current set up is 1 deep 2 medium no excluder or inner cover.
The deep hive body looks bad so I have a replacement ready to swap out. I haven't been through the hive to look at the frames due to it still being rather cool most days. I live in SW TN.

I also have a new medium with new wax coated plastic frames for honey(I hope) and an excluder.

How should I procede?

IMHO, I would wait for a calm sunny day, temps in the mid 60's, after about 10am and simply replace the old equipment. Use the inner cover, it does make top cover removal simpler. It doesn't sound like there's an emergency. These bees have been unattended for 3 years and yet have managed to survive, what's another month?
When you transfer the frames to the new equipment make sure to respect the brood chamber arrangement. You know, put them back like you found them. Make sure not to roll the queen, remove an outer frame first, move slowly and give the bees time to move out of the way. Use smoke but don't choke them out. Inspect the frames, look for bad smells, get to know your bees. The dummies book is a OK starting point but the only thing that gets you in this game is hands on. Books give a lot of good information but experience trumps books every time.
The people on this forum have helped me more than can be stated not just with specific questions but by reading old posts. Lots of experienced beekeeping knowledge in here, you just gotta dig a little. Listen to what others offer but remember you make your own choices. There is really no right or wrong answers. Bottom line, what works and aids the bees is right, what hinders and hurts the bees is wrong. I made some bad choices and some good choices this last year but, I wouldn't trade it for any other hobby.
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Later,
Ray
hjon71
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2013, 05:30:05 PM »

Couldn't resist, 50 today so I had to take a peek.
The bees have everything stuck (hopelessly?) together. Frames have comb between them so they are glued tight... and end frames are solidly stuck to the box at the top.

I think I may just let them keep it like it is this spring/summer, add an excluder and honey super to the top and hope for the best. Any advice??? Would it be better to swap out all the boxes/frames for new stuff? Tear it apart after the honey flow?

By the way NO STINGS! Whew.... I had them pretty worked up a time or two. And smoke didn't seem to make a huge difference.
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RHBee
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 09:04:15 AM »

Current set up is 1 deep 2 medium no excluder or inner cover.
The deep hive body looks bad so I have a replacement ready to swap out.
The bees have everything stuck (hopelessly?) together. Frames have comb between them so they are glued tight... and end frames are solidly stuck to the box at the top.
I think I may just let them keep it like it is this spring/summer, add an excluder and honey super to the top and hope for the best. Any advice??? Would it be better to swap out all the boxes/frames for new stuff? Tear it apart after the honey flow?

Personally I wouldn't wait for the end of flow. You can if you want though. I would do what it takes to get everything a part. The bottom deep would be the issue. I guess it comes down to-What do you want out of beekeeping.
It sounds like the colony has everything propolised up. It also sounds like they have built burr comb where ever they could. All this can be remedied with a sharp knife and a hive tool. One of the purposes of the langstroth hive is that it allows the colony to be inspected. The bees have other ideas. They prefer to be left alone.
I have had to resort to using a thin sharp knife to literally cut the hive bodies away from each other because of burr comb. I have had to use the same knife to separate webbed frames and cut frames free from the sides of the boxes.I always have to pry the frames from their rests due to propolis. It takes force and time. The bees don't like the intrusion.

And smoke didn't seem to make a huge difference.
   

I usually put a couple of puffs in the entrance and a couple under the inner cover then wait a few minutes. The bees are still going to fly around when you go into the hive. It just knocks down the aggression. If I'm in there a long time and see the guard bees lining up I'll give them a couple more shots.
I would still wait until it gets warmer to do all this propolis can be pretty tough when cold.

I hope this helps out.

Hey guys, If I'm handing out some bad information feel free to chime in.
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Later,
Ray
Bush_84
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 10:14:09 AM »

If tearing that apart is to much of a daunting task you could always continue to pace empty deeps under until you can harvest all the old boxes.  It may take some time this way, but at least you aren't faced with everything at once.  You can simply just harvest a box at a time when full of honey.

I would personally just do it all in one sitting, but the above option is not a bad idea if you aren't comfortable with that.
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Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.
edward
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 11:05:07 AM »

It takes about 1 to 2 hrs per hive to get things back to ship shape.

I would wait to do this on a warm day with most of the bees out of the hive, less bees to fight with  evil

Then you have to keep on top of it, or harvest propolis or change the queen if you still think its a pain.

mvh edward  tongue
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Lone
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 05:53:53 AM »

Put a tarp underneath when transferring to other supers.  It's easier to find the queen if you accidently drop her.

Lone
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T Beek
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2013, 08:57:04 AM »

With Spring fast approaching (and bees at their lowest population) you should be able to 'completely' remove at least the very bottom box, perhaps even the middle as well.  They will very likely be 'empty of bees' as they have moved upstairs over winter.  Don't wait for a flow as then they will be back to filling up the downstairs and then it will be too late.  

Your job is to beat them to it.  

AGREED: pick a mild day, you should already have things blooming in your region so NOW seems good  grin.

If you have some correctly drawn frames (or foundation), alternate empties w/ drawn everywhere but the "box housing the majority" of bees and brood (you don't want to disturb that one too much), and placing that box on the bottom, shaking the rest of the bees inside.

With the added drawn (or foundation if that's what you have) frames 'placed above the box w/ crosscomb', they will begin to make correct comb in the above boxes, and by observing closely you will know when to remove those bottom frames w/ crosscomb a bit later, after they hatch out.  

This intrusion is minimal and also allows you to do the clean up closer to home.

The whole process shouldn't take much more than a half hour.  Expect to break some wood, propolis is some tough stuff.
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hjon71
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2013, 10:01:36 AM »

I'm at a real disadvantage here because I'm fairly certain they have broken their winter cluster(bees in every box) but more in top 2 mediums. I also had shoulder surgery 2 days after my last post. So I am down for at least 2 months Undecided I do have help available for lifting though.

Doesn't all this tearing apart put my queen in Jeopardy? I can't see any way of knowing where she will be in the box. If I got the equipment ready could I force the colony to move? I realize that would put them behind this year drawing all new comb. Or would I be better to procede as y'all have suggested and be prepared to order a new queen? I know I ask a lot of questions, just trying to weigh ALL the options. And determine what is best/safest/least destructive method.
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T Beek
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2013, 12:29:53 PM »

Its unlikely there are brood in all 3 boxes but if there is just assemble as much as you can into as few boxes as you can with a "normal' (straight drawn comb or foundation) one or 2 on top of it.  If at all possible, try to get as much of the "BROOD COMB" together into as little space as you can.  Preferably ONE box. 

Remember; you are going to remove the crosscomb anyway, so if some doesn't sit perfect on the bottom, its OK, even if some falls out, just lay it down, keeping it close together (some brood will always be sacrificed) and let your bees go to work. 

Have fun and let us all know how it turns out.

I've got at least another 6 weeks before this kind of adventure  Wink
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
hjon71
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2013, 07:45:51 PM »

I love adventures! I think...
My sons 18 & 16 are going to <3 me grin But they will suit up and help. I'll be sure to post pics(before/after). If that's allowed as a new bee. Thanks for the advice and input. 
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T Beek
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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2013, 08:09:21 AM »

Usually after a few posts the mods let you post pics, so keep on posting  Smiley
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
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