I finished reading Les Crowder's book on top bar hives recently. Very nice to have some guidance on management. It has been much warmer than normal here for about a month now, and the bees have been active so I thought I would do some hive management to prepare for the flow which will start shortly. Per Les, I moved darker empty combs from the hive front to the back, behind the brood nest, and moved honey comb from there to the front. I swapped about 4 or 5 of each. I also took a couple partial combs and placed them between straight empty combs taken from the front so the bees would draw out the comb straight as he said. That was pretty straight-forward I think, but then it gets more murky to me...
There were 20 TB's with comb, two of which were partial. The 8 or so combs in the front of the hive were nice and straight, so seeing that last year I got complacent and stopped checking. The last 3 or 4 were cross-combed, one of these was a partial comb. I did not want to disturb the brood nest so I did not check the 6 or 7 central combs. It seems that cutting and realigning empty new comb would be straight-forward, but it is more difficult for comb with honey. Nonetheless, I decided I had to trim off the crooked part (about 3" - 4" at one end) and place straight comb next to these so the bees would hopefully repair the ones I cut and make them straight. I used a large sharp knife to cut off the crooked sections and just laid them against the back wall of the hive for the bees to clean. Surprisingly to me, I didn't spill much honey in the rest of the hive, so it wasn't too messy except for the back where I laid them. I then put straight empty comb adjacent to the cut ones.
I did not want to disturb the central area since we will likely get some cold nights yet, so I wanted to leave the cluster area undisturbed. However, I did not get to any brood comb. The last comb I saw in the back of the undisturbed section was honey comb - I just kept finding more and more honey comb. I quit after moving the 4 or 5 to the front. I felt I should leave that central area alone, but I also wonder if they may still feel "honey bound"? There were bees on the empty comb I put in back so maybe not? I didn't expect these open comb had any eggs, but did not check closely. Now I am wondering if they did since there were bees on them. Could I possibly have screwed up and moved some comb with eggs out of the front of the brood area? I didn't even think of that until later because it is so early in the year I figured the queen would not be laying. I stopped removing comb from the front when I came to one that had a small section of capped cells at the top, the rest open.
Temps have been in the mid 60's day/mid 30's night, and this week are forecast to be upper 60's low 70's day/around 40 at night.
I would greatly appreciate knowing what I did right and what I did wrong.