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Author Topic: Moving bees from between bars  (Read 1010 times)
duryeafarms
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« on: May 27, 2013, 03:13:07 PM »

One of the things I find challenging with top bar hives is getting the bees to move from between bars when I want to push them together. I hate squishing bees. I've been sort of bouncing the bar up and down a little, but as the combs get bigger and more populated with bees, this doesn't work as well, actually getting them upset, worsening the situation. I've seen someone on youtube spray some water, some use smoke etc. Basically, I'm looking for ideas. How do you move them?
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 04:59:27 PM »

smoke will get them to move down into the hive more, spraying with sugar water will calm them down, and stop them from flying around so much. If you move the bar until like a 5/16 inch, hesitate for a second and then move it close to the other, any bees in the way will move out from between it, usually.
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nietssemaj
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 08:48:31 AM »

When going through my TBH's I'll pull 2 empty bars off the front or back. As my hive isn't "full" yet I can get away with 4 empty bars on the ends. Then I pull the first comb and place it in the empty space I created. If If the bees are already on the edge of the bar I'll
frame close to the next bar, 1/4 inch maybe. Close enough that the bees between the bar are obviously not comfortable but not so close that bees get stuck. Then move on the to the next bar. Usually by the time I am ready to place this next bar back the bees have vacated the space on the other bar. So I'll move that snug, then scoot the next bar up, again cramping but not squishing the bees.

9 times out of ten the bees will have cleared the space before the next bar. If not it is usually because the gap is too small and the bees are actually trapped, so then I'll adjust the gap. I've never actually measured the gap space that seems to work, oddly enough I can feel that it is right by the amount of the side of my thumbs pinched by the bar. Of course doing it by feel only works if you aren't wearing heavy gloves that stop all feeling.

The trick is not getting too many bars separated at a time. One it keeps the number of bees climbing all over the bars to a minimum and two, the more gaps the more space you need to work.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 01:37:22 PM »

Some of it is knack.  Some of it is technique.  If you "scissor" the frames down instead of sliding them over, it helps.  Some people make a small stick the length of the top bars that is only 1/4" wide and slide the bars within 1/4" and then push the bees down with the stick, and then slide it together after you pull out the stick.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
duryeafarms
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 10:35:32 PM »

Thanks all for the input! I'll try each and see how they work. Of course with a single hive inspected weekly, I don't get much practice. I'm pretty wary of going gloveless right now. A few weeks ago it was great, stung twice in the hand the next time, stung under the eye observing last Thursday (sitting a couple of feet in front of the entrance, probably my bad), and this Saturday they were really in a bad mood. Found some larvae for queen confirmation and closed it up.
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duryeafarms
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 10:10:54 AM »

Opened up the hive this weekend and used a combination of making them uncomfortable and "scissoring", worked really well.  Thanks!  Now I just have to figure out how to keep my smoker burning long enough to get through the whole thing.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 10:16:22 AM »

> Now I just have to figure out how to keep my smoker burning long enough to get through the whole thing.

Practice, practice, practice...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
nietssemaj
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 11:53:21 AM »

I can keep it lit. It is just that I have only lit mine once this year. Seemed to make the bees even more agitated so I didn't use it.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 01:22:45 PM »

The most common cause of upsetting them with smoke is too much smoke.  Don't smoke them too much when working them. The most common smoking mistakes:

•   People have the smoker too hot and burn the bees with the flame thrower they are wielding
•   People use far too much smoke causing a general panic instead of simply interfering with the alarm pheromone. One puff in the door is enough. Another on the top if they look excited is ok and after that having it lit and setting nearby is usually sufficient.
•   People don't light the smoker because they think smoke upsets the bees, probably because of one of the above reasons.
•   People blow the smoke in and immediately open the hive. If you wait a minute the reaction will be completely different. If you’re doing something not too time consuming, like filling frame feeders or some-thing, it’s a good plan to smoke the next hive before you open this one. That way the minute will be up when you open that one.
•   People don’t smoke because they have the idea that it is either bad for the bees or somehow unnatural. Their exposure is only a puff or two once every week or two. People have been smoking bees for at least 8,000 years that we have documented for one very good reason. Nothing works better at calming them.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
zzzzzzzzpr
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 06:07:54 PM »

being a newbie when I split my bars I spray them with sugar water to calm them, so they wont fly.
when I put the bars back depending on the hive I use smoke to get them down inside.
I put one end together then squeeze the other end putting pressure on the ones that are in between then move the bar.
most of the time they go down or out of the hive. there are a lot of good videos on youtube that show this method.
hope this helps a little.
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