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Author Topic: Spring cleaning help needed for healthy colony of bees  (Read 2267 times)
rflegel
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« on: March 27, 2006, 09:50:01 PM »

My bees have had a fine winter and are working hard. I opened the hive today to reverse the hive bodies to be happily surprised. Healthy happy? bees! Much capped brood and eggs, also capped honey! Problem is both upper and lower bodies are very busy, and full!

The bees were busy during the winter building lots of extra comb, everywhere! Many of the new frames I bought locally last year (pre-assembled) have let loose from the top bars. I am making more frames myself and have 80 in the works, with glued joints and no fabrication shortcuts!

So... What is the best way to deal with this mess while keeping the time the hive is open short? Should I wait until the weather gets warmer to try to clean up? I'm in Washington State, Olympic Peninsula. Also, I am planning on adding the queen excluder and honey super soon, but do not want to add to a mess.

Your comments are welcome, and appreciated!
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2006, 06:07:15 AM »

If the frames have seperated, top from side pieces I'm guessing, the comb should be still attached to the foundation and the wood parts, are they not ?

Saying that the"  bees built comb all over "? are you saying that the bees joined the frames together comb to comb or what ? They will do that even if the frames are intact.

If the frames are joined together top and bottom, with comb,  top box and bottom box, you will tear some of it apart when you lift the top box off. Have you lifted the top box off to make the swap already? If so maybe it would be better to let things go as they are for the time being. The bees really don't care because they will provide space for themselves if needed. They will also continue to store honey if there is a flow going on and  there seems to be according to your explaination of hive activity. Bees don't build comb if there is no need.

It depends on the temperature in your area for guidance on how long you can keep the boxes open. I'm thinking that the temp. must be at least above 50 degrees if there is all that hive activity as you describe Huh You should give some indication of the temperature for advice in that vein.

In the future, after the honey flow is over, you could pull out the damaged frames one or two at a time and replace them as long as there is no brood. If there is some capped honey in the comb without brood and pollen that could be extracted or stripped off the foundation if the frames are too badly damaged to hold together in the extractor. Or you could feed the honey back to the bees by placing the inner cover above the brood boxes, placing another box on top of that and put the damaged  frames in that. The bees will climb up and clean out those frames and move the honey back down through the inner cover hole. That would prevent robbing if that is a concern.

About the best I can do while guessing.   Good luck.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2006, 06:44:43 AM »

If the comb is a bit off but still in the frame, I'd just nail the joints back together and call it good.  If the comb is running free form everywhere, when the weather is good and there are things blooming, I'd cut the brood comb out and tie it into empty frames and scrap the honey.
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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
rflegel
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2006, 02:11:25 PM »

Thank you for your replies Jack and Michael,

You were right Jack, the frames have separated sidebars from the top bars and the foundation is in fact still connected, but to the bottom frame parts. The comb built by the bees is mostly brace comb, frame to frame and frame to hive body and top body frames to bottom body frames. I did in fact make the reversal of hive bodies; indeed tearing apart cells between upper and lower hive body frames. Yes, I should have waited or eliminated the idea of reversal this year on this colony. The temperature has been hovering near the 50 degrees area warming lately although the bees did start working some while the temperature was still in the mid to upper 40’s. After last seasons honey flow I did not find any frame separation. I may have missed the problem but I’m not so sure this would be the case. I will for sure take a closer look at this seasons end for damaged frames.

I have devised an “L” tool to help in extracting the broken frames keeping the foundation intact to make the repairs when I have a few very warm days in a row. I plan on using wood screws to join the frame parts back together.

Thank you again for your replies!
rflegel
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2006, 07:12:52 AM »

will probably further damage those wood pieces. There is hardly enough wood on those frames for small nails or staples much less for wood screws.

If you are into building wood frames use some good glue at the joints and some small nails to join all together.  I found that the serrated nails used for holding finished paneling to walls are very good for nailing frames together. The nails are known as, well, paneling nails.

I do use wood frames and even made some from scratch but I'm into Plastic, bought with Plastic of course  cheesy  and of the opinion that beekeeping does not have to be unenjoyable. Like dey say " keep it simple ".
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rflegel
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2006, 03:56:01 PM »

Thank you for your reply Jack. I do use a step drill when making repairs on wood projects prone to splitting. I do enjoy my bee keeping and find it very relaxing watching the girls come and go to and from the hives.

How is the plastic working out for you? I do use wax coated plastic foundation, but have not tried plastic frame/foundation yet. I was concerned about potential out gassing in the heat of the hive. I had less concern with out gassing using the plastic foundation as I figured the wax coating combined with the cells would encapsulate the plastic. With the plastic frames being uncoated I do have concern.

Well, Thanks again for your reply,
rflegel
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2006, 06:28:21 AM »

OUTGASSING  smiley  I'm here guessing that you mean some sort of gaseous release from the plastic frames  smiley  

Well never thought of, nor heard of, or, read anything about that either. I keep my hives in the sunshine for most of the day and it gets plenty hot down here and all is well. The entire frames are dipped in beeswax. I suppose that if the wax coating were to be stripped off the bees would not want to build comb on it as they also refuse to build comb on stripped Duragilt. However, so far so good for me.

The bees will draw out the all plastic frame/ foundation if and when they need to. That has been my experience which is
 for only one year.
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rflegel
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2006, 10:49:22 PM »

Thanks for your reply Jack. Yes, I was refering to outgassing from the plastics used in the frame. Perhaps this is not a problem. I will continue to build wood frames for now and also continue to use the wax coated plastic foundation. Well, all the best for a great season!
rflegel
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amymcg
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2006, 05:43:15 AM »

One thing that might help is cross-nailing your frames. So instead of two nails through the top bar, put one in and then one in from the side bar that nails into the side of the top bar.  Do that on each end of the frame. So there are two nails going down through the top and two nails going in from the side. Not sure if I'm describing this correctly.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2006, 06:56:33 AM »

Quote from: rflegel
Thanks for your reply Jack. Yes, I was refering to outgassing from the plastics used in the frame. Perhaps this is not a problem. I will continue to build wood frames for now and also continue to use the wax coated plastic foundation. Well, all the best for a great season!
rflegel


Actually now that I am a thinkin' tha plastic used for foundation is said to be
 " food grade ".

The bee supply catalogues advertise it as such.
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