Hi- this is my first post. Back in April my husband and I built three tbh's from the plans on this site using a bunch of old recycled redwood t&g we had lying around. They went together easily. For the top bars we just beveled the bars 30degrees and rubbed them with wax. We filled the hives with three swarms we caught from our other hives. All three have built beautiful straight combs but one of them is queenless, I fear. Instead of re-queening with a purchased queen (I'm trying to get away from that) I'd like to combine this hive with a small colony I have in a Langsworth hive. Has any one ever done this before? Is there any technique for getting the bees in the box to move down into the tbh? or do I just have to wait until fall when the queen slows down her brood laying to take the box off?
Yes, I've done it. Take a sheet of newspaper and a stapler and make a partition behind the last comb of bees in the hive you want to and them too and add them behind that. Just staple it to the top bar and then fold the paper to match the side and staple down the side. You can have an empty bar behind the bees there and add an empty bar before the other combs if you want to make it easier to get it stapled without squishing bees.
This is basically a horizontal newspaper combine. I did NOT cut any slits in the paper, because I was afraid it would tear, but you could poke one little hole if you want.
Why don't you give them a queen from one of your other colonies. Then let the other colony requeen itself.
How long has it been since the bees were put in the tbhs? I have had some queens take over two weeks after the first comb was drawn to start laying. I wouldn't expect a swarm would take that long but I haven't put any swarms into my tbhs either.
A top bar containing eggs from one of your other hives could be switched into the queenless hive. If it's missing a queen, the bees will quickly construct queen cells.
When conditions are right, bees can be freely combined and queens can be freely exchanged or switched.
Young bees can be added anytime but during a nectar dearth. In a vertical hive, younger bees are found farther away from the entrance. Older bees are found nearest the entrance.
Thanks for all the good advice. The swarms were put in the top bar hives between three & five weeks ago. Unfortunately, I have my three tbh's in three different bee yards which are a couple of miles apart and I am afraid the combs are too delicate to move / trade around. Can I just cut brood or queen cell from a lang hive and tie it to a top bar?
As a side note, here in coastal northern california, I've never witnessed a better year for honeybees. The flowers have never bloomed so profusely before and my hives have never seemed so vital! Hope it's a good year for all of you as well!
Comb can be cut or a swarm cell cut and pressed into comb on a tbh. Just be careful with the cell. Keep it vertical. Don't let it get hot or cold. And don't bump or jar it.
Crush the cells on one side of the comb near brood in the tbh. THe crushed area should be about the size of the cell. Then press the cell into the crushed space without deforming it. Make sure lower area of the cell is not blocked.
The queen will hatch in less than a week and be laying two weeks after that.