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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Cool

    Hi all
    I am thinking about tapping into my TBH's for some surplus bees to use in making up some mating nucs and splits. I was thinking this might also serve as swarm prevention.

    Any thoughts? I was thinking about making up a big box with a screen on one side, brushing / shaking the combs over the box, then putting old comb frames, maybe with some brood on them, into the box to get them on the frames, then just remove the frames to the nucs.

    Or I was also thinking about removing a few top bars and putting the nucs with comb right over the hive and hope they move up directly.

    any thoughts?

    Of course this is optimistically assuming that there are still some bees out there in spite of all the ice, snow and temps come the Spring!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    Why not shake them directly into the nuc? I have the same problem in reverse I have a nuc a friend gave me last summer I pulled all the frames and hung them on arms I added to the inside of my topbar. Now I have 8 frames of bees in a top bar that want nothing to do with it. They built comb all around the frames but absoutly refused to build on the bars. I have a dead out with 10 bars of honey I was going to shake them into this one then cut and band the comb into a new topbar and put a package in this one.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    I think I'd just brush them off into the nuc. Put about twice as many bees as you really want and a queen. If you have more than one hive you might put some bees in from several hives to cause more confusions and get them to think of it as a new colony instead of looking for the old one.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    I have one feral hive in regular deeps on frames and I would like start a topbar hive (already built) somehow using some of these bees. I dont know how to go about this. Any suggestions or instructions would be greatly appreciated. I know that some members of the bee association to which I belong will be re-queening some of their hives sometime in the near future and maybe instead of killing their existing queens they might be willing to save one or two for me. Would this be of any help for this process or would a split work better in the long run? I've had these bees for about one year and have never done a split,only read about them. I read about MIKI'S problem in getting the bees to start building from the top bars after placing frames with bees into the top bar hive and figured I'd probably have similar results. Again, thank you for any advice.
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    The only other way I could think of was to pull the wires and cut the comb out and reattach it to the top bars. My little voice is screaming bad idea. I could leave them for one more season and see if they out grow the frames and just rotate them out that is if there are any bees left come spring time as David pointed out.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    I'd just do a shaken swarm. Put the queen and shake all the bees into the top bar hive. The field bees will return to the old hive where they will raise a new queen from the brood there. The nurse bees will stay at the Top bar hive and start a hive there.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Miki I have been thinking about your problem. Was the queen caged? It seems to me that the reason you could not get your bees to go down into the TBH was because the queen wasn't there. If she was there, they would have gone to her.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I level the empty tbh on the standard hives location and then shake all the bees and queen into the tbh. Split up the standard equipment and set it on some other hives.

    Shaking bees into a tbh is a very disruptive process. It will take a week for the bees to reorganize. The more bees, the better. If the tbh gets too large or wants to swarm, then harvest some bees or make a split, but don't do it at the beginning.

    See:

    http://wind.prohosting.com/tbhguy/instal.htm

    I wouldn't take any reject queens. If a beekeeper is willing to pay $10 to replace a queen, the replaced queen must not be worth very much. Give your hives the best possible chance as time is a critical factor for a new tbh.

    Regards
    Dennis

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    When I put the frames in the topbar i could not find the queen so I just transfered them and hoped for the best, I left the open nuc infront of the topbar and the rest went in. I assumed all was OK. I looked every week for I don't remember how long and finally I spotted her there was always brood so I knew she was there. They had the brood nest and thats where they stayed I even put the frames in the back of the hive thinking they would move closer to the entrance. Dean visited me last year and took a look He suggested using a queen excluder I just have to figure out how to fashion one for a topbar.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    I just cut a groove 3/8" deep for the queen excluder and cut the excluder to 3/8" bigger than the cross section of the cavity.

    But I don't think you need one.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    Thank you for your help. I can see that I am going to have quite thrilling adventure on the day this comes to pass. About all I've done so far with these bees is watch them; this will be quite an experience I'm certain. I'm wondering about the timing, though. Here in Southern California we dont really have a winter. My bees fly every day and bring in pollen, so I dont think I'm on the same schedule as the real world.I have noticed lots of drones lately so there's something going on in there. I also seem to have plenty of bees. Would it be too early in the season to perform this proceedure?
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    Here it would be too early. [img]smile.gif[/img] But if the bees are flying regularly and there are drones flying, I don't see any reason not to.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    Thanks Michael. It now looks like I wont have the time available for a few weeks anyway,so moot point. However, good information to have for the future. Another question- in using sharpened starter strips of wood along the centerline of each topbar, how sharp?, how wide (how far should they hang toward the bottom) and is it neccessary to "prime" them with comb or wax, or will the bees know best what to do? {three or four questions actually}. Again, thank you for your help for this novice.
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    I just cut the corner off of a "one" by at a 45 degree angle. This ends up 3/4" by 3/4" by 1". If you nail this on the bottom of the top bar it will work fine. I don't wax it or anything. If you want to cut 3/4" starter strips of wax (either blank or small cell or whatever) you can install them by waxing them in a saw kerf groove. I like the angled wood comb guide, especially on a top bar hive, because you don't have to worry about the starter strip getting bent etc. I also cut the ends of the angled comb guide to keep the bars from sliding side to side (end to end?). That way they stay centered in the hive. In the end, though, they will build the spacing of the comb the way they like and they will cheat. I like to use wider and thinner bars. 1 1/4" for brood and when they start doing honey on them, I go to 1 1/2". Somtimes I throw in a 1/4" spacer to make them come out right again if the bees cheat too much.

    I have not tried the skinny strip of wood down the middle. If you do, it only needs to stick out a little. Any at all will help. Probably anything fom sticking out an 1/8" to 3/4" will work fine, but I'd probably go for about 1/4".
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    Michael thank you for your words. I'm getting excited to get a topbar started. I've decided to build a new box for the pending hive that will have a SBB and a large picture window that will turn it into an observation hive of sorts. More watching, fewer stings perhaps. Thanks again! jim
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    Just be sure if you put a window in that there is a cover to keep the sun out. Otherwise you'll have a very nice solor wax melter. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    Will do, and I'm going to place it under a tree to give it some protection from the summer sun. It can be a bit brutal sometimes.
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    My TBH is 16 1/4 wide and double lang box long so I can super if I wish by leaving a gap between the bars. So I have 6 top bars set to go into my langs to make the split. When I make my first nucs this spring I am going to put these TBs in my langs attached to a bar which is the length of a lang frame. Once these have brood on them I will make my splits into my TBH. A couple plusses to this is I will have straight combs to start with in the TBH since they will be drawn between the frames in the langs. They will have brood and will less likely leave. Down side is the waiting LOL.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    I'm going to do a KTBH this year that's 19" wide at the top and see how that goes. I'll also start another one or two in the long medium lang boxes (48 3/4" long by 19 7/8" wide) with the same size bars as the KTBH one. I don't know how the 19" long bars will do, but I thought I'd give it a try after the 15" ones did so well in the KTBH.

    I'm considering, but haven't decided yet, putting the medium depth lang top bar combs in a deeper hive and let them drawn them the rest of the way down to 11" or so. Since the top part of the comb is tougher and older maybe that would work. But maybe it's a bad idea. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Anyway, with the medium depth lang sized ones, I can interchange them into standard equipment and vica versa.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    Thanks very much for all the valuable info, however, it looks now that I wont be having this experience after all. Today I was blessed with the opportunity to gather a sworm. These orphans will be introduced into the new topbar as soon as possible, if they survive. I had to scrape a good portion of them up off the sidewalk after they were washed out of their tree by a good downpour. They were a soggy mess but dried out nicely in front of a compressor radiator. I'm thinking that all I have to do is dump them in and close it up. I have two follow boards to restrict the space to maybe five bars only. Do I feed? Inside? (homemade Boardman type is all I have) Am I on the right track?
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

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