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  1. #1

    Post

    Is it simple.?

    It was, until I did harvesting a few combs today.
    Removing combs, - simple, but brushing a comb, - fury of clouds of angry bees. Smog, - no effects.
    I put unbrushed com on a stand hoping that bees will return to their hive in time, trying to brush them off gently, - no results, bees keep returning to this comb. Finally being more brutal I brushed of all bees, disregarding clouds of bees and attempted to cut off this comb to a basket. Bees followed me and this comb, so quite a few bees fell to a basket and more came in getting stick in honey. Trying to remove them was almost impossible because for one removed there was two or more new trapped in the honey.
    The same situation repeated itself with next combs. Frustrated.
    Finally, since it was late and getting dark I had have an idea of last hope. I took a comb on a stand to my garage. Since my garage is without windows it was much darker then outside with slightly opened back door. I brushed bees off and bees instead returning to the comb as before decided to fly off to the light – opened back door. Perfect! – finally!
    I took the bucket to garage too, and with closed door I started to remove drowned bees without new bees being trapped in the honey, so I was able to cut off a comb to a bucket, this time not on a top of drowned or sitting there bees.
    Lackey having garage a few feet from the hive, but what in a situation were there is no dark garage close to a hive? Any ideas? Something what prevent bees returning to a brushed comb and a collecting bucket? Some effective repellant to substitute brushing and prevent returning bees?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Woj

    2 thoughts. First, if you are in a dearth (no nectar flow) it is really tough since the bees have nothing to do except try to get / protect their honey.

    Second, I have a 5 gal bucket with a piece of plywood for a quick cover. the trick is to brush and either cut it off in the bucket or just put the entire top bar, comb and all, into the bucket and quickly cover with the lid. Helps if you have some spare top bars. There are always some bees in it.

    If you have a bee escape you could put it on the bucket.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    Removing bees from combs is a universal problem. Many discussions on here on the subject. I just brush them. Is it messy? Yes. Are lots of bees in the air? Yes. Does it work? Yes.

    Blowing, bee escapes (which would have to be modified to work on a TBH unless you use standard Lanstroth dimensions like my TTBH are), fume boards etc. are all methods used to remove the bees.

    Brushing takes practice. Use quick flicks. If you try to be gentle you'll roll the bees and REALLY make them made. If you use quick hard flicks you can remove them with much less trauma and much less angry bees. A big goose feather or turkey feather makes the best brush. A soft yellow bee brush is next best.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    806

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I haven't had the kind of problems mentioned here while harvesting tbh comb. I've harvested comb in the spring, mid-summer and late fall.

    Initially, I move the a comb toward the rear of the hive and use a yellow bee brush to brush the bees off. The comb is very lightly smoked before brushing the bees. Most of the bees promptly march toward the broodnest at the front of the hive. Then, I remove the comb from the hive and brush the few remaining bees off the comb and into the hive.

    I keep a 5 gallon plastic pail and lid in the back of my truck. It's parked about 50' away from the hives. I check the comb one last time for any stray bees, usually no more than a couple of them, and brush them off before cutting the comb into the bucket which is kept covered.

    I only harvest comb that is capped and doesn't have any brood in it. Sometimes I will move comb to the rear of the hive and harvest it later in the season.

    And I keep the bee brush clean. It becomes stiff when it gets sticky and will irritate the bees. I clean it with water and then flick the water out before brushing any more bees. The bees are brushed off with a fast flicking motion consisting of several short, light strokes. It takes less than 10 to 15 seconds for my larger combs.

    I haven't had any problems with robbing, but I've been keeping bees for a long time and I do lots of things almost by instinct. Harvesting is best done during the middle of the day. Don't harvest when the bees are in a sudden transition, like immediately after/before a storm or when nectar suddenly become unavailable. If the bees meet you when you arrive at the beeyard, it's a good indication that another day might be better for harvesting.

    One last thought. My tbhs and comb are deeper and have a larger volume than some tbhs. This might be a factor affecting harvesting. When I harvest the comb is sealed and most of the bees are in the broodnest toward the front of the hive. I harvest 6 to 8 large combs. Maybe the bees would be distributed differently in a tbh with smaller dimensions. Or react differently if 20 smaller combs were harvested. If this is the case, a different approach to harvesting might be required.

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    806

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    >Is it simple.?

    It is for me. I can harvest one of my tbhs in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. When I cut the comb off into a bucket, I mash it up with a 2"x2". Then when I get home, the bucket is inverted over my strainer. I come back a week later and have extracted honey. A lid is put on the bucket containing the honey. The 'cappings' are dumped into a drum and cleaned up by the bees at the end of the season. And the strainer is filled with water and allowed to set overnight. The water is dumped the next day and I'm done. Very little time or energy is required and it's as simple as it gets.

    Top bar hive beekeeping has been quite a shock to this once very intensive standard vertical hive beekeeper. A tbh that is properly matched with it's climate simply doesn't require any beekeeper intervention! None! Zip! Nada!

    There's no schemeing, fretting, feeding, requeenig, mantenance, management or interferring :&gt required. So a beekeeper can work them or not, at his leisure. And there's not any difference in survival rates between intensively managed hives and tbhs managed this way.

    My beekeeping has simply become a non-issue. And that's a shock for me who had to have his finger in the beekeeping pie at all times. And it's been humbling too, for I know that the bees would have done just about the same without me as with me. And I know of lots of cases where they would have done better without me! :&gt

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    Woj-
    Where you from?
    jim
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  7. #7

    Post

    I am in N/W suburb close to Chicago.
    Besides, my name is Wojtek. It is pronounced as, voi-d, or voi-s, and tech, as tech-nology or tech-nical, so if you pronounce it in this two parts as a one word it will be ok, - Voi-tech
    This is popular Polish name, formally Wojciech.

    Thanks for all this hints. Looks that require more experience, - whether, time of day, mood of bees, and so on, and …. special technique for cutting combs and at the same time keep lid on a bucket  This bees followed the comb in small cloud wherever I went with it. There were also plenty around a covered bucket.
    May be it was just a particular situation.
    Thanks Good that I found very god solution in the garage, which I described.
    I am in N/W suburb close to Chicago.
    Besides, my name is Wojtek. It is pronounced as, voi-d, or voi-s, and tech, as tech-nology or tech-nical, so if you pronounce it in this two parts as a one word it will be ok, - Voi-tech
    This is popular Polish name, formally Wojciech.

    Thanks for all this hints. Looks that it require more experience, - whether, time of day, mood of bees, and so on, and …. special technique for cutting combs and at the same time keeping lid on a bucket
    This bees followed the comb in small cloud wherever I went with it. There were also plenty around a covered bucket.
    May be it was just a particular situation.
    Thanks Good that I found very god solution in the garage, what I described.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    The way I harvest honey is a little different. Obviously though you want to make sure you are going to harvest the honey before doing this, because I am not sure I would want to put the comb back in the hive afterwards.

    I shake the bees off of the comb the same way you would a frame of honey. I hold the top bar and shake down stiffly and stop suddenly with a quick upward jerk. I do this two times quickly, the first time dislodges the bees, and the 2nd time is when they all drop off. I do this directly into the hive so they seem disoriented and just run for the brood nest wondering what just happened instead of feeling attacked or stolen from. If the comb looks a little like it might not handle this mistreatment before actually being cut, then I will shake the bees off of one end, and then the other. So its like the up and down shaking, but only one hand does it so it is like sharp twisting in a fashion. Works like a charm for me, even with new white comb just built and just capped full.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

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