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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    1,398

    Default Stuck Honey Frames

    My bee master told me to leave all of the honey on my first year hives last fall. My first hive was a swarm. It is an agressive hive as far as getting larger and producing brood/pollen/honey. They are also quite "Hot" (as ya'll call it here) at times. But I chose to leave them with the same queen because she is a very good layer.

    I put on a second brood box that came from a weak hive that had a queen that did hatch. My colony then exploded. I ended the fall with a med super full of honey and a med super with some comb started on the plasticell (saved for this spring).

    I checked all of my hives last week and to my surprise all of the second boxes (the other 3 hives have small supers) are still 100% honey. The swarm colony was 100% honey in the 2nd brood box and in the med super.

    I tried to pull out a few of the frames to check them for brood in the 2nd brood box. Almost everyone of them that I tried didn't want to budge and eventually the tops of the frames came loose. I know I can't use this one for a brood box because it is 100% honey so I need to swap it out with an empty brood box and leave the med super of honey on top.

    Long winded, I know.

    Any ideas how I can get these frames out of the box once I remove it from the hive and get all of the bees out using a bee escape? I need to swap out these 2 boxes real soon.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default

    Using your hive tool, insert the tool, forcing it, between the beespace shoulders of the frames and pry the frames away from each other. This will break the propolis seal and allow you to then lift the frame out. The first frame is the hardest, the rest will be easier. If you have the "J" style hive tool, it works well for lifting the frames from the front and back frame rests on the box, after you've broken the propolis seal between the frames beespace shoulders.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    clayton cal.
    Posts
    199

    Default

    If the box is still on the hive and you are having trouble geting the frames out-try craking the boxes first and the frames will come out RDY-B

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    may I assume you have 10 frames in the box? if the top bar came apart (are they plastic or wood) more than likely an essential detail of construction was missed. this missed step aint so easy to remedy in the field so you will perhaps need to live with the problem for some time. when discovered I typically remedy these kinds of problem when the frames show up in my honey house.

    if you have 10 frame in each box and have not destroyed any and don't want to destroy even one*, you may need to split the box(s) and remove the honey supers entirely. this does require a bit of REAL grunt type activity since most likely the frames are stuck between the layers (between the top bars of one layer and the bottom bars of the next layer). at other times the frames can be stuck near the bottom of the box between the sides of the box and the end bars of the frames. I generally use my hive tool to make a small crack between the boxes and once a small crack forms (holding up the top bar with my left hand) I insert the hive tool along the crack and pop the tops bars apart from the bottom bars all along this seam (usually two at a time).

    once seperated closely look at the area between the end bars and the sides of the box (front and back) to make certain some of this area has not be propolized. propolizing here can be especailly tough when it comes to removing frames.

    *another option is to purposefully destroy one frame and proceed as ray marler has suggested. the above problem repeated over several decades is why some of us instantly recognized the wisdom of 9 frames in a 10 frame box.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    1,398

    Default

    Well, I will have to swap the brood boxes and then determine from what all has been said as what to do. Since this was my first year at beekeeping I have a lot to learn.

    But I had 10 frames in the box because it is a brood box, not a super. I had supers above the 2nd brood box. In fact, there was a little brood in the box when I put it on the hive.

    So now I am puzzled. Did I do something incorrect? The swarm did actively put brood in this box early on. Also, everything I have read on the Internet (especially by George Imirie) says you must first put 10 frames on to get the comb drawn out first.

    AHHHHH!!!! These frames had fully drawn comb. So what is it 9 or 10 frames in the 2nd brood box? If 9, do I take one out of the original brood box later when I swap the boxes to prevent swarming?

    An inquiring mind!
    De Colores,
    Ken

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    usc writes:
    So now I am puzzled. Did I do something incorrect? The swarm did actively put brood in this box early on. Also, everything I have read on the Internet (especially by George Imirie) says you must first put 10 frames on to get the comb drawn out first.

    AHHHHH!!!! These frames had fully drawn comb. So what is it 9 or 10 frames in the 2nd brood box? If 9, do I take one out of the original brood box later when I swap the boxes to prevent swarming?

    tecumseh:
    no you did nothing really wrong... a bit more inspection and scraping burr comb and propolis (at top and bottom of the boxes) MIGHT have prevented this problem (at least for a while).

    as a general rule(there are tricks) if you are starting out a hive on new comb and foundation you would want to 'start' with 10 frames in the box. this gets the wax drawn properly (based on beespace between the frames). once drawn a lot of beeks (obviously not all) remove one frame. the 'thinking'* here is that removing one frame allows quick inspection at the center of the brood nest with less rolling of the bees on the frame removed. if you learn to utilze the half frame of empty space on each side of the box and leverege (with your hive tool) the four frames on each side of the center frame outward, almost anyone should be able to remove the center frame without rolling even one bee.

    *I was in no way aware of this 'thinking' until I worked for a couple of commercial bee keepers (second generation and very old school). I run 9 frames from the bottom box to the top of the stack.

    hope that helps...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    When you assembled your frames did you use glue?

    I have only had this problem when I inherited frames that were not glued.

    Also, a nail (or I use staples) set in sideways thru the shoulder will kind of lock in the top bar making it a lot less likely to come apart.
    Troy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    troy writes:
    I have only had this problem when I inherited frames that were not glued.

    Also, a nail (or I use staples) set in sideways thru the shoulder will kind of lock in the top bar making it a lot less likely to come apart.

    tecumseh:
    the first sentence is a bit more new school and the second sentence definitely old school. with wood frames the second sentence describes what is ESSENTIAL for proper frame construction. you can of course add a small nail or staple after the fact... the location makes it difficult to remedy in the field.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    Default

    The equipment in my first hive (swarm) was all inherited equipment. In fact, I didn't find out about toeing in extra nails under the frame top until my last beekeepers meeting a few weeks ago.

    I have been going back and adding extra support to all of my frames that I have been getting ready for my next packages and upcoming year. I didn't use glue on my new frames but I will in the future.

    I have probably 30 or so more inherited brood frames and I plan on opening up the boxes soon and adding support nails to them. Most have wax foundations that are in bad shape and need to be replaced.

    Rookie.....
    De Colores,
    Ken

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    usc writes:
    Rookie.....

    tecumseh:
    we all were at one time.

    my basic take/approach is since the world ain't a static place we all have a lot to learn, rookie or not. I would also suggest directly that I have on more than one occasion learned quite a bit from some rookie who noted some small or large thing within their own hive. when or where or why the light will come on has always been quite a mystery to me.

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