I started my 1st TBH last year by catching a swarm last June. Last season, I didn't harvest any honey. After a rapid build-up on spring (they are now occupying all the space in the 25-bar hive) and a good spring-flow I decided it was time to harvest and to do a split. Here are some thoughts and curiosities that I've run into:
1. Although I only harvested the bars in the last third of the hive, I noticed a lot of capped drone brood (I'd say about 10-20% of all cells). Since these were scattered all over the place, I couldn't remove them by cutting them out. Will this impair the honey when I use the crush and strain method?
I wonder why the queen was laying so far down. Although I didn't see her, I assume the hive is queen-right because of the bees clinging together when I moved the bars. Has somebody tried a queen-excluder in a TBH?
2. While working my way up to the front end to get to the worker-brood for the split, I noticed that this wasn't that easy: every bar has to be carefully detached from the sides and from other adjacent bars. Once the bars are loosened, pushing them towards the hive-end isn't trivial either with bees poking through the cracks constantly. So, how does one conveniently insert empty bars in the brood nest without going through this lengthy and disruptive procedure?
3. Has anyone tried using a bee-escape with a TBH prior to harvesting in order to reduce the number of bees attached to the honeycomb?
Thanks for your input!