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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    30

    Default how to NOT squish bees when looking at bars in a tbh??

    A friend has two TBHs and I'm building a few for my own beeyard. When she goes to pull a bar to look at the brood and see how they're doing, she's having a horrible time not squishing a ton of bees when putting the bar back. She pulls one out of the rear of the TBH so there's more room, then moves the frame over gently to pull out and inspect. But getting BACK, there's always a ton of bees with their heads sticking up in between the bar of the one left in and when she puts the removed bar back. I had the same problem when I first helped her check the hive after installing the packages, and wasn't sure what to suggest. Would love any hints on how NOT to kill a bunch of bees when inspecting a bar..

    jules

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Minerva, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    I like to tilt one end of the top bar lower than the other - the lowest side being the side of the hive with the fewest bees on the edge - and set that side down first up against the next bar. Then slowly lower the other side of the bar in place, keeping it tight against the next bar. This slowly pushes the adhereing bees down into the hive without crushing them between bars.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Salem, NY
    Posts
    329

    Default

    either that or you could get the bars close together, puff a little smoke to get the bees to retreat, and then put the bars back together. This is one of the challenges with top bar beekeeping

    justgojumpit

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    I like doing the "scissors" thing and using a feather starting at the pivot (end of bar) sliding the feather as I lower the bar. It's about 99% effective most of the time.
    Also, there is a recipe of vinegar and water spray, but I can't find it....suppose to NOT set off the "alarm response" in the bees, but it does repel them. I know water spray alone also calms them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    BelAir MD U.S.A
    Posts
    30

    Default

    I learned at the local bee club that bees do not like our breath and they will go the other direction when you blow on them. I tried this a couple days ago when moving bars back into position. I can say it did help, but, is less affective than smoke. I also tried this method of moving bees when cutting attached burr comb from the sides of the hive. They seem to move away them slowly come back. Maybe It would be move effective if I had not been chewing gum or if I had clove of garlic in my mouth lol.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
    Posts
    224

    Default

    Bees definitely don't like your breath, but if they decide they're in a grumpy mood, breathing on them might do just the opposite of repelling them. You might end up with a face full of bees - business end first. I'm not sure about this, but I suspect they can sense carbon dioxide and that may be how they know to go for the face when they are defensive. Of course I'm speaking from the point of view of someone that does a lot of cut outs in an Africanized area, and I meet a lot of bees that are not so happy to see me.

    Scissor method and/or smoke works well for me...will have to experiment with the feather trick. You could also bevel your bars (if you're inclined to make fancy bars) to reduce the amount of contact area between bars and thereby reduce the amount of surface area where bees can get crushed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    The C02 breath is true. Mine get mad when done to them. Might be my breath, but it could also be that when bears, 'coons, and other mammals rob they breath on the hive as they do so, maybe causing an associative genetic memory which gives rise to that defense response.
    Chamfered bars! I never thought of that. Will have to get out the router. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
    Posts
    224

    Default

    Easiest way to chamfer the corners is with a table saw, assuming you have access to one. Just set your angle and throw your bars through. I personally don't bother with this anymore since it's not worth the added labor to me. Using a router would take WAY too long for my time constraints.

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