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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Smile Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    My bees arrived. I got my very first bees, a nuc of Russians. Boy are they dark little beauties! Some almost all black! And despite the rumor that I heard that they were more aggressive than Italians, they were delightfully well mannered, not stinging and allowing this clumsy newbeek to feel right at home almost immediately. I think I'm in love!

    Now for the test. I put them in the suspended nuc box under the tbh. I want to post a picture, but can't figure it out.

    With any luck they will move up and start building and when Queen starts laying up there I will yank the box and put in a floor and WA LA!
    TBH!

    There was only one scary moment where we could not find Queen anywhere and it turns out she was in the pile of left over bees on the bottom of the old nuc. YIKES! We scooped her up and put her in. I hope she's ok!!!!

    Gotta say, I think this Newbeek is HOOKED!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Greensburg, Ky.
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    Yep thats called being addicted, you have Bee Fever!!!...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    The test is not going so great. The girls are still content in their nuc. They are building bur comb on the top and bottom of the old frames. I took two of the burr combs (small) and attached them to the top bars. Then I realized that right side up was upside down on the top bar.

    They sure do hang out a lot. The sourwood are in fresh bloom, and there is not a heck of a lot of foraging that I can tell. They have "happy hour" between 4:00 and 5:30 when everyone is out front hovering and flying about in great zig zags.... Then they go inside and their activity returns to normal.

    I have only seen ONE BEE carrying pollen, yet I have flowers full of pollen right now. (I have spent an unhealthy amount of time watching these girls.)
    I guess it is time to go back into the nuc and do a look about? They have gone through a Qt. of 2:1 sugar water in two days!

    I hope all is going well, but with nothing to go by, it is hard to tell!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,340

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    Contrary to popular belief, bees work down, not up...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    NOW you tell me

    I read one post about trying this method from the top and the bees didn't move down and someone posted that bees move UP... so I tried it in reverse. It may be that chop and crop is just the way to go. W'ell see.
    Last edited by Barry; 06-24-2010 at 07:07 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    piedmont, KS
    Posts
    242

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    uhmm Laruen, they do move from the top down. Every cutout i have done has the comb attached to the top of a tree or wall and they build it down.
    Last edited by Barry; 06-24-2010 at 07:07 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    Well, guys, this is NOT good news for my test. Why do traditional hives stack up instead of down?
    Last edited by Barry; 06-24-2010 at 07:07 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,304

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    They only stack up if you stack them that way. Stack them down.
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,340

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    Adding boxes to the bottom is a lot of work... that's why they usually get added to the top.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    What Michael Bush says about supering up is correct. If you have a bunch of hives that need supering, it is a lot easier to throw them on the top rather than lift everything up. And you also need to consider that if you throw your honey super at the very bottom, the queen will probably eventually move down there to lay brood and the bees will start filling the brood combs at the top with honey and sealing them (which you may not want, especially if they were once exposed to mite treatment).

    Usually a lot of the supers thrown on top of the hives already have the comb drawn out. That makes it a lot easier for the bees to want to move up there, especially if the hive is strong.

    Now, if that super is just foundation, the bees sometimes are reluctant to move up there. What’s done then is to take maybe two fames of brood from the box down below and put them up in the super. The brood helps the bees to move up (since they want to take care of it) and it also acts as a sort of bridge to get to the top of that new box.

    Now in your case, where the top bar hive above your nuc is probably completely empty without even empty comb, it would seem to definitely make it more difficult for them to want to move up. There´s a big gap between the top of the nuc box and the top bars above it where the new combs would be started. They probably do not want to cross that space.

    Try switching the nuc to the top of the top bar hive. Hopefully the floor can be removed fairly easily and a gap can be made between to top bars so the bees can get down there. I would think that should help. (I´ve never tried doing that, however, so I have some reservations about how well it will work. I start all my tbhs with swarms so I don´t have these transfer problems.) Moving the nuc, however, will mess up the returning field bees for a bit however, since the entrance will be now in another spot. They should reorientate however.

    The other option is the chop and crop (cutting the comb out of the frame and tying it to the top bars) to transfer those combs directly into the top bar hives, but many people don´t like that since it can be messy and messes up the bees organization for a bit.

    Good luck

    ----------
    Tom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    [QUOTE=Tomas;554368]
    Now in your case, where the top bar hive above your nuc is probably completely empty without even empty comb, it would seem to definitely make it more difficult for them to want to move up. There´s a big gap between the top of the nuc box and the top bars above it where the new combs would be started. They probably do not want to cross that space./QUOTE]

    Tom, this is exactly the case. After reading all that you and Michael wrote I realize I get to use the new icon....s !

    They will at least still be using the same entrance since it is in the middle of the hive on the bottom of the TBH but above the suspended nuc box. They have begun to attach the bur comb that I tied to the top bars, but it is without enthusiasm. I'm still a bit concerned about queen rightness, so the whole test is kind of a muddle.

    They are very gentle bees. I would have a very hard time breaking that trust and hacking them up to fit in a TBH. I will think of a way to change to a top nuc....

    Keep the ideas coming. I'll let you know how it goes.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    Ok, i give up. I officially call this test a failure. Now where to go from here???

    My bees are building the most beautiful straight comb... on TOP of the frames. So, technically they ARE moving into the TBH, just not quite like I had hoped. All original frames are pretty full and I am worried that if I let this go on too much longer, they will either leave or be left short and unprepared when winter arrives.

    I think I am going to have to chop and crop after all. The other option is to just move them into a langstom hive (destroying their new comb) and put a few top bars in there to start for NEXT year (or just order a package). I had one more idea based on Tom's suggestion... If i attach a nuc box below the one they are currently in (removing the screened bottom), adjusted to fit my top bars, they could just build down there, then I could transfer up later???? WOuld the bees care if they were building N-S and were transferred E-W?

    All of this sounds so complicated. Chop and crop is sounding easier all the time!

    Any ideas? Suggestions?? Tips???
    Last edited by Lauren; 06-27-2010 at 01:17 PM. Reason: another thought.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    When I was working in Wisconsin, I started some top bar hives with my brother. The problem you´re having is the exact reason I started our trapezoidal-shaped top bar hives with swarms or packages. I also bought several nucs but they got moved into rectangular tbhs made to accept the frames.

    Is there a top bar beekeeper in your area who may be willing to sell you two or three combs—empty or otherwise? Those could be placed in the tbh and maybe that would be good enough to act as a bridge for the bees to move up.

    And maybe you don’t even need to chop and crop all the frames. Maybe doing only one or two for the tbh will do the trick to help the bees to move out of the nuc and get to the top bars above them.

    With the hives in Wisconsin I was able to get some drawn out plastic frames with empty comb. I wanted to give these packages a couple combs already drawn out to give them a bit of an extra push. We cut them to size with a jig saw and screwed them to the top bar. Worked like a charm.

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...frameintbh.jpg


    Otherwise just think about moving them into a regular Langstroth hive and call this a learning experience. Take into consideration that it is just about July now and they are still only in a nuc. You can’t always trust there will be a good fall flow for the bees to keep drawing comb and building up to the point where they can overwinter.

    Good luck.

    ----------
    Tom

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Question Re: Bees arrived and the TEST is on!

    A friend kindly gave me an empty super and some drawn out comb. I am a little reluctant to use it because he says that there might be some moth larvae or maybe mold on them. He felt the bees could tackle it. However, since I don't have those issues now, I think it would be unwise to add yet another nasty variable.

    The girls are building up into the top bar (on top of the lower frames) at an amazing rate. I have to decide which way to go within the next day or two or there will be no getting into that hive. i am leaning toward traditional langstroth, because I could take their fresh comb and attach it to an empty frame easier than I could attach it upside up to the top bar. That would leave my TBH for a package next year (or a split).

    my main concern right now is getting them set up for winter. I am really on the fence here.

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