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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    237

    Default Too many bees to see what's going on!

    I'd like to take a close look at several of my bars, but the bee density is too high to see the comb. Is there a graceful way to move them off? Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Just blow lightly on the bees, they'll move.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    North Tazewell, Virginia
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Good time to make a nuc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,775

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Or use a bee brush.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Seriously folks, how do you do this with only one set of arms and hands? I'm not being flippant, I just cannot manage doing anything other than holding the bar in line with gravity. What's the trick to this?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,052

    Thumbs Up Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    A frame grip, sold by the supply houses, would give you good control over the top bar and leave one hand free to do something else. Resting one end of the top bar on a steady spot could do the same.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    I guess it really depends on the situation. Is this a new package or swarm? I could see this type of situation with a swarm or package. Once a hive gets going you shouldn't have problems seeing unless they have filled the entire hive and are bursting at the seams. Once you get used to handling bees and comb and knowing what you are looking at, things will seem easier.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Laramie, Wyoming
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    I'm with Bush84. At first it's daunting but take your time. Take a breath and look carefully. There's no rush. Lightly blowing on them will get them to move out of your way. It will not clear the frame but they will move from an area you want to get a better look at. It WILL get easier with practice. I am in your shoes. It's getting better every inspection.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Quote Originally Posted by KatGold View Post
    Seriously folks, how do you do this with only one set of arms and hands? I'm not being flippant, I just cannot manage doing anything other than holding the bar in line with gravity. What's the trick to this?
    The very best tool I built( and it took :15) was a rest for holding two bars. Visualize two vertical pieces of 3/4x 4" pieces of wood space parallel and apart about 1" less than the bar length and as high as the depth of the hive. Now cut a notch at the top of both pieces so the end of two bars can fit. anything as a base. I use it to have hands free when giving a bar a close exam. and I can turn this holder to see the other side - Mike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,775

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Quote Originally Posted by KatGold View Post
    Seriously folks, how do you do this with only one set of arms and hands? I'm not being flippant, I just cannot manage doing anything other than holding the bar in line with gravity. What's the trick to this?
    You can't hold the bar in the middle by one hand and rotate it?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Quote Originally Posted by KatGold View Post
    Seriously folks, how do you do this with only one set of arms and hands? I'm not being flippant, I just cannot manage doing anything other than holding the bar in line with gravity. What's the trick to this?
    Turn the bar sideways, to where the bar itself is vertical to the ground,(It'll look like a flag of comb on the top bar) then slowly rotate the bar/comb around until you can view the other side. From there you can even turn it upside down. Just make sure the comb doesn't become
    turned to where it would lay flat with the gravity of the earth. It will snap off the bar.
    You-tube has some good videos of how to handle TBH combs.
    Search You-tube for McCartney Taylors (user/outofabluesky)video, Top Bar Hive Comb Manipulation Lesson
    It explains it very well while he demonstrates with actual combs.
    Also, the info. that the Peace Corps (small scale beekeeping) puts out has sketches of how to handle combs.
    Last edited by Steven Ogborn; 06-09-2012 at 05:41 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Indeed, just blow gently. I did this just today and it works great. Keep in mind however that agitated bees target your face because of the CO2 in your breath, so I'm not sure if blowing on them could agitate them. I try to breath very lightly when working agitated bees. On that note, I made a split today, and before I started I moved the hive 10' from where it originally was and placed the new hive there to get all the foragers. The bonus was that I had no fliers as I inspected the hive that I had moved 10'. I don't think a single bee came out at me. It was awesome! Of course when I turned to the new hive with all the foragers, things were different...but no stings!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,052

    Thumbs Up Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    In my own experience, not surprisingly, different hives respond more or less to your breath. If it works, run with it.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    If you are the least bit handy, you can make one yourself. Very simple, made one in about 1/2 hour, and it's perfect. Even folds so I can keep it right there above the bars, and in the "attic" under my top bar roof. Even got to find my queen this weekend during inspection!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Mike -

    Since you just want to take a look rather than remove every bee (as in harvesting), a couple quick swipes with a bee brush or blowing on a spot or two should clear them enough to get a look.

    Also, if they're that packed onto your bars, you might consider adding a bar or two to keep them from feeling overly crowded and start contimplating swarming. Something like this would work... CCCECCECCC (C=bar with full comb, E=empty bar). Try to get the empty bars between really straight comb and they'll make you another nice straight comb.

    Bruce

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    I had my smoker on top of the hive and moved the bar in front of it using the little bit of smoke that naturally comes out was enuf to move them without going crazy. Mind u most of my bars are not fully drawn. One hives doing well. The 2nd not so much.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    388

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Barefoot Beekeeper describes a bar-holder made with bent wire that can be folded down. A willing helper is always best.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    for a quick look, it's easy enough to rest one side of a bar on the outside edge of the hive, but a little stand is pretty handy, too. Easier to get pictures that way.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    Quote Originally Posted by llgoddj View Post
    If you are the least bit handy, you can make one yourself. Very simple, made one in about 1/2 hour, and it's perfect. Even folds so I can keep it right there above the bars, and in the "attic" under my top bar roof. Even got to find my queen this weekend during inspection!
    What are you describing? - Mike

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Too many bees to see what's going on!

    I think he was suggesting you build a stand, not seeing that you described one you made in post #9. The one I made isn't as elaborate. Three pieces of wood nailed together and notched to accomodate one laiden bar. I barely use it, instead doing the rotate and twist method to see both sides, but will once it gets warmer.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhorowit View Post
    What are you describing? - Mike

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