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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
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    247

    Default Inspecting in stages?

    Is there any reason I can't inspect the TBH in stages? With removing comb attached to the side, and cutting cross comb, and getting testy because of the humidity, I'd like to take a break as I go thru the hive. I'm sure the bees would appreciate it also.

    I'm thinking when I come to a stopping point, cover the opening with a piece of plywood and come back after a cool drink.

    Thoughts? - Mike
    Last edited by mhorowit; 07-29-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    It works for me. My bees act their worst as I'm cutting attachments on the honeycombs at the back of the hive.
    If they start getting irritated, I just walk off for a couple of minutes, or enough time to pull my veil and have a smoke.
    When I come back they've calmed down some and hopefully it's not long before I get into the brood nest.
    As soon as I get into the brood nest, they mellow out like it's no big deal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
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    247

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    Steve- are there any cases where you can lift a bar straight up? For each bar I have to check for wall attachment, check for adjacent comb attachment, shift the bar about an inch away from the entrance, then I can lift. I have a ten bar nuc I have been using as a hive stand; that gives me a comfortable amount of space to shift bars. I think I'll buy some "floor canvas" (which I think is really drop cloth) to cover the gap left by the ten bars I moved to the nuc. Lot of robbing over the last two weeks, so I need a quick way to close up the hive;I think that canvas might do the trick. Do you make any attempt to remove the wax remaining after an attachment is undone? - mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    No Mike. I have to create a descent gap at the back to get started. Then I have to go through
    all the honey to get to the brood that's mostly at the front of the hive.
    I haven't had any problems with robbing while I'm in the hives yet.
    After I detach a comb, and get the comb out of the way, I'll scrape what's left on the wall of the hive.
    I use the Heck out of follower boards, so there's no gap at the back of the hive if I pull bars/combs
    out of the hive. I've found no quick way to close up my hives. If I move a bar the bees get up on
    the edge of it and are prone to get squished, even if I close the bars up as I pull them.
    They still get in the way and require the use of a bee-down strip moving in both directions,
    opening or closing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Falls Church, VA
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    247

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    Follower boards. Of course.
    - Mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    One thing that we have noticed is that the number of openings between the boards should be kept at a minimum. Treat empty bars the same way that you do full ones, and as you work through the hive, close up those gaps no matter how small. There seems to be a definite correlation between the number of openings and the overall defensive reaction of the hive. (And it rather makes intuitive sense ... "If we see a lot of light up there, the hive must be under attack!") As the gaps are closed, the defensiveness begins to subside.

    Also, do not cast a shadow especially across the entrance to the hive. Don't stand directly in front of it: if they smack into it during their comings and goings, they're probably going to attack it. ("Heck, I would!") Our hives are positioned at various outward angles, leaving a large work-area in the middle. All under nice, deep shade trees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrobinson View Post
    One thing that we have noticed is that the number of openings between the boards should be kept at a minimum. Treat empty bars the same way that you do full ones, and as you work through the hive, close up those gaps no matter how small. There seems to be a definite correlation between the number of openings and the overall defensive reaction of the hive. (And it rather makes intuitive sense ... "If we see a lot of light up there, the hive must be under attack!") As the gaps are closed, the defensiveness begins to subside.
    Which sounds like a good enough reason to drape something over the bars I've already examined, moved to the end, but haven't bothered to close the gap between them - Mike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Houston, Tx
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrobinson View Post
    One thing that we have noticed is that the number of openings between the boards should be kept at a minimum. Treat empty bars the same way that you do full ones, and as you work through the hive, close up those gaps no matter how small. There seems to be a definite correlation between the number of openings and the overall defensive reaction of the hive. (And it rather makes intuitive sense ... "If we see a lot of light up there, the hive must be under attack!") As the gaps are closed, the defensiveness begins
    I watched a video that talked about always staying 2 steps away from closing up. This is challenging as a solo beekeeper. So would you recommend just having something that you can cover up the openings with if the bees start to get agitated? Then come back in a few when things settle?

    I fumbled around today trying to close up and couldn't get my last spacer bar to fit back in right, squashed a couple of bees, got stung, felt like a bad beekeep...

    I need 4 hands!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    Quote Originally Posted by Farrah View Post
    I watched a video that talked about always staying 2 steps away from closing up. This is challenging as a solo beekeeper. So would you recommend just having something that you can cover up the openings with if the bees start to get agitated? Then come back in a few when things settle?

    I fumbled around today trying to close up and couldn't get my last spacer bar to fit back in right, squashed a couple of bees, got stung, felt like a bad beekeep...

    I need 4 hands!
    That's why I like using follower boards. Until your hive gets at capacity, you can open up as much space as you need.
    Then when you're done, and all the bars are back in place, you can just slide the follower board back up, then worry
    about wedging the unused bars in. It only takes two hands and a good heavy bread knife or hive tool to shoehorn with.
    You shouldn't feel like a bad beek because you can't get a couple of bees out of the way. A lot of times they'll jump in
    the way when you think it's clear.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Houston, Tx
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ogborn View Post
    That's why I like using follower boards. Until your hive gets at capacity, you can open up as much space as you need.
    Then when you're done, and all the bars are back in place, you can just slide the follower board back up, then worry
    about wedging the unused bars in.

    My TBH is at capacity. I am considering when I harvest next, not putting that one bar back in but rather putting an empty at the back and the follower in front of it. That way I always have at least one bar of space to work with. Is that a bad idea for any reason? Not sure if that works in terms of leaving space for them and leaving them with honey to get through winter...

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

    Default Re: Inspecting in stages?

    That's what I'm doing with a couple of nucs that I have. Bars with combs, follower, one empty bar.

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