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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Lucedale, MS, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Messy Foundationless Hive

    I started a hive last year with my initial goal of just keeping the hive healthy and taking them through the first summer and winter as I learned to care for them. The hive grew successfully. But now I want to split the hive and it is a mess. The bees did not build their combs like I wanted . Can someone help me figure out how to split this healthy hive. I'm good with just letting them pollinate and keeping them healthy but I'd like to start another hive and get some honey this coming summer. Any suggestions welcomed. Thanks...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,248

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by jdebee View Post
    I started a hive last year with my initial goal of just keeping the hive healthy and taking them through the first summer and winter as I learned to care for them. The hive grew successfully. But now I want to split the hive and it is a mess. The bees did not build their combs like I wanted . Can someone help me figure out how to split this healthy hive. I'm good with just letting them pollinate and keeping them healthy but I'd like to start another hive and get some honey this coming summer. Any suggestions welcomed. Thanks...

    Good luck. Bet you now know why removable frames in beehives are both a good idea and a major part of the bee laws. You might want to under super them with "real" equipment. Once the bees are rolling in the new box let them use that and push the bees out of the "disaster" with bee-go or something else that is nasty. Otherwise be prepared to move the combs out piece by piece. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,238

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    welcome to beesource jde!

    how many foundationless frames did they drawn out?

    how many are straight enough to reuse?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by jdebee View Post
    I started a hive last year with my initial goal of just keeping the hive healthy and taking them through the first summer and winter as I learned to care for them. The hive grew successfully. But now I want to split the hive and it is a mess. The bees did not build their combs like I wanted . Can someone help me figure out how to split this healthy hive. I'm good with just letting them pollinate and keeping them healthy but I'd like to start another hive and get some honey this coming summer. Any suggestions welcomed. Thanks...
    Pictures and or a better description of what you are dealing with would help us dispense some advice. if they went 90 degrees to the frames, then basically what you have on your hands is a cutout. In a time of better weather (this spring), flip them over and cut the combs out 1 by 1 and rubber band them into empty frames. If they are going the correct direction, but started at the top of one frame and ended on the bottom of the next frame (this happens if your hive isn't level side to side when going foundationless), you will need to get under there and cut them loose from the bottom of the other frame, then once you can pull them up you trimm the comb until it will fit into it's own frame and push it over there, repeat until all the frames are fixed. If you have some really FAT combs of honey that are taking up the space of 2 frames, you will need to remove them (both frames) trimm the honey back (perhaps into a bowl YUMMY) and then put the frame back into the hive. So was it one of these 3 senarios?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,380

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Good advice Rod. I've had to straighten out quite a few foundationless frames as well and it can be a real pain. It's best to work on them when the weather is hot and the wax is very flexible. Many of mine started the comb off center and on one side of the top bar. To repair it I cut the comb all the way across the top and then pushed it back to the center, stabilizing it with rubber bands.
    If you used cross wires on your frames, that makes things much more difficult. Usually the comb will come apart in three or more long pieces if you try to push the comb back through the wire to center it.
    Some bees are much more stubborn about building straight comb than others and you may need to do this a couple of times on certain colonies. If you can place frames with repaired comb between straight drawn out frames it will help tremendously. Be patient, you'll get there.
    To everything there is a season....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Lucedale, MS, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try to get some pictures today and post them. But there didn't seem to be any linear combs...more of a twisted mess. Maybe placing a super beneath them will be the best bet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Come spring, turn box upside down and place new one above.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,248

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Brilliant !!!!!! idea Maryland

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,793

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Maryland Beekeeper View Post
    Come spring, turn box upside down and place new one above.
    Upside down has not always worked for me, especially with combs that are so wild and some horizontal. Maybe fume the bees down, place box above excluder, after all brood is hatched do a cutout.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,543

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    What size and how many boxes are there in your hive? If 2 deeps, then you could wait until spring when both boxes are fairly full of bees, split the two boxes apart and put a super on top of each. There will most likely be eggs and young larva in both boxes so the box without the queen will make themselves another. After the split, when bees are again in two boxes, go thru and find the queens and put them in the upper boxes that have good comb, put those boxes on the bottom of the hive stacks with a queen excluder over it and then put the wild comb boxes on top. As brood emerges from the top wild boxes, they will fill the combs with honey. Once they are capped, you can then remove the wild comb boxes and crush and strain the honey out.

    Whatever you decide to do, best of luck to you!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    One of the most successful beekeepers in history was Moses Quimby. He did not go to movable comb hives until forced to do so. He made splits and raised queens with box hives. With some learning and practice you would be surprised what you can do. More so, if you have frames to work with, you can often cut combs and tie them into frames which is even easier to work with. If you flip the box upside down you can remove the box from the frames. Then youc an cut combs out from the ends and tie them into other frames and put them into a box. It's just a very easy standard cut out. I would not do it until there is a flow in the spring, though. But the earlier into that flow the better as there will be a lot of empty comb which is much easier to work with.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm#removal
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Lucedale, MS, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I've split the hive and they are both doing fine. Just so I'll know...what was the reasoning behind turning the hives upside down?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Messy Foundationless Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by jdebee View Post
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I've split the hive and they are both doing fine. Just so I'll know...what was the reasoning behind turning the hives upside down?
    Bees are very resistant to using comb that is oriented in the wrong direction (upside down). This allowed any brood to hatch that was there and not be replaced and also may have encouraged them to move the honey to "proper" comb.

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