I have two top bar hives that I started from packages in April 2012 (photo attached). I lost a nuc that I split from my stronger hive to small hive beetle infestation last summer. While the two packages kept the SHB pretty well penned up, after seeing the devastation wreaked on the nuc, I helped them by systematically ferreting the beetles out of cells and squashing them—with great pleasure--during regular inspections. I also tried a couple different trap designs which were not very successful. My wife and I will be traveling a lot this year and I am concerned that SHB could be a problem in my absence. Several local Langstroth beeks have told me they have had good success in controlling SHB with Freeman-type screen bottom oil traps. I decided to make a similar trap for my hives.
I have built a third hive (with identical dimensions to my current hives) that incorporates the screen/oil tray trap (photo attached). My plan is to put a few drops of lemon grass oil in it and transfer the bars/bees from hive #1 into this new hive when the weather warms enough…placing it in the same location as the current colony. Then, retrofit hive #1 with the new trap, pressure wash it thoroughly, add LGO and transfer the bars from hive #2 into it. Then, retrofit hive #2 with the trap, pressure wash, add LGO and keep it for a future swarm/split. Is this a viable plan? Any issues with acceptance of their new homes?
I suppose an alternative might be letting the colonies in their current hives and doing a“live swap out” of the current solid bottom boards with prefabbed bottom traps. Somehow, I suspect that the bees may not take kindly to my removing the floor of their home with a drill and who knows what will happen from there! Besides, I’m not as young as I used to be and getting down on the ground to do that won’t work so well!

Any and all suggestions about how to best pull this off would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

KenHives 2012.jpg2013 New Hive.jpg