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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Orinda, California, USA
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    Default Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    I have a hive (2 deeps , one med super) that swarmed a week or so ago because it was honey bound. I opened it up yesterday and found some honey in the super, the whole of the upper deep full of nectar and honey, some small space for a queen to lay in lower deep plus lots of pollen and some capped brood. No other eggs or brood. I found 2 virgin queens in there.
    I know if I wait a few days the virgin queens will go out for an " hour on the town" and come back pregnant and start laying eggs. My question is how to get the honey out of that lovely foundationless comb in the upper deep. I can't extract it- It will fall apart. I tried placing empty frames between honey frames and all they do is ignore the empty frames and build fatter comb on the already drawn.
    Any ideas????

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    Well, you can cut & strain (but that kills the "lovely foundationless comb"), cut out the comb to sell as comb honey (worth more $$ that way, but still costs you the comb), or, if you have/are willing to get/make a MANUAL exctractor, you could try spinning them slowly...it'd likely take quite a bit of time to empty them but, if done carefully enough, it could get the honey out without blowing out the combs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    Michael - I tried that before they swarmed even . Didn't do a lot of good. They continued to extend the drawn combs that were full of honey , making them fatter and not starting any new comb on the new empty frames. But who knows when there is a good laying queen in there they will change their mind.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    >They continued to extend the drawn combs that were full of honey , making them fatter and not starting any new comb on the new empty frames.

    In the brood nest? I have never seen them do that in the brood nest. They always do that in the supers where they are storing honey.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    Well, I haven't seen anyone else using a super on a TBH box lately...but I think Michael's point here, enchplant, is that you need to place the empty bars between BROOD combs, NOT open honey combs

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    robherc, that make sense , but when all your brood frames have honey in them, then what do you do?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    Unfortunately, that's one of the drawbacks we have when we choose to use horizontal hives. If the comb is more than 75% brood, I'd give it a shot, but be ready to go in every few days & trim those honey cells around the top & edges back to a more appropriate depth when (notice I didn't say "if") the bees start extending them. Sometimes it doesn't work, but usually if I keep up like that, my hives with honey around the brood will build a new comb that way.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    Well, I haven't seen anyone else using a super on a TBH box lately..
    Robherc, just to be clear. I am using langstroth hives , not top bar hives . I don't use foundation on my brood frames, just on my honey supers.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    What he is describing sounds exactly how Walt Wright describes the preparations for a reproductive swarm. Walt says the swarming instinct causes the backfilling of the broodnest with nectar/honey, not the other way around. If that is what has happened, you ought to be able to just leave them alone, and when your new queen starts laying, the workers will clear out the honey in the broodnest as she needs space to lay. Bees know best!

  11. #11
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    Bunker Hill, IL
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    you really need more wooden ware.

    Id swap the deeps then stack 2 more med supers ontop of the deeps with the full honey one on top waiting for it to dry and get capped.

    or for more "fun"

    -find the box the queen is in and put that on the bottom.
    -then pull the frames of honey out of the deeps,
    -in the deep with the queen this should be at least the outer frames (10 frame boxes) you can then push the existing frames out, place 2 new foundationless frames between 2 other drawn frames in the middle of the brood nest (open up the brood).
    - second deep should have many more frames of honey as you describe. pull them out, back fill with foundationless frames inbetween drawn frames. (opens up this box)
    - place third deep ontop of bottom 2, place all deep honey frames in it, back fill with frames till 9 frames (treat this like a honey super)

    in 2 weeks check for space, add more med supers ontop of #3 deep.

    If all goes well hope to pull 150lbs of honey off it in 2 months.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by enchplant View Post
    Robherc, just to be clear. I am using langstroth hives , not top bar hives . I don't use foundation on my brood frames, just on my honey supers.
    Ouch, looks like I owe M. Bush an appology on that one....foot's in MY mouth there!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Advice on a honey-bound foundationless hive.

    >My question is how to get the honey out of that lovely foundationless comb in the upper deep. I can't extract it- It will fall apart.

    That depends. If it's not bright white anymore and has a yellow tint and is connected a little on all sides, it will extract fine as long as you are gentle and start slow.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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