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Thread: Hi and help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Brisbane australia
    Posts
    1

    Default Hi and help!

    Well it goes like this. About 18 months ago I decided to build a bee hive. I have no idea of where this thought came from. Mi think I was out of work at the time and this was my project to take my mind of things. I decided on a top bar hive. So I researched and researched read million of forum post then built one of my own design.

    Then I found out the bees are seasonal. And you can only buy bees at certain times of the year. So I put my 80% finished hive in the back garden.


    On the weekend I was looking through gumtree and found bees for sale and the I realised that I was in that small window where one can buy bees.

    So I rang a couple of bee sellers and I found a lady who sold nucs. I mentioned I have a top bar hive and she told me that she had a top bar nuc for sale! I was so excited! Then she told me she hates her top bar hive and wants to pull it apart and that I can have the tb nuc for free and a couple of bars and bees from the main colony, but I have to do all the work. Of course I said ok.

    So I have been running around like mad finishing my hive building a box to move the nuc and ordering bee clothes.

    Like always my 13 year old daughter has jumped on board and can't wait to help with the bees.

    Considering I have never touched a bee before. I have a few questions

    1). Am I insane? Have I bitten of more that I can chew?

    2). I am taking the approach that the bees are the gold the comb is an extra. What I mean is that if the hive is a big cross comb mess I am planning to just cut everything out cut of the comb, maybe leave and inch on the bars and let the bees start again. Is this the best approach?


    3) the other problem is that her bars are 50cm wide mine are 37cm wide. If the comb is straight. Can I just trim the comb to match the shape of my hive then just trim the width of the bars with a saw to match mine?

    Are there any other tips to keep in mind?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    Welcome new bee
    We blokes in the U.S. are not used to dealing with metric measurements, when I was computing firing data for the military fifty years ago we used metric but that was long ago. Your problem with the bar length is what I have already encountered, I placed my 37 cm (13.5 inches) bars into a langstroth hive and needed them 50 cm long. I simply took a sheet of 1/4 inch siding and cut it to the proper length and width, then I attached the "scab" to the top bars with a couple of short screws. If you find you don't like the top bar you can just put them in a langstroth. You asked if you are insane," I don't have the mental health capacity to answer that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie new bee View Post

    1). Am I insane? Have I bitten of more that I can chew?

    2). I am taking the approach that the bees are the gold the comb is an extra. What I mean is that if the hive is a big cross comb mess I am planning to just cut everything out cut of the comb, maybe leave and inch on the bars and let the bees start again. Is this the best approach?


    3) the other problem is that her bars are 50cm wide mine are 37cm wide. If the comb is straight. Can I just trim the comb to match the shape of my hive then just trim the width of the bars with a saw to match mine?

    Are there any other tips to keep in mind?
    1) Being insane definitely helps, I think it is part of the package

    2) Drawn comb is gold, bees are extra. Straight drawn comb esp in a top bar or foundationless is priceless. Trim the comb to match, keep the extra pieces for starter strips. A lot of beginners end up killing bees in their first year. Straight drawn comb will allow you to restart from a package without much fuss.

    3) Sounds good - try to keep the chunks as big as possible in order to use them as guides.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie new bee View Post
    1). Am I insane? Have I bitten of more that I can chew?

    2). I am taking the approach that the bees are the gold the comb is an extra. What I mean is that if the hive is a big cross comb mess I am planning to just cut everything out cut of the comb, maybe leave and inch on the bars and let the bees start again. Is this the best approach?


    3) the other problem is that her bars are 50cm wide mine are 37cm wide. If the comb is straight. Can I just trim the comb to match the shape of my hive then just trim the width of the bars with a saw to match mine?

    Are there any other tips to keep in mind?
    1) Question 1 is really 2 questions. Are you insane? Probably. It's not really normal for people to want to play around with thousands of stinging insects. Have you bitten off more than you can chew? No way! You can do it!!!

    2) If the comb is a big mess inside, I think the approach you have planned sounds as good as any other to me provided that the comb is straight where it attaches to the bar. However, I do agree with merince about cutting nice straight chunks of comb as big as possible. You can reattach the comb to the bars (making sure that the right end is up). Check out videos by OutofaBlueSky on YouTube. He has lots of great vids, and I know he has at least one where he shows how to reattach comb with hairclips.

    3) It sounds like you will have 1 hive that is fully built, which you are getting for free from this woman (let's call it Her Hive), and one have that you are currently building (let's call it Your Hive). Other people may have different opinions, but this is what I would do. I would fix whatever problems you have with the comb in Her Hive and keep the bees in Her Hive until Your Hive is ready. At that point, you have a couple of choices.
    Option 1: If you had to remove chunks of comb from Her Hive, you could attach some to the bars in Your Hive to start off any package bees you may have ordered.
    Option 2: If you end up not having to cut any comb out of Her Hive, you could start off some bars of comb in Her Hive. Before the bees build fully across the entire bar (usually, they start by building a little bit of comb around the center of the bar, so you don't really have to cut anything) you can transfer the longer bars to Your Hive and just cut the ends of the bars off. I wrote an article on how to cut the bars if you are interested: http://happyhourtopbar.blogspot.com/...-too-long.html

    Welcome to beekeeping! It's so much fun, and it's awesome that your daughter is into helping you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    >1). Am I insane?

    You will be. The bees will take over your life... run away while you still can...

    > Have I bitten of more that I can chew?

    If you stay at it, you'll figure it out.

    >2). I am taking the approach that the bees are the gold the comb is an extra. What I mean is that if the hive is a big cross comb mess I am planning to just cut everything out cut of the comb, maybe leave and inch on the bars and let the bees start again. Is this the best approach?

    Yes, the comb can be replaces as long as there is a flow of nectar to work with and the weather is warm. Brood comb can be tied onto the top bar if it's dark and has cocoons to strengthen it (sew it on with wire or string).

    >3) the other problem is that her bars are 50cm wide mine are 37cm wide. If the comb is straight. Can I just trim the comb to match the shape of my hive then just trim the width of the bars with a saw to match mine?

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    Lot of sound advice already, so, this is just my opinion:
    Clean up, straighten up her gift hive being as un-intrusive as possible. Keep it as a hive.
    Start your own hive as planned with new bees.
    Two hives are twice the fun, and some screw up by an insane person will not completely alienate the 13 year old.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmyra, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    I agree keep it as a hive.
    If the nuc is strong make a split, or let it grow another couple of weeks depending on flow there.
    that way you will have 2 hives.
    research (walkaway splits) (how to make a split) grow your own Queens that way.
    if the nuc is not completely full and ready to swarm you have some time.
    a split = free bees
    just not as much honey .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    If you really want to get insane continue to try to work with different size everything. Keep your own design the same every time, you will want to interchange equipment soon enough. As far as anybody else's equipment ALWAYS do a complete shake down into one of YOUR OWN hives. reclaim brood by propping the cut comb upside down in the rear of your TBH remove it completely when all the brood hatches out. Reclaim the honey and baggie feed it back to them asap. Render the wax. WIN WIN WIN. You will thank me in the long run.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Hi and help!

    Oh, by the way, keep this thread alive, post you activities!
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

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