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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Cut-out from Langstroth Hive?

    Ok folks, newbee here looking for advice/suggestions/thoughts/opinions.

    Caught a swarm out of a tree on my property last April, and, so far, it looks like they are going to make the winter.

    When hiving the swarm last April, I talked to a local beekeeping friend and after a bit of research came to the conclusion that I wanted to try foundationless frames.

    The bees did not build the combs correctly to the frames, and in fear of losing my only hive, I opted to let them carry on instead of scraping the comb out and making them start over. Obviously, this was a short-sighted rookie decision and I now have a hive full of wonky combs running nearly perpendicular to the direction of the frames. Hive consists of two ten-frame deep boxes almost full of this type of comb.

    I am hoping to remedy this situation early this spring and trying to figure out the best way to do it with minimal harm to the colony. I could try and just do a cutout, but with the comb being so crazy my fear is that I may lose or kill the queen in the process. Any ideas on a way to get the colony to move into new boxes and vacate the old crazy comb? Maybe try and set up a trap out into the new boxes somehow? The idea is to try and get the bees to move first, then go in and cut out the old comb and affix what is left into new frames with the correct orientation.

    To complicate matters more, I am converting from my current ten-frame deep boxes to all eight-frame mediums.

    Any input is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Cut-out from Langstroth Hive?

    To do a cutout, flip the box updside down. Remove the box from the frames. Pull each frame off or cut the next comb out from the outside to the middle and tie into frames (with rubber bands or string) as you go.

    If you just want them to abandon it, add boxes to the top and first thing in the spring check the bottom box to see if it's empty. Once they are working the top box, drum the bees up into that box (use a pocket knife to tap on the side of the box ) and when the bees are running over the top and down the sides of the top box, pull the top box off, flip the bottom box upside down and put an excluder between the two boxes. Come back in a week and see if you have eggs in the top box.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cut-out from Langstroth Hive?

    Yep, Bush nailed it. Break the boxes apart like you normally would and flip upside down. The combs should all stay intact with the frames and the whole block will fall out. Then use your hive tool or a fillet knife to carefully free the combs from the frames. Sicne the combs were pulled perpendicular to the frames, they will be shorter and you might have a few extra (think box dimensions).

    If you're swapping to medium frames now is the time to do that too. May as well get it all done while you're at it. Be careful with the honeycombs. Pick a good warm day about 75-80 where the comb is softer but the honey thicker. You want that pliability so you aren't breaking combs. If it's empty honeycombs, don't bother transferring it. Be very careful how much honey you actually move. When I do cutouts I only will transfer capped honey, and even then not as much. My focus is to transfer as much of the brood and pollen as possible. Place the honeycomb scraps in a bucket for the bees to rob back, or harvest it for yourself. Just don't put sloppy honeycombs in the new hive or you'll quickly find a sloppy mess, and God forbid the beetles get to it!

    If the combs are wavy you may want to try and bend them straighter as you put them in the frames. Would be a shame to only get 7/8 frames in the new hive because wavy combs wouldn't line up.

    Absolute worst case you can always just knock the bees off into a new box and scrap the whole comb mess, but them you're basically starting over with a swarm. Just use foundation this time. No offense, but I never advise beginners to dive in foundationless, purely to prevent what you are dealing with. I started in with a TBH and quickly ran into crooked combs. I had to really pound myself to avoid doing what you did. I didn't want to take away their hard work but had to! I'm glad I didn't wait. Good luck. Send me a PM or a YouTube message if you need more help.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Cut-out from Langstroth Hive?

    Thanks so much for the input guys, much appreciated!

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