super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?
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  1. #1
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    Question super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Checked my 2 big hives today, and for the 1st time since last Oct., I tried to pry some frames in the mediums out. No-go! Really struggled with it, using the hive tool to dig/push, and I started to chip/split the hive body walls. Not good. Tried loosening the frames between each other and from the walls beside frames and at the ends of frames. Solid as rock.

    Does anybody haves ideas re: what I can do to prevent ruining the hive bodies involved? It's as if the glue and wood have formed an amalgam ....

    Mitch

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  3. #2
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    Minden LA, (NW Louisiana)
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Wait for warmer weather to break that box down?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    You and the bees are not going to like this...turn the box upside down with a 1x on each side of the box. Lay a piece of 2x4 directly over the end bars and smack it with a hammer. Once you get the frames to move, turn it back over and pry the individual frames apart as usual. No, I have never done this, but it is what I would do in that situation.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Use a hook tool.

    Nancy

  6. #5
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    You and the bees are not going to like this...turn the box upside down with a 1x on each side of the box. Lay a piece of 2x4 directly over the end bars and smack it with a hammer. Once you get the frames to move, turn it back over and pry the individual frames apart as usual. No, I have never done this, but it is what I would do in that situation.
    I actually did that once.I had a empty hive that only had empty frames in it and bees moved it and I had never noticed it.They must have been in it for a while and it was a mess.That was the only thing I could do with just a 2x and a hammer on the frame ends to get it all out.

  7. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Use a hook tool.
    I second that.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Use a hook tool.

    Nancy
    I third this. I have used 2 j hook tools, one under each side of the frame to pry up frames. I place the hook under the ear on one frame and the notch on top of the next frame and pry.

    see about 3:55 in this video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtyB64dC7nA

  9. #8
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Yeah, missed that. I use a j hook hive tool already. Did not cross my mind that Mitch was not using one. With bees that are heavy propolizers, it is the only way to go. My bad.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Obliged, guys -- I've never heard of a "j hook" hive tool. Anything's worth a try.

    And for what it's worth (unrelated to the topic) .... a Local Aussie told me he bought Manuka honey (!), from New Zealand, lately. Supposed to be primo stuff. I looked online, and it seems like a pretty cool tree, so .... buying one. If NZ bees like it, Carolina bees might, too. I wouldn't be able to say I have Manuka honey, but it's another good chow source for The Girls.

    ML

  11. #10
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Quote Originally Posted by mlanden View Post
    Checked my 2 big hives today, and for the 1st time since last Oct., I tried to pry some frames in the mediums out. No-go! Really struggled with it, using the hive tool to dig/push, and I started to chip/split the hive body walls. Not good. Tried loosening the frames between each other and from the walls beside frames and at the ends of frames. Solid as rock.

    Does anybody haves ideas re: what I can do to prevent ruining the hive bodies involved? It's as if the glue and wood have formed an amalgam ....

    Mitch
    I am just wondering if you have noticed any difference in the population of SHB in your hives with heavy propolizers.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Need more info; is the box in question able to be lifted off? In other words are the frames also propolized and burr combed to bars below? If the box is free the method of inverting and driving them down with a block of wood and hammer is the safest to prevent pulling the top bar off the frames. If you get this done pry between the shoulders of the frames to separate them. Do not pry in the gap between top bars or you risk splitting off the ears of the side bars.

    J hook may do the trick ,yes, but not under the top bar ears with jay hook hive tools; Too much likelihood of pulling off the top bar. I have made up long jay hooks with 3/16 dia. rod long enough to slide all the way down to hook under and pull up on the bottom bar close to the sidebar connection. Joints are in compression not being pulled apart. Have only had to use it on one colony that were propolizing champions.
    Frank

  13. #12
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    richardson TX USA
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    I use the J tool and a frame grip. Wiggle the frame grip in the middle of the frame while using the J tool to try and pry up on an end. And try on a warmer day.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Crofter,
    Could you attache a photo of your 3/16 rod puller. Does it also include a leaver for a mechanical advantage?

    master,
    I think that your suggestions are the best, but I would also add initially using the blade end of the "J" hook hive tool to separate the subject frame from its neighbors, other frames or inside of the box. Having an old serrated bread knife in the apiary is also sometimes helpful.

    Steve

  15. #14
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    I am just wondering if you have noticed any difference in the population of SHB in your hives with heavy propolizers.

    Alex
    I only saw 1 SHB in 1 hive and 2 in another; I'd not really expected to see any -- it being late winter. Hasn't really been a really cold season, though.
    Would you expect there to be fewer beetles? The glue keeping them out better, maybe?

  16. #15
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Need more info; is the box in question able to be lifted off? In other words are the frames also propolized and burr combed to bars below? If the box is free the method of inverting and driving them down with a block of wood and hammer is the safest to prevent pulling the top bar off the frames. If you get this done pry between the shoulders of the frames to separate them. Do not pry in the gap between top bars or you risk splitting off the ears of the side bars.

    J hook may do the trick ,yes, but not under the top bar ears with jay hook hive tools; Too much likelihood of pulling off the top bar. I have made up long jay hooks with 3/16 dia. rod long enough to slide all the way down to hook under and pull up on the bottom bar close to the sidebar connection. Joints are in compression not being pulled apart. Have only had to use it on one colony that were propolizing champions.
    No problem in pulling the boxes off each other -- only trying to pull the frames' ends off the box walls and off each other.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    I've not done this but I'm with the people who say turn the box over until they reach for the hammer. At that point I'm thinking bar clamp or such so that the hive can be pressed apart in a more controlled and less alarming (to the bees) way.
    Bill

  18. #17
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Bill, I am only 58. I still like a little excitement in my life. Whacking a beehive with a hammer would sure make things interesting.

    Re propolis and SHB, when I was in the hives last weekend I scraped off several corrals filled with dead and very sticky hive beetles. They are in the form of approx. 1" circles on the ears of the top bars and each contained 10 or so beetles.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Creek Steve View Post
    Crofter,
    Could you attache a photo of your 3/16 rod puller. Does it also include a leaver for a mechanical advantage?

    master,
    I think that your suggestions are the best, but I would also add initially using the blade end of the "J" hook hive tool to separate the subject frame from its neighbors, other frames or inside of the box. Having an old serrated bread knife in the apiary is also sometimes helpful.

    Steve
    I would have to do some rooting to find it. Basically there is a 90 deg. bend about 3/4" inch from the end of a foot long 3/16 or 1/4" steel rod. T bar handle tacked on top end. Slide hook down between frames with the hook parallel to top bars then rotate 90 Deg. to turn the hook out underneath the bottom bar of the frame you wish to lift. Can also be used to rake off burr comb between outside frame and side of hive body. Usually once you get an outside frame out the rest can be taken out one by one.

    It is good advise to pry between sidebars to break the propolis bond there. That puts no stress on the critical top bar side bar joint. Prying back and forth on top bar with a frame gripper to try to loosen frozen side bars puts a lot of strain on top bar joints. It certainly would not work on a plastic frame! Pulling straight up ok within limits.
    Frank

  20. #19
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    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    If you had your frames tight together, there should be a tab of propolis between the side of the box and the first frame. Why not try a hack saw blade (carefully) and try to get it in between the frame and box to get it cut out of there.
    I use a long reach j hook hive tool and work the sharpened end down thru that tab. Usually works for me.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: super-propolized frames -- how can I avoid destroying the hive bodies!?

    If this was my problem, then I'd either wait for warmer weather - or - if for some reason there was some urgency involved, I'd place the subject box over a heater pad and get the internal temperature up to summer temps (say 80F ?) for an hour or two at which point I'd expect the propolis to have softened.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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