Should I clean it out or leave it?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    29

    Default Should I clean it out or leave it?

    (I set up several top bar bee hives where I used a backer board to reduce the size to swarm trap size.)

    I was unable to get out and check the hives last spring/summer due to a car accident and surgery. When I got out there this fall I found that bees had moved into one of the hives at some point. However, from the scat it looks like the hive was raided by raccoons. They pulled the top off the hive and pulled out the top bars. Scattering them around the hive with a couple of top bars that I still have not found. From the top bars it looks like the hive had comb on the 15 bars that make up the reduced size.

    In the bottom of the top bar hive there was a couple of hand sized pieces of brood comb and several dead bees.

    I fixed the top so the coons can not get into it again, unless they learned how to buy and operate a screwdriver. lol

    My question is, as I am using it as a swarm trap should I clean out the comb and dead bees from the bottom of the hive or leave them there? If I leave them there will bees that move in clean it out?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: Should I clean it out or leave it?

    Quote Originally Posted by TALittle View Post
    My question is, as I am using it as a swarm trap should I clean out the comb and dead bees from the bottom of the hive or leave them there? If I leave them there will bees that move in clean it out?
    TA:

    I enjoyed reading your post- those raccoons are certainly resourceful buggers.

    If it were me, I would remove all the dead bees and take any of the salvageable comb and re-attach it to any empty top bars.

    This year I utilized metal sandwich bag twist ties to reattach some broken comb to top bars and it seems to have worked adequately well, allowing the bees to re-anchor the comb to the frame.

    I have also seen video of pre-swarm scouts/cleaners? removing wax moth casings and webbing so there are at least some cases where swarms will 'clean house' before and after moving in- that said, I would rather they be able to focus their time and resources on building-up sufficient comb and stores to overwinter successfully.

    Just my humble opinion- other more seasoned beekeepers on here might have a different POV.

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