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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a total newbie, I have the proverbial stupid question. Today I received a swarm of bees for my new TBH (I am soooo excited!). My TBH has one front opening, and it is on the short end. I put the false back 12 bars from the front opening, and I put the 1:1 syrup feeder in the space behind the false back, towards the end of the hive. I am using a small chicken waterer for this purpose, with small pebbles in it, so the bees don't drown. Perfect, bees are feeding fine. Right now, nights here are at around 36F - 40F, and the bee catcher who provided me with the swarm advised me to continue 1:1 feeding for approx. another 3 weeks. Perfect, I understand that too. Now my question: The instructions that came with my TBH say that in about 4 to 6 days, I am to pull the false back from behind top bar #12 where it is now, all the way to the back end of the hive. What happens to the position of the syrup feeder at that point? Do I just leave it inside in the same spot it is now, only it will no longer be behind the false back, and it will just stay inside at the back end of the hive without the partition of the false back? Thank you for your guidance.

sylvia
 

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Your bees will quite likely take a while to cover 12 bars. A lot of people will only add one or two bars at a time to each end. I caught a cast swarm at the end of last year and they went into winter having only covered 9 bars. They are now on 16 bars. Just see what they do and respond accordingly. There is a good chance that is the weather and forage are good that you could remove the feeder sooner anyway.
Best of luck and enjoy the ride.
 

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As a total newbie, I have the proverbial stupid question. Today I received a swarm of bees for my new TBH (I am soooo excited!). My TBH has one front opening, and it is on the short end. I put the false back 12 bars from the front opening, and I put the 1:1 syrup feeder in the space behind the false back, towards the end of the hive. I am using a small chicken waterer for this purpose, with small pebbles in it, so the bees don't drown. Perfect, bees are feeding fine. Right now, nights here are at around 36F - 40F, and the bee catcher who provided me with the swarm advised me to continue 1:1 feeding for approx. another 3 weeks. Perfect, I understand that too. Now my question: The instructions that came with my TBH say that in about 4 to 6 days, I am to pull the false back from behind top bar #12 where it is now, all the way to the back end of the hive. What happens to the position of the syrup feeder at that point? Do I just leave it inside in the same spot it is now, only it will no longer be behind the false back, and it will just stay inside at the back end of the hive without the partition of the false back? Thank you for your guidance.

sylvia
There have been some undesireable situations that occur when a feeder is on the bee side of the follower.
 

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Congrats on getting some bees. Does your TBH have a window? It helps to be able to peek inside to see how the comb is progressing and to know that they are not making a mess on the feeder (doubtful but possible). Keep feeding until the bees have drawn out at least 6 combs for the queen to lay in. You also don't want them to backfill these cells with the syrup, but that is also unlikely at this time of year when there is a flow on.

You don't need to move the division board until they have really started to fill up the existing space. And bees don't want too much open space to begin with, or they can make messy combs. With my new package that is still building comb, I like to inspect every 7-10 days to make sure they have the new comb on the bars where I want it. My existing colony doesn't need that much attention except to insert a new bar in the brood nest every so often.

I also had a feeder inside my hive that received the package on Apr 20. I did keep inching it back as they built more bars of comb so they didn't build on top of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the help, everyone!!! I am soooo excited! They have already started to draw comb, I saw it from the side window. It is a thin, ivory-white-ish comb, about 3 inches long, probably 1/3" thick. They did it in the first 24 hours since I got the swarm! The comb is underneath the 6th top bar from the front. Question: I do not have spacers in place for top bars 1 though 12. Then I have the false back, then I have spacers from 13th top bar to the end. Do I need to insert a spacer between top bar # 1 and #2? Thank you for your replies to my original question: I will watch the progression of the combs, and move back the false back by a couple of top bars (only) at a time as I see the space 1 through 12 fill in. And i will continue to feed them. Thank you so much for your help!

sylvia
 

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Thank you for the help, everyone!!! I am soooo excited! They have already started to draw comb, I saw it from the side window. It is a thin, ivory-white-ish comb, about 3 inches long, probably 1/3" thick. They did it in the first 24 hours since I got the swarm! The comb is underneath the 6th top bar from the front. Question: I do not have spacers in place for top bars 1 though 12. Then I have the false back, then I have spacers from 13th top bar to the end. Do I need to insert a spacer between top bar # 1 and #2? Thank you for your replies to my original question: I will watch the progression of the combs, and move back the false back by a couple of top bars (only) at a time as I see the space 1 through 12 fill in. And i will continue to feed them. Thank you so much for your help!

sylvia
Spacers? Why? How thick are your bars? 1 1/4"? 1 3/8"? 1 1/2"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
1 3/8". I put no spacers in the front 12 bars, then from bar # 12 on towards the back, they get a 1/4" spacer to bring them to 1 5/8" for the honey combs. Do I need one spacer between bar # 1 and # 2? Am I doing this right?
 

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Sylvia, I did not put spacers between 1 and 2 and they pretty much have them connected together. At first, they did not connect them, but late in the year and this year, they have fattened them out and connected them. It's not a problem because I know they are connected and treat the first two bars as one.

I should also say in this hive my entrance is on the long side at bar two.

My new TBH has an end entrance and is awaiting bees. I did add a spacer between bar 1 and the end board (I tacked it on) for the proper bee space.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you. When I checked this morning, less than 48 hours from receiving the swarm, I saw that they already have connected bar 6's new comb to the internal wall of the hive, so I guess it is too late to move the whole thing a tad backward to be able to insert now a spacer between bar 1 and bar 2. So, later on in the season, I should just treat bars 1 and 2 as though it were one larger bar, am I understanding right? I hope my mistake of not putting previously a spacer between 1 and 2 did not mess up too gravely ...I now know better for the next time ...

I am fascinated by these critters ...

sylvia
 

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I have 2 different size bars in my hive as well. 1 3/8" and 1 5/8". Guess the bees didn't get them memo on which ones were brood bars and which ones were honey bars. You don't need the spacers in the brood nest (first 12 bars). What I do like to do is put an empty bar between the hive wall and their first comb. That gives me a little wiggle room when I'm inspecting the brood nest. I start in the middle of the hive and work my way forward; but once I am closer to the front, that extra space comes in handy.

As far as your bees attaching the comb to the internal wall of the hive, you do want to take a bread knife and separate that. You are going to want to be able to see each comb individually.
 

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Like Rutie said, you will want to be able to lift each comb out individually. Having said that, I am comfortable with my partially drawn out first bar and my second bar being attached. I think it is fine and less disrupted to leave it. Yours may not attach these two bars anyways.

What you should correct is having a proper bee space between the last bar and the follower or front wall. This will help keep them from attaching the first or last bar to the end wall. Fix this in the early stages if you can, it is best. Remember, new comb is extremely, extremely fragile, so use good technique.

Bees are very forgiving and adaptable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
yes, I recognize that I made a mistake in not separating the front wall from bar # 1 with a spacer, and further not separating bar #1 from bar # 2 in front, also with a spacer. Thank you for the guidance. Now, the dilemma: they have attached comb to the inside of the hive for sure on bar # 6 from front. I have never tried to separate any comb from the inside of the observation glass, but I understand theoretically how to do it, and I could try. I understand I need to be very delicate or it will break. However, I am afraid the queen might fly out, the bees have been there only 48 hours, and being as inexperienced as I am, not sure this would be a smart move. As an alternative, I am wondering if it makes sense for me to simply remove top bar # 1 closest to the wall entrance at this point (my hive has the opening on the short end). I could cover the space once taken by bar #1 with a flat piece of wood, like a shimmy, or I could cut a flat piece of wood to the right dimension, and replace bar # 1 with that. At that point, as far as the bees are concerned, there is the front wall of the hive with entrance, then flat piece of wood, then bars # 2 through 12 without separator. If this is the plan, I could cut a narrower piece of wood to replace bar # 1, then bar #2, then a separator, then 3 though 12. Does any of this make sense? I am embarrassed by having made all these newbie mistakes, but understanding and learning from them. I am glad the bees are forgiving ... I can use all the forgiveness I can get from them while I am still a beginner ... thank you again for the feedback and help!

sylvia
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you again! Ok, so desperation is the mother of invention, right? Please tell me what you think: I went to a hardware store and got a large wood paint stirrer. I cut it down to the size I needed (OK, not perfect. I might re-do it tomorrow ...). I took out the first top bar from the front. No comb yet. Wheww. I put the stirrer in the place of the first top bar. Then I have the original second top bar which now has become the first one, followed by a spacer. Then 3 through 12 without spacers. I am hoping they will be disinclined to build a comb on the stirrer thinking it is top bar # 1. Feedback, please ...

View attachment 10877

View attachment 10878

I wish I were not such a newbie .... I am hoping that the wooden stirrer will provide some squiggle room when I inspect bar # 2 (which has now become bar # 1) and I hope that the stirrer will eliminate the danger of them building attached to the vertical wall of the front entrance there. Did I get this right? Or am I messing it up even more? (Before I had bars 1 through 12 all together, no spacers, and # 1 was right next to the front vertical wall, no spacers there either ....)

Thank you again, I appreciate your help.

sylvia
 

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Ok. I may have misunderstood. I thought bar 6 was attached to the back end follower board. It sounds like it might just be attached to the side wall? If so, this is totally acceptable. Later, when you do an inspection, you will take a bread knife like Rutie suggested and gently cut the attached "burr" comb from the bottom to the top with you knife bald flat against the side. You can watch videos on YouTube explaining this step by step. Christy Hemmingway with Gold Star Honeybees has some great step by step videos. Her hive set up is different than yours, but the inspection steps apply. Check out the 6-8 week inspection video and the others too.

Maybe Ruthie can answer your questions about just removing the first bar as this seems to be similar to what she has done with her empty 1st bar.

You are right to just leave them be for awhile, let them get used to their space. You can manipulate the space later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All right, thank you. So, I would just need advice now as to whether my replacement of the first bar w/ a stirrer was the right thing to do, or if I should go back to bars 1 through 12 with no spacers, i.e. putting back bar # 1 where is was, and having then bar 1 through 12 with no spacers. The comb on bar 6 is attached to the side wall inside, that is where it is attached, correct.

sylvia
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What I do like to do is put an empty bar between the hive wall and their first comb.
Yes. How can I make sure that they are not drawing a comb on that bar #1 near the entrance wall, so that first bar stays empty without comb? How do I do that?

Thanks,

sylvia
 

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Ok it is just my opinion but I would put the bar back in #1 position. They are on #6 and have attach to the side, are they on center of the bar with their comb? If they are building on center then when you inspect just run a knife down the side to remove the attachment. Be gentle, but once the attachment is cut the bar can be removed for inspection and retuned to it's position.
 

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As far as when to move the follower board and feeder, do that when they have drawn out the space they have, less a couple bars. Then give them a couple at a time. At that point you shouldn't need a feeder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thank you for all the information and suggestions. I went in, and put back in bar # 1. I had to cut on the side wall the comb on bar #6 to detach it, and I think it worked OK. This is my first time, so I hope I did not mess up too much. I went delicately, and it felt like the comb on bar # 6 was attached only to the side of the viewing window, but not on the opposite end on the wood side panel across from the window side, so I did not try to detach anything on that opposite end. 20?20 hindsight, I guess I should have checked the opposite side, too, but did not. It did feel loose when I moved the comb back, but I did not get a visual, and my learning experience for the next time is that I will. Is it possible that the combs are built and attached to one side wall first, and not yet on the opposite side wall? So, it could be that, by feel, I am right, one side attached to the wall, but not the other end yet? They came into the hive less than 4 days ago, as a caught swarm.

At any rate, now I have entrance vertical wall, then one spacer, then bar #1, then one spacer, then bar 2 through 11 without spacers, followed by the false back, then spacer+bars from there on to the end of the TBH.

I agree that the way I had tried to fix it with the flat paint stirrer yesterday was not a good idea, and that I had to try to correct the error early on, i.e., now.

Someone posted that bees are forgiving, and I hope I did not mess up too much their first comb in my first hive. Now, I will just let them be, poor things. They have had to put up with a newbie for 4 days, and I made several mistakes with them.

Where I cut the comb loose from the side of the window, I did not scrape the window perfectly clean from the inside, I went as close as I could with the comb-cutting tool, but there are still traces of the comb in the old position on the inside of the window. Will that create a problem for them or for me later on?

I am sorry I have all these stupid questions, but at the same time I am so grateful for the forum to be able to post here and get some good mentoring from those who have more experience than I do. Thank you so much!

sylvia
 

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Sylvia, these aren't stupid questions at all. As a matter of fact, i've got a similar issue in one of my hives with comb being built on the observation window. 2nd inspection is going to take place tomorrow, and i have a swarm in my belly at the thought of having to scrape away that comb to free up the bar. It's not huge - just two or tree cells that i can see. I'll be sure to check the other side as well to make sure nothing's been attached to the opposite wooden wall.

As i understand it, the important thing to remember when cutting top bar comb is to cut UP towards the bar. Cutting in a downward stroke is a no-no, because it could cause the comb to drop off the bar (you may already know this, or someone might have already made that point - i have yet to read the whole thread).

Isn't this amazing fun though? Even though we fret over the well being of our girls, it's been such a wild and wonderful ride ...

PS: Have you seen the queen through your observation window yet? When it happens, you'll burst will glee ...
 
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