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Bees pouring out between the bars on inspection - cannot close gaps

Hi -
Sorry this is probably very basic, but when I lift out a bar of bees in my TBH to inspect it or check to see the comb is straight, I struggle to get it back in as bees emerge from either side and I risk squashing large numbers of them. As a result I end up with gaps between the bars rather than them being tightly together.

Does this gap matter?
And if so what is the best way to get the bars back in tightly, without a massacre?

Many thanks for any help.
 

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If you lightly bump the bees between the bar they will move. You can also push the bars together so only one bee can fit between and then use something about 1/8" thick like a rod or yard stick. push the bees in with that then press the bars up against that. The bees will not be able to fit in the space once you pull the yard stick and you can finish pushing the bars together.
 

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Hi -
Sorry this is probably very basic, but when I lift out a frame of bees in my TBH to inspect it or check to see the comb is straight, I struggle to get it back in as bees emerge from either side and I risk squashing large numbers of them. As a result I end up with gaps between the frames rather than them being tightly together.

Does this gap matter?
And if so what is the best way to get the frames back in tightly, without a massacre?

Many thanks for any help.
The gap can cause (among other problems) cross combing. It's something you have to get the hang of. But when you're closing up you can puff some smoke to move them down into the hive and be quick with the bar when they love. Closing it like a scissors also helps. Get one end tight and lightly "scissor" it and they'll move out of the way if you bump them enough.
 

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Re: Bees pouring out between the bars on inspection - cannot close gaps

Hi Mark, This is my first year and I've found that removing 1 or 2 empty bars behind the built on bars gives me more room to slide back or remove a bar for inspection. When replacing a bar I carefully lower one side at a time then slowly slide the other end forward. The bees will move at the last minute instead of getting smashed. Someone posted that a 1/8" piece of metal rod the length of a topbar, placed in front of the bar you are pushing forward leaves just enough space that the bees can't get through. You then remove the rod and finish tightening up the gap. I haven't tried it but it sounds like a good idea. Smoke works really well too
 

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Re: Bees pouring out between the bars on inspection - cannot close gaps

When you open the hive from the back, I make a gap about 4 bars wide. I slide all of the empty bars back to fill that gap till I get to the first comb. When I pull the first comb I look at it, then slide it all the way back so it is tight against the first empty bar. I do that for every bar that I remove. When I am done, I move 3 or 4 of the inspected bars back at a time, (2 or 3 are easy, 4 can be a little tricky) towards the front of the hive. If you are fairly quick about it, you only have to scissor that first gap to close it. The next group that you move will not have had time for more than a bee or two to pop ups its little head. If you try the push something in the gap to push them down, do not use your bread knife. It sounded like a good idea for about 15secs! LOL
 

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Re: Bees pouring out between the bars on inspection - cannot close gaps

I use a large feather to push the bees down between bars and I close up each bar at an angle. No crunching! :D
 

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Re: Bees pouring out between the bars on inspection - cannot close gaps

Yes the gap matters. Do whatever works for you. Bumping, angling, smoking, brushing, a thin strip of wood dropped between the bars when they are really close works pretty well at getting them down.
 

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Re: Bees pouring out between the bars on inspection - cannot close gaps

A bee-brush is a very handy tool to use in such cases. It has roughly two-inch long soft bristles, which can be slid into a narrow opening to push the girls out of the way. Position the bars "about one bee's width" away from their destination, then push them downward with the brush as you press the bars together, first at one side then moving to the other. Be patient. If presented with very-light pressure and given the opportunity to move, they will do so. A slight poking nudge from the brush will help get the point across.

One key point that I have found to be v-e-r-y important is this: "minimize(!) the total number of gaps!" In other words, if you have lifted several bars out, press all of them together (as described), so that there remains only: the original, unmoved bars; one gap...; and, without a gap between them, the bars that you have disturbed. Now, moving the disturbed bars together as a single unit, close the one remaining gap as described.

It seems very clear to me that, when bees see multiple gaps in their roof-line, they perceive that the integrity of the hive has become compromised, and so they counter-attack in force. (All of which is quite reasonable, don't you agree?) But if they perceive that there is only one, they do not become so agitated. Therefore, keep the gaps fully closed ... however slight.
 
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