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Discussion Starter #1
So, I caught a swarm 5/20 (from one of my own hives), tried putting them in 2 mediums with foundation, no drawn comb. they promptly left the next day. Caught em again that day. They obviously didn't like the 2 empty mediums so I put them in a dark box, which is just 1/4 plywood slapped together for inspection purposes, I had 1 deep frame of drawn comb and a med frame partially full of capped honey that I put in with them. They seemed to like that, at least they stayed put. I didn't have anymore boxes or frames at the time. Fast forward 1 month, they've drawn 7 combs attached to the inner cover and are storing nectar in a medium I put below the dark box. Can't get the inner cover off right now, its stuck to the dark box. How can I get these girls into some standard equipment?
All I have at the moment are empty mediums with foundation. I started with 2 hives this year and now have 5 due to swarm captures. I've never done any type of cutout.
 

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As you have figured out, swarms don't like to stay in foundation hives. In the future, if you want them to stay once you've captured them, install a queen excluder between the bottom board and the bottom box to ensure the queen won't leave the hive. Leave it this way until they have drawn comb and you see brood - that will usually anchor them in place.

Since they have established in your box and likely have brood already, I would try to preserve that brood. To do so, carefully cut out the comb they built in the box to "frame-sized" pieces, rubber band any brood comb into medium frames (remove the foundation on those frames) in the same orientation that you cut it out. Combine those frames along with the medium frames of honey that you have below your box, keeping the brood frames in the center of the medium. Be watchful for the queen during the cut out, if you see her, have a queen cage ready to capture her and keep her safe during the process. Also, be careful when doing the cut out and try to minimize honey dripping everywhere. Any comb with honey left over from the cut out, I would bag it up and open feed it away from your hives to minimize robbing.

Ryan
 

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keep adding boxes to the bottom, in the fall pry off the top (dark box)now full of honey and do a cut and strain.
when you add put some built combs in the bottom and some of the empty in the upper box.
Ideally they fill the top and move down.

Or pry it open and do a cuttout, several threads on that here at BS or some online U Tubes.

At some point you will need to deal with it, decide the when :) maybe in the spring if they die out would be easier?

GG
 

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I agree with GG - give them "organized" space below and when they expand into it, then try to remove the top "messy" combs, you have to assume the worst - you will not be able to move them nicely into frames and probably will destroy most of it, so it would really help if they already have nice "spare" brood nest below. I helped another beekeeper to do something similar last year- by that time his hive grew into 4 deeps, so we just split them in half and discarded the messy comb part. It was not possible to look for a queen or anything, it was really badly cross combed in almost every box, so we added frames where needed and discarded (left to rob out) the rest. Both sides later lived happily ever after by making the queen (or queens- I never found out).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes GG & Dekster that was what I was thinking. If I can get them or her to move down into an empty and maybe catch her in one of the bottom boxes and throw a queen excluder on. Don't have much luck with bees moving down though, all mine seem to want to go up. Definitely don't want to lose them. Like I've said never done a cutout, sounds messy and a good way to lose a queen. I'll have to research cut out methods. Thought of maybe cutting one side of the box off and working my way in from the side. We'll see.
 

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OK, for the actual cutting you can try a string method where you slide a strong thin string just under the inner cover. That way you will separate all wild comb from the cover and then open the box and carefully try lifting out some/all combs. Some of them may fall down and bees will not be happy, so suit up! Also place QE below the box to catch any combs from falling further down. If you are lucky, you will find and remove the comb with the queen which you can place then into a new box and put underneath the QE. Then you can leave the rest wild comb as is until they all hatch out and fill with honey or whatever. Or if they look manageable, then try sticking them into frames.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think if I can get one side open i can get it out without much damage. I'm sure they'll be pissed by the time I'm done. I like the string cutout idea might try that first
 

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Good, if you can cut them like this (box on the side) then you can remove each comb through the open bottom as you cut- you don't have to do all at once and they won't get upset that much.
 

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here is a pic of the upper dark box View attachment 57019 looks like pretty straight comb
Nice.
I would just manage this box as if it is Warre and not worry about.
Push the bees to store honey into it and then harvest later in the season and be done.
Not worth the gymnastics.
 

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Cut-outs are seriously messy. I'd do as GG suggested and just leave them with that box on top until they have a solid brood box below.

Surprising how nice the comb looks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yea they do a pretty good job on their own don't they. Seems like they oriented off the one frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So took a look today and found the Queen in the 1st medium below the dark box and put a excluder on above it. Didn't see any eggs or brood in the box but as soon as I saw her down there I put the excluder on and closed it back up. I'll probably just crush and strain the dark box if the fill it with honey. Thanks for the good advice as I really didn't want to try cutting out comb and sticking it in frames. patience is the key
 

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So took a look today and found the Queen in the 1st medium below the dark box and put a excluder on above it. Didn't see any eggs or brood in the box but as soon as I saw her down there I put the excluder on and closed it back up. I'll probably just crush and strain the dark box if the fill it with honey. Thanks for the good advice as I really didn't want to try cutting out comb and sticking it in frames. patience is the key
If your assumption they have only 1 Queen is correct :)

wait 25 days then open it up and look up into the natural comb box for sealed brood, then you can be more sure.

Swarms can and do often have more than one queen.

GG

GG
 

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If there is a bunch of brood above the excluder, don't be surprised if they make queen cells in the top box, have seen that many times.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
When I caught this swarm there was a small handful sized swarm that stayed in the tree, actually on the weeds under the tree. caught them also with a queen. I was not aware that a swarm may have multiple queens didn't think they would keep house for 52 days with 2 queens.
Hopefully they will backfill the upper dark box with honey and not make a queen, they do have a top entrance, really trying to avoid a messy cutout.
Thanks to all for the advice I'll say that it's been a very good learning experience this year.
 

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Doing a cut out is really not as bad as it seems. I have done about 15 this year.

Just a little slice and dice, a few rubber bands and you will be golden.

That just reminds me of the 15 warre hives of black bees I got back around 1985 and I put them all in frames...Whew what an experience that was. 100's of stings through a bee suit and jeans, bees so thick on the veil you could not see.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So 2 months later all went well. Top dark box empty of brood and full of honey, put a bee escape one and pulled it off. Put a regular deep on the bottom with some empty comb with 3 mediums above, hive is doing quite well, tons of capped brood etc.
Question now is I have some loose comb/honey that I'd like to feed back to the bees. Can't use the honey as I've treated with Apiguard since this all started.
Can I open feed this back to them in a Boardman feeder say 200 yds away from the hive or will this cause robbing?
I lost one small swarm I caught earlier this year due to a leaky baggie feeder, it only took one day for that swarm to be destroyed.
I have 2 hives at the moment maybe 30 yds apart.
 

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So 2 months later all went well. Top dark box empty of brood and full of honey, put a bee escape one and pulled it off. Put a regular deep on the bottom with some empty comb with 3 mediums above, hive is doing quite well, tons of capped brood etc.
Question now is I have some loose comb/honey that I'd like to feed back to the bees. Can't use the honey as I've treated with Apiguard since this all started.
Can I open feed this back to them in a Boardman feeder say 200 yds away from the hive or will this cause robbing?
I lost one small swarm I caught earlier this year due to a leaky baggie feeder, it only took one day for that swarm to be destroyed.
I have 2 hives at the moment maybe 30 yds apart.
Forget the open feeding; it may sound easy (and risky, of course) BUT feeding in-place is even easier (and without the risks).

Method #1:
- insert a sheet of thick plastic between your "dark box" and the rest of the hive;
- fold one corner of that plastic to create a small passage (1-2 square inches); best to make this "entrance" on one opposite corner from the hive entrance
- close up and go away; check back in some days/weeks/months - the bees will have dried the "dark box" and the honey will be taken down

Method #2:
- insert an empty super between the "dark box" and
- close up and go away; check back in some days/weeks/months - the bees will have dried the "dark box" and the honey will be taken down

Method #3... just google already..

The basic idea is to make the "dark box" appear to be "outside" of the hive.
Any honey found outside of the hive, the bees will collect and bring inside the hive.
 
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