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Discussion Starter #1
I know it's winter going into spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but over here it's fall, and honey harvest time. I've been harvesting honey and once again finding how difficult it can be to seperate gummed together boxes. In fact this can be one of the most back breaking tasks in beekeeping.

Finally, after all my life doing it the hard way, I have discovered the easy way. So simple, wish i'd thought of this 40 years ago. 馃檮

Thought i should share, here we go...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbYClrv9-BI
 

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Sorry to say but your beespace between your hives is wrong. I'd never put up with that much comb between the boxes. Lot of work. Good Luck.
 

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Good idea Oldtimer. Nothing worse than lifting a deep with another attached. An extra "hand" really helps when working alone. J
 

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Sorry to say but your beespace between your hives is wrong. I'd never put up with that much comb between the boxes. Lot of work. Good Luck.

What do you think the frame spacing was in the picture?

I thought from the depth of the build up that spacing must have been about 3/8th".
 

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Genetics plays a part in construction of bridge and brace comb. Hive management plays a part as a crowded hive late in the flow will burr everything up. Langstroth dimensions are also at fault with 9-1/8 inch deep frames in a 9-5/8 inch deep box giving 1/2 inch between the top and bottom frames. This is one more reason why I switched to Square Dadant hives with 11-1/4 inch frames in 11-5/8 inch deep boxes. There is only one box for brood and for wintering with supers for honey on top. I rarely see this much burr comb.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
why you turn comments off?
I set the comments to on, but apparently YouTube has disabled the comments for child protection. Later today when i have time i will try to figure out how to fix this.

Sorry to say but your beespace between your hives is wrong. I'd never put up with that much comb between the boxes. Lot of work. Good Luck.
I think you are correct. The video was not about that though, it was about how to seperate boxes once in the situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Totally agree. i think wood is better in several different ways for bees. Even in our mild winters here, when i was in the process of switching from wood to plastic and had both in the same apiary, it could easily be seen the bees on wood wintering better than the bees on plastic.

But the people who buy bees from me want plastic, so, gotta give the customer what they want. :eek:
 

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Good video, Oldtimer. Thank you for sharing. I have some inherited top-bar Warre boxes that tend to get braced up pretty heavily.

I am going to make a point of getting a plastic wedge for just this purpose.

Thanks again.

Russ
 

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Yes, good ideas keep getting invented again and again. I came up with an idea for swarm control several years ago. Turned out it had been written about and debated thoroughly in the late 1800's.

I don't know about other areas, but here a wooden wedge is almost always made from either dogwood or ironwood.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes, good ideas keep getting invented again and again. I came up with an idea for swarm control several years ago. Turned out it had been written about and debated thoroughly in the late 1800's.
Good story FP! You know you have made it once you thought of an idea that was out there 200 years ago. :). Like the old saying, there is nothing new under the sun!

Good video, Oldtimer. Thank you for sharing. I have some inherited top-bar Warre boxes that tend to get braced up pretty heavily.

I am going to make a point of getting a plastic wedge for just this purpose
About that. I watched a pretty interesting video about traditional beekeeping in Japan. Turns out the traditional Japanese hive is very similar in dimensions to a Warre. The beekeeper had a wire with a wooden handle at each end. He smacked a wedge in between the boxes then put the wire in and basically sawed his way through all the comb using the wire until the box was detached and he could take it off.

I've seen photos from "the old days" where the beekeeper has a wooden wedge hanging from his belt by a leather strap.
There's a plan!
 

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The beekeeper had a wire with a wooden handle at each end. He smacked a wedge in between the boxes then put the wire in and basically sawed his way through all the comb using the wire until the box was detached and he could take it off.
Oldtimer:

Thank you for your reply. I sincerely appreciate it. I read about utilizing wire to separate the boxes on a Warre website but it made no mention of putting handles on both ends- this is a brilliant idea.

I gave the wire trick a go last Summer and ended up lacerating my pinkies in the process. 'Live and learn' as they say.

Thanks again for the helpful input. Here's hoping your season winds down very successfully.

Russ
 

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Here's another way...stop using plastic frames.....I worked commercial beekeeping for a bit....we had both plastic and wooden frames. ....Plastic frames were the devil in separating boxes...wooden may stick a little, but much easier to separate. Just my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good comment Kevin.

I think it's this. A bee space is not a magic number it is simply a suitably sized gap for bees to fit through so they can move around the hive.

So when we used wooden frames it was perfect for bees, their feet are designed to hold that type of surface and with correct bee spaces around the hive the bees were happy to let them be.

Enter plastic frames. When I made the switch i noticed the bees were waxing up all the bee spaces, and if i took a careful look you could see they still had tunnels going all over the place, but they were waxed up so the bees could walk on the wax. My own belief is the shiny plastic surface is not so bee friendly for walking on as wood is, so the bees create wax tunnels. Which from where the average human beekeeper is looking, is just a mess that jams everything up.

To see if it would help I used a spray on glue that would set and make a rougher surface the bees could get a better grip on, and sure enough, there was much less waxing in those bee spaces.
 

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The depth of the wooden frame top bar was selected because that depth caused the least brace comb between boxes. The plastic frames have a very thin area above the cells and the gap between boxes for a "top bar," so the bees will fill the space above with burr comb.

Read the old issues of Gleanings in Bee Culture for the 1890s and early 1900s, it shows the trials and errors of developing the frame we now use. The beekeepers and equipment manufacturers put a lot of thought and effort into the equipment we now use. It also shows the effect on the bees of very small differences in measurements.
 
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