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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I 'inherited' a hive from a guy who couldn't keep up with them when a baby arrived. I think he did little with them all year, maybe longer.

The frames in the double brood boxes are amazingly propolized that no matter what I've tried either the frame comes apart (applying upwards force) or the box itself comes apart (using hive tool as a horizontal lever). The super was fine.

Any ideas?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Are you using a J hook hive tool?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, it has a J hook. That's how I was applying the upward force, putting the J under the frame similar to how you use a crowbar.
 

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I inherited a hive like that once. The top boxes were hard to work, but possible. The bottom was locked solid. As JWPalmer says, a J Hook tool is much more effective. For me, it "almost" worked but not quite. I was going to try and isolate the box above the supers with an excluder...hope the queen was elsewhere...wait for the brood to hatch out....shake the whole box relatively clean and have at it. But what I did instead was to get a thin blade putty knife and go to work on the spaces between the frames. I started on the outside frame where it met the box. I used the thin blade to get as much propolis off as I could and I did the bottom of the frames as well. Then, using both ends of the J Hook, I got the frame to move. Then I worked the putty knife between that frame and the next one in. After I did a few...top and bottom, I was able to lever the frames back and forth enough that I could finally pry a frame out. There was also plenty of wax bridging the comb. Once out, I cleaned and placed in a new box so I could then clean the whole box up after. It wasn't fun and it took a while but I found that making space to "wiggle" the frames made a big difference.
 

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Dont pull up on the top frames That just pulls the top bar away from the sidebar. The main sticking point is between the upper and lower frames. Apply the force to the sticking point. To do this drive your hive tool between upper and lower box and the lower frames will follow up with the upper box of frames. You can get a gap of 1/4" or more. You can now work through the gap and drive your hive tool between each pair of upper and lower frames, allowing the bottom frames to drop back in place. You likely have to repeat at the other end of the box. Now you can lift each upper frame up with only a bit of sticking between the frame rest and the frame ear. That is best broke loose by wedging between the frame ears not yanking on the frame top bar.

This takes far less time to do than it takes to type. Technique trumps over brute strength!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all! I will put your advice to work today.

And no worries about brute strength. As soon as I saw any separation I stopped. One frame may be damaged, but I dont think anything else is.
 

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You can probably cut something out of most any hardwood. Lots of pallets have hardwood stringers. Your wedges wont get near the abuse that felling wedges do.
 

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I 'inherited' a hive from a guy who couldn't keep up with them when a baby arrived. I think he did little with them all year, maybe longer.

The frames in the double brood boxes are amazingly propolized that no matter what I've tried either the frame comes apart (applying upwards force) or the box itself comes apart (using hive tool as a horizontal lever). The super was fine.

Any ideas?
Are there bees still in the hive? as it warms the propolis will get softer.
with out bees if mine are tight I do not pull from the top I push from the bottom. either levering or use of a small block of wood 1 or 2 frames wide set under the hive then push down

with bees still in you have a fine project ahead of you. :) in a pinch tear out frame 1 or 10 the first one at the edge. rip the top off cut comb out pry in the side bar in etc. Then you can peel them off one at a time prying one into the hole created. will cost you a frame but you still have 9 left...:) scrape the propolis off each frame and move thru the whole hive. If bees are in it still, Ideally you have an empty box, take the entire hive off the stand, place the new box on the stand, one frame at a time scrape clean replace, do the bottom box first then clean the box itself and do the next one up. go slow have your smoker going. add a couple foundation frames on the edge and you are back in manageability. If the hive is booming with bees take it away 20 feet put on the hive stand on of yours with a good queen that is weak. the field bees will "Fly Back" to the old location, then the hive should be easier to work. be a project but they may be good bees if they made the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks all! I was able to get the top brood box squared away. I'll give them a break before working on the bottom box. I suspect that one may be harder since I can access them only from the top.
 
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