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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a hive this past fall late in the season, to late I felt to pop it open and break the seals the bees had made to winterize the hive and didn't have a bee suit anyways and spanking new to this so wasn't about to try with out one. Yesterday I finally got all my bee supplies I'd saved up for, got my medium super together and painted, frames built ready to go so suit up smoke up and unsure of myself and anxiously poped it open and it had comb everywhere. On the lid on top af the frames in between the frames they had it just gummed up. I spent the next probably 15 min scraping the lid clean and clearing out in between the frames the honey comb. The frames was as you can imagine just gummed all up. I was afraid to start prying and trying to pull them out as this being my only hive would kill the queen in the process so just cleaned top best I could and stuck my excluder on and the medium super and left it. Any advice? Anybody else ever been in this situation? Figure I'd check out here next weekend to see how it doing. I don't think previous owner messed with it any for it to be in this condition. It looked like nothing I'd seen on any YouTube video.
 

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I got a hive this past fall late in the season, to late I felt to pop it open and break the seals the bees had made to winterize the hive and didn't have a bee suit anyways and spanking new to this so wasn't about to try with out one. Yesterday I finally got all my bee supplies I'd saved up for, got my medium super together and painted, frames built ready to go so suit up smoke up and unsure of myself and anxiously poped it open and it had comb everywhere. On the lid on top af the frames in between the frames they had it just gummed up. I spent the next probably 15 min scraping the lid clean and clearing out in between the frames the honey comb. The frames was as you can imagine just gummed all up. I was afraid to start prying and trying to pull them out as this being my only hive would kill the queen in the process so just cleaned top best I could and stuck my excluder on and the medium super and left it. Any advice? Anybody else ever been in this situation? Figure I'd check out here next weekend to see how it doing. I don't think previous owner messed with it any for it to be in this condition. It looked like nothing I'd seen on any YouTube video.
Have you seen the signs of activity? I mean lots of bees of working days? You may want to get a queen rplacement on speed dial and do your deeper work in time for expedited delivery. Of course, murphy's law applies at all times. How does the hive weight feel?
 

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They may have been captured ferals... I had some that glued everything together as you describe.
 

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They may have been captured ferals... I had some that glued everything together as you describe.
Overtime and without maintenance propolis and comb will fill every gap. Its normal. I like to scrap it clean, usually save the propolis. Especially the frame rests and sidebars

ps NEVER overwinter with queen excluder.
 

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If you placed a queen excluder and then a super of foundation on top, they will not move up into it. Remove the excluder until they have moved up and started pulling comb and filling with nectar. Sounds like you need a hands on mentor for a little bit. Yes it is normal that everything gets glued in place if they were not worked last year. Each spring I go in and clean off the propolis and brace comb to make it easier for ME to manipulate the frames. To avoid rolling the queen work the end frame out of the box and sit it aside, this will give you extra room to move the next frame over to the side a little and pull up. Yes you will squish a few bees and tear up some larva and capped honey in the process, but after you get the frames cleaned up a little it will be easier for you and the bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lots of activity in fact I can hear the hive at times when they are busy from my house which is around sixty yards away particularly yesterday I thought they was about to swarm. Might be they get so clogged up at entrance due to them possibly having comb built up all in hive. But thats speculation because I haven't dug into it. Thanks for the tips I'm assuming they will swarm so going to have a bait box out to entice them to take residence there.
 

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Why would want them to swarm? That makes no sense to me :scratch:

Just because you set up a bait hive does not mean they will go into it, they might swarm and you never know it.
 

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Yes they will swam when they become crowded, adding the super will give them more room but that queen excluder will hinder things.
 

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I had a few frames that were so bad I just left them last year. I check the rest of the deep until I found the queen, and then just went crazy on those messed up frames. Tore a lot up, but I knew the queen wasn't over there, and I knew I had to get it out. You could possibly add a deep or medium on top and let the queen move up, and then just remove the bottom and clean it out good. You'll lose a lot, but it's better than just leaving it or worrying about killing the queen.
 

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Brad; I am not going to speculate as to your hive configuration, or what is going on, But In order to determine your exact situation, and offer prudent advice, accurate information is required. first of what is your hive configuration at present. a single medium, single deep, doubles what exactly?
What are your bee keeping goals?

Here are some generalities:

Since the hive overwintered I am assuming it is of a configuration suitable for your region, in which case I would think two deeps or 3 mediums. If that is the case now is the time to reverse your hive bodies. inspect the upper, and see if the bees are in it Queen and brood. if so separate it and place it on the cover . then inspect the lower, or middle in the case of 3 mediums. most likely this hive body will have few bees or stores if the troops are in the upper. If a 3 medium set up do the same as you would with the bottom deep. Remove this body and set it aside, clean the bottom board. and place what was the top body on it. then clean up the body you had set aside and place it on top of the now bottom body. add a feeder if stores are low. When the flow get going, and that hive body becomes 75% full then is the time to add your excluder and super if that is how you want your set up.

If you have a single hive body, do a full inspection, make sure your queen is beginning a good pattern, and there is ample stores left. Add a feeder if needed, or a top box if crowded.

Good luck, Tenbears
 

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You could possibly add a deep or medium on top and let the queen move up, and then just remove the bottom and clean it out good.
If it is a real mess, this might be a good way to go. Add another box and let the bees move up into it. When you find brood and the queen in the upper box, add the queen excluder below it so she can't go back down into the lower box. Prop the lid up a little bit so the drones can freely move in and out of the hive.

In a few weeks all of the brood will have emerged in the bottom box and that would be the time to remove it and tear into it. Scrape the frames and cut out or straighten up any wacky comb. There will be no brood in the bottom box at this point, so there will be much less to worry about if you have to do some extreme corrections.
 

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For hives that are gummed up here is the procedure I use. If the hive is a double deep then break the two hives apart and set on to the side. Take the hive tool and wedge between side of the hive and the first frame and push until the frame breaks loose. Do this on either side. Remove that frame and set it to the side. Now you can break each frame loose by prying it toward the gap left by the previous frame without rolling bees up in the burr comb. Clean each frame one by one using the same process and returning it to the previous gap. When you are done you can return all the frames to their original position and place the first frame that you have set aside to its original position. You can then set the top deep back on the hive and repeat. Be sure to use smoke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Assuming they will swarm not wishing or hoping they do as I realize there is a good chance my bait hive want catch them.
Hive configuration is two deeps. Goal is to have four hives by end of season just hobby. Without buying mail order bees of any kind. Maybe grow slowly sticking hives around different places in area with family friends and work and hunting club. I don't want or like the idea of feeding bees. Ill be sure not to rob to late or have an over crowded bee yard that would cause insufficient stores. Mite load is or should be very low as I treated by oxalic vaporizer.
The comb I did see was capped and open honey stores and full of bees and seemed unending coming and going and pouring out the top as I worked. Lots of bee activity all around my house and property due to the hive I have now as there was no honey bees around last year or very little bees activity when I didn't have a hive. Lots of pollenn coming in I don't know where they sticking it all and hive smells good as you walk up on it and just a humming with inside activity.
 

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Brad, I have a similar situation as yours and plan to use it as little project because I don't really need more hives right now. Interested in the genetics more than anything. I was given an old hive that hasn't been managed in 10+ years. Possibly 20. He's not sure. The farmer says there has been bees in it every year. Whether they are an extension of the originals or a swarm that moves in every year I don't know. Doesn't matter. They made it this far through this bad winter on there own so there might be something to them. I hope. This is what I found when I opened them.
oldhive6.jpg
I added a shim to make my box fit.
oldhive8.jpg
At some point I will try to catch some fresh eggs in that box. I will take a frame of fresh eggs, add some frames of honey, pollen, brood and start a nuc. I want to disturb the original hive as little as possible. I will probably clean up the top and between those frames a bit more in the future but not sure its worth trying to pry all that apart.
oldhive10.jpg
 

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Contact your county extension agent. He can put you with a local club that can supply you with a hands on mentor .
 

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Here is a link to the local bee clubs in Tennessee. Most are gearing up for, might have even had them, beginners beekeeping classes. You might find a mentor that even lives close by.

http://www.tnbeekeepers.org/bee-clubs/

Not sure where in West TN you are located but this will cover it!
 

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like others said, start at one side and go to it.
she can, but I have not seen the queen on an outside frame.
got to be done.
have a few new or undrawn frames ready to replace ( wood or wacky comb ) any that are damaged to bad, you may break a outside frame or two just trying to remove them.
If there is no brood in the black comb replace that also , that opens up more space to help prevent swarming , flow is just starting they will replace that comb quick this time of year.

good luck.
 

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I read with amusement your description of what many of us beeks have experienced. Sometimes they draw comb where you don't want it.

I think you did very well; you assessed the conditions, and did some clean up, and did not go too far. You have the rest of the spring to get things back to normal. It will be well to work this hive when you have some time, when there is a nice warm day. I don't think they will swarm until there is a nectar flow going on, and there are drones around.

Sounds like you have a real boomer. :)
 
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