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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings:

As a 2nd-year beekeeper, I hadn't had the opportunity to catch a swarm until two weeks. When I went to visit one of my hives that is about 45 minutes from home for an inspection, I was hoping to find a full super of sourwood honey. Instead, a large swarm was on a fence post to greet me. Since it was late in the day, I couldn't recruit any help, so I went to work with a plastic tub, some window screen, and my bee brush. I think I got 90 percent of the bees - about 6 pounds - into the tub. Probably not bad for my first swarm.

I had to get some equipment on my way home as my apiary had no vacancies. The fellow I bought a hive body and frames from suggested that I dump the bees onto the top of the frames and let them work their way down onto the foundation. I used an empty super to create enough space on top of the bars so the cover didn't crush the bees. The next day, the bees had built a little comb on the inside of the outer cover (I didn't have an inner cover to use at the time), which I tore down, but none of the bees had moved down into the hive. A friend suggested that a Boardman feeder might encourage them to move down, but during yesterday's inspection, that had not happened. The void between the cover and top bars is now one-half full of very nice, natural comb. It is something to see, but I am afraid that it will cause trouble down the road. The bees are obviously walking up through the hive, but they are not drawing out any foundation.

Any suggestions on how to handle this?

Thanks in advance,
Jeff
 

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Pull off the empty and knock the bees into the bottom. Another way to hive a swarm that is very cool to watch....set up your hive, lay a sheet out in front of it and shake the bees onto the sheet, they will turn and walk right into the hive!:D
 

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If they are building comb out in the open, it won't work. There's too much open space above them. Take out a few frames of the bees and brush them down into the bottom box. Keeping working like that until you can either put a hive top feeder on them or the lid. Constrict their space to the foundations.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Your bees are certainly in a comb building frame of mind so take advantage of it and get them down on the foundation quick.
 

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Next time you do this try taking all the frames out of the lower box. Shake the bees in then place your frames in one at a time and let the weight of the frame pull it down through the bees. You won't hurt the bees and you'll have them where they belong. Never give a swarm empty space to build comb in. As you've found, they are comb building machines! :D
 

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go to other hive an get a couple fraims of brood an eggs. brush foragers off
if you shake eggs mite nock loose you can leave nurse bees. if it dearth id
be careful feedin til the bees decide to stick round an defend.
 

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Pull off the empty and knock the bees into the bottom. Another way to hive a swarm that is very cool to watch....set up your hive, lay a sheet out in front of it and shake the bees onto the sheet, they will turn and walk right into the hive!:D

I actually have a couple of cool videos of this on my iPhone. Bees walking inside the hive, bumper to bumper, shoulder to should, looked like a bunch of ladies at a shoes sale the day after Thanksgiving. :lookout: One of the 2 coolest things I have seen them do yet.
Also, when you put them in a hive, make sure you put all the frames in there as soon as you can. I stuck 6 frames in a 10 frame box, cause that was all I had at the time, I got busy doing other things and forgot about the hive for a week. When I looked in on my bees, that box now has atleast 4 combs build onto the lid. It is so heavy to get the lid off, I figured I will have to wait til my day off to fix the problem.
Another thing - Say your out of foundation and just put open frames in for filler, they may fill the frame up with 100% comb and it will be whatever size they choose. I have atleast 3 deep frames that are all bee built comb inside with no support wires. If you turn these frames on their side, the comb will break and fall out.

JMTC
C2
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I went to the Clemson Summer Bee meeting last weekend and asked a few folks there how they would handle this situation. Most folks said to remove the comb from the cover and use chicken wire or rubber bands to fasten the comb into the frames. That would be a lot of work with a lot of crushed bees. While I was thinking about the suggestions, I had an idea that would be very easy to try, but completely different. So, I asked a few people what will the bees do if their comb is turned upside-down. Other than the possibility of nectar dripping out, nobody knew. I decided to conduct an experiment and see what happens. All I did was put the outer cover with the comb upside-down on some bricks, then I put the deep hive body on that, then a hive-top feeder. So far, the bees seeming to be coming and going just fine. I will take a look this weekend to see what is happening inside.
 
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