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Discussion Starter #1
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I removed this wood duck nesting box from a friends pond two days ago. They have the duck entrance propolized down to about an inch. There is a board missing from the bottom, so I put plywood shims on top of one of my boxes (I run all 8-frame med boxes) containing two frames of old comb, two of foundation and the remaining starter strips.
The next day they were re-orienting and today are hauling in loads of pollen. Questions:
1- Should I cover the top entrance and get them to use the bottom?
2- Will they expand down if I don't?
I don't want them to get crowded and swarm. My plan is to add a second box when they get this one almost full.
 

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How full is the DB? If they have to fill the bottom half first I think they would be slow to move down. I think a drilled hole in the medium with the medium elevated to match the DB hole causing them to go through and out through the bottom entrance would work well. Easier to keep dry as well.
After you get the bees, remove most of the comb, put it back and try again!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The DB has comb from top to bottom but felt light when I moved them. Guessing around 17 lbs total. They jumped all over a bit of honey I put out. I didn't bother opening up because the day I moved them was cold and misty.
Thanks for the input.
 

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I don't have any experience with bee gums, but those I have seen in the Smokies have the box on top and let the bees move up...just a thought.
 

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I'm far from an expert but one of my first thoughts was you could treat it like a cutout and move the comb in the DB to frames held in with rubber bands. Just be sure to keep them in the same order. You could eventually cull the original comb but I have some frames in one hive that were from a cutout last year. They attach it pretty well to the frames themselves and will remove the rubber bands when ready.

Actually my first thought was to stack some boxes around the DB and once you got them high enough put in some foundation above and see if they start drawing comb and then eventually cull the DB. I can't tell from the picture how many boxes you will need to get one completely above the DB but if you have some deeps it may not be many.

All that being said I do not know that they will not eventually move down like you have it configured now.
 

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I would think with the set up you have, they will move down, feed heavy and they will back fill and the queen should move down. Just a thought.
 

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Here is how I would do this. The main issue is to have the queen lay upward into the new med. hive box.
I would put the med. box on top of the DB to allow the queen to build up. If the bottom half of the DB is
not full yet then put another board inside to stop them from extending combs further more downward.
So the only way to expand is upward since the bottom has already been sealed off.
You will need to find a way to stable the med. hive box so it would not tip over when the wind blow.
Do you think this is the best way rather than messing with the old combs? A hive check will give you a
better idea of how the combs are built. And then make a better decision on this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the replies. We are expecting rain today, so can't do much. During the move, one of the boards on the bottom of the DB came off and I was able to determine they built all the way down to within about 2 inches or so of the bottom. There was a pile of twigs and nesting material keeping them from going all the way. The combs are long and narrow and I could see at least three. (I suspect there are at least two more) I left this board off so they could move freely between the DB and med box below. There is a regular bottom board under the Med with entrance reduced.
My reasoning for not doing a cutout was due to the fact I would have to section each comb at least twice to fill a medium frame. This seemed like too much disturbance of the brood nest and decided to just let them expand. There is no rush to empty the DB as the owner doesn't want it returned. (He owns a sawmill and can make more :) )
I suppose I was thinking they moved up during the winter and would move back down now, only to find more room. Perhaps I'm over-thinking this....I don't know.
Anywho....thanks again.
 

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I say you are on the right track. Close off the top entrance and wait for them to backfill the DB. When the DB is full and you add the second medium you can pull off the DB and move it away. They will already be used to the medium entrance and will go there. Crush and strain the comb in the DB. Good luck.
 

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I got a hive in a wood duck house from some people a few years ago. The bottom half of that duck house was filled with wood chips. I took a side off and removed the comb and used rubber bands to put them in frames. I still have the wood duck house.
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I agree with beepro (post # 7). This past summer, I did one in a bird house exactly that way. Once I caught the queen laying in the superimposed super, I excluded it. After she was laying well and the box was being well built,
I removed the super, and took apart the bird house for its stores and used them accordingly. A nice bonus.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was able to stack 4 empty boxes around the DB and put a telescoping cover on. An upper entrance was made in second box from the top, giving them access to the DB entrance. Will monitor for the next couple days and adjust as necessary. Thanks again everyone.
We had a front move through last night and temperature went from a high of 75° yesterday to a low of 39° this AM. Supposed to hit 32° tomorrow AM. I'm sure they will enjoy the new comforts. :)
 
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