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Discussion Starter #1
I inspected my beehives yesterday. It's two weeks from spring here in Australia, but gauging by the warm weather I think it's basically already here. I wasn't sure what to do with the hives so I took some photos:

https://imgur.com/a/RYHWEGa

I didn't lift any frames because since they're all attached with comb , it would have caused a good amount of disruption and damage, but maybe this was a mistake?

The bottom of the frames are having comb joining them to the top of the frames in the super below, because the frames that are in these hives have no bottom bar. Should I be aiming to replace these crappy frames with frames that have bottoms in the future?

Do I need to pull off frames in the brood chamber, even though it'll seriously annoy the bees, to check if the queen has laying space?

I feel rather unsure about these basic fundamentals of managing a beehive. I just opened up these hives yesterday and wasn't sure what I should be doing with them.
 

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What a mess. I'd scrape off all that wax and honey, that is sitting on the top of those frames. No bottom bar, that seems strange, but I still consider myself a newbee, so maybe it's just something I haven't heard of. Yes, definitely replace the frames that do not have bottom bars. Yes, check the frames in the brood boxes, take a look and see what's going on. How many brood boxes are there on this hive? If you can, get a brand spanking new brood box, and frames, and set it on top of this brood box, after you've scraped off that mess. Hopefully they'll, eventually, move up into the new box, and then you can pull the old one, clean it up. I've got to run, but that's all I can think of right now
 

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The easiest/safest but most time consuming is like hogback says, set Lang spec boxes and frames on top of the hive boxes. Wait till the queen has moved up into them, then get the brood comb out of the old boxes and rubber band it into Lang frames eventually rotating them out. It’ll take at least one season maybe two to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There's no queen excluder on there, not sure how far the queen above is laying. I could put a new empty super above their bottom super. Can one of you explain to me what the benefit of doing this would be? Is it to provide the hive with a super that has frames with bottoms on it?
 

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In the spring the queen should still be in the upper box, perfect time to get them to move into new equipment.
Right now your have a unmanageable situation, non inspectable, period.
From what I can see the set up is top bar frames have been put into Lang boxes type hybrid thingy. IMO, the best you can do with those colonies in the present condition is leave em be and catch swarms off them, and hope they stay healthy.
 

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Did you start these hives, or did you "inherit" them? It looks bad, bit certainly not hopeless. It will take some time and work fully suited to straighten them out. They look healthy from what can be seen without pulling a frame. So, I think to get the best advice, tell us what you know about the hives/configuration. J
 

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So basically what you want to know is that you can treat the messy section like how people capture a swarm.

If you look on youtube there's guys that do channels of only capturing swarms.

When they open up a wild hive they have pre-prepared thick rubber bands and empty frames set up. So what you'll do is gently cut out those messy wild sections and then place them in the empty frames, held into place by X sections of rubber bands on both ends of the frame to hold it in place.

You'll be able to do this easily with the big sections. The small sections will be a bit harder, you may have to just lay those aside or freeze them and then give them back the resources later on those. The rubber bands will be big enough to support these if you get one of the thicker sized bags. But they will still be messy if you shake them around. Then just slip them in a normal frame box and let the bees manage it.

Then get a super on there or whatever you want to use where this mess used to be, where you are pulling this mess from. And it looks like you had so much gap there that they felt like they needed to fill it in. So whatever was causing the gap will cause it again if its not fixed.

If you want to see some examples, get on youtube and search 'JP the beeman' videos.

https://www.youtube.com/user/JPthebeeman/videos?disable_polymer=1
 

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That looks to me like what happens when shallow frames are used in a medium box.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice I appreciate it.

I wondered if the gap between the bottom of a frame, and the top of the frame that is sitting in the box underneath, is larger than a bee space. I did some awkward measurements and to be shock it seems there's about 1.9 cm gap between the frame above and below each other, about 3/4 of an inch.

To ask the obvious; is this then why the bees join the frames together, and whenever I lift a super comb splits apart?
 
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