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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I located an old hive that is not too bad condition, that a farmer would like some help. It is 2 deeps, no SBB or vented top. It has not been worked for 5 years and the bees have continued to survive. They are calm bees and nice to work.

Then there is the propolis. It is everywhere. An examble is the frame ears are almost level across with propolis. I tossed a shallow super on to give them some room and just to see what they would do and they haven't touched it for a week other than to propolise the bottom bars to the old topbars.

Has anyone delt with a hive like this? What's the best course of action? Are some races of bees more prone to propolise?

I'm afraid to make any chages like requeen because they would probably die.
 

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How long has the farmer had it and did he treat ???? I'd be interested in bees that were varoa tolerant that used excess propolis. Just me

Rick SoMd
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Before 5 years ago an Amish guy took care of it but just disappeared, so don't know the full history.
 

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Has anyone delt with a hive like this? What's the best course of action?

Hives like that make me want to say bad words.

I have found the hive tool with a J hook on one end to be extremely useful in hives like this. Try to break an outside frame loose from the next frame, and then hook the frame ear to pry that end of the frame up, and then hook the other end and pry.

The first frame is the worst to remove. After you get one frame pulled, it's a lot easier to pull the rest of the frames.

Do it on the hottest day you can. The propolis will be softer.
 

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Sounds like the kind of bees I'd love to get! Untreated for 5 years and still going strong?....oooohh! :p Of course there's a lot of propolis if no one has worked the hive in 5 years.

You'd be nuts to requeen them and destroy that survivor genetic strain. Instead, do everything you can to keep them going (which might be doing as little interference as possible) to make splits and queens from them next year!
If you ask me they are a gold mine. :cool:
 

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I'd take that shallow off and replace it with a deep hive body. Eventually you'll catch the queen up there with brood and you can remove it and take it home or better yet, set it there next to the old hive. You'll get the queen with brood, the hive it comes from will raise a queen. If they fail to raise a queen, your box there next to it with the new queen can rob it out clean and build up on it. If they do raise a queen, you'll be able to do it again, getting another daughter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies. I think I'll leave well enough alone for this fall and do a split in the spring.
 

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Thanks for the replies. I think I'll leave well enough alone for this fall and do a split in the spring.
I too think it would be best to let them get through the winter on their own- they seem to be pretty good at it!
Then yes, try to multiply them by splitting in the Spring- do your very best to keep from losing the genetics of that great queen... careful not to over-split or disrupt them too much until you carefully get several colonies going from them. Lots of people would be very eager to get some of the descendants from that queen. Lucky you! :thumbsup:
 
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