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HI all,

Can anyone share advice on how to put a topbar hive backtogether after an inspection. Last week when I took a quick peek to check for eggs, the bees(lots, not just a few) started crawling up the side of the top bar making pushing the bars together quite hard. I tried to brush them downward into the hive but that just made them immediately take flight and more bees took their place between the top bars. i eventually got the bars back together but i had to very slowly push the bars together pushing bees back in or out one at a time. I can't imagine doing that for every bar in the hive during my first full inspection (day 21) tomorrow.
 

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Do it really slowly. They will move if you smoke them and move it slowly. You can crush a few if necessary. Try not to a puff of smoke and they will move.
 

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Light smoke, or puff of air, or use a scissor like action to place your bars back. Most of the times I use the scissor action.
 

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If you gently bump the bees with the bar, several times, most of them will get the hint. If not the smoker will help a bit. It also helps to keep your already inspected bars all together at the back of the hive and not spread out. When you go to close up the hive you can move the bars back into place 2, 3, or 4 at a time which will cut down on the number of times you need to convince bees to duck.
 

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A paint stick from Lowes can be extremely helpful, although it needs to be longer for my hive bars (20"). You can insert that parallel between the bars and start closing it up. It is just enough space that it won't crush the bees and they back away, and when you pull out the stick to close the bars completely, it's not quite enough space for them to peek through again. It still takes a bit of time, and days when you are in a hurry, it's frustrating. (you shouldn't work the bees if you are in that fast mode anyway). I also use a large duck/goose feather to push them back down once the bars are really close together.

Also they tend to come toward the light, so if as you are closing up the bars, you can lay a spare bar upside down on the crack so no light gets through, fewer bees will be in the opening, so it's that many fewer you need to move out of the way to close it up.
 

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Get a piece of 1/8 inch dowel or close to that size. as you push the bars together and the gap is about one bee space wide. drop that dowel in the space. the bees cannot get into it then. push the bar snug against the rod then pull the rod from the space. the gap is now to small for bees to get into. Push bars together tightly.
 

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I put one side of the bar in first and then slowly swing the other side flush. When the bees come up through the gap, I use a long knife to gently push them down. The knife is already there for cutting comb away from the side walls. But I really like Ruth's idea of using a feather.
 

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I glued a small scrap of wood to the quill end of a big feather using Titebond glue. The wood provides a handle and reduces the chance of the feather blowing away.
 

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I'll have to try the feather idea, too. I squirt them with water, which makes them duck down. I also lay a piece of parchment cloth or wax paper across the gaps to keep the bees from coming out. When they're hot, it also settles them down because the opening is "closed". I have one hive where I have bee space gaps in the top bars. That one is very easy to close. I lay parchment paper over the top and the roof lays flat on top of that. The bees can't attach comb to the paper, so it also helps with crosscombing. I plan to eventually make all my top bars like that since it makes opening and closing a breeze.
 

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I push the bars close together without crushing any bees, then lift one bar up over the adjacent bar and lower it with no space in between. The moving bar sweeps bees out of the gap into the hive and the stationary bar sweeps bees out of the hive. I do end up with a few bees on top of the bars, but I just brush them off before replacing the cover.
 

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All of the ideas already provided. plus... Move the two ends together then begin to slide the others ends together slowly leaving a V gap, using a fine water mister above the bees (not directly on, and do not drench) often works well. You can also lift the bar you are moving a bar thickness above the bar you are moving it to and then slide the edges slowly down together thus clearing the bees into the hive as you go.
 

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I just ordered a spearmint oil to mix with water . Its also supposed to calm the bees. Most videos ive seen they just use a brush and it works good. I also like the paint stirrer idea. Thank you. Anyone used the spearment oil method?
 

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In general (with a TBH or lang), the frames or bars should be kept together as much as possible...I generally remove one frame (in the least populous area of the hive or the one that makes the most sense for some other reason) to make room to move things, then all the rest are kept against one another....I remove a frame to inspect from one side of the gap, and replace it on the other side of the gap sliding it down into position to gently 'scrape' the bees off...this works both with top bars or lang frames (remember that the lang frames only contact each other at the top portion of the end bars).

When you are done, you can move the whole stack of frames or top bars as one unit with only one space to watch for bees being crushed.

Your inspection technique is like scales are to a musician...you've got to practice them until they are second nature so you can focus on what you are seeing in the hive.

deknow
 

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The problem I see with the technique in the video is the potential to trap bees feet and/or head between the bars. The space left by the rod isn't enough for the bees to crawl through, but you can see them probing into the gap.

deknow
 

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> Anyone used the spearment oil method?

I've tried everything I think... water, water with essential oil, light syrup, light syrup with essential oils, liquid smoke, nothing, smoke. Smoke is far more effective than anything else at calming bees. Nothing else comes close. Water distracts them a bit. Liquid smoke leaves everything smelling like smoke for weeks afterwards. Essential oils are a little more districting as is syrup a little more distracting, but I especially hate sticky bees (I've seen too many drowned in syrup). Smoke is also more effective at getting the bees to move down, but that's not generally my purpose with smoke...
 

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I was going to use the spearmint aka liquid smoke when I do the relaease towards the end of may . I thought it was more healthy for the bees . I am very new and trying to do the best thing for the bees . I guess I will use it since that's what I have . I do appreciate however your expertise in this matter . I have 4lbs if italian bees due on the 28th for my first release . Would you then suggest sugar water over the spearmint to calm them? I dont think they'll bee happy traveling in the mail ladys car and horse trailor from Georgia anyhow! I have a nice place for them set up lets hope that calms them also..
 
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