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Hi there. I am looking for suggestions for managing a mess I have created with my hive. I am in Ontario, Canada (fairly cool) and I have only ever had top bar hives and last year started a lang without doing enough research in advance. Bad decisions aside ... I was using foundationless frames in a deep. The hive thrived last year and quickly filled the first deep. I stayed on top of it and the comb was nice and straight. I added a second deep (first wrong decision I think) with a queen excluder but did NOT watch the comb carefully enough and they created a mess that is completely unmanageable (although quite a bit of honey). Maybe my second bad decision was deciding (given it was a first year hive) to leave them the second deep for the winter and would then take it away this spring for the honey. I haven't gone in yet as it has really been a cool spring and the bees themselves only really convinced me that had survived at all a couple weeks ago. However, I am assuming (having studied a bit more over the winter and the evidence from the hive suggests) that the bees are now residing in the top, messed up box. Unfortunately, it is really messed up. I don't see how I can go through it and find the queen without great risk.

So after too much background, suggestions on how I can get the hive down into the other deep? One suggestion was to swap them and they -might- move up? I would then keep going through that box till I find the queen. I can then put an excluder in along with a one-way bee escape to get the rest of the bees out. My next questions will involve when, given it is still cool and going below freezing at night most of this week.

I apologize for the long winded message. Suggestions appreciated.
 

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Hi there. I am looking for suggestions for managing a mess I have created with my hive. I am in Ontario, Canada (fairly cool) and I have only ever had top bar hives and last year started a lang without doing enough research in advance. Bad decisions aside ... I was using foundationless frames in a deep. The hive thrived last year and quickly filled the first deep. I stayed on top of it and the comb was nice and straight. I added a second deep (first wrong decision I think) with a queen excluder but did NOT watch the comb carefully enough and they created a mess that is completely unmanageable (although quite a bit of honey). Maybe my second bad decision was deciding (given it was a first year hive) to leave them the second deep for the winter and would then take it away this spring for the honey. I haven't gone in yet as it has really been a cool spring and the bees themselves only really convinced me that had survived at all a couple weeks ago. However, I am assuming (having studied a bit more over the winter and the evidence from the hive suggests) that the bees are now residing in the top, messed up box. Unfortunately, it is really messed up. I don't see how I can go through it and find the queen without great risk.

So after too much background, suggestions on how I can get the hive down into the other deep? One suggestion was to swap them and they -might- move up? I would then keep going through that box till I find the queen. I can then put an excluder in along with a one-way bee escape to get the rest of the bees out. My next questions will involve when, given it is still cool and going below freezing at night most of this week.

I apologize for the long winded message. Suggestions appreciated.
1. Put the messed up box down.
2. Put the target box up.
3. Create some upper entrance so that the bees ONLY can go in and out via the top box (your target box).
4. In 2-3 weeks, the queen/brood will be in the top box - at that time remove the messed-up box and regroup
--(shake the remaining bees out; cut out remaining brood if any and return to the bees; salvage honey to yourself or let the bees have it)
 

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1. Put the messed up box down.
2. Put the target box up.
3. Create some upper entrance so that the bees ONLY can go in and out via the top box (your target box).
4. In 2-3 weeks, the queen/brood will be in the top box - at that time remove the messed-up box and regroup
--(shake the remaining bees out; cut out remaining brood if any and return to the bees; salvage honey to yourself or let the bees have it)
Good ideas, but what about the excluder? I would separate the 2 boxes by putting hive tool under the excluder and breaking it free from the bottom box. Then I would tip the top box up 90 degrees (set it on end) and pull the excluder off to view the box from below. Is that where the brood is? It's unclear to me from what was stated. Then I would start cutting comb to straighten things out. A messy job which needs to be done, imo. I would also cut brood out and use rubber bands to tie into empty frames.

In a situation like this, a few sheets of foundation (plastic) worked into the box are not a bad idea to 'set the bees straight'.

I encounter these situations sometimes when I fail to fill a box with frames to keep ahead of the bees. And it also happens should I put in multiple empty foundationless frames side by siide.

Good luck. You can do it.
 

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Great answer, thanks! Again, pretty chilly here. Given I am just swapping the boxes and can do it pretty quickly, a day around 10degC/50degF ok?

Thanks again.
 

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Good ideas, but what about the excluder? I would separate the 2 boxes by putting hive tool under the excluder and breaking it free from the bottom box. Then I would tip the top box up 90 degrees (set it on end) and pull the excluder off to view the box from below. Is that where the brood is? It's unclear to me from what was stated. Then I would start cutting comb to straighten things out. A messy job which needs to be done, imo. I would also cut brood out and use rubber bands to tie into empty frames.

In a situation like this, a few sheets of foundation (plastic) worked into the box are not a bad idea to 'set the bees straight'.

I encounter these situations sometimes when I fail to fill a box with frames to keep ahead of the bees. And it also happens should I put in multiple empty foundationless frames side by siide.

Good luck. You can do it.
No need for the excluder in that mess.
Remove it and be done.
Fresh air will take care of that; the queen will be working next to the entrance soon enough.

Until your queen is out of the messy box - don't even go there.
:)
Unless looking for a messy job and have lots of time to do it (and potentially squishing the queen too).

Just be patient and let the bees move along with your program.
They will.

PS: heck, once I see the queen working the top box, I'd slice in yet another box (in between) to separate the top from the messy box and entice the straggles to move up.
PPS: insulate the top well - goes without saying - if it is still cool (I'd just wait until the weather warm to do this).
 

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Hi there. I am looking for suggestions for managing a mess I have created with my hive. I am in Ontario, Canada (fairly cool) and I have only ever had top bar hives and last year started a lang without doing enough research in advance. Bad decisions aside ... I was using foundationless frames in a deep. The hive thrived last year and quickly filled the first deep. I stayed on top of it and the comb was nice and straight. I added a second deep (first wrong decision I think) with a queen excluder but did NOT watch the comb carefully enough and they created a mess that is completely unmanageable (although quite a bit of honey). Maybe my second bad decision was deciding (given it was a first year hive) to leave them the second deep for the winter and would then take it away this spring for the honey. I haven't gone in yet as it has really been a cool spring and the bees themselves only really convinced me that had survived at all a couple weeks ago. However, I am assuming (having studied a bit more over the winter and the evidence from the hive suggests) that the bees are now residing in the top, messed up box. Unfortunately, it is really messed up. I don't see how I can go through it and find the queen without great risk.

So after too much background, suggestions on how I can get the hive down into the other deep? One suggestion was to swap them and they -might- move up? I would then keep going through that box till I find the queen. I can then put an excluder in along with a one-way bee escape to get the rest of the bees out. My next questions will involve when, given it is still cool and going below freezing at night most of this week.

I apologize for the long winded message. Suggestions appreciated.
first you say the excluder is in then also you intend to add it. did you pull the excluder for the winter?

Another option is to take the first well built box and put 3 or 4 frames down into a new box, centered, add new frames to the sides, then center the remaining, in the second box add new to the sides, place the mess back on top. Let them fill it then take it this fall cut it all out crush and strain. If a second super is needed lift the mess and place it under. IE make the mess the top box slated for removal this fall.

GG
 

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first you say the excluder is in then also you intend to add it. did you pull the excluder for the winter?

Another option is to take the first well built box and put 3 or 4 frames down into a new box, centered, add new frames to the sides, then center the remaining, in the second box add new to the sides, place the mess back on top. Let them fill it then take it this fall cut it all out crush and strain. If a second super is needed lift the mess and place it under. IE make the mess the top box slated for removal this fall.

GG
Sorry, I wasn't clear. Yes, I removed the excluder for the winter, thus the whole hive and queen moved up.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
 

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You could chase the bees down out of the unwanted box into the wanted box with a honey removal chemical with no excluder on. Then separate with a excluder. Give a drone exit to both sides. After three weeks deal with the unwanted box. You could also use blowing, drumming, smoking and other bee chasing techniques. Or just wait for the hive to die and deal with it then. That is my technique. I have one going on five years. Wild combs in the bottom box with added framed brood chambers on top. I medicate and super it normally. One day it will die and I have not waste any time on it.
 

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Sorry, I wasn't clear. Yes, I removed the excluder for the winter, thus the whole hive and queen moved up.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
ok good so then you likely have the brood nest in the top box, the wild one now, either keep jacking it up and do a cut and strain this fall, or put it on the bottom and let the bees move up and out of it. Or as odfrank says leave it be and deal with it on a dead out. I since I am short on supers and do some cut and strain anyway, i would leave it top and build out below. Be sure to offer a lower entrance only if you wish the brood nest to be moved down, and an entrance above the excluder for the drones to escape else they be in the honey.

good luck
GG
 

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I think Greg gave good advice, at least that is what I would do in this situation. I made it just past the "first wrong decision" part last year and ended up with a completely cross combed 10 frame deep full of honey. I managed to get it off the hive in time and just had to deal with the crush and strain part. Note, do NOT do this outside. I think every bee in my apiary was on my deck while I was trying to crush the combs. I managed to do half of frames and gave up, allowing the bees to get the other 30 some pounds of honey. Did get all the wax though and it was pretty.
 

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I think Greg gave good advice, at least that is what I would do in this situation. I made it just past the "first wrong decision" part last year and ended up with a completely cross combed 10 frame deep full of honey. I managed to get it off the hive in time and just had to deal with the crush and strain part. Note, do NOT do this outside. I think every bee in my apiary was on my deck while I was trying to crush the combs. I managed to do half of frames and gave up, allowing the bees to get the other 30 some pounds of honey. Did get all the wax though and it was pretty.
you can do it at night. :) also puttin a 8x10 or 10x12 tarp on the floor of the garage works. Can hose it off when done. Sounds like an adventure.
GG
 

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I think Greg gave good advice, at least that is what I would do in this situation. I made it just past the "first wrong decision" part last year and ended up with a completely cross combed 10 frame deep full of honey. I managed to get it off the hive in time and just had to deal with the crush and strain part. Note, do NOT do this outside. I think every bee in my apiary was on my deck while I was trying to crush the combs. I managed to do half of frames and gave up, allowing the bees to get the other 30 some pounds of honey. Did get all the wax though and it was pretty.
:)

I do all my "honey extraction" projects in the sufficiently large kitchen area.
That way we have an extra reason to occasionally clean the kitchen - it gets filthy insanely quickly even without me dripping the honey about (thanks kids!!!).
Of course, the kitchen is bee-proof - the must.
 
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