Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without frames

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Armistead, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Armistead

    Armistead New Member

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    I took over maintenance of a hive that was abandoned in a hive box with only two frames inside. The hive built natural comb to fill in the rest. The bottom board was nailed to the hive box, as was the top cover. The hive attached their comb to the bottom of the top cover. I removed that top cover, which caused some of the comb to break off and placed a new hive box, with frames, on top of the old one.

    I noticed after taking a look after waiting a few days that the hive is building comb on the bottom of the frames in the new hive box. I guess I should have really expected that.

    The bees have also gotten fairly aggressive over the last few days with lots of buzzing around the hive entrance. I see that worker bees are going back into the hive with their legs filled with pollen but I suspect there may be some robbing going on which is causing the bees to be aggressive.

    What should I do at this point? Do you think I should try to dump all the bees from the old hive into the new hive so they won't build on the bottom of the frames? Or should I just leave them alone? If I do move them how should I move the natural comb into a foundationless frame? I've heard you can placed large rubber bands around it. Is this recommended?

    Also, if there is robbing will adding an entrance reducer help with that? The hive is fairly good size so I wonder if an entrance reducer would be appropriate.

    Thanks so much,

    David
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    Shake the bees off, tear out the comb, or place a box on top and wait for them to move up. It's the perfect time of the year for whatever you choose. But correct it now. Don't just let a problem exist longer than need be. The bees will recover and still have time to build comb.
     

  3. Armistead

    Armistead New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    Thank you so much for responding. Now when I tear out the comb from the old hive box should I cut around it to make it fit into a foundationless frame? I'm assuming I use large rubber bands to hold the comb in place until the bees affix it to frame. I've already placed a hive box, with frames, on top of this existing hive box but the bees aren't moving into it.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    Yes, cut the brood comb to fit. The honey and pollen comb will be harder to keep in. I don't try to save it. You can use rubber bands, cotton string, or framing wire to hold it in.

    They won't move into the top box until they fill the bottom one, most times.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    There are a couple of approaches to the problem you are describing.

    In general terms the choices are:
    1)do nothing and wait for the hive to swarm.... later pick up swarm.
    2)transfer existing comb to frames via rubber band and wire as suggest above.
    3)allow bees to move upward just a bit, then shake bees from existing hive and trash existing comb.

    The workers by attaching 'burr comb' to the bottom bars is quite natural and simply means they are moving up in that direction.

    You being in Santa Cruz CA means you could hypothetically make this transfer in just about any month of the year.

    ps... I use to do quite a few hive salvages and residential take outs and now tend to utilize these as something more like extremely large packages than as a hive. which means I now tend to shake out the bees on new comb and start over. some of this change is about the recent introduction of the small hive beetle.
     
  6. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    I did something similar last year. You may get some insight from this post and the good responses I got:

    viewtopic.php?f=35&t=484
     
  7. Armistead

    Armistead New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    Thank you so much for the info. I'm going to check on the hive today and see what would be the best option. I think if there is too much natural comb, and it isn't straight, I might just go with option #3 and wait until they move up and then shake them out. We've had great weather here in Santa Cruz and the hive is working like crazy. ;)
     
  8. rast

    rast New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    Just some more input, even if the brood comb isn't straight, you can still cut it vertically and tie it in a frame. Yeah, you'll cut up some brood, but I prefer to lose 30 to save 200. Numbers are hypothetical.
     
  9. cow pollinater

    cow pollinater New Member

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    Re: Need help salvaging a hive left in a hive box without fr

    I do it the wrong way but it works. ;) Rip into it and get the two frames that are drawn and find the queen and put them and her over an excluder in a box full of foundation(drawn foundation if you have it). Prop the mess in the bottom box up as best as you can but not so well that they want to keep it and use it. As the viable brood in the bottom box hatches, pull out the empty comb from the mess until all you have is an empty box on the bottom and a strong nuc on the top. Pull out the bottom box and it's done. Just do it in a somewhat timely manner or they might raise a new queen in the bottom mess and start all over again.
    I've done this a few times and they will usually do a pretty good job of moving everything up and leaving empty comb in the bottom.