Old Hives

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by babnik, May 15, 2011.

  1. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    A friend and myself have inherited a few old abandoned hives. These hives were abandoned for at least 3 years and are basically falling apart. We have managed to move a few hives to new locations and bees seem to have carried on happily working, but on inspection, the inside of the hives are a complete mess of old rotten frames, comb etc etc. No way of inspecting in any more detail because things just fall apart. We're both novices, but it seems clear that our best bet is to move the bees to new hives. How do we go about doing this? Remember we can't just take out frames from the old hive and put them in the new one as they'd just fall apart. We have new hives which are the same type and size as the old ones though if that helps.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Search this forum and read.

    Search for"

    cutouts

    banding in brood comb

    wiring in brood comb

    removals

    tying comb in frames

    Then come back and ask more questions.

    We will talk you through it and you will have good hives when done.

    Welcome to the forum....
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Welcome to the forum babnik :wave:

    Here is some pics of one I did a while back to a hive I had that was in bad shape.

    viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1806
     
  4. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    Welcome to the Forum babnick :wave:

    Great pics. G3

    One thing I might add, when you cut the cells out of the frame, replace them in the new frame as they were removed.
    In other words, top to top, bottom to bottom .

    Don't mean to sound silly but I don't know how to say it.

    Murrell
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    welcome to the forum babnick glad to have you. Another option I have done is to add a deep over the old hive and let them move up into it over winter then remove the old box and frames in the spring. I have had good luck with this approach and is far less invasive to the hive.
     
  6. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome. I quite like the idea of putting a deep with wired and foundation frames, over the existing one (same size so no problems there). I have read about drumming as a way to speed things along. Smoke and drum the bottom deep (old hive) for 8-10 minutes which causes the bees to migrate to the upper deep. Hopefully the queen is one of those that moves up. Then put a queen excluder between the two. Check next week for signs of the queen being in the upper deep. If not, then repeat process. If yes, then wait a couple more weeks for the brood to be done in the lower then remove the old deep. I guess at that point you could recuperate any honey comb and cutout into a super. Not sure.

    Anyone tried this?
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I have seen it tried. I have not seen it work. Let us know if it works for you.
     
  8. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I dont drum and smoke. I let nature take its time and use drawn comb above them then let them move up over winter
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Welcome to the fourm babnik. I have done like the rat said to draw them up into the new box. Another thing you can Try is to put a frame of brood from another hive in the new top box and check it two or three times the first couple hours, this will bring nurse bees up to take care of the brood and the queen will come up to check out the different pheromone.(thinking another queen is present) If your lucky enough to see her on the brood frame you can then slip a queen excluder under her. In time she will move up anyway, but this can hurry things up to get them in the new box. Jack
     
  10. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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  11. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    I still have to get it into my head this beekeeping lark is a patience thing and that bees will do what bees want to do, rather than what we want them to do. I don't have another hive to get a brood frame from, so it'll have to be patience by the looks of things.
     
  12. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Being a lazy beekeeper, I'm with riverrat. Easiest and least invasive.
     
  13. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    your already ahead of the game. You have figured out bees must not read the same books the keeper does :D
     
  14. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    So I decided to do both a cutout AND put a new deep on top. Considering this was only the third time I have opened a hive it was a BIG job and I'm not finished. It took me near to an hour and I started to worry I was taking too long. I have only got through half the deep, it was in such a mess! There was a lot of new comb though, which I managed to cutout and put in clean frames. I saw what looked like brood comb, and kept it towards the middle. I made sure I kept the right orientation, and added an empty frame with foundation to replace one of the broken ones I pulled out. I didn't have space to put in the 10th as the remaining frames are not well seated and there was no space. I'll have to put it in when I finish off. I didn't see the queen, but I wasn't really looking. The colony looks pretty strong lots of bees, but then I don't really know what a weak colony looks like. I didn't see an awful lot of honey to be honest, but I still have half the deep to go. Should I have done it in one go, however long it took? Should I wait a week or so before continuing, to give them time to settle after today's exertions? Or should I just do it tomorrow and get it over with so they can get on with life? I'm just worried that with the missing frame, in a week they'll fill in the space and make my life more difficult!
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Taking a break for the beekeeper is fine. Don't take a break for the sake of the bees. As soon as you feel like doing it, go in and complete the job. It should be done leisurely for you, and as quickly as possible for the bees.

    It sounds like you are doing fine with it so far. Keeping the honey is not important. Keeping the brood is. Frame up as much brood as you can, fill the rest of the hive with frames, and place the honey out in the bee yard and they will carry it back in and store it.
     
  16. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    To be honest there wasn't much honey, at least not in the part of the deep I worked on. However there was a lot of new comb. Not enough experience to tell you if it was for honey or for brood? Actually is there a difference or can they adapt comb for any use?
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They can adapt it for their needs.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    on most occasions the brood will be towards the bottom and in the center of the set of boxes. the brood nest (at least in my mind) is typically oval shape. when the pile of boxes is short the oval could be described as basketball shaped and when the pile of boxes gets taller the shape is more like that of an american football. any honey that exist should be just outside and above the brood area.

    classically the brood is to the center of a frame, then there is a circular line of pollen (you can usually distinguish this by the great variety of color) and then there is a line of honey just at the outside edges of the frame. there are obvious ecological reasons that the resources are distributed in this manner.

    good luck.
     
  19. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    I know what you mean. We made that mistake last year and it sure didn't help the bees. We hindered them as they were hobbled in trying to get ready for winter. Those were the two hives we lost.