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Wiveliscombe
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Let's say that by a quirk of fate you happen to have a double national brood containing brood frames from which the wax had been recovered, but has been occupied by a swarm for some time and filled with wild comb which is weaving in and out of the frames. The boxes will not split easily, so the only way to get an idea of what's going on is to watch the entrance or try to look down from the top.

How would you go about getting the colony into a sensible arrangement, preferably with minimal losses? Assume that sufficient hive parts will be available and that if necessary the colony can be split, but there is no overwhelming rush to complete the switch.

Asking for a friend :laughing-smiley-014

James
 
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BMH (I think) did a video of recovering similar. He got empty brood frames and rubber bands and cut the natural comb to kind of fit the frame held in with the elastic bands and transferred in to brood box.
 
To split the boxes use a cheese wire between the 2 or fishing line. Split the boxes and see which box is the best to start on. Use a knife or scalpel to cut between the frames and do a basic cutout and arrange the frames to the best fit for future easy access. Shake the bees down to one box to do these manipulations, which will save on the stings. Other option use a beevac and then manipulate after splitting the boxes.
 
Never done this but wonder if it would work. I know splitting the box is not easy but if you used something like a cheese cutter wire between the boxes it might work, I would then put an excluder on the bottom box then a brood box of foundation and then the top box back. If there are eggs and larvae in the foundation pdq you at least you know she is in the top two boxes but go through the box of foundation and hope to find the queen which you should mark. Put a QX on the top of it and then the original top brood box back. Let the brood in the bottom box emerge (about 3 weeks) then put the bottom box on top of a clearer board and clear them down. The few remaining bees (with drones) can be shaken /smoked out. I would then pop a super in between the "foundation" box and after 3 weeks clear the top box and remove when clear. You now should have a floor , new comb brood box, a QX a super , crown board and a roof. Systems normal. The rest of the aberrant comb can be mashed and filtered and you should get some nice wax from it.
 
Move the old hive off behind its original spot, you may need 2 for this! Place a new brood box with a comb of open brood. Separate the 2 boxes cheese cutter style as above if needed. A beequick soaked tea towel on top and wait till all bees are driven out into bottom box, repeat with second. Some may even come out the front door and cluster they will go back in. You can then set about dealing with any brood you wish to save minus bees!
I’ve done it this way before and worked well!
 
Shall we invoke the unspeakable?
The technique that shall not be mentioned.
The unholy term.
The sacrilegious technique.
Oh go on then.
A shook swarm 😱
 
BMH (I think) did a video of recovering similar. He got empty brood frames and rubber bands and cut the natural comb to kind of fit the frame held in with the elastic bands and transferred in to brood box.

I think the fact that the boxes already contain frames would make that really awkward. If it were just freestyle comb without frames I my friend would probably give it a go.

James
 
easy enough to do on neatly framed comb not quite as simple with a double entanglement of freestyle brace comb.

Quite. Once the existing boxes are empty I think the only way to remove the comb will be to cut the boxes apart with cheesewire or similar, cut around the insides of the walls from underneath and then slice along the gaps between the frames to remove them one or more at a time. Shaking anything out beforehand would involve trying to do the each entire box in one go (having first cut them apart). I can't see that being viable.

James
 
Move the old hive off behind its original spot, you may need 2 for this! Place a new brood box with a comb of open brood. Separate the 2 boxes cheese cutter style as above if needed. A beequick soaked tea towel on top and wait till all bees are driven out into bottom box, repeat with second. Some may even come out the front door and cluster they will go back in. You can then set about dealing with any brood you wish to save minus bees!
I’ve done it this way before and worked well!

To make sure I've understood this properly...

After the new box is in place and you've split the old boxes, you'd put one of the old boxes on top of the new box and drive them down into it? Then repeat with the second box?

I wonder if the original boxes could then go back on the original stand with a QX and then the new box on top of that for a month to allow the brood to hatch out?

James
 
Only (sensible) way really is a modified Bailey, do it ASAP so that they move up to the new box, then remove the lower box and re-appraise.

This is what I was initially inclined to try on the grounds that if the queen moves up and starts laying then at least it's possible to see the brood pattern and nest shape and get an idea of whether she's in the box which would then allow a QX to be put in underneath. My only doubt is because I've read people saying that the queen may be reluctant to cross any honey arch above the existing brood nest. I really don't know if that's true or not.

James
 
The least invasive - place box with frames above, naturally they will go up. Since the queen went up, place qe and after brood bellow qe is gone, they will tend to move food above also. After they do that, remove the boxes bellow qe and cut and melt empty comb..
Nope, Honey bees naturally move down.
It's only in our artificial situations where empty boxes are placed above that they move up.
Haven't used QEs for a long time.

As others have said, it takes a bit of time, but we've had success by cutting and realigning the comb to fit the frames.
We've also, over a longer period of time, separated a frame at time and put a new one in between and then removed the outer old frame once the brood has hatched. Fine if you just play with your bees and aren't in any hurry! :D
 
Nope, Honey bees naturally move down.
It's only in our artificial situations where empty boxes are placed above that they move up.
Haven't used QEs for a long time.

As others have said, it takes a bit of time, but we've had success by cutting and realigning the comb to fit the frames.
We've also, over a longer period of time, separated a frame at time and put a new one in between and then removed the outer old frame once the brood has hatched. Fine if you just play with your bees and aren't in any hurry! :D
The bees naturally don't tolerate empty comb above, so they always go up.. Or we have over here completely different bees..
It is easier this way, cause queen will fast go up. If You want to press queen to go down in box with added frames bellow, You have to press her with intensive feeding and while bees store that food, they press her down with occupying cells with stores..
 
We here do a lot spring box rotations.. with similar goals - to queen go up...
If it is not clear what I meant, we place bbox which was in winter configuration up - in spring goes down and box with empty frames which was in winter configuration down - we place up in spring. This is roughly explanation, it is just part of operations..
 
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Queen going up or down? Just to clarify..
She will lay under excess stores. If there are no stores she will lay towards the top. As the stores build up she will lay below them so.....
If an empty box is put on top and there are no stores in it and few stores in the old boxes she will move up but if there are excessive stores in the old boxes she will not cross those to lay above them. It depends on the state of the stores in the old boxes wether she will go up or down!
 
To make sure I've understood this properly...

After the new box is in place and you've split the old boxes, you'd put one of the old boxes on top of the new box and drive them down into it? Then repeat with the second box?

I wonder if the original boxes could then go back on the original stand with a QX and then the new box on top of that for a month to allow the brood to hatch out?

James
Yes you could put the boxes back with a queen excluder between. I’d probably add an entrance same side as bottom to allow drones to escape.
 

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