how to move bees from a crumbling hive?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

adamo852 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
poole, dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
1
any advice greatfully recieved. i have been offered a colony of bees that are resident in an old wbc hive, however the hive is so rotten that any disturbance & i think it will just crumble into a pile. i managed to lift the roof in the autumn & put a tray or apigaurd inside but it was quite a mess, so apart from making sure it was waterproof, i have left it alone. the colony appears to be strong & with the warm weather they are extremely actice. i have a new national hive to move them into but am looking for advice on the best way to do it. the frames in the wbc although intact are in poor shape, & probably could not be removed,

regards adam
 

MuswellMetro 

Queen Bee
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
6,523
Reaction score
28
Location
London N10
Hive Type
14x12
shook swarm is one way, the other would be to place a box with foundation on top (with a home made convertor plate) and wait until they go up, but in the first you will need to ensure the queen is in the new box unharmed and in the second that there is no queen excluder stopping the queen going up


and just notcied your first post, welcome to the forum, what is your location, if you put the town you live in someone on here might help you, uk is a big place 19C in london, 7 c in yorkshire, very different advice depending were you live
 
Last edited:

adamo852 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
poole, dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
1
hi MuswellMetro, thanks for your reply, roughly how long would it take for the queen to work her way up, if there is a queen excluder i should imagine its perished by now, but cant lift the super without it falling to peices. i'm really not sure if the old hive would support the weight of a box ontop, 3 hives were moved to a corner of a field 15 years ago, the other 2 hives have totally disintegrated, the remaining 1 although standing is pretty weak. I live in Poole Dorset so enjoying some really mild weather at the moment.
 

Midland Beek 

Drone Bee
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
0
Location
South Staffs
Hive Type
none
Note that the frames might well have disintegrated a long time ago and they might have built wild comb attached to the sides of the hive and the crownboard. Remove the crownboard carefully ... type of thing.
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,594
Reaction score
955
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
.
Queen and erarly brood are valuable there.

Put a comb box over the hive's combs. Put there one brood frame and the queen rises up. When queen is in upper box, put an excluder under the box. Prepare that you may do it easily.

Let it be there at 2-3 weeks that bees emerge. In some nice day you may move the rotten hive away and look the combs, Bees fly into the new hive.
Who knows how much they have brood there?
 

rae 

Field Bee
Joined
Aug 5, 2009
Messages
826
Reaction score
0
Location
Berkshire
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
If the colony has been thriving, then "**** weight" would have been in September. (Edit: what is wrong with the word P E A K?)
)
I would:

Cram some bricks under the hive to guard against the legs letting go.

Look in the top super if possible - if the frames are intact, and there is brood in there, you might be lucky and spot the queen. If you do, then stick her in a matchbox, set up the new hive, and do a combination of shook swarm and salvaging what can be salvaged. Getting a frame of brood (or two) into the new hive will mean it is "home", and they will be less likely to abscond.

Failing that, sticking a standard brood on top is the answer. The queen will end up in it, and it will be easier to find her. Once you think she is in there (loads of brood, separate with a queen excluder and check 3 days later: if there are eggs, you know she is in there.

The other alternative is the more risky "plough through the box and hope you manage to transfer the queen". At this stage in the season, if you lose her....she is at least replaceable(ish)

One caveat: your're getting close to swarming season. Best go with some spare kit, you may need to do an AS as well!
 

adamo852 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
poole, dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
1
thanks for all your help, i'm going to try to sit a brood box on top if i can, check that the queen excluder has already been removed or is perished & not working. i have seen comb "tied" to new frames as a way of holding it in a new hive where the comb is frameless, could this be an option if the old frames are unuseable. hopoefully this weekend the weather will be dry & i can start the transfer, will keep you posted on its success, if it all fails miserably i could be in the market for a new swarm!!!! lol
again thanks for the help, regards adam
 

Skyhook 

Queen Bee
Joined
May 19, 2010
Messages
3,053
Reaction score
0
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
5
The key question seems to be- is there a QE in place? If there is, it has to come off. I would start by attempting to go through the super. If you find any brood, you're OK. If not, I think you're going to have to mine your way through the super to get to the BB. Either take off the super and the excluder, or if you can't, remove enough frames that you can get through with a pair of wire-cutters/ tinsnips depending on type of QE.

Have fun!
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,809
Reaction score
137
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
12 and 18 Nucs
There is a major assumption here that the combs will be useless.

I did an inspection some years ago on a colony which was allegedly untouched for 15 years, this being pre varroa, and the combs were fine.

The easiest way to tackle it initially would be to consider using a national brood box and move the combs over.

I suspect you may find if there is a qex in place it may well be in good enough condition.

Good luck

PH
 

MuswellMetro 

Queen Bee
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
6,523
Reaction score
28
Location
London N10
Hive Type
14x12
get a 1m dowel 9mm in diameter take the roof off and push it down through the top box super comb into the brood and if it hits metal then the QE is on

the QE on an old WBC is likely to be a metal grid, if QE is on the queen will not rise up, so it is a take to bits job, and shook swarm or as you say cut and paste comb into the new frames

it is the brood & Q you need, you can always feed syrup if you do not get all the honey comb

if you are going to break it up, it is messy and wear double clothing they are going to be angry
 

thurrock bees 

Drone Bee
Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
0
Location
Haywards Heath, Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
27
ive got a very simular challage, i was given a commercial hive to look after, i get to keep 80% of the honey crop and any A.S./ swarms, they are lovely carm bees needing no smoke and two commercial supers full of honey( can bearly lift them) the hive needs some attention as its not been opened in 2-3 years as the owner had a nasty reation to a sting.:)
 

adamo852 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
poole, dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
1
i can see this is going to be fun, but what is the risk of completely ruining the colony if it all goes pear shaped, if i manage to lose the queen will they produce another at this time of year?
the dowel idea is a good un, taken onboard thanks, as is the double layer clothing, lol.
 

MuswellMetro 

Queen Bee
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
6,523
Reaction score
28
Location
London N10
Hive Type
14x12
i can see this is going to be fun, but what is the risk of completely ruining the colony if it all goes pear shaped, if i manage to lose the queen will they produce another at this time of year?
the dowel idea is a good un, taken onboard thanks, as is the double layer clothing, lol.
if poole, probabley ,yes, the microclimate is warm and i expect there will be drones, if you kill the queen then the bees new queen will emergerge in say 14 days then a further 14days (ish) to mate
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,594
Reaction score
955
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
.
If you put a frame box over that hive, nothing bad will happen. It is a neates job.

If you start to shake the whole hive , is is possible that you get a real riot.

The queen move itself to the new box. very simple job to the new beekeeper.
 

mandabow 

House Bee
Joined
Mar 6, 2011
Messages
126
Reaction score
0
Location
Southampton & Rugby
Hive Type
beehaus
Number of Hives
4 eeep! keep needing to AS.. 2 with virgin Qs tho'
if qx is there and your not in any hurry you can encourage the colony to move itself into new hive by routing the exit through the new hive.
At night attach several tubes from exit of old hive to the hole in crown board of new brood box. - may need to widen to fit, plug gaps with pan scourer wire so they don't chew to widen gap.

Try and position the new box directly in front of the old one. And make the old one look different if you can (lIick of paint wrap in odd coloured tarp)
bees will see new hive as a much needed extension and will draw comb on new frames. Queen will move over after month or two to fresher comb nearer the relocated entrance. I was told you can speed this up once there are a good many frames drawn in new hive by lifting lid on old and replacing with glass as the light will encorage her to move on... Problem is it makes it harder to regulate temp and you don't want the nurses abandoning the existing brood.

Once you see brood in new frames use queen excluder to stop her going back in. Start bruising super in old hive to encourage them to shift honey over(or not if you want to harvest). after a couple of weeks there will be no brood in there. old hive can be easily dissasembled ( can route for a day thro clearer board if you want it totally empty.)

This can be a hellishly long process though. And you don't want to disturb them often if you want them to take so inspect old hive more, once numbers seem lower there then check in new box.
Bees may not want to play game and may nibble a new door in weak part of wood... If so route that thro new hive too
 

Nigel2 

New Bee
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Location
Correze,France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
3
Hi

We moved the bees from our crumbling hive last Saturday, had tried the brood box / feeder on top method but they had not read the manual and refused to move in!!
In the end we had to carefully lift each frame out and into a new brood box, there was a lot of wild combe and several of the frames broke apart as the wood and wires were rotten.the hive was very full both with brood and capped honey no wonder they had not taken any of the syrup I gave them

The set up was a little strange the hive was 2 Dandant supers with the middle frames deeps and those either side super frames! after a little head scratching we were able to remove some of the honey filled and crumbling supers and move the rest to the new hive.
During all this the bees remained calm,4 days on and they seem settled and are busy on the fruit trees and the fields of dandelions

good luck on moving yours
 

psafloyd 

Queen Bee
Joined
Sep 27, 2010
Messages
3,461
Reaction score
3
Location
London/Essex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Probably about 5/6 at the moment
any advice greatfully recieved. i have been offered a colony of bees that are resident in an old wbc hive, however the hive is so rotten that any disturbance & i think it will just crumble into a pile. i managed to lift the roof in the autumn & put a tray or apigaurd inside but it was quite a mess, so apart from making sure it was waterproof, i have left it alone. the colony appears to be strong & with the warm weather they are extremely actice. i have a new national hive to move them into but am looking for advice on the best way to do it. the frames in the wbc although intact are in poor shape, & probably could not be removed,

regards adam
Looks like a shook swarm would be a good bet.
 

adamo852 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
poole, dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
1
Finally managed to put a brood box onto of the super, however the hive is in worst shape than I thought. I had to strap the BB to the hive because it's all leaning over towards the entrance, luckily the original frames are sites cold method so across the frame is level. Its all sealed nicely so do you think this will still work,fingers crossed! Oh only got stung twice...........both down the same welly....lol if this works I owe you all a big thankful! Cheers Adam
 

Latest posts

Top