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milkermel 

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So I'm on a Facebook holiday which means. Now using my brain ( well trying to) and planning ahead rather than just festering on FB, hence all my questions tbh I've muddled along for 16 years with my bees, but just want to start doing things a bit smarter . I'm going to need to change frames this year on at least one colony. Planning to do a bailey change, watched a video where they close off entrance at base of hive and created a second entrance below the new frames and above queenx. What do people use for that sort of entrance, was thinking about an eke and just drilling a hole in it?? Or is there a better option
 

pargyle 

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Firstly,why do you feel the need to change the frames ? If the bees are still using them and there's not been any disease in the colony ... do they need changing ?

The kinder way is to just work the frames out gradually ... when the spring build up starts add a frame or two of foundation (or just starter strips if you are like me foundation free) either side of the brood nest, remove the mankiests frames that don't have brood one and when the new frames are drawn out and capped brood .. move them out by one frame and add another couple of empty frames ...

You may well find that you don't need to change all the frames .... lots of effort goes into building comb -pity to waste all that effort of they don't need changing.

Lots of rubbish is written about 'old blackened diseased frames' ...what do you think bees have been for millennia ... before beekeepers decided they need to be 'cleaner' ?
 

Wilco 

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Firstly,why do you feel the need to change the frames ? If the bees are still using them and there's not been any disease in the colony ... do they need changing ?

The kinder way is to just work the frames out gradually ... when the spring build up starts add a frame or two of foundation (or just starter strips if you are like me foundation free) either side of the brood nest, remove the mankiests frames that don't have brood one and when the new frames are drawn out and capped brood .. move them out by one frame and add another couple of empty frames ...

You may well find that you don't need to change all the frames .... lots of effort goes into building comb -pity to waste all that effort of they don't need changing.

Lots of rubbish is written about 'old blackened diseased frames' ...what do you think bees have been for millennia ... before beekeepers decided they need to be 'cleaner' ?
Agree generally WRT generally not needing to switch all at once and best to switch out the mankiest first, a couple at a time.

On the cleanliness front, I was under the impression that in the 'wild' there is an almost symbiotic relationship with wax moths, which would break down old brood comb, meaning there would naturally be some cycling of the older comb. Obviously this becomes an issue in moveable frame hives where we tend to try to avoid wax moth, hence the need to rotate out the older mankier ones for cleanliness.
 

Wilco 

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So I'm on a Facebook holiday which means. Now using my brain ( well trying to) and planning ahead rather than just festering on FB, hence all my questions tbh I've muddled along for 16 years with my bees, but just want to start doing things a bit smarter . I'm going to need to change frames this year on at least one colony. Planning to do a bailey change, watched a video where they close off entrance at base of hive and created a second entrance below the new frames and above queenx. What do people use for that sort of entrance, was thinking about an eke and just drilling a hole in it?? Or is there a better option
How would any drones from the bottom box get out?
 

Erichalfbee 

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How would any drones from the bottom box get out?
Make a Bailey board. QX with a rim each side and a slot cut above and below
If you're doing a Bailey don't you do it before there are drones being made?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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why don't you just incorporate Demarree in your swarm avoidance regime and use that to get rid of your old frames?
 

pargyle 

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Agree generally WRT generally not needing to switch all at once and best to switch out the mankiest first, a couple at a time.

On the cleanliness front, I was under the impression that in the 'wild' there is an almost symbiotic relationship with wax moths, which would break down old brood comb, meaning there would naturally be some cycling of the older comb. Obviously this becomes an issue in moveable frame hives where we tend to try to avoid wax moth, hence the need to rotate out the older mankier ones for cleanliness.
I think, in the wild, they use comb until they feel it's no longer usable ... I have to say that, in some of my hives, there are brood frames that are now around 7 or 8 years old, some possibly older, that the bees are still using happily ... I'm not sure what happens in the wild .... before varroa did colonies just continue until they had swarmed to the point where there was no colony left - clearly there was/is a symbiotic relationship between wax moths and honey bees but I can't think that every colony left their hive every two or three years in order that the wax moths could provide a destroyed nest ?

I see my bees tearing down and re-building comb that they are not happy with so perhaps some of that went on as well ?

I do replace frames that look like they are past their sell by date ... but that sell by date (Like yoghurts in our fridge !) is subject to an assessment and is not cast in stone. I frequently hear stories of people doing shook swarms or bailey changes every couple of years 'because they need clean comb'.... it's rubbish.

Drawn brood frames are a valuable commodity don't waste them unnecessarily.
 

gmonag 

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Lots of rubbish is written about 'old blackened diseased frames' ...what do you think bees have been for millennia ... before beekeepers decided they need to be 'cleaner' ?
I suspect that in the wild, the bees abandon old comb for a while and allow the wax moth to demolish it, before building new comb.

Edit: Ah! Should have read later posts!
 

Finman 

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I suspect that in the wild, the bees abandon old comb for a while and allow the wax moth to demolish it, before building new comb.

Edit: Ah! Should have read later posts!
In nature bees chew too old black combs totally away
Waxmoths do not destroy combs in living hive.

If somebody destroyes old and new combs is a mouse.
 

Finman 

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.when you renew dark combs, lift combs to the place of super. Brood emerges out and bees fill combs with honey. Then extract combs.

When it is a flow, bees draw combs 1-2 boxes easily.

When you make artificial swarms to stop swarming fever, give foundation box to the swarm. After a week ypu have a box of new combs.

A bailey comb exhange is a disaster to the colony.
 

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Make a Bailey board. QX with a rim each side and a slot cut above and below
If you're doing a Bailey don't you do it before there are drones being made?
Not done it TBH. Doing it before drones are laid would make sense--might be colony dependent though as one of my colonies this year was making them almost from the first inspection!
 

Finman 

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When sunlight does not come through the comb, it is then time to change the comb.

Another reason to change is too much drone cells here and there in the comb. Or other faults in the frame.
 

manek 

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Surely a Bailey change is OK if you pay for it using syrup. Give 'em the fuel they need to make wax and it's a fair exchange. I'm going to Bailey my strongest colony next spring. It's currently on black frames and brood-and-a-half, which is a pain to inspect. It's going onto 14x12, which will give them room to expand.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Surely a Bailey change is OK if you pay for it using syrup. Give 'em the fuel they need to make wax and it's a fair exchange. I'm going to Bailey my strongest colony next spring. It's currently on black frames and brood-and-a-half, which is a pain to inspect. It's going onto 14x12, which will give them room to expand.
I find it useful to move from one frame size to the other. Better than a shook swarm 😱
 

hemo 

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Just treat a bailey as brood increase and stick it on top, at some stage she will move up then later or sooner in the year one can remove the frames or as JBK mentioned make use of a Demaree to move the combs up. Remove them once brood has emerged, Though if a flow is on they may back fill before removal.

The dark combs are good to attract swarms if one wants them.
 

hemo 

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That's no problem - leave them cap it, extract and then get rid.
I agree.
At the LBKA one has to see the faces when you mention extracting form brood combs, they all think nectar is collected and only placed in comb having never seen brood :rolleyes:.
 

Foxylad 

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When I first started beekeeping, I was inspected. The bee inspector found I had three super frames in one hive. Where the queen had made her way though a QE earlier in the year. But had since been filled with honey. He told me to pull the frames, feed them back later and recover the wax. He then pulled the frames handing them to me and when I said I didn’t have any spares pushed the frames together and closing up. I was so shocked, still think of it today when anyone mentions running with out QE.
 

pargyle 

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When I first started beekeeping, I was inspected. The bee inspector found I had three super frames in one hive. Where the queen had made her way though a QE earlier in the year. But had since been filled with honey. He told me to pull the frames, feed them back later and recover the wax. He then pulled the frames handing them to me and when I said I didn’t have any spares pushed the frames together and closing up. I was so shocked, still think of it today when anyone mentions running with out QE.
Scary ... isn't it ? He should not be a bee inspector !

I run without queen excluders ... nothing wrong with them using a few super cells for brood - they clean them out afterwards and fill them with nectar. I would not extract frames with mixed brood and honey (obviously) if it's for human consumption.
 

Mint Bee 

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Well... If you ever look at any internal hive photos from Murray on his twitter account then you will see a year stamp on the frames. As far as I can tell, he keeps his waxed frames in hives for 5 years or until unusable (too dark), which ever is soonest, before recycling. (I'm sure others do this as well)
For context he in an area that has endemic EFB, is a migratory beekeeper and is working to reduce / eliminate EFB from the area (and his operation) through this methodology.
It feels like this proactive disease prevention method has a lot to offer many who either live in areas with sporadic EFB / AFB outbreaks, high hive density, or have local keepers with questionable knowledge / hygiene practise......
 

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