Partial comb change

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ShinySideUp 

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I thought about doing a Bailey comb change today as most of the frames in one hive were grim to say the least, but couldn't bring myself to wipe out all the brood that was developing on three of the frames so a complete change was not done. I left three slightly dodgy, but laid-in, frames in place and replaced everything else. I didn't find the queen but the removed frames had no bees on them so I'm sure she is still in there. I put a jumbo feeder on the top with some 1:1 syrup in and replaced the roof. The three frames are together but moved towards one end so that they can be replaced later in the season. Is there anything else I should do apart from checking the food each day and checking the new frames in about a week?
 

pargyle 

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I thought about doing a Bailey comb change today as most of the frames in one hive were grim to say the least, but couldn't bring myself to wipe out all the brood that was developing on three of the frames so a complete change was not done. I left three slightly dodgy, but laid-in, frames in place and replaced everything else. I didn't find the queen but the removed frames had no bees on them so I'm sure she is still in there. I put a jumbo feeder on the top with some 1:1 syrup in and replaced the roof. The three frames are together but moved towards one end so that they can be replaced later in the season. Is there anything else I should do apart from checking the food each day and checking the new frames in about a week?
In what respect were they grim ? How long have the frames been in use ? Were some of them frames of stores ?

Giving a colony 7 frames to draw when you only have brood and bees on three frames is a pretty big ask ...personally, I would have just swapped out one frame at a time if you really felt they needed changing ....
 

madasafish 

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I would dummy down your three frames to five to make growth easier.
Stop trying to get any frames drawn out till they are at least 6 frames of brood .
All you are doing is forcing a small colony to spend energy it should be using to raise more bees.
Sorry but it's a misguided approach.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I thought about doing a Bailey comb change today as most of the frames in one hive were grim to say the least, but couldn't bring myself to wipe out all the brood that was developing on three of the frames so a complete change was not done. I left three slightly dodgy, but laid-in, frames in place and replaced everything else. I didn't find the queen but the removed frames had no bees on them so I'm sure she is still in there. I put a jumbo feeder on the top with some 1:1 syrup in and replaced the roof. The three frames are together but moved towards one end so that they can be replaced later in the season. Is there anything else I should do apart from checking the food each day and checking the new frames in about a week?
Whatever you did (or proposed to do) was nothing like a Bailey change - that entails putting a new brood box filled with foundation (or clean drawn comb) above the old and waiting for the bees to move to the top box, and all the brood to emerge from the bottom before removing all the old comb.
What you just did was deplete the colony of precious brood whilst also giving them a heck of a lot of work at the wrong time.
 

hemo 

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Agree JBM, I have been banned from the LBKA whatsup group chat for suggesting such acts as futile and other responses. Still a member of the LBKA until end of the year but have already decided not to waste my breath and time on them any more and won't be renewing next year.
 

ShinySideUp 

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I should make it clear that there were no stores on the removed frames and very little brood. The combs were black, hard, full of holes and in many areas there were no cells, just old flat foundation. The bees in general were not using them for anything so I took the opportunity to perk things up a bit. At least now they have something to work with.

This last winter has not been good for the bees for some reason. All the colonies went into winter in good condition and suitably treated for varroa, the frames in general were ok with a couple that would need changing in the spring but I had no reason to think that anything would be different from the last five winters. However, they have come into Spring with [in two colonies] reduced numbers, one missing a queen and with mouldy comb and frames. I can only assume that last winter was warmer and damper than in previous ones.

JBM. yes I see that it is nothing like a Bailey. TBH because of the condition of the combs I don't think I have made the situation worse as so many of the original frames were unusable/unused. The bees were plentiful but clustered around three of four frames as if deliberately avoiding the others.

Also, I fail to see that much of a difference between what I have done and a shook swarm that many people do as a matter of course in the Spring and no one castigates them.

We'll see how it goes.
 
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madasafish 

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I have never done a shook swarm in 11 years of beekeeping.

I must have been badly trained or just incompetent?
 

pargyle 

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Also, I fail to see that much of a difference between what I have done and a shook swarm that many people do as a matter of course in the Spring and no one castigates them.

We'll see how it goes.
Oh yes they do ...it's a dreadful thing to inflict on your bees ... and I know that people do it ... goodness only knows why .... I have frames that are older than my socks and still in use ! Bees don't mind so I don't either ...
 

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Apparently it's done to remove varroa, EFB and often, just to renew the foundation. The National Bee Unit have a page devoted to it and even Dave Cushman has an article on it Dave Cushman Shook Swarm.

Actually, despite the pseudo-rage expressed at my comb replacement I think. considering the state of play in the hive, I have done the right thing. I'll be able to tell since this colony and one I haven't touched are side-by side and have always been similar in honey production and sheer numbers of bees. In the end bees are insects and they just get on with things.
 

Mint Bee 

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if You think you have done the right thing, fill you boots. Last week you were threatening to petrol the hives
 

Boston Bees 

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Apparently it's done to remove varroa, EFB and often, just to renew the foundation. The National Bee Unit have a page devoted to it and even Dave Cushman has an article on it Dave Cushman Shook Swarm.

Actually, despite the pseudo-rage expressed at my comb replacement I think. considering the state of play in the hive, I have done the right thing. I'll be able to tell since this colony and one I haven't touched are side-by side and have always been similar in honey production and sheer numbers of bees. In the end bees are insects and they just get on with things.
If there was nothing in those combs, and they were black and manky, of course you have done the right thing taking them out and replacing them. If what you had available was foundation then you have also done the right thing in feeding to help them draw it out, given how weak they are.

I think most of the complaints have been due to a misunderstanding about what you meant by a Bailey Change, and also because you mentioned "shook swarm" without an appropriate trigger warning :) (For the record I don't do shook swarms either!)

There may have been (or still be) a health issue with the hive, given the size of them, but that's another question.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Also, I fail to see that much of a difference between what I have done and a shook swarm that many people do as a matter of course in the Spring and no one castigates them.
Shook swarm is anathema - I cannot think of any justification for conducting one (bar foulbrood, but even that is now bieng considred pointless)
It's a needless waste of brood and the colony's resources. Anyone who thinks it's a legitimate means of colony management ain't no beekeeper IMHO
 

Erichalfbee 

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Shook swarm is anathema - I cannot think of any justification for conducting one (bar foulbrood, but even that is now bieng considred pointless)
It's a needless waste of brood and the colony's resources. Anyone who thinks it's a legitimate means of colony management ain't no beekeeper IMHO
As a green beginner I did one. I couldn’t face killing all the brood, some emerging and wondering where the hell they all were by the time I got the frames home so I ran back to the bees and put the brood back. I can’t even remember why I did it !
 

Erichalfbee 

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As a green beginner I did one. I couldn’t face killing all the brood, some emerging and wondering where the hell they all were by the time I got the frames home so I ran back to the bees and put the brood back. I can’t even remember why I did it !
PS. That’s before I found this place.
 

Ian123 

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If you get into your hives early there’s normally a good few frames in most hives that can be removed IF it’s required/needed. I’ll do this every year as routine. Most single brood of mine are now doubled up with a new box on top made up of a mix of new and drawn frames. With winter treatments I’ve never seen a need or anything that a shook swarm achieved. ITS A COMPLETE WASTE and none have ever told me of any convincing benefits that can’t be better or more easily achieved, the fact it’s recommended by our leading amateur association rather says it all. I’ll also happily admit that I like a box of new frames and it makes my inspections easier/faster but never seen any need for a shook swarm😂
 

ShinySideUp 

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if You think you have done the right thing, fill you boots. Last week you were threatening to petrol the hives
Oh for God's sake, the petrolling of hives was an expression of disgust at the bureaucracy involved with beekeeping from government, you really shouldn't take everything everyone says as if it's a truism.
 

ShinySideUp 

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Shook swarm is anathema - I cannot think of any justification for conducting one (bar foulbrood, but even that is now bieng considred pointless)
It's a needless waste of brood and the colony's resources. Anyone who thinks it's a legitimate means of colony management ain't no beekeeper IMHO
And your beekeeping is absolutely perfect I suppose? Your bees never swarm, all your colonies survive the winter, you get enough honey to feed the starving in Africa, and your bees give their dead a State Funeral while the rest of us try to get by without your vast knowledge and omnipotence, tipping our hats as your farts pass us by. You are a moderator, perhaps you should be less judgemental with other people's beekeeping habits. We (I) can only do what we think is right in the situation we (I) find ourselves. Comments implying that we lesser mortals are just fools when all we are doing is our best to try and pass our mistakes and successes onto other beekeepers in the hope that they will learn from them. What we don't need is a condescending diatribe about how pathetic we all are. TBH, you are a disgrace to your position on this forum and that, as you so gracefully put it, is IMHO!
 

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