Swapping out frames quickly…

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StuntKid

New Bee
Joined
Jun 7, 2024
Messages
27
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Location
Manchester
Number of Hives
1
Hey everyone!
So 5 weeks ago I received my first nuc (5 frame)
Hadn’t bothered to realise they were coming on national frames. I have a flow hive so they use Langstroth frames.

I broke apart my spare langstroth frames and cable tied them to the nuc frames to make them fit.

5 weeks on and all frames (foundation-less) were full so I added the super but then for the last 2 weeks the weather in Manchester has been awful so they haven’t had chance to use it.

I’d noticed that they were starting to build comb sideways through the national frames as they were leaving a big gap.

Yesterday I decided to remove the super and try to start the process of replacing the national frames with new langstroth frames (with wax foundation)

I moved the 5 nuc frames to the super box after removing enough flow frames and then put the queen excluder below it after adding the new frames to the brood box underneath. I had to elastic band the comb they’d built sideways behind the national frames into a frame of its own too.

I then added a rapid feeder with 1:1 syrup and Hive Alive above that.

I know this would have been pretty traumatic for them but what are the chances of them being ok and what do I need to look out for moving forward until they possibly settle?

(My only other concern now is that the super has a gap due to me not being able to fit another flow frame in to keep everyone tightly pressed together)
 

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Firstly, if you are feeding with flow frames in place in the flow super you are going to get an excellent crop of .... sugar syrup !

The bees will build free comb wherever there is a gap .. so if you have foundationless brood frames adjacent to one another they will build comb wherever there is space - and won't follow the line of the frames. You need to intersperse foundationless frames with drawn frames or frames with foundation to give them a guide to work from.

Bees will survive just about everything that beekeepers throw at them so I would not worry too much about the bees - it looks a nice healthy colony from the photos - but you seem to have got yourself into a bit of a mess with your frames and the comb they are building. Try and get some order into things - whilst the comb is soft you can bend it into the frames and use your rubber bands to hold it in place .. once you have frames of straight comb (won't take them long to sort it out) you have a better chance of looking after them and inspecting them.

You need a really good flow for the flow hive supers to work ... you may be a bit optimistic - it's a big ask to draw out a langstroth brood box with comb and fill a super with nectar. I'd take the super off and concentrate on getting your brood frames sorted.
 
one thing you need to do is forget about the super - whether it was a proper framed super or a floo super, you put it on waaay too early, which is probably one of the reasons you are in the mess you are, bot to be honest after re-reading your post I'm not actually certain what you have set up in the first place.
how much brood was actually in the hive? ie, frames full of brood not bees.
what you should have (before having the flow frames anywhere near the bees) is a Langstroth brood box (ten frames I assume) with bees and brood in, once you have seven or eight frames of brood in there, then you should think about putting a queen excluder on and then a super full of flow frames, but only if there is a good flow on.
 
Firstly, if you are feeding with flow frames in place in the flow super you are going to get an excellent crop of .... sugar syrup !

The bees will build free comb wherever there is a gap .. so if you have foundationless brood frames adjacent to one another they will build comb wherever there is space - and won't follow the line of the frames. You need to intersperse foundationless frames with drawn frames or frames with foundation to give them a guide to work from.

Bees will survive just about everything that beekeepers throw at them so I would not worry too much about the bees - it looks a nice healthy colony from the photos - but you seem to have got yourself into a bit of a mess with your frames and the comb they are building. Try and get some order into things - whilst the comb is soft you can bend it into the frames and use your rubber bands to hold it in place .. once you have frames of straight comb (won't take them long to sort it out) you have a better chance of looking after them and inspecting them.

You need a really good flow for the flow hive supers to work ... you may be a bit optimistic - it's a big ask to draw out a langstroth brood box with comb and fill a super with nectar. I'd take the super off and concentrate on getting your brood frames sorted.
Haha yeah will definitely get syrup in there while I sort this out but I’m not looking to harvest this year. Just want the. To get through the long winter Manchester usually gets.

Regarding the comb I do add 5 foundationless frames initially and was lucky enough to get totally straight comb on all of them. The mess has only came from me not reading that my nuc came on national frames so they started to build in the gap on one frame so that’s all sorted out now on it’s own frame.

The problem was definitely me rushing to add the super after a mini heatwave 2 weeks we had and days later it became winter again. Definitely learned my lesson now. 😂
 
Firstly, if you are feeding with flow frames in place in the flow super you are going to get an excellent crop of .... sugar syrup !

The bees will build free comb wherever there is a gap .. so if you have foundationless brood frames adjacent to one another they will build comb wherever there is space - and won't follow the line of the frames. You need to intersperse foundationless frames with drawn frames or frames with foundation to give them a guide to work from.

Bees will survive just about everything that beekeepers throw at them so I would not worry too much about the bees - it looks a nice healthy colony from the photos - but you seem to have got yourself into a bit of a mess with your frames and the comb they are building. Try and get some order into things - whilst the comb is soft you can bend it into the frames and use your rubber bands to hold it in place .. once you have frames of straight comb (won't take them long to sort it out) you have a better chance of looking after them and inspecting them.

You need a really good flow for the flow hive supers to work ... you may be a bit optimistic - it's a big ask to draw out a langstroth brood box with comb and fill a super with nectar. I'd take the super off and concentrate on getting your brood frames sorted.
Can I just leave the 5 frames in the top box without anything either side until the brood hatches?
 
one thing you need to do is forget about the super - whether it was a proper framed super or a floo super, you put it on waaay too early, which is probably one of the reasons you are in the mess you are, bot to be honest after re-reading your post I'm not actually certain what you have set up in the first place.
how much brood was actually in the hive? ie, frames full of brood not bees.
what you should have (before having the flow frames anywhere near the bees) is a Langstroth brood box (ten frames I assume) with bees and brood in, once you have seven or eight frames of brood in there, then you should think about putting a queen excluder on and then a super full of flow frames, but only if there is a good flow on.
Thanks. There were 8 and a half frames of brood but 5 frames were national ones so that’s what caused the issue I’ve tried to fix.

Now there’s 10 langstroth frames in the brood box at the bottom but 5 are brand new frames while I’ve moved the ones with brood into the musk box. So I’m guessing if I just totally remove the 2 flow frames either side of the brood at the top it will be better temporarily? I don’t want to add more brood frames so it’ll leave massive gaps either side.
 
Don't mix up super (flow) frames and brood frames in the same box ...

I'm not quite understanding what boxes you have in use at present ? So is the set up you have at present a Langstroth brood box with a flow super on top ? What's a MUSK box ?

As JBM says ... get to the point where you have a full box of brood frames in a brood box - they all need to be brood frames... get the super off ... don't mix them up with flow frames .. It does not matter whether they are new langstroths or bodged together national/langstroth hybrids. If there are gaps at the end that you can't fill with frames of foundation then dummy the space down with a division board and/or some insulation or they will fill it with free comb.#

Get your brood box sorted then worry about supers/flow frames.
 
Don't mix up super (flow) frames and brood frames in the same box ...

I'm not quite understanding what boxes you have in use at present ? So is the set up you have at present a Langstroth brood box with a flow super on top ? What's a MUSK box ?

As JBM says ... get to the point where you have a full box of brood frames in a brood box - they all need to be brood frames... get the super off ... don't mix them up with flow frames .. It does not matter whether they are new langstroths or bodged together national/langstroth hybrids. If there are gaps at the end that you can't fill with frames of foundation then dummy the space down with a division board and/or some insulation or they will fill it with free comb.#

Get your brood box sorted then worry about supers/flow frames.
Didn’t mean Musk box, that’s just my autocorrect kicking in. I meant the old brood frames full of brood are now in the top box 5 of them plus 6 empty frame with the capped comb on it that fell off the side of the frames.

I’ll remove the flow frames so the box will only have the frames of eggs and larvae.

The bottom brood box has 5 new langstroth frames to complete the all langstroth set of 10. Then I’ve put another box above them all with a rapid feeder.
 
You have far too many boxes in use ... with a relatively new colony that you have one Langstroth brood box should be enough ... a couple of frames of stores and brood on all the rest will be enough space for them - they need to keep the brood warm and the vast amount of space you are giving them is totally detrimental.
 
They will usually draw wild comb anywhere there is a big space in preference to using foundation, in your case I'm less certain but would fill those spaces with something even if it's a plastic bag full of straw.
 
You have far too many boxes in use ... with a relatively new colony that you have one Langstroth brood box should be enough ... a couple of frames of stores and brood on all the rest will be enough space for them - they need to keep the brood warm and the vast amount of space you are giving them is totally detrimental.
I can’t do anything about the boxes until the old frames are clear. The box on top of that is purely for the rapid feeder. You can’t fit it under the roof otherwise. So the bees have 2 boxes right now
 
So ...if you have 8 frames with brood ..there is space in a Langstroth brood box for 10 frames - you have enough space in one box for your brood frames and two frames of stores ... again ...why do you need two boxes and what is the point of a queen excluder between them.

If, for some reason, you have concerns that they need two boxes for the size of the colony (doubtful) then put all the frames with brood in them in the upper brood chamber and all the other frames in the lower one - you don't need a queen excluder between them. Frames of stores in the top box outside of the frames with brood on them. If they are shorty of stores then crownboard on top of the two brood boxes and the feeder in the otherwise empty brood box on top.

Or am I missing something ??
 
So ...if you have 8 frames with brood ..there is space in a Langstroth brood box for 10 frames - you have enough space in one box for your brood frames and two frames of stores ... again ...why do you need two boxes and what is the point of a queen excluder between them.

If, for some reason, you have concerns that they need two boxes for the size of the colony (doubtful) then put all the frames with brood in them in the upper brood chamber and all the other frames in the lower one - you don't need a queen excluder between them. Frames of stores in the top box outside of the frames with brood on them. If they are shorty of stores then crownboard on top of the two brood boxes and the feeder in the otherwise empty brood box on top.

Or am I missing something ??
I’m assuming you didn’t bother reading this properly?

The 2nd brood box is to swap out the 5 nuc frames as they were causing a problem. The 10 frame brood box that will be permanent is now sorted with 5 replacement frames the box above will disappear once the brood hatch. I’ve made that pretty clear now.
 
So ...if you have 8 frames with brood ..there is space in a Langstroth brood box for 10 frames - you have enough space in one box for your brood frames and two frames of stores ... again ...why do you need two boxes and what is the point of a queen excluder between them.

If, for some reason, you have concerns that they need two boxes for the size of the colony (doubtful) then put all the frames with brood in them in the upper brood chamber and all the other frames in the lower one - you don't need a queen excluder between them. Frames of stores in the top box outside of the frames with brood on them. If they are shorty of stores then crownboard on top of the two brood boxes and the feeder in the otherwise empty brood box on top.

Or am I missing something ??
The queen excluder is stopping the queen laying eggs in the frames I’m throwing out….
 
I’m assuming you didn’t bother reading this properly?

The 2nd brood box is to swap out the 5 nuc frames as they were causing a problem. The 10 frame brood box that will be permanent is now sorted with 5 replacement frames the box above will disappear once the brood hatch. I’ve made that pretty clear now.
Listen .... all I'm trying to do is help ... I'm out of it now - perhaps someone with a better grasp of your set up will step into the breach .. what you are doing makes little sense to me.
 
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