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Swarm colony in old hive

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DanielSELondon 

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Hello all,

First I should thank you all for your collective wisdom. I have been reading these forums for over a year and soaking up all the knowledge that is here.

This is the situation I am in at the moment. I have bought a new national hive from Tom Bick which is excellent and very well made indeed. This is waiting for a nucleus that I have ordered from a beekeeper in Essex/Cambridgeshire.

Everything I read urged new beekeepers to have spare equipment to hand and so I have been looking for good quality secondhand kit.

I have managed to find a chap who has given up beekeeping and has lots of relatively new second hand hives that I have bought and will be collecting tomorrow evening.

I got a pleasant surprise when he said that in one of his other hives there was a colony of bees that had found his hive when swarming (he wasn't aware of this at the time). He is happy for me to take this hive with the colony. Since he found these bees they have been left to their own devices. I believe that they are in a 14x12 BB with two supers on it. I am not sure if they had frames in them (he says that they will have built comb everywhere so I suspect not). He isn't charging me for these bees and is throwing in other bits of kit and has been very helpful with things. He is going to block the entrance tomorrow - ready for me to collect them. We have all the straps ready to transport them.

I am going to transport this hive back to London in the late evening with the other hives and bits and then deal with it. This is where my questions start:

- What do I need to know from him when I collect them tomorrow?

- How should I proceed once they are in position? (to answer this you probably need more information which I shall give once I know more myself) Initially I shall open up the hive entrance and let it settle in its spot for a week (or probably until the weekend) but after that point I am open to ideas...

- Has anyone dealt with a similar situation - what did you do?

I am a member of Bromley Beekeepers' and they have a meeting on Tuesday so I shall be asking for advice there too.

I would appreciate any advice or info anyone has. Thanks. Daniel
 

Midland Beek 

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What do I need to know from him when I collect them tomorrow?
Nothing.

But if the collection is going to be late evening, no point in this guy blocking hive entrance up in the morning. Better for him to block up in the evening when the bees have stopped flying, and for you to collect just after.

How should I proceed once they are in position? (to answer this you probably need more information which I shall give once I know more myself) Initially I shall open up the hive entrance and let it settle in its spot for a week (or probably until the weekend) but after that point I am open to ideas...
Expect the box to be full of wild comb. There may even be old rotted frames running through the wild comb. However, if there were frames and combs in the box when the bees moved in, the bees may be over frames.

When you get around to opening up, remember that wild comb may be attached to the crownboard, and pulling the crownboard off may lead to the collapse of it all.

The accepted way is to get a box of foundation on top of the original box and to encourage the move of the bees upwards.
 

Grub 

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Hi
I had this years ago picked up a very old hive from someone giving up the hive was falling apart it was the brace comb holding all together , I put a new brood chamber on top and just waited till end of summer to take the old one away.

Hope this helps
Grub
 

MuswellMetro 

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Nothing.



Expect the box to be full of wild comb. There may even be old rotted frames running through the wild comb. However, if there were frames and combs in the box when the bees moved in, the bees may be over frames.

When you get around to opening up, remember that wild comb may be attached to the crownboard, and pulling the crownboard off may lead to the collapse of it all.

.
you need to ask did it have frames in the brood and super

It depends on what you find,but at least you need to save the brood comb if its wild comb, so be prepared to make temp frames to hold itaqs it might collaspe as you inspect so get some large elsatic bands and empty frames==##

get a photo on the forum as soon as you get the hive, you need to decide if it has a QE or crown board between the super and brood..shine a torch into the entrance, can you see frames?. it may well be that it had old comb in the 14x12,it would be more likey then to attract a swarm, if you are lucky it has a QE ,so the brood will only be in the 14x12...and waht damage have the wax moths done

worse senerio is wild comb hanging from the roof bit less if it is from the crown but once my grandfather had wild comb hanging from a plastic QE...did not disturb the brood, we just cut a large hole in the plastic QE and did a bailey change to new foundation in a brood box on top

`i
 

DanielSELondon 

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Thanks to Midland Beek, Grub and MuswellMetro for your replies. I really appreciate it.

I shall ask the guy tomorrow what the state of affairs inside the BB and supers is regarding frames etc. I do vaguely remember him saying that he added a queen excluder when he found the colony living in the brood box, so I could be lucky - but then again I may be wrong.

I shall update on Tuesday with further information and some photos of the hive.

I like the sound of being able to add a brood box with new foundation on top of the inhabited brood box - but I bet that it won't be this simple!

Thanks again. Daniel
 

Hombre 

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You could always take it down to Heathrow where they have all the time in the world at the moment to pop it through the baggage X-ray machine, give the security staff something to talk about while they are idle. :party:

Only joking of course, but it would be a good look.
 

Midland Beek 

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I like the sound of being able to add a brood box with new foundation on top of the inhabited brood box - but I bet that it won't be this simple!
You will need to feed if you do the above. Once some comb is drawn and there is also some brood in the new box, the idea is to reverse the boxes, so that the new box is at the bottom. And when you eventually reverse boxes, the queen must be confined in the lower one.

But, you may not have to do all that if the bees are on frames. They might be real old things that are stuck solid with propolis that take some careful extraction, but you might find a right old mess.

Careful when you take things apart. You don't want the whole lot to collapse.
 

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