Swarm in shallow brood box

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GorgieBees 

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At one place of work, my boss has colonies living in his roof and last year a swarm made home in an abandoned hive, however it is a shallow super that they have made their own. I would like to move them to a full brood box, preferably with fresh frames and foundation as the comb in the super is old and minging. Is it as simple as putting the super on top of a brood box (without queen excluder) and the bees will naturally eventually draw out the comb in the fresh new frames in the lower part?

opinions please. Thanks
 

pargyle 

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At one place of work, my boss has colonies living in his roof and last year a swarm made home in an abandoned hive, however it is a shallow super that they have made their own. I would like to move them to a full brood box, preferably with fresh frames and foundation as the comb in the super is old and minging. Is it as simple as putting the super on top of a brood box (without queen excluder) and the bees will naturally eventually draw out the comb in the fresh new frames in the lower part?

opinions please. Thanks
Leave it till Spring has really started, get a brood box ready with frames (and foundation if you are going down this route) dummy it down to just a few frames and then shook swarm the bees into the new box. If you can find the frame in the existing box with the queen on then put that in the new box with the queen on it (obviously you need to get the queen across) and any frames of capped/emerging brood. Make sure the new box is sited where the old box was and in the same orientation. Any flyers will return to the new box ...

Slap a feeder with 1:1 on and give them a gallon oif syrup to get them started building out your new brood comb, you'll be surprised at how fast they will do this.

You may have to sacrifice a bit of brood if it's spread over too many frames to transfer all of them but it's not going to make a huge difference early in the season.

The bees may build a bit of free comb on the bottom of the shorter frames you are transferring but you can gradually move these frames to the outside of the brood area and replace them with standard nationals.

There's other ways but, in my book, that's the easiest and you won't lose a lot of impetus if there's forage about and you've fed them.
 
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Arfermo 

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This is a relatively simple problem to deal with. I suggest best remedy is to wait awhile and do a shook swarm (easy and very effective in generating a strong colony when the flow arrives) into a new deep B/B with prompt oxalic acid treatment after to deal with aphoritic varroa when the weather is a tad warmer. You can transfer frames that would give stores only as you should avoid giving the colony in their new home capped brood frames containing varroa mites at any price. If not enough stores available, and probably in any case feed syrup for a while. Stuff small entrance with grass and move hive to preferred position and let bees chew grass away in their own time (2 - 3 days not excessive).

Other views will be along in a minute - some will suggest an unduly complicated palaver of course. Posted this before I had seen similar offering above.
 
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Heather 

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They will make drone brood cells on any shallow frames you leave in... a good place to catch/dump varroa mites. Also you can assess any problem from that area too.
Shook transfer is the way to go.
 

oliver90owner 

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As I disagree with the above and don't post in this section (more than the minimum) I have explained by a PM.

RAB
 

pargyle 

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They will make drone brood cells on any shallow frames you leave in... a good place to catch/dump varroa mites. Also you can assess any problem from that area too.
Shook transfer is the way to go.
That's a good point Heather that I omitted and thought about afterwards ..

A shook swarm is going to reduce the number of varroa mites anyway but uncapping and inspecting for mites and then, if necessary, cutting off the drone brood cells at the bottom of the shallows will drop the mite load even further.

I didn't mention treatment for varroa as I'm not a fan of some of them and my view is that trickling with OA after a shook swarm is rather belt and braces treatment and I'm not certain that it will help the bees as it's just more stress for them. I would rather suggest inspect for varroa and treat (if required) than just beat them up with, potentially, unnecessary treatment.

I accept that this is my opinion and there will be lots along who disagree.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Is it as simple as putting the super on top of a brood box (without queen excluder) and the bees will naturally eventually draw out the comb in the fresh new frames in the lower part?
Yes.

You could go the shook swarm route or just as you say put an new BB on top and let them move up them take the super away when they are settled in the new box.
Wait until spring is fully upon us obviously and you could just treat with apiguard before the have a chance to expand enough to start storing honey.
 

itma 

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:iagree:

But would expand on it somewhat.

The 'proper' comb change methods (search for "shook swarm" and "bailey comb change") do depend on the existing box NOT being a mess of wild comb and broken, weak or non-existant frames.

If you cannot safely (to the Q in there) remove frames in the "minging" box, I'd suggest the following refinement to what you suggest.

Put another (but decent) shallow on top, get them to move up into that, and when you see Q in the new box, stick a QX between the boxes (trapping Q in the top box). Then 3 weeks later (after all the brood in the rotten box has emerged), you can scrap that bottom box. And anytime after you have Q on a decent frame in the decent box, you can start the process of moving to full-sized brood frames.
Using a shallow should be much quicker and easier for the bees to draw out than a deeper box, and Q will therefore go up and start laying in the nice box very much quicker.
Make it an insulated (or poly) box on top to speed the work.
Make it a used (fumigated and aired) box to be more attractive (and quickly accepted) to the bees.
Sacrifice some drawn frames into that box to make it really quick. (More people have available drawn shallows than drawn brood comb!)

I'm going to be prescriptive and say that the new box should have hoffman-spaced frames on rails. Its going to be a brood box for a while, and you are going to be inspecting it to find Q when she is upstairs. If you don't have hoffman shallows, invest a fiver in some hoffman converters - not ideal but good enough for this.

Wait a while (a month? in Edinburgh?) before giving them the new topspace.
You want more bees, more warmth and more food available - though when you give the new box you could also give syrup if the box is undrawn.


FOR NOW - I'd be worried that with a maximum 10kg of stores for the winter in their shallow box, they might be running very low. If they are "light", give them fondant by the kilo, asap.
They need lots of food available to start brooding, and you need more bees, without delay. So, make sure they don't get anywhere near starving!

And I wouldn't bother with varroa treatment until you have Q on a decent frame in a decent box. Treatment would if anything delay getting to that stage.
 

REDWOOD 

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If you are going for the Bailey's method, don't forget that you only remove the lower section (in your case the super) until all the brood has emerged

The baileys method is a far kinder method that shaking bees which can cause stress in a colony although shaking is sometimes the only way for controlling pests and deceases ;)
 

GorgieBees 

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Many thanks for your help, everyone. I'm more drawn towards the Bailey method, as it seems like it will be cleaner and less stressful for the bees. Now I need to remember how to make dummy frames (I've forgotten how to keep bees over the winter!)
I have treated for Varroa with oxalic acid (Trickle 2) but I have done this without seeing any evidence of Varroa, however I shall assess it when I open the hive up next, and use an open mesh floor.
 

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