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Transferring a whole colony from a box hive to a TBH

 
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Margaret
New Bee


Joined: 08 Nov 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Wales, Carmarthenshire

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:26 pm    Post subject: Transferring a whole colony from a box hive to a TBH Reply with quote

I've got the chance of acquiring a colony in a box (the full thing, not just a nuc) but my assistant (husband) is away so can't make any new boxes or adaptations for me. I have 2 empty TBHs, once 36 inches and one 48 inches, but no bees at all as they didn't make it through winter 2012 and the bees I got last June moved out the next day!

How do you advise making the transfer?

Phil appears doubtful of the "shook swarm" method (p59) but then says it can be a good thing in the right circumstances. (p60, p72)

I'm not confident or experienced enough to chop and crop.

What weather and time of the day do you advise?

I'm in South Wales, UK

I need to decide within the next 48 hours, but can do the actual move later on. Otherwise they are going to an auction.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Margaret

It sounds like you are feeling a bit pressured into buying these bees. Are they going cheap because otherwise you are paying a lot of money for something which is not ideal for you.
Do you have any experience of handling a full size colony or an experienced beekeeper to help you? Not trying to put you off, but you don't sound very confident. If you are doing a shook swarm, ideally you need to be able to find the queen. Do you know if she is marked? Do you know what the status of the colony is? At this time of year they could be on the point of swarming or have swarmed, so you need to know what you are buying and be prepared to deal with it in different ways, depending on the scenario.

Did you catch swarms or lure them to your hives on the previous occasions that you had bees? Were you able to figure out why the previous ones died/absconded? The main reason I ask is that you don't want to pay a lot of money for this colony and then hit the same problems. The advantage of chop and crop is that the brood gets transferred and that helps to ensure that the bees stay put. Is there any comb left from the previous occupants that dies out?

You could try a different transfer method and replace a couple of frames from the brood nest with empty top bars (but you need to make special ones as thin as the frame top bars, so that the super above sits down flush) and when they have drawn comb and developed brood on it. then transfer it to the TBH and shake in a few frames of bees and then feed them. You could do this twice over the summer to populate both TBHs and still be left with the original hive you bought, but you have to be prepared to do a bit of trimming of the comb to make it fit and it can be quite fragile.

How long is your assistant (husband) away?
How many boxes are there on the hive in question.... a brood box and a super (sometimes referred to as 1 and a half) or perhaps a brood box and two supers? Are you aware of how heavy it will be? Is the seller going to deliver?

You could of course buy it and just leave it to swarm and hope to catch it to populate your TBH. That might depend on your location and neighbours of course.

Sorry, lots of questions and not many answers, but my feeling is that you would probably be better spending that money on a TB nuc than this hive although I appreciate they are not readily available.

Good luck whatever you decide to do

Barbara
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Margaret
New Bee


Joined: 08 Nov 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Wales, Carmarthenshire

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not pressured, I'm just keen and they will go on Friday if I haven't said I will have them by tomorrow night.

I don't need to get them until he comes home, end of next week, probably.

The queen is marked. There is no sign of swarming.

I "caught" a cast in June 2011 and homed them in a TBH. They did not survive the winter of 2012, and as half of the colonies around here died then, even with the most experienced of keepers I refuse to feel bad about it.

I'm buying the colony but not the hive, she wants it back. (That seems a bit odd, I will have to check up on that.)

The seller is local and I hope will deliver as I don't think I could get a hive safely in my car. She is more experienced than I am, but still not very experienced.
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Margaret
New Bee


Joined: 08 Nov 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Wales, Carmarthenshire

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bees went to auction before I got back to her.
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