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What an experience!

 
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jnickison1
Guard Bee


Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 69
Location: USA, Michigan, Mecosta.

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 4:50 pm    Post subject: What an experience! Reply with quote

Not sure if this is a legal post but cannot contain my enthusiasm...OK, I'm 6 days in and tomorrow is my first inspection. Have spent at least 5-10 mins a day observing. Started two hTBH last Saturday. chopped and cropped nucs for both.
I supported an experienced Lang' hive keeper in the following process. Hive A was a complete chop and crop from the frame and mixed comb with honey, pollen, and brood was wired to 5 top bars. This hive has been 'buzzing' since Monday. Very, very busy daily, timed comings and goings. Bees with at least 3 different kinds of pollen-bright yellow/dark yellow/white, and bees w/o pollen in and out. I'm sure they check me out occasionally as I'm sitting watching. Don't know if they see or smell me but I do not feel threatened. Hive B was a partial chop and crop with comb of same mixed content but left the top bar of the frame attached and simply cut it to length and placed it next to the the regular top bars. Same experiences watching this hive also except this hive whilst very busy is about half the 'business' of hive A.
I have already taken a peek under the hinged roof of both hives, but only a peek, not touched or lifted anything. Was looked back at by 2-3 bees who were investigating between the gaps of the bars left by wires in A, and hurries cleaning of wax in B. Again, did not feel threatened . I have to admit I am a little daunted at the thought of cutting off the wires from the top bars in A if the combs have been attached well. No too worried about extra cleaning of wax that the bees have attached in the spaces between bars in B. I feel relatively comfortable with this. I think this is partially because the bees seem not to be too worried by my presence over the week, and also because the B'keep whom I assisted initially said that even as we were chopping and cropping the bees seemed reasonably calm.
I should mention that he has never installed nucs into top bars before and was very curious as to how the hives would develop. He is not sure he can make it tomorrow to assist me with my first inspection and wire/wax-ectomy I might postpone until he can be there; I have to keep telling myself that my enthusiasm may not be the bees, his project is for the bees not me. I want them to be healthy, safe, and productive.
That's it, I'll let you know how I do with the inspection and procedure if I'm allowed to post.

John
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 583
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant, well done John ! Good to get an experienced beekeeper to help. Your post was a pleasure to read.

I started in a similar way. You will find this forum a great source of advice and encouragement.

Adam.
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jnickison1
Guard Bee


Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 69
Location: USA, Michigan, Mecosta.

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 2:39 am    Post subject: What an experience Reply with quote

Thanks Adam. Well, looks like I may not get to do my first inspection tomorrow we are in for a couple of 30F-40F days and lower nights. So I dropped a couple of blankets on top of the bars to limit the amount of heat lost through the afore mentioned spaces in the bars. To be continued on the first warm sunny afternoon.
John
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 583
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you don't want any gaps between the bars, so you will need to find a permanent way of blocking them. I used a carpet tile on the top and bits of cut up foam from the things you use to wash a car to block the little gaps on the side.

Some people like to rotate out the frames but I never bothered. You rotate them out by putting empty top bars on the entrance side of the brood nest. Over a period of time the brood nest moves on to the new bars. When the brood nest shrinks, as it will each year before winter, you can take out one or two unused frames on the side away from the entrance.

But like I said I never bothered and everything worked fine. The colony died this winter after about five years but a swarm has just moved in, so bees are obviously happy enough with the frames, carpet tile and foam !
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loved your report and enthusiasm. You are very lucky to have a mentor who is open to different hive types.

Cheers
Rob.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Lovely to read of a new beekeeper who is relishing the experience and spending time just observing their bees on a regular basis. Also, great that you have some practical help from a more experienced beekeeper, even if they are used to more conventional hives. You are lucky to have found someone who is open minded enough to help with a top bar hive.

Good luck with your hives and keep a close eye on the one that still has the frame top bars, particularly in late summer as it may be a target for wasps which will rob them blind if they get in and the gaps between those bars at the ends can make it difficult to defend if they aren't closed up properly. Wasps can get in the tiniest gaps.

Best wishes

Barbara
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Suzannabee
New Bee


Joined: 16 Jan 2016
Posts: 2
Location: Manitoba

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's great to read your story! I installed 4 Langstroth frames into my TBH yesterday using a modified frame holder... I am hoping that the bees build into the top bars and I can remove their Lang frames one by one over time. I am too nervous to cut into the frame but your story is giving me a bit of confidence. I honestly don't know whether to wait and see if my method will work or just bit the bullet and use the Dremel...
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Suzannabee

I would strongly urge you to bite the bullet and do the chop and crop. I know that it is daunting to a novice beekeeper but the bees recover remarkably quickly at this time of year. Your modification has been tried and failed in the past. The bees will continue to put brood in the Lang frames as that is their "brood nest" and may not transition onto top bars at all but just swarm. You are unlikely to be able to remove those frames by harvesting as you cannot slowly transition them to the back of the hive where they will become honey stores that can be harvested instead of brood. The longer you leave it the more complicated the whole hive will become to manage as they will build brace comb in any gaps and fill it with honey or brood and it will become a horrible sticky mess in no time. They may also start cross combing if they do build comb on the top bars as the change from one plane of comb to building perpendicular to it is not a natural transformation for them.

Good luck with them whatever you decide.

Best wishes

Barbara
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jnickison1
Guard Bee


Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 69
Location: USA, Michigan, Mecosta.

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 7:29 pm    Post subject: What and experience II Reply with quote

After this entry I am going to move my comments to the 'Reports...' section where I think it will be more appropriate.
But for this post; 'Just When You Thought It Was Safe, What An Experience II'

May 16
9 days in. After a couple of days of unseasonably cold weather so no activity outside the hives. Today is the opposite. Very busy, both hives. So busy that there were many entrance and exit; landing and take off; and occasional mid-air collisions. In some ways it was comical to watch but also captivating thinking of their individual/collective mandate to maintain their hive.

Not sure if it was the correct thing to do but I opened a second hole on each hive to help reduce the collisions. Lots of pollen again, and I would like to think nectar in the case of those ladies without the yellow/white wellington boots.

Felt a little uneasy watching today, but reflecting at the time it seemed the feeling was more instinctual in response to the numbers of bees flying around. Felt a little calmer. I think I was checked out again by a couple of inquisitive aeronauts-well that’s what I would like to believe was happening (humans are so egocentric aren’t we?) and I think it was this observation that caused me to pause a moment, to focus upon the reality of the risk factors, and that calmed me a little more. Continued watching for five more minutes, felt guilty watching such focused hard work so went over to my wood pile and began chopping wood. I’m planning first inspection tomorrow afternoon if the weather holds.
John
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