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Chop and Crop

 
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Bush_84
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Jan 2011
Posts: 802
Location: Brainerd, MN USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:55 pm    Post subject: Chop and Crop Reply with quote

So I have been doing some reading and asking at another forum about the chop and crop method. Michael Bush has advised against it. After reading all that was said, I think that it would quite an undertaking for me to accomplish. I was going to get carniolans from a local guy, but he only sells nucs I believe. The more I look into buying packages, the more I start thinking about the nuc again. Many don't want to ship. Those that do charge a lot more than the $69 for the nuc of carniolans that I could get locally. I guess I just wanted to bring a conversation to this forum about the chop and crop. My concerns are that I will likely be doing it alone. Another concern is me killing the queen.

What if I were to do this as I return home with the hive and try to shut the bees in as much as possible? Quickly take a frame out and brush the bees back into the nuc and put the lid back on. Proceed to chop the frame and put it into the TBH. Do this for all frames and then dump all the bees from the nuc into the TBH. Feasible?

How many bees typically come in a nuc? Would it be easier to just shake them in like a package?

My reasoning is that local bees are always a good idea. They have already experienced the winters here in Minnesota. Secondly I can get a nuc for a very reasonable price. Thirdly I read that Carniolans tend to also winter well whereas Italians tend to not fare as well in our cold weather. Lastly if I can pull it off, I will already have brood!

Again just hoping to introduce a conversation here about it. I am on the fence about what to do and at the moment I am leaning a little towards the nuc. If I can find a good place to get a comparable package then I will clearly do that (Michael Bush advocated the package and I would rather listen to what he has to say rather than winging it on my own), but until that point I am torn. Thanks!
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Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try this tread for ideas. A package would be easier no matter how you look at it.

Bees not moving down into TBH

http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7589&highlight=excluder

PM Ikwezinz, he may have more info to add!
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WillBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 126
Location: UK, Manchester

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no useful advice, but have you watched this video?
http://vimeo.com/5614348

Chop and crop has never struck me as a particularly difficult process.

My one concern with the video (and maybe Phil will have a comment to make on this) is the "never shake a queen" thing. While the chop and crop was done by two people in the video, it shouldn't be too tricky to go it alone. You could make it a lot easier by getting a square of wood with some wooden dowels sticking out of it in order to properly line up the chopped frame with the follower board you're using to guide the cut.

I wonder if maybe you've imagined it up to be trickier than it is.

I believe the main concern with chop and crop is the issue of cutting through brood, but if nothing has been laid in the path of the cut, I can't see it being a problem.
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Last updated: 20th April 2011
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chop 'n crop is easy with two people, especially if one of them is an experienced beekeeper. Less easy, but not impossible single-handed.

I would only use it on a relatively undeveloped nuc, though - I wouldn't want to cut through a lot of brood.

All things being equal, I would always choose a nuc over a package, simply because a nuc is an established, small colony that is likely to stay together, while a package is a random assortment of unrelated bees chucked into a box with a queen that is not their mother.

If you read posts from last summer, you will find a number of recorded cases of packages absconding within a short time of being housed.
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mobychev
House Bee


Joined: 21 Oct 2010
Posts: 23
Location: New Zealand, Auckland,

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi
I just did a crop and chop from a 4 frame Nuc.
On my own, and it was really quite easy.
One thing that was a big help, was i got the supplier of the Nuc to put the queen into a cage for safekeeping, I then put the queen cage in the bottom of the TBH,and brushed the bees off the frames straight into the hive,I closed up the bottom hinged board first to help keep the Queen pheromones in.
instead of cutting the frames as in Phils video, I cut the top of the bar (with a small saw) so as it was the same length as my top bars, worked real well, the only tricky bit was cutting the wires, everything else just dropped off after the cut.
cheers
Graham
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madasafish
Silver Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 880
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did chop and crop from a 5 frame nuc last year.. my first bees. Queen was on frames.

The secret is being organised beforehand and thinking through in advance what may go wrong. And having tools to hand.. eg wire cutters.

I did it on my own but at 6pm - light enough to see but bees less active... (early May). Calm still and dry.

A complete success..
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TimGebhart
New Bee


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
Posts: 2
Location: USA, PA, Pittsburgh

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am also a new beekeeper trying to figure out the best way to obtain bees and transfer them into a horizontal top bar hive. My two options for local bees are a 3 pound package or a 5 frame nuc with plastic foundation. I would prefer to start with the nuc if possible. Does anyone have any idea how difficult it would be to chop and crop frames with plastic foundation?

I'd also appreciate feedback on this idea: My hive is 14" wide at the top and 5" at the bottom. Since Langstroth frames are 19" wide, I would waste a lot of comb (and likely brood as well) if I cut them to the width of my hive and throw away the rest. I'm thinking of cutting each frame in half and trimming the bottom to fit, then attaching each half to a top bar, probably by screwing down through the top. This would give me 10 combs from a 5 frame nuc. What do you think?
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DeeAnna
New Bee


Joined: 07 Nov 2010
Posts: 4
Location: USA, Iowa, Postville

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"...Does anyone have any idea how difficult it would be to chop and crop frames with plastic foundation?..."

I am going to be doing the same thing with 2 nucs this spring. There is simply no way that cutting heavy plastic foundation will be a reasonably tidy, quick job, like Phil Chandler's work in his "chop and crop" video, but if you are prepared, it will be a challenge, but it can be done.

An acquaintance went through the same experience last year, and he said it went fairly well, even though he did not realize until he started the job that the nucs were on plastic foundation. He had to do some quick thinking to deal with the problem and was successful. You have the advantage of being informed ahead of time and can be prepared.

I assumed the worst and bought a sheet of the thickest, ugliest plastic foundation I could find. After experimenting with the best way to cut it, I realized a knife will be awkward and difficult to use on this plastic, no matter how sharp, and a regular scissors are simply not heavy enough. I am fairly sure my pair of well-sharpened heavy duty shears are heavy enough for the job, however. Here is the ones I have: http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-7929-6984-Softouch-Precision/dp/B00004T80N

Aviation snips ("tin snips") are also heavy enough to work well, but I like the longer blades of the shears, compared with the snips. The shears also have small serrations on one blade which will keep the plastic from sliding out of the blades. I also plan to bring a wire nippers, my tin snips, a razor sharp box knife, and anything else I think I might remotely need.

--DeeAnna
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeeAnna wrote:
"...Does anyone have any idea how difficult it would be to chop and crop frames with plastic foundation?..."



Good luck with that!
Looks like a quick way to ruin an expensive pair of scissors. I would go for something like this http://tinyurl.com/6ksrzeb
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DeeAnna
New Bee


Joined: 07 Nov 2010
Posts: 4
Location: USA, Iowa, Postville

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"...Looks like a quick way to ruin an expensive pair of scissors...."

I do leather work for a living, and I have used these shears to cut all kinds of heavy duty stuff with no ill effects. And the point here is to accomplish the task of "chop and crop" as efficiently and easily as possible, so I want to use a tool well suited for the job. The fact that I already have the shears is another strong point for using them. Very Happy

After what I've read here and elsewhere about people going to great lengths to design and build hives to transition from "traditional" rectangular frames to foundationless TBHs ... well, I think a $25 pair of shears is probably a fairly cheap solution compared to all that.

But <shrugs> I am only a newbie. Maybe I will be singing another tune in a month or two.

--DeeAnna

PS: I have a terrible time posting to this forum, so forgive my manners if I leave this discussion at this point.
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Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My two options for local bees are a 3 pound package or a 5 frame nuc with plastic foundation.


If you have a line on a package that would be the way to go. Chop and crop is good when you do not have another choice.
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Bush_84
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Jan 2011
Posts: 802
Location: Brainerd, MN USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everybody here always says get a package, but I think it will vary between person to person. I can get a full 10 frame hive of local new world carniolans for $80. 2lb package of bees will cost me ~$60. Extra $20 is worth it.
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FollowMeChaps
Golden Bee


Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 1554
Location: North Somerset, SW UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bush_84 wrote:
Everybody here always says get a package.......

I think that what you say here is correct Bush for those in the North American continent. However, for newbies watching this thread form Europe, especially the UK, this changes to getting a nucleus - a package is the worst option option over here.

Edited to clarify: In UK a nuc (a true nuc with related queen rather than a package allowed a few weeks to grow on in a nuc box) is best if you are buying bees. A swarm is always better still.


Last edited by FollowMeChaps on Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DavesBees
Silver Bee


Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Posts: 564
Location: USA, Maine, Bucksport

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well here we go…I am prepared for my beat down! Why do we all find it so offensive to just put the bees in a properly shaped box and collect the swarms? If you get 5 Lang frames in a nuc you are over half way to an 8 frame hive. It is not that much of a stretch to just finish out the hive and add a hive body with the intent to just let them live there then catch the swarms. A new swarm will blow the ends off a TBH in one season. With this method you can catch the swarm, put it in the KTBH, and sell the hive if you like. I would let it stand in my yard and practice keeping bees as naturally as possible in that hive as well and get free bees every year. If the crop and chop is not an emergency then I would consider the proper box option.
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TomP
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2011
Posts: 28
Location: Aurora, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

What you say makes sense in many ways, especially financially. It just takes some patience and a willing to risk having the nuc throw a swarm that you don't catch.

There are some interesting podcast interviews with Don "TheFatBeeMan" (episodes 18,19 and 20) towards the bottom of the page [/url]http://somdbeekeeper.com/[url] He talks in one of the interviews (either episode one or two) about using 5 frame nucs to encourage building queen cells and throwing swarms. [/url]
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Astrid
House Bee


Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Posts: 15
Location: Oslo, Norway

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject: Cutting through brood? Reply with quote

Plan to chop and crop when transfering from a Lang to my tbh. It was an early spring here. Activity is reported high, and people are putting supers on to conventional hives. In Norway this is very early!

I am afraid I will ned to cut through brood when I transfere. Should i go for it anyway? Do I have to wait till next year?

It is colder weather right now. What is the lowest temperature I can have for the transfere?

Can the queen just be with the other bees when I start brushing off the combs? Will they stay down in that empty hive in the beginning?

Should I prepare to feed to give them a boost to start with?
Hoping for some good advice.
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Paul Milne
House Bee


Joined: 17 Jun 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Dunbar, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:24 pm    Post subject: Chop and crop - then what? Reply with quote

I've installed some bees from a National hive using the chop and crop, and am using Newspaper and other coverings on top of the cropped frames as they have gaps in the side.

My question is what method do we use for cycling out the cropped frames and replacing them with proper top bars? If this has been addressed elsewhere happy to read a different thread.
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Paul Milne
House Bee


Joined: 17 Jun 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Dunbar, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:25 pm    Post subject: Chop and crop - then what? Reply with quote

I've installed some bees from a National hive using the chop and crop, and am using Newspaper and other coverings on top of the cropped frames as they have gaps in the side.

My question is what method do we use for cycling out the cropped frames and replacing them with proper top bars? If this has been addressed elsewhere happy to read a different thread.
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