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Transfer from a convention National (or other) nuc to tbh?
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BSJ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Apr 2015
Posts: 38
Location: Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:59 pm    Post subject: Transfer from a convention National (or other) nuc to tbh? Reply with quote

Hello,

I have a local beekeeper (a former Inspector) whose hives are highly thought of. He has 2 nucs available with last year's queens and I want one.

He will le me buy the nuc if I borrow a National from him (which is very kind) but I don't want to keep Nationals - I have done a course on Nationals and I have decided I want to go TBH.

I showed him this thread from here:

http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16875

and, more specifically, this from Phil (pps 7 - 8, the method I want to use):

http://www.biobees.com/library/hive_topbar/Introducing_bees_to_a_TBH.pdf

He is not convinced.

Here is my question - should I persevere in trying to get his nuc, which is local and friendly? But which he is reluctant to part with - perhaps understandably because I am a beginner? Or should I give up until next season and pre-order a ready made TBH nuc? Or do you know where I can find a friendly TBH nuc now? I am having no luck whatsoever, for the second season running in luring a swarm.

Thanks
B
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AugustC
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Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a summary of the ways discussed on this topic:

1) - shook swarm into the topbar hive.
transfer all flying bees, by substituting hive location, some or all comb bees and the queen to the top bar hive. At the end of spring is the ideal time for this as there is little or no brood. Doing this now would require either ditching all the brood (poor bees) or maintaining the nuc to raise an emergency queen.
2) - comb substitution. The top bars should be the same length as the frames so you insert empty bars between brood frames and they will draw them out. As the current frames are capped moved them to the outside so they are only filled with honey, perhaps behind a queen excluder. When the frame is empty of brood remove it and add another top bar. You must take care not to let the natural comb extend beyond the dimensions of the topbar hive but a little trimming is fine.
3) - chop and crop. An extreme and immediate approach and not to be attempted alone. You cut the frame from around the outside and trim the comb to the dimensions of the top bar hive using a follower board as a template and a bread knife to cut. You then screw a full top bar onto the frame top bar and put it in the hive. Many people have found this to be a "tearing of the sticking plaster" approach. Hard on the bees and the keeper but over with fairly quickly.
4) - growing the colony down or up through nadirring or supering. This works on the idea that you produce another box for the bees to expand into. This almost never works and you end up tying up equipment and messing the bees about for a long time.
5) - converter hive. Build a hive that is half national half topbar. Allow them to grow horizontally into the topbar hive and when the queen crosses over to lay on the natural comb slot a queen excluder between the two. Remove the frames as the brood emerges. Once on top bars transfer to top bar hive, placing the hive in the same location to allow flying to orientate more easily.

I am currently doing 5) and it is working well. I would say that you should try to get them on natural comb a bit first or giving them top bars this time of year will just give you drone comb a-plenty. I have tried to attach pics of the converter hive below. This is just a standard national box with some sloped sides inserted to the top bar profile. This takes 6X frames, and 6X 36mm top bars and a 5 mm spacer.

[img]https://goo.gl/photos/CCGwKKGRHibzpBnC9[/img]
https://goo.gl/photos/GSSqJERyKxvNQfdV7

[img]https://goo.gl/photos/xjgPTfZUWMjLHF1aA[/img]
https://goo.gl/photos/xjgPTfZUWMjLHF1aA

I will be inspecting this colony at the weekend so will try and get a video for you.
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BSJ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Apr 2015
Posts: 38
Location: Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AugustC wrote:
Here is a summary of the ways discussed on this topic:

1) - shook swarm into the topbar hive.
transfer all flying bees, by substituting hive location, some or all comb bees and the queen to the top bar hive. At the end of spring is the ideal time for this as there is little or no brood. Doing this now would require either ditching all the brood (poor bees) or maintaining the nuc to raise an emergency queen.
2) - comb substitution. The top bars should be the same length as the frames so you insert empty bars between brood frames and they will draw them out. As the current frames are capped moved them to the outside so they are only filled with honey, perhaps behind a queen excluder. When the frame is empty of brood remove it and add another top bar. You must take care not to let the natural comb extend beyond the dimensions of the topbar hive but a little trimming is fine.
3) - chop and crop. An extreme and immediate approach and not to be attempted alone. You cut the frame from around the outside and trim the comb to the dimensions of the top bar hive using a follower board as a template and a bread knife to cut. You then screw a full top bar onto the frame top bar and put it in the hive. Many people have found this to be a "tearing of the sticking plaster" approach. Hard on the bees and the keeper but over with fairly quickly.
4) - growing the colony down or up through nadirring or supering. This works on the idea that you produce another box for the bees to expand into. This almost never works and you end up tying up equipment and messing the bees about for a long time.
5) - converter hive. Build a hive that is half national half topbar. Allow them to grow horizontally into the topbar hive and when the queen crosses over to lay on the natural comb slot a queen excluder between the two. Remove the frames as the brood emerges. Once on top bars transfer to top bar hive, placing the hive in the same location to allow flying to orientate more easily.

I am currently doing 5) and it is working well. I would say that you should try to get them on natural comb a bit first or giving them top bars this time of year will just give you drone comb a-plenty. I have tried to attach pics of the converter hive below. This is just a standard national box with some sloped sides inserted to the top bar profile. This takes 6X frames, and 6X 36mm top bars and a 5 mm spacer.

[img]https://goo.gl/photos/CCGwKKGRHibzpBnC9[/img]
https://goo.gl/photos/GSSqJERyKxvNQfdV7

[img]https://goo.gl/photos/xjgPTfZUWMjLHF1aA[/img]
https://goo.gl/photos/xjgPTfZUWMjLHF1aA

I will be inspecting this colony at the weekend so will try and get a video for you.


AugustC, (5) - that is so clever. Yes, please I'd love to see a video.
So, what you are saying is that if I can transfer his nuc into a borrowed standard brood box from him (having put in the tbh profile for the sides as you have done) the two types coexist simultaneously, gradually shifting them the way I want? This is very elegant.

You use a national queen excluder, of course.

When you remove the hatched brood comb, you don't replace with top bars, though, do you? You are trying to isolate all bees (especially the queen) on the top bars alone. Do you jyst remove them full stop when the brood has hatched, so in the end, just before the shift into the tbh, you are left with the 6 top bars?

Thanks

B
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="BSJ"]
AugustC wrote:


When you remove the hatched brood comb, you don't replace with top bars, though, do you? You are trying to isolate all bees (especially the queen) on the top bars alone. Do you jyst remove them full stop when the brood has hatched, so in the end, just before the shift into the tbh, you are left with the 6 top bars?

Thanks

B


There are a few options. .... everyone loves a list Smile
a) Once they have built out the top bars you perform a "walk-away split" ie Put your top bars into your top bar hive and leave all the frames in the national and get two colonies.The success of this depends on the time of year and whether the splits have eggs/young brood, though one will have have the queen.
Low risk as you can always recombine but you end up with two lots of equipment.

b) wait until the queen is laying on the top bar side and insert a vertical queen excluder (homemade from a standard plastic one) between the frames and the top bars. As the brood emerges from the frames you can remove them OR leave them to be filled with honey. At some point the top bars will be the only comb with brood and you can move them to the top bar hive and harvest the honey/nectar in frames to keep or feed back to the colony.
Probably the easiest but you risk swarming if the colony runs out of space for brood. Swarms are a good way to get a colony in a top bar hive Smile

c) have another national brood box and once the queen is laying on the top bar side move the frames into a box above and use a standard queen excluder. You divide the boxes using a dummy boards so they only inhabit half of each box. You will need to leave a gap between the last top bar and the hive wall to allow the bees up/down (this is the 5mm spacer).
A bit of a faff and needs additional equipment and a bit of luck.
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BSJ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Apr 2015
Posts: 38
Location: Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="AugustC"][quote="BSJ"]
AugustC wrote:



There are a few options. .... everyone loves a list Smile
a) Once they have built out the top bars you perform a "walk-away split" ie Put your top bars into your top bar hive and leave all the frames in the national and get two colonies.The success of this depends on the time of year and whether the splits have eggs/young brood, though one will have have the queen.
Low risk as you can always recombine but you end up with two lots of equipment.


I like (a) - it sounds simple and, being a beginner, simple sounds good Smile

The queenless colony will rear queens and one will emerge triumphant, presumably, and if after a while they have not, then I can recombine.

Presumably, if I am clever and shift the queen excluder out early, I might be able to get brood on both top bars and national frames, which makes the split more likely to succeed? I'd need to be certain that I did move the queen to the tbh so that reuniting, if necessary, was by transfer into the tbh (not the national).

This is presumably the best time of year for a walk away split (except for the dire weather)?

Do you think that a beginner can handle this AugustC? Or do you think I should wait until next year and buy a tbh nuc?
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Ollie
Foraging Bee


Joined: 27 Nov 2015
Posts: 136
Location: Ireland, west

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BSJ

I'm in a similar situation as yourself. I started out with a national hive late last year and again like yourself I was offered a national from a very highly respected beekeeper here in Ireland. I started out building my own TBH and soo far it is empty but what AugustC is explaining sounds a wonderful idea which I will do myself as Ive had no luck with swarms soo far either. The idea of putting those inserts in place is such a simple method, begs the question 'why didn't I think of that!'.
So Id say go for the nuc and borrow the national and doo the same. As soon as the weather permits I shall be doing just this.

Thanks August , fantastic idea.

You just can't beat this forum for friendly, good sound advice.

Ollie
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you are going down the walk away split route no queen excluder is required.
This "should" be fairly straight forward for you. Is the queen marked? that would help things, other wise do the split and you'll know quite pretty quick which one has the queen
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BSJ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Apr 2015
Posts: 38
Location: Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ollie wrote:
BSJ

I'm in a similar situation as yourself. I started out with a national hive late last year and again like yourself I was offered a national from a very highly respected beekeeper here in Ireland. I started out building my own TBH and soo far it is empty but what AugustC is explaining sounds a wonderful idea which I will do myself as Ive had no luck with swarms soo far either. The idea of putting those inserts in place is such a simple method, begs the question 'why didn't I think of that!'.
So Id say go for the nuc and borrow the national and doo the same. As soon as the weather permits I shall be doing just this.

Thanks August , fantastic idea.

You just can't beat this forum for friendly, good sound advice.

Ollie


Haha, Ollie, I believe I shall!

I love this site, too, everyone is so helpful and inventive... but right now, as a result of this suggestion, August is my Poster Boy Wink
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BSJ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Apr 2015
Posts: 38
Location: Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AugustC wrote:
if you are going down the walk away split route no queen excluder is required.
This "should" be fairly straight forward for you. Is the queen marked? that would help things, other wise do the split and you'll know quite pretty quick which one has the queen


Thank you very much, August. I am going to give it a go as you suggest Smile
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AugustC
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Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi BSJ and Ollie, Wait until you find out if it works for you before you start my fan page.

I shot some video today. My first time with the camera I am afraid so the audio is not great and I need to figure how to stitch them together on youtube. Thought I may as well make a blog entry on converting over so will post the link soon.
A
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BSJ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Apr 2015
Posts: 38
Location: Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, August, I am looking forward to seeing it. I am getting hold of the National brood box and I'll start as soon as I have modified it and collected my nuc.
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AugustC
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Joined: 08 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right... I have been having a play with youtube and I think i might have something which vaguely gets the point over.

The full blog entry with how to is here:
https://augustcottageapiary.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/underwear-teaches-us-change-is-good/

the youtube video alone is here:
https://youtu.be/p8C7I4H3e0w

best of luck
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BSJ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

August, I went to both and they are both on Private (not Public) setting.
B
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AugustC
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Joined: 08 Jul 2013
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Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AugustC wrote:
Right... I have been having a play with youtube and I think i might have something which vaguely gets the point over.

The full blog entry with how to is here:
https://augustcottageapiary.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/underwear-teaches-us-change-is-good/

the youtube video alone is here:
https://youtu.be/p8C7I4H3e0w

best of luck


I think that did it, check now.
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BSJ
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Joined: 13 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much, AugustC, it does work now and it is a really helpful video Smile I always like to watch things or do them, it makes more sense than just reading them.
Is the cardboard strip applied between the top bar and the frames?
B
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AugustC
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BSJ wrote:

Is the cardboard strip applied between the top bar and the frames?
B


Yes it was, it might not be necessary in your case. This hive had "wild comb" across 5 frames. They have always resisted drawing straight comb on frames for some reason. I had several colonies on frames making lovely foundation-less natural comb and congratulated myself on how good I was..... then these girls came along! They have confounded pretty much everything I have done to get them drawing comb straight, including using foundation again.
Bees have a wonderful way of showing you that you "police only by consent" every now and then just to keep you humble.
best of luck
A
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AndyC
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Joined: 04 Jul 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok another off the wall idea.

At our teaching apiary we have an observation hive in a hut with a 50mm flexible ribbed plastic tube about half a metre long connecting to an outside landing board and the bees use it with no written complaints logged.

What if one just put the hives side by side with the TBH aligned to where the Nuc entrance was and ran a connector pipe from the Nuc entrance to an extra hole in the TBH next to it?

Perhaps they would migrate that way and as soon as the Q is laying in the tbh a QE would need to be arranged between them.
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BSJ
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyC wrote:
Ok another off the wall idea.

At our teaching apiary we have an observation hive in a hut with a 50mm flexible ribbed plastic tube about half a metre long connecting to an outside landing board and the bees use it with no written complaints logged.

What if one just put the hives side by side with the TBH aligned to where the Nuc entrance was and ran a connector pipe from the Nuc entrance to an extra hole in the TBH next to it?

Perhaps they would migrate that way and as soon as the Q is laying in the tbh a QE would need to be arranged between them.


Hello AndyC,

That sounds interesting, too. I wonder, would you begin by ensuring that all other entrances to tbh were blocked up?
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Barbara
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The queen will not move from her nest in the nuc down a tube into the top bar hive..... they would swarm first.

You could effectively do a trap out by putting a comb of brood in the TBH and getting the foragers to move into the TBH and make an emergency queen or transfer the queen into it and then trap out all the rest of the bees over a period of time, but I think it is probably more of a faff than just biting the bullet and doing the chop and crop.
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AndyC
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi BSJ

Yes so the only route to the nest is effectively through the TBH with the entrance aligned with where the Nuc entrance used to be and the two boxes and the tube level.

My thinking is the foragers and cleaning nurses will use that route attracted by the Qs pheromones and leave a trail for others to follow.

If for example the tube is bigger than a bee space (but not too big) I don't really see its any different to any other route between the frames and through the nest such as the strategic holes the bees make in foundation.

Bees in the laboratory seem happy to ran along tubes but maybe the Q won't and Barabar is right and the colony will swarm rather than the Q using the tube when she gets shirt on laying space.

Seems worth a try as it would be a lot less traumatic for me and the bees than chopping and cropping and even shaking them in.

PS
Reading your original post, why not take him up on his offer and build the colony up in the borrowed national and when your ready, rehouse your bees into your TBH and give him his national back with thanks?
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BSJ
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, as it turns out, he didn't have sufficient numbers of hives because he is having to house the nucs which people have not picked up. So I have bought a cheap national, built it, and am doing the conversion as per AugustC. Here's a picture.[/img]
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BSJ
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It didn't want the picture, so here it is.
http://beeswaxlyrical.blogspot.co.uk/
I have done the shapers in perspex so I can observe through them, through the observation window.
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AndyC
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't wait to see the images when the girls get going.
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Ollie
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyC wrote:
Can't wait to see the images when the girls get going.



Same here as eager to do the same. Interesting how you held the Perspex in place with the wood.

Question.... Do you think they might build underneath it as well?
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AndyC
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought that too Ollie.
I wondered if two triangular blocks of polystyrene or blue foam or whatever wouldn't do the job too.
The girls might chew it up a bit but that wouldn't matter much, would it?
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BSJ
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyC, I feel sort of scared now. Saturday feels too near all of a sudden to be getting them Wink As for building beneath, Ollie, I have no idea but if I observe them I will know, right? They will start on the top bars first, I assume. They'd have to be a bit perverse to do under the perspex first.
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AndyC
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't want to worry you any more but I think I would try and close off the access to the underside of the panels if I could.

Even cardboard triangles and duck tape might stop them long enough for them to get the idea of using the top bars.

The little tykes will build anywhere they can get especially it seems if it's where you don't want them to.
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BSJ
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyC wrote:
Don't want to worry you any more but I think I would try and close off the access to the underside of the panels if I could.

Even cardboard triangles and duck tape might stop them long enough for them to get the idea of using the top bars.

The little tykes will build anywhere they can get especially it seems if it's where you don't want them to.


OK, AndyC, I don't want that, I will do as you say. I'll remove the panels. I do have some insulating foam which I can cut to the right shape and cover in duck tape which will hopefully stop them ingesting it? Thank you for the advice. I feel much better getting it and knowing I am not entirely on my own.
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AndyC
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't criticising the Perspex panels just think maybe triangles of cardboard taped to them to block the access might work and it's good you will still be able to see progress without opening the hive.

Blocks of polystyrene I'm sure will do it too. Smile
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BSJ
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyC wrote:
I wasn't criticising the Perspex panels just think maybe triangles of cardboard taped to them to block the access might work and it's good you will still be able to see progress without opening the hive.

Blocks of polystyrene I'm sure will do it too. Smile


Haha, Andy, I am already there. I have blocked one out completely with cardboard and the other all except back so I can still see. It's a bit Heath Robinson but it might yet work.
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