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Removing plastic foundation

Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Horizontal top bar hives
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New Bee

Joined: 16 Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Location: Indianapolis, IN

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:10 pm    Post subject: Removing plastic foundation Reply with quote

Hi All,

I'm a quite new beekeeper and have a home built top bar hive. I acquired a local NUC on Langstroth frames and used the "crop and chop" method of cutting the NUC frames down to fit in my hTBH. It worked well, the bees have both built fresh comb on my bars as well as filling out the plastic foundation and have laid brood in both.

What I'm wondering is at what point I should try to get the original frames out. I had to add shims to both sides to get the spacing right between bars and I'd like to remove the plastic foundation combs as soon as practical. I don't know at what point that should be. It is my first season, I am sure I shouldn't do it so soon while there is brood there, but will there be a time when there is no more brood on those bars, or will the queen continue to lay there in perpetuity, and will I at some point have to remove a comb that has brood on it?

Just a little unsure what comes next and also I don't know of many hTBH resources in the Indianapolis area.

Thanks in advance!

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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome.

Well done for successfully chopping and cropping. I know it can be a daunting task and with plastic foundation that must have been trickier.
I would not try to remove those combs this year. It is late in the season and they will need all the brood they can raise.

You would be looking to insert an empty bar between them and the other brood combs in the spring next year, gradually expanding the broodnest onto those new bars over a period of weeks adding one a week, so that the plastic combs are slowly moving away from the entrance towards the back of the hive where they will eventually be filled with honey and can be harvested. If you move them more than a bar or two at a time, the nurse bees on those combs may start to raise emergency queens because the queen doesn't immediately return to lay into the empty cells that have hatched and that triggers those nurse bees to make new queens in case the old queen has been killed. This can cause issues and upset the balance in the hive, so moving them back a bar at a time is best.
Depending on your climate and forage, it may take a second year to get them all out if you don't want to sacrifice the brood on them.

Best wishes

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New Bee

Joined: 16 Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Location: Indianapolis, IN

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara,

Thats very helpful! its been an interesting experience getting the hive up and going and its great to have this forum available for questions and good reading.

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