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Bees trapped when repositioning comb after tapping-anyone else ever experience this?


@Cedar Yesterday, after tapping two partially filled frames (capped) in our hybrid flow, we opened the hive to check the remaining deeps and settle our bees in for the winter. We found that every frame had 3-4 bees struggling as their heads had become trapped when we returned the flow frame to its closed position :astonished:. (Normally people would not see this as the whole point is to not open the hive and disturb the bees.) We quickly took the key and reopened the comb to allow them to pull their heads out! :sweat_smile: Wondering if anyone else has seen this? The bees were too eager to begin the repairs it seems and could have been guillotined :flushed: If we had not taken a peek.
Thank you.

Wintertime preparation, Missouri, USA

if you are harvesting uncapped flow frames- you can help the bees to exit the frame cells before you fully turn the key- by half turning it a few times. Basically you turn the key about 45 degrees and back again- and do this two or three times the bees in cells will get the picture and back out. then you can turn the key fully. I have done this when a few cells in the clear rear viewing slots are not capped- you can watch the bees as they back out of the cells.


@Semaphore hi! The flow frames were capped. All the bees had their heads/mandibles stuck, not their whole bodies; we wondered if they had already started trying to do repairs. We could see their whole bodies and they were twisting and trying to unstick, but could not until we reopened the Flow, and then they flew off.


I’m confused by how you said the frames were ‘partially filled’ but they were capped?

Just to get this right: you turned the key to harvest the frames- and then the bees uncapped some cells in that open position- and when you went to close them again that’s when you saw they were stuck? If that’s right- it’s confusing to me as how could the bees heads get stuck if they were able to get them in in the first place? It seems more likely they had their heads int the cells already before you cracked the frames- were then trapped by the open position- and then released when the cells were closed again?


@Semaphore I probably could have left the “partially-filled” out, it’s just that the frames were not completely filled up, but the honey in them was fully capped.

I’m assuming the bees starting removing/chewing the caps from the emptying cells when the flow was in the open position and got their jaws stuck when we closed it back up. I’m only talking about 8-10 bees total, as we just emptied two Flow frames.

I just wondered if others had experienced this. I’ve read the threads on (small) bees getting caught working in the empty cells, and the strategies to alert the bees when getting ready to tap, this was Different.