Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Elastic Bands, String or Chicken Wire?

Hi folks, I recently cut out a couple of hives to put in nucs and help out some people who didn’t want feral bees living around their houses.
The first one I was caught on the hop and we secured the comb in the frames inside the nuc with string, (not very secure!!!)
The second one I had a bit of time to prepare and made up some frames with chicken wire to support the comb and allow me to fill the frame with brood and honey like a jigsaw puzzle. (much more secure)
My question is, will the chicken wire be ok to leave in the hive long term or should I do the old newspaper combine with a QX and then remove the wire frames and keep them for the next cut out?

Hi Chris, I use green garden tie, however frames of brood like that are only a temporary measure for me. Once the colony gets established on good frames, I cycle those uneven frames out by placing them above the QX to let the brood emerge, then the bees fill them with honey.

Something I learned recently is that you don’t have to maintain to original orientation. You can put the comb on any orientation that fits. You can even place it horizontal, as I did the other day.

That’s interesting Jeff. The cut out I did when I used the chicken wire was in a Telstra Box in the ground so the comb I cut out was integrated through all of the cables and I had to cut it out piecemeal rather than in sheets of solid comb. It went into the chickenwire covered frames like a jigsaw puzzle so good to know that the original orientation isn’t critical.
Just curious as to whether the bees are adverse to the galvanised wire if anyone has any knowledge of this.

I did a cut out the other day and I used rubber bands. It worked very well. One trick I just recently picked up was using extra bands to hold comb right up to the top bar of the frame- this is very handy when the combs are not large enough to fill the entire frame. I like rubber bands because they fall off or are chewed off by the bees naturally. I learned the trick from this video-you will see how an expert does it (around 1:33 mark):

I wore gloves- which made it harder. But it went well- and the combs ended up being very good- the bees attached them quickly and filled out the remainder of the frames.


I don’t think the bees are adverse to galvanizing because a lot of wire QX’s are galvanized. Personally, I’m happy to discard the trap-out brood in favor of brood from one of my colonies. Especially if it’s like a jigsaw as you describe.

1 Like

In Australia there are two metal QX’s available, the more expensive stainless steel and the galvanized wire ones The Gal doesn’t have the shine of stainless wire but the bees will pass through it with no problems, Quality wise they are both well made and I would use either.

Thanks Semaphore. Yikes!!! no gloves and in a T shirt!!!
The comb coming out of this cutout was certainly more workable than my effort, having to cut out smaller pieces from around cables, but it’s a great video. Cheers.

yeah- I only noticed you said that after I posted. In one of that guy’s videos he uses ideal frames for a hive that was in a shallow cavity- and they may work well for more odd shaped/smaller pieces. I just used the rubber band trick again two days ago- the trick with the bands that go over the lugs- to hold a piece of up to the top bar is gold. I am amazed at how that beekeeper does it all with no gloves and no veil- and how often he manages to find the queen in those big hives. Rubber banding with gloves on is really difficult.

I also went back into my cut out hive and removed the rubber bands- the bees have built the combs out very well- they are pretty much like any other comb.

I’ve combined the hive in the chicken wire frames with another hive to boost numbers using the newspaper combine and now removed the chicken wire frames and the top box so the hive can consolidate. Hopefully will be strong enough to move to it’s new home on a mates farm in the next week or so.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Hi Jack, I heard on the ABC that that cut-out took him 12 hrs. 12 hours is plenty of time to find the queen. I must be more brutal because I take 3 hours in a bee suit. I normally can’t wait to get out of it. I can’t do an overhead cut-out without getting covered in honey.

all true- when I heard 12 hours- I was thinking: how much to charge? For such expert work. The much smaller one I did last month took me maybe 2 hours. 12 hours may be enough time to find the queen- but using a bee vac: swoosh- and she in the vac. I’ve watched a number of his videos and every one he snags the queen in a cage. I’m too preoccupied with everything else to even look. I used my bee vac and I think I vacuumed up the queen. She appears largely unharmed as laid immediately afterwards. That cut out didn’t miss a beat.

1 Like

That’s good news, re your cut-out Jack. I don’t have a bee vac. The last cut-out I did was around 12 months ago for the people I mentioned wanted to save the bees for their fake flow hive. The one with the bamboo QX.

I attached some of their brood to empty frames. Then blocked their entrance so that the bees returning would mass on the brood that I placed next to the old entrance. All the bees inside exited the room via the open window. That worked out well. I did another one similar to that up at Noosaville around the same time. They both took around 3 hours.

Once the frames outside have a good covering of bees, I place them in a brood box & leave the lid partly open.

1 Like