Ok - in this case it’s not th bees- it’s the beekeeper:
I agreed to take over looking after a beehive that a beekeeper put in someones yard before she moved overseas… The hive has not been managed much at all over the last 18 months and I first encountered it when I caught two swarms it made last season… At that time it had one ideal and one brood box. Later the beekeeper returned briefly and added a manly. So three different boxes- three different types of frames… annoying already.
It gets worse: I went and inspected it the other day and the two supers were around 85% capped honey. They were glued together in between by a lot of honey- as the frames in the top super were slightly too small for the box. Annoying again. I cleaned that up- but noted that a lot of the super frames are completely cross combed- so individual frames cannot be removed easily without a lot of honey going everywhere. Today I returned to remove the two supers- add another - and have a peek at the brood. The plan was to remove the supers and press everything in a honey press destroying all the comb to start again with correct frames and boxes…
So I got down to the brood box and went to remove the outermost frame… It completely collapsed- back into the hive- falling apart in the middle- and was 100% capped honey. I dodn’t bring fresh foundation frames so was stuck in an quandry: what to do?? I couldn’t put the wrecked comb back into the hive- so I just cleaned the qx- replaced it- put on my new box- put an escape board above that- and placed the badly cross combed ideal on top of that so I can get the bees out of it and take it away complete in a few days.
I am guessing that more frames in the brood are going to collapse if I try and remove them- it’s a disaster in there- and I think pretty packed with honey likely.
I am so hating this beekeeper than abandoned this hive right now! What a mess!
I am also regretting offering to take it on- I had no idea it would be such a disaster.
The good new is they are terrific bees- very gentle non-aggressive and the honey from the hive is superb- very dark orange, tangy and thick.
now I need to come up with a plan of how to deal with this brood box? Currently it is missing a frame with honey slumped down where it was. I don’t need this $%#@@!
Driving home I thought of one possible course of action: get a new brood box fitted with fresh foundation: place the bad brood on top of the new one- wait for the bees to build fresh good comb below- then use my escape board to get the bees to go down from the upper box into the new one- then put a QX between them- then wait for the upstairs brood to hatch out- the escape board again- then remove the shit box?
Having just written that it sounds like too much work… Argh!
What to do?