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Hive from Hell! I need Help/Advice


#1

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?


#2

Hi Jack,
Wow I feel for you ,what a mess !
You could try cutting out the brood one frame at a time and using elastic bands to fix it in new foundationless frames.i watched a pro do it on K I.
You will loose some brood but it works.
Some photos of what I watched
Regards brian_**

**_y


#3


#4

I feel for you Jack, I have often been asked to look after other peoples hives and every time I regret saying yes. I think you have nailed the best action to take, Just think you are doing it for the bees and not for the owner and just do it mate.
A few months ago I was asked if I would look after but on seeing them unpainted and the boxes full of rot and surrounded with long grass and weeds. I felt really good to tell him he wouldn’t get anyone interested.
Cheers mate.


#5

Howdy Brian- yes- I’m guessing I’ll be doing a lot if that. I’ve read all about it but only done small cut outs. Never an entire box. Unless I can figure out more elegant solution.

@Peter48 when I consider everything I am going to need to do- I am certainly thinking I shouldn’t have taken it on. Now I am in this deep I will have to see it through. They are very, very gentle bees so worth saving.

Feeling a little better now- pressing honey from that hive- new press is working well:

Thinking about the frame that broke- I remembered I used one of those frame grabbing tools- I think that contributed to the destruction of the comb by allowing the top bar to bend. I won’t use it when I tackle the rest- though I don’t think that will change much- I think there is a lot of cross comb


#6

Very nice looking press you have there @Semaphore. How many frames in that batch? It looks like a lot of honey! :blush:


#7

It’s approximatey 8 half depth frames in there. Could have fit quite a bit more too. And theoretically you could unwind it and keep adding more and more. The more you do the more efficient it will be. I’m very happy so far with the way the press is working- though I’m not yet at the clean up stage curious about how much honey will be left with wax…


#8

I guess that is why they call it “crush and strain:blush: I am guessing that the purchase of some ladies tights/nylons etc may lie in your near future… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :rofl:


#9

I don’t know about that- I have a felling at the end there will be a compressed pancake and no amount of pantyhose will be able to get any more honey out. I suppose the only ways would be using water (make mead?) or heat (get cooking/baking grade honey?)


#10

Oh, I think we are typing at cross purposes. :smile: I meant you may need to strain the honey that has drained into your buckets. I bet it won’t be as clean as Flow honey, but I could well be wrong, and I often am these days. :blush:


#11

Ah- yes- I have a stainless steel double strainer- I’ll use that- I don’t mind if a little wax makes it through. Supposedly it makes the honey creamy… I might gently warm the honey before I strain it.


#12

I hate that double stainless honey strainer. Using organic hemp nut milk strainer bags now. Pristine, no metal or plastic, whereas I was ok with plastic strainers before I found the hemp nut milk bags.


#13

Yummy cannabinoids… :smiling_imp:


#14

Guess that would actually be a selling point around here, strained only through hemp strainers.
The first time I used the commercial honey double strainer, I rested it on a plate after use, and the residual honey was discolored and had a metal taste. Never used it again.
Yes, I cleaned and dried it thoroughly before use.
The hemp bags, you just boil them to sterilize after use. No after taste. And I feel indeed happy after testing my honey. Could it be the hemp then you think?


#15

Ah jeez. Here I was liking mine. Now you’ve got me paranoid… The problem with cloth is it just takes forever? Do you warm honey before straining? I never have- but am considering it with this batch as it’s cold and the honey is very thick. Runs like molasses - or treacle


#16

Ah, just do it as it comes out, before it cools down. Doesn’t take all that long.
The hemp is quite coarse and is faster than the plastic nut milk bag I used before. Feels very organic, but filters well. You sure keep your pollen in your honey.


#17

Any how enough about presses and strainers- what about this hive from hell i’ve inherited? :thinking:

:face_with_hand_over_mouth::upside_down_face:


#18

Well, you know the drill, keep your honey under 40C if you still want to feed it to your family. At 38C your honey should run through smoothly, even if it’s at under 15% water content.
Unless you have some real special honey, then maybe don’t bother straining it and sell as is. Or is it crush and strain?


#19

It’s pressed in a press. Pretty good to go as is just has a bit of small wax particles - I could just scoop that off. Currently the honey is around 12c- that’s cold pressed raw honey! Tomorrow it might get up to 18c if I’m lucky.


#20

I don’t understand why the first frame you lifted collapsed? Did you try to cut it off with a long sharp knife first to separate from the box wall and adjacent frame? That works even with cross comb if you lift it out ever so gingerly. But the cross comb needs to get cut. Creates a mess, but you have to create space somewhere.
My mentor said to separate and remove the second frame first, but you need to assess the situation. I reckon the outside frames have the most honey to create a mess.