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New strategy for a cut-out

I’m planning on doing a cut-out from a compost bin. The bees have been there for a couple of months. I’m expecting to find some beautiful sheets of comb. I started looking for some garden tie to use to tie the comb to empty frames. Then I thought I’ll go & buy some elastic bands. Then I remembered that I don’t have one empty frame anywhere. They’re all brand new & wired up ready for foundation.

It occurred to me that the wire would support the comb, if I trapped it between 2 frames. So I plan to trap the comb between two frames before taping the side bars together with masking tape. I’ll put some cardboard across the bottom bars, if needed. I’ll be able to trap the 5 best combs between 10 frames that will fit in a 10 frame brood box.

It’s a 1/2 hr. drive. So I want to do it in one trip this afternoon between showers. I’ll do it under cover away from the compost bin position. Then after the frames are all set up in the brood box I’ll move it to where the bin used to sit to collect all the bees looking for their home, then come home just on dark. I’ll try & get some photos.


Hi @JeffH, I follow “the bush bee man” on YouTube and he does a lot of cut outs. He always uses wired frames and just rubber bands them to the side of the wire making sure to have all the combs on the same side of each frame to allow for the correct bee space. I’m sure your way will work too. Please keep us posted on how you go. I have only ever done cut outs with empty frames and I did pull wire out of a couple new frames a couple of weeks ago but after going to all that effort to wax and wire them up it was a shame to pull it all apart. The cut out was much bigger than anticipated and I didn’t take enough empty frames with. Always the way when you’re working 60km from home. :grin: As I said though please let us know how it goes.

Just a couple of photos Wilma took.

It wasn’t a very strong hive, there was no honey to speak of. We managed to get 3 frames like the one in the photo. We got quite a few bees, however a lot stayed behind in the bin. We didn’t wait long enough on account of drizzling rain & I was getting wet.

We got them home in dwindling light, enough light to lift the roof to give them some honey, plus remove one frame to add to a strong nuc with enough bees to take care of it, on account that I didn’t think the population was strong enough to care for the 3 frames spaced out like they were.

This morning I gave them more honey, plus removed a second frame to add to a different nuc. There was enough bees to care for both frames, however I wasn’t happy with the large gap between both combs. Plus the bees in the second nuc will quickly repair any damage & get rid of dead larvae before beetles lay eggs in it.

Thank you @TimG for that tip. That’s brilliant. Later on I’ll do that so I can perhaps reunite 2 or even the whole 3 frames after all the damage is repaired. That’ll put them closer together.


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Thanks for the pics Wilma. Looks like a success! Cut outs are so much fun - every one is different. I hope they work out to be a nice colony for your efforts.

Hi Tim & thanks, I must have left the queen behind in the compost bin because they’re already building emergency queens. The population was weak, so I shook 3 brood frames worth of bees in front of the entrance on a board so that the nurse bees would join the population, which they beautifully did, thanks to some information in a video @Semaphore recently shared.

Just for the record: I wouldn’t recommend my new strategy for a cut-out, Attaching comb to a single wired frame would be much better. However if one was going to use the comb in the frame long term (which I never do), there’d be no substitute for fitting it neatly inside the confines of the frame.

Shame about her majesty. Now you can go back in a month and get the colony again :wink:. You will only know if a new technique can work if you give it a go. Now we all know. Cheers

Thanks Tim, the technique works good for housing the slabs of brood, however not so good after you get the bees home, when it comes to planning how you’re going to use them. I removed all the second frames yesterday afternoon & left them where they were. The other nucs are also in the early stages of making new queens. One is, the other one wont make emergency queens, due to a laying worker. I have a plan for that one :slight_smile:

I left a few bees behind, however not enough to start again, I wouldn’t think.

glad you were able to try out the nurse trick Jeff- I just did the same for a tiny little swarm I caught- though I didn’t shake them I just took a nice frame of capped brood with some eggs and left it beside the hive for 10 minutes so the foragers flew off before adding it to the swarm nuc. To hasten the foragers leaving I lightly blew on the comb which caused many bees to fly off and back to the hive. I assumed those that didn’t fly would all be nurses and added them. there was no fighting and it gave that little swarm such a good boost.

I also always use rubber bands for cut outs. What I love about them is how the bees chew them off and throw them out of the hive when they are done with them leaving combs that don’t need to be worked on more or removed. There is another very good video from Hinterland bees showing how to use rubber bands to hold the comb up to the top bar of the frame - I watched this and now use this method- the relevant bit is around the 3 minute mark:

That’s very clever how he does that Jack.

A 12 hr. bee removal. He’s got more patience than me. I get very few calls these days on account of the publicity this bloke & others receive in my area, which suits me, especially during spring.

I used to be the quiet achiever. I removed scores of monster colonies without notifying the media.

When you say “for 10 minutes”. For me it’s almost instantaneous. All you need is a board touching the entrance so you can shake the bees onto the board. As soon as you shake the bees, the flying bees will return to the original hive, leaving the nurse bees on the board, who quickly march towards the entrance. It’s pretty to watch. I did that with a nuc yesterday morning.

I plan to do something similar with the laying worker nuc. I’ll do the shake method. Then take a strong queen-rite nuc to where I shook the bees to retrieve all the nurse bees plus the laying worker who wont get a chance to lay in a strong queen-rite nuc.

LOL- too funny Jeff. I saw Hinterland bees got on the ABC 2019 and 2020 with ‘monster’ cut outs. Once a year at the ABC they must say 'we need another happy ending Bee story!"

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I don’t have to employ my laying worker strategy on that hive now. The bees started an emergency queen on the compost bin brood. With only one, I broke it down before adding a decent frame of brood, now that they’re in emergency queen mode.