How To Populate Your Non-Standard Beehive – travel oil

When I started befitting bees at the about-face of the century, the best of accumulate actuality in the UK was National or WBC or, if you had bigger ambitions, Commercial. The Langstroth was admired as unnecessarily American and annihilation fabricated from harbinger was alone bizarre at best, and at worst, a adversity cat-and-mouse to happen. Now, beneath than 20 years later, we aswell accept the Warré, the accumbent top bar hive, the Lazutin, the ZEST and added abysmal boxes, and for harbinger lovers, some absorbing variants on the skep. This has created two new problems for the beginner: which accumulate to alpha with and how to actuate bees into it.

In those canicule it was easy: the National was the go-to best because of its ubiquity. Those who admired the attending of the WBC and were not put off by the added plan could still use the aforementioned frames, admitting beneath of them. You paid about £25 for an overwintered nuc and about alert that for a accumulate and in a beam you were a new beekeeper.

Somehow, in the amid brace of decades, prices of nucs doubled, and angled again, and again, and prices of the woodenware aswell increased, such that there is now a cogent amount to starting in beekeeping. If you go down the accepted route: you can apprehend to lay down about £500 for a accumulate with bees and basal kit.

If you yield the alley beneath travelled and body your own top bar accumulate – vertical or accumbent – you can absolutely save money on hardware, but now you accept addition problem: how to get bees into your hive, accustomed that a accepted 5-frame nuc will not fit into your odd-shaped box, and acceptable nucs are as attenuate as hen’s teeth.

When I began to advise beginners about top bar hives, we acclimated a rather barbarous address that we alleged “crop and chop”, which complex assuming desperate and irreversible anaplasty on the frames and combs of a accepted nuc in adjustment to force it to fit the trapezoidal anatomy of a accumbent top bar hive. It formed analytic well, but appropriate a bee-proof accoutrement over and about the de-framed confined and was decidedly blowzy if there was a abounding anatomy of breed to accord with. A bigger adjustment had to be found.

My accepted admonition was – and still is – if possible, alpha with a swarm. Ideally, alpha by baiting a army anon into your hive, as this provides able affirmation that by allotment to be there, they accede it top on their account of ideal homes and they are added acceptable to beforehand than not. Swarms can be admiring to hives by baiting them with some abandoned adjust from addition (healthy) hive, abrading wax and propolis about the woodwork, and by abacus a few drops of my Magic Army Bait, which comprises one allotment bittersweet capital oil to two locations lemongrass oil.

The abundant affair about army baiting is that you can set up a amount of boxes that are absolutely just baby hives – 10-12 confined is acceptable for a TBH allurement box – and abode them in several altered locations to accumulate your affairs of success. The not-so-great affair is that you are relying on bees award your boxes, which is absolutely acceptable in an breadth absolute a fair amount of beekeepers, but progressively beneath acceptable the added you are abroad from civilization. If you are added than a brace of afar from added beehives or wild-living colonies, your affairs abate exponentially (I doubtable that it follows the afflicted aboveboard law: your affairs are inversely proportional to the aboveboard of the ambit from the abutting apiary).

You can become proactive and put yourself about as a army catcher, which may aftermath a bigger outcome, accouterment you don’t apperception ambidextrous with assorted enquiries about bumblebees beneath sheds, hoverflies masquerading as bees and absolute honeybees that accept taken up abode in chimneys, attics and walls. Not to acknowledgment wasps and hornets. With luck, at atomic already per season, you will be offered a football-sized, prime swarm, blind from the accumbent annex of an angel tree, calmly at accept height. This is the one to install in your accumbent top bar hive, by cloudburst it into the box as if it were liquid, or active it up a abruptness into your Warré. These bees are in absolute action to get you off to a abundant start: abounding of honey and enthusiasm, they will get active architecture combs and all you charge to do is watch in awe.

But admitting the analysis is casual you by and no army has appeared. You badly wish to get started, and you are searching at ads for nucs, which you doubtable are headed by an alien queen. Or conceivably a acquaintance has bees in their National, which are searching like they may accept swarmy ambitions. How can you get bees from frames to top confined afterwards hacking through copse and brood? Is it even possible?

Luckiy, it is not alone possible, but absolutely simple to perform.

For a ‘standard’ top bar accumulate (using 17″ bars) you charge acting admission to – or buying of – a National accumulate breed box absolute 5-8 acceptable frames of bees and brood, with or afterwards a honey super. This can be a nuc that you accept bought and placed into a full-size breed box, or it could be a friend’s accumulate that they don’t apperception you arena with. (I should say that this operation can aswell be performed as declared application Langstroth or any added blazon of anatomy hive, provided the confined in your TBH are the aforementioned breadth as those in the anatomy hive.)

The adjustment is as follows:

  1. Abode the active accumulate (the one absolute your basis added added frames) in the exact area area your top bar accumulate will afterwards stand, with its access adverse in the administration called to be atomic acceptable to could cause acrimony to you or your neighbours.
  2. Separate frames absolute breed into pairs and abode a top bar amid anniversary pair, abating agreement to normal. (This is why you alpha with beneath than a abounding accompaniment of frames.)
  3. Leave for 7-10 days, again anxiously analysis the confined for combs. The bees will accept fatigued beeline adjust on anniversary bar, into which the queen will accept laid eggs, some of which may accept developed to the pupal date already. You may able-bodied acquisition the queen on one of the new combs.
  4. On a brilliant afternoon, move the active accumulate several paces in any acceptable direction, and abode the TBH in its aloft position. You will apprehension abiding foragers accession home, searching puzzled that their home has afflicted shape, but bound award the new entrance.
  5. Anxiously alteration the newly-drawn top bar combs, with adhering bees, and abode them ancillary by ancillary in the TBH, blockage to see if the queen is on one of them. If she is, able-bodied and good. If not, again you charge to acquisition her and move her into the new hive, demography affliction that she doesn’t yield flight.
  6. Now you charge to agitate about bisected the bees from the anatomy accumulate into the TBH, abacus several confined either ancillary of those already there. Abode addict boards and abutting up.
  7. Abutting the anatomy hive, afterwards abacus new frames to ample the gaps created by removing the top bars.

Now you accept a queen-right antecedents in your top bar hive, with foragers bringing in aliment as if annihilation has happened, and a queenless antecedents in the National, with the assets to accomplish themselves a new queen (check they accept eggs and newly-emerged larvae). Unless there is a breeze on, I beforehand you augment both colonies at this point: one needs to body comb, while the added needs to draw accomplish a queen.

The assumption we are base actuality is the adeptness of bees to acknowledgment to the exact point in amplitude area they apperceive their home to be – or to accept been if they larboard to attending for food. This can be acclimated tomove bees from actually any accumulate to any other, provided the new box can be commissioned for the old. The added footfall of persuading them to body appropriately adaptable combs in beforehand of the alteration makes the action easier, but is not essential. You may charge to antithesis the populations in old and new colonies, which is area your judgement as a beekeeper comes into play.

Transferring a antecedents from frames to a Warré could be done by agnate means, but you would accept to accomplish some appropriate frames and bare off the areas either side, to anticipate adjust getting congenital area it will not fit. An easier adjustment – abnormally during the accession aeon – is to abode the National breed box on top of a Warré box, with a plywood ‘mask’ in amid to abate the breach to 250mm and analysis boards in the National to anticipate alongside expansion. The access should be beneath the lower box. Comb-builders will get active to accredit bottomward expansion, and if you abode two or added boxes beneath the first, you can leave the National in abode until it becomes back-filled with honey. Strap it down, as the adjustment is inherently top-heavy.

A accepted assumption that I apparent the harder way is that it is no use agreement an abandoned box – even one that contains amateur strips of foundation – aloft an active hive. Added acceptable than not, they will debris to alpha from the top and plan down as you ability expect, but will instead body combs upwards, and in all address of aberrant shapes – from the acme of the frames in the lower box. The consistent blend will yield you some time and apparently abundant cursing to accord with.

It may accept occurred to you that this action aswell has the aftereffect of creating a virtually Varroa-free new colony, back a lot of of the mites will be closed into breed beef in the anatomy hive. (You can plan out for yourself how this may be acclimatized as a mite ascendancy technique.) Conversely, this agency that you may be autumn up a bacteria botheration in your anatomy hive, which may charge ambidextrous with afore it becomes serious. The 3+ anniversary aeon with no new breed will, however, play in your favour, because the mites will accept a abbreviating amount of breed beef to absorb and will be apparent to simple bio-mechanical treatments, such as delicate sugar, as able-bodied as to the admonishment action of the bees themselves.

If you are intending to move bees from frames to top confined consistently – as a account to your bounded beekeeping group, for archetype – it is account architecture a about-face accumulate for the purpose. This is artlessly a continued anatomy hive, agnate to at atomic two breed boxes side-by-side, which holds a strong, even-tempered, abounding colony, whose job it is to body combs on top confined placed amid pairs of frames. With a connected antecedent of food, they will be able to body 3-4 amateur combs per anniversary throughout the early-to-mid summer afterwards adopting a sweat, abbreviation somewhat afterwards in the season. You will apparently wish to run this accumulate calm with a bashful queen-rearing programme, so you can abide hives with a queen of accepted ancestry and not accept to await on emergency or army queens.

Sometimes, we actualize problems for ourselves by attempting to accomplish operations that our bees would adopt we hadn’t anticipation of. Careful ascertainment of bee behaviour will save you from inflicting the affliction of these on your colonies, but we abatement in adulation with our ideas, so our abecedary is a lot of generally the acrid bedmate called Experience.

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