So just on the day I’d come to swap it out, wouldn’t you guess it, she had only gone and laid in it. Fresh eggs by the look of it. 24hrs earlier I would have been fine… Grr ! They must have gone through a LOT of honey to make space in that comb, or maybe they moved it to comb 1 where it was all uncapped. The last frame was full of uncapped honey too, and braced to the wall, unusually.
Anyway, that was the 2nd plan out of the window, no nice easy swap of brood frames… At this point I had a step back to think. I could move them, put a queen excluder on and a super and let them get on with it. But, they were building brace and clearly didn’t have enough room. I didn’t want to abort so many eggs that she had taken the time to lay, so my plan to put the disfunctional frames to one side for them to rob was clearly out.
So… hmm… I transferred the combs over to the new box, barring the last two. In their new position I put framed foundation, giving me uncomplicated frames and the queen somewhere to lay, once they were pulled out with wax. The remaining two troublesome frames I left where they were, put a queen excluder over the new box and this box on top, with the 3rd frame of foundation I had brought. That way the nurse bees would still look after the eggs, the queen could not get up there to put any more in, and I could remove them later, and they would not have competition to rob their honey back. All upside? well not quite, I’d be leaving the rest of the old box open for them to fill with brace comb, and I’d be taking a chance on the eggs surviving, but then nothing is perfect.
So with that done, and a bit more storage for them, I squirted hiveclean on them all, put the crown board on top and the super above that (remember I didn’t want hiveclean tainted honey in the supers), and put the roof on top.
Oh, nearly forgot, I was putting cone vents on that pent roof, and, of course the battery drill runs out, half way through the first cut… Pahh !!
A lot of bees were still sat on the old floor, so I propped that up against the landing board so they could crawl up to the new entrance.
So, after all this lot… Do I really feel like going through it all again with the next hive? 2 stings down, next door hive with upset bees flying about, returning foragers coming back to chaos, and not knowing where their hive had gone. What do you think?
But… if I didn’t hiveclean then, I would not be able to get the super on that they no doubt needed just as much by now too. So I levered the brood off the base, moved it to the new position on the mesh floor, squirted them with hiveclean, crownboard on, clean brood box on, queen excluder, super, roof on top, put the old floor in front leading to the entrance. Done. 6 mins.
And so, I left. Had I done the right thing? on balance I think so. Getting as much of the job done given the situation, balancing upset (on both parts), with the need for a clean, more room and so on.
What’s next? Well I have to go back, transfer the 2nd hive to the next box while scraping off the frames, and give them access to the super. I need to go back to the first box, see what is happening with the old brood box frames with eggs. Scrape off frames, and at some point put a super on. Hmm when is it safe from hiveclean? What about build up of brace comb in the old box in the mean time? When can I put the super on top safely.
For these answers and more tune in to the next edition of “What does he think he is doing !! tsk tsk tsk”.