When I began keeping at the turn of the century, the selection of hive here in the UK was National or WBC or, if you had larger passions, Commercial. The Langstroth was regarded as unnecessarily American and anything made from straw was merely charming at best, and also at worst, a disaster waiting to take place. Currently, less than two decades later on, we also have the Warré, the horizontal top bar hive, the Lazutin, the ZEST as well as various other deep boxes, and for straw enthusiasts, some interesting versions on the skep. This has produced 2 new issues for the beginner: which hive to begin with and how to encourage into it.
In those days it was very easy: the National was the go-to selection because of its ubiquity. Those that liked the look of the WBC and also were not put off by the added job might still use the very same structures, albeit fewer of them. You paid around ₤ 25 for an overwintered nuc as well as regarding two times that for a hive and also in a flash you were a new beekeeper.
Somehow, in the stepping in couple of years, prices of nucs increased, as well as doubled once again, as well as once again, and also rates of the woodenware also enhanced, such that there is now a considerable cost to beginning in beekeeping. If you decrease the standard path: you can expect to set around ₤ 500 for a hive with bees and standard set.
If you take the roadway less taken a trip and build your own top bar hive – upright or straight – you can certainly save money on hardware, but now you have one more trouble: how to obtain bees into your hive, given that a basic 5-frame nuc will not fit right into your odd-shaped box, and ideal nucs are as unusual as hen’s teeth.
When I began to instruct novices about leading bar hives, we used an instead harsh method that we called “plant and also slice”, which included executing extreme as well as irreparable surgery on the frames and combs of a common nuc in order to compel it to fit the trapezoidal type of a horizontal leading bar hive. It worked sensibly well, however required a bee-proof covering over as well as around the de-framed bars and also was substantially messy if there was a full frame of brood to handle. A better approach needed to be located.
My basic guidance was – and also still is – ideally, begin with a swarm. Preferably, start by baiting a flock directly right into your hive, as this offers solid proof that by selecting to be there, they consider it high on their listing of excellent residences as well as they are most likely to flourish than not. Swarms can be drawn in to hives by baiting them with some empty comb from one more (healthy) hive, scrubing wax and also propolis around the woodwork, and by adding a few drops of my Magic Flock Lure, which makes up one part geranium essential oil to two parts lemongrass oil.
The terrific feature of swarm baiting is that you can set up a number of boxes that are really just small hives – 10-12 bars is good for a TBH bait box – and put them in numerous different locations to multiply your opportunities of success. The not-so-great point is that you are depending on bees discovering your boxes, which is quite likely in a location having a reasonable variety of beekeepers, yet gradually less most likely the additionally you are away from civilization. If you are greater than a couple of miles from various other beehives or wild-living colonies, your chances diminish exponentially (I believe that it follows the inverted square legislation: your possibilities are vice versa proportional to the square of the range from the closest apiary).
You can end up being proactive and placed yourself about as a flock catcher, which might create a better end result, giving you do not mind taking care of multiple enquiries about bumblebees under sheds, hoverflies masquerading as and actual honeybees that have taken up residence in smokeshafts, attic rooms and also wall surfaces. And also wasps as well as hornets. With good luck, at the very least when per season, you will be offered a football-sized, prime flock, hanging from the straight branch of an apple tree, easily at shoulder elevation. This is the one to install in your straight top bar hive, by pouring it into the box as if it were liquid, or running it up a slope right into your Warré. These bees are in excellent condition to obtain you off to a fantastic begin: packed with honey and also enthusiasm, they will get active structure combs and all you need to do is enjoy in awe.
But supposing the season is passing you by and also no throng has actually shown up. You frantically wish to begin, and you are looking at ads for nucs, which you suspect are headed by an imported queen. Or maybe a good friend has bees in their National, which are resembling they might have swarmy passions. Exactly how can you obtain from frames to top bars without hacking with timber and also brood? Is it even feasible?
Luckiy, it is not just possible, however quite easy to carry out.
For a ‘basic’ top bar hive (using 17″ bars) you need short-lived access to – or ownership of – a National hive brood box having 5-8 good structures of as well as brood, with or without a honey extremely. This can be a nuc that you have actually bought and placed into a full-size brood box, or it could be a friend’s hive that they don’t mind you playing with. (I need to claim that this procedure can likewise be performed as explained making use of Langstroth or any other type of frame hive, gave the bars in your TBH coincide length as those in the framework hive.).
The technique is as adheres to:.
Put the occupied hive (the one including your core plus additional frames) in the precise place where your top bar hive will certainly later stand, with its entrance encountering in the direction picked to be least most likely to cause nuisance to you or your neighbors.
Different structures containing brood right into pairs and also place a top bar in between each set, restoring spacing to regular. (This is why you start with less than a complete complement of frameworks.).
Leave for 7-10 days, after that thoroughly examine the bars for combs. The bees will have drawn straight comb on each bar, right into which the queen will certainly have laid eggs, several of which may have expanded to the pupal phase already. You may well discover the queen on one of the brand-new combs.
On a bright afternoon, relocate the busy hive several paces in any kind of practical instructions, as well as put the TBH in its former placement. You will observe returning foragers getting back, looking puzzled that their residence has actually altered form, but promptly discovering the new entry.
Very carefully move the newly-drawn leading bar combs, with sticking , and also place them side-by-side in the TBH, inspecting to see if the queen gets on one of them. If she is, well and also good. If not, then you need to find her and move her right into the brand-new hive, making sure that she doesn’t fly.
Currently you need to tremble regarding half the from the structure hive right into the TBH, adding several bars either side of those already there. Location follower boards as well as close up.
Shut the frame hive, after including new frames to fill the voids created by removing the leading bars.
Now you have a queen-right nest in your top bar hive, with foragers bringing in food as if absolutely nothing has actually occurred, as well as a queenless nest in the National, with the sources to make themselves a new queen (check they have eggs and newly-emerged larvae). Unless there is a flow on, I suggest you feed both nests at this point: one requires to build comb, while the other demands to draw make a queen.
The principle we are manipulating right here is the capability of to go back to the precise factor precede where they recognize their residence to be – or to have been when they delegated look for food. This can be made use of tomove from actually any kind of hive to any other, gave the new box can be replacemented for the old. The added action of convincing them to build suitably movable combs in advance of the transfer makes the procedure easier, yet is not essential. You may need to stabilize the populations in old as well as new colonies, which is where your reasoning as a beekeeper enters play.
Transferring a swarm from frameworks to a Warré could be done by similar ways, however you would certainly have to make some unique frameworks and empty off the locations either side, to prevent comb being constructed where it will not fit. A simpler technique – especially throughout the build-up period – is to position the National brood box in addition to a Warré box, with a plywood ‘mask’ in between to reduce the aperture to 250mm and division boards in the National to avoid sidewards growth. The entryway should be below the reduced box. Comb-builders will get busy to make it possible for down expansion, as well as if you put two or even more boxes under the first, you can leave the National in position till it comes to be back-filled with honey. Strap it down, as the arrangement is inherently top-heavy.
A general principle that I discovered the hard way is that it is no use positioning an empty box – even one which contains starter strips of foundation – above a busy hive. More probable than not, they will refuse to begin with the top and also function down as you could expect, but will certainly instead build combs upwards, and also in all way of irregular forms – from the tops of the frameworks in the reduced box. The resulting mess will take you a long time and possibly much cursing to handle.
It may have occurred to you that this procedure also has the impact of developing an essentially Varroa-free new nest, because most of the mites will be sealed right into brood cells in the structure hive. (You can exercise for yourself exactly how this might be adjusted as a mite control technique.) Conversely, this means that you may be storing up a parasite issue in your frame hive, which might require dealing with prior to it becomes serious. The 3+ week period without any brand-new brood will, nevertheless, play in your favour, since the termites will have a reducing variety of brood cells to inhabit and also will certainly be exposed to simple bio-mechanical treatments, such as powdered sugar, along with to the pet grooming task of the themselves.
If you are intending to relocate bees from structures to leading bars on a regular basis – as a solution to your local beekeeping group, for instance – it deserves building a conversion hive for the objective. This is just a lengthy structure hive, equivalent to at the very least 2 brood boxes side-by-side, which holds a solid, even-tempered, respected colony, whose job it is to develop combs ahead bars placed in between sets of frameworks. With a consistent source of food, they will certainly have the ability to develop 3-4 starter combs weekly throughout the early-to-mid summertime without elevating a sweat, decreasing rather later on in the season. You will probably intend to run this hive along with a modest queen-rearing program, so you can inhabit hives with a queen of recognized heritage and not need to rely on emergency situation or swarm queens.
Often, we produce troubles for ourselves by trying to do operations that our bees would certainly prefer we had not thought about. Cautious observation of bee practices will certainly conserve you from inflicting the most awful of these on your nests, however we fall in love with our concepts, so our teacher is frequently the rough mistress called Experience.