Saturday, September 20, 2008

Beekeeping - Stop laying in certain frames

I started my TBHs with 5-frame nucs. I wanted to get off to a strong start and thought this might be the best way. Over time I decided that I did not want the frames in the TBH. They did not work well with the overall philosophy I have. Since the frames were part of the brood chamber I needed to figure out a way to stop the queen from laying in them and start laying in a new area.


The first thing I did was enlist the help of my online beekeeping friends. If you've never taken advantage of online forums you are missing out on a great opportunity to get some expert help. The best forum I have found for TBHs is at www.biobees.com. The focus is entirely on top bar hives.

I asked my question and got back a great answer. You can see the thread here - http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1581&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight= .

The advice that came back was to turn the frames upside down.  Bees build their comb with the cells pointing upwards at a slight angle. If I turned the frames upside down the queen would detect the 'wrongness' of the situation and wouldn't lay there. The nurse bees would continue to take care of the other hatching bees but with no eggs being layed it wouldn't be too long before the bees established a new brood chamber and I could take the frames out.

brood.jpgupside_down_frames.jpgThe pictures show a frame with brood and then me putting the frames in the back upside down. I kept them close enough together so the nurse bees could maintain good coverage. Once the bees abandoned these frames I cut the wax out and tied it to some top bars. Once the bees attached the wax to the top bars I cut the string and removed it.

I was able to get advice to use a method I would have never guessed on my own. If you are interested in TBHs be sure to drop by the biobees site and drop everyone a line.

1 comment:

  1. John,
    Thanks for the kind words here and on biobees website. I guess you could say this small part of our imense beekeeping universe has come full circle. I have a great sense of satisfaction knowing our advice was employed and as a result you wee succcessful. It's not often the advisor gets this type of direct feedback from the user it is more common to get feedback from other beekeepers suggesting alternate methods or experiences as a forun should work. God Bless and good luck!

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