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Tavascarow

Swarm control in a HTBH.

Link to natural beekeeping forum.
Cathryn

I will look at this again should I ever get to this point! I am trying again this year. A friend has offered me a nucleus as he has one more hive than he ever wanted, which I am going to shake into my TBH. All I need to do know is work out where to put that won't make it a target for badgers again. I have several hundred acres to choose from but nowhere jumps out at me as safe. Everywhere there are obvious signs of badgers.
Tavascarow

if you just shake the bees off the frames you will lose all the brood , which is a shame & waste.
You could cut the combs to fit the top bars & tie them on (after shaking the bees). Or build them up conventionaly, & then make an artificial swarm for the TBH & leave enough young bees to raise a new queen from the brood.
That way you populate your top bar hive & still have a national colony to sell on.
Cathryn

I could do with an early swarm so that they get a chance to build up early on. I appreciate what you say about it being a waste and I will try to cut it down to fit. Or I buy a national but I am not wholly convinced that I am going to persuade the bees to stay here and protect them from badgers.
Tavascarow

If you have a badger problem an electric fence is the best protection IMHO, & probably cheapest.
I imagine once they connect a couple of times you could do away with the energiser & just leave the tape.
It's not a problem I've had (touch wood).
We have a fairly healthy badger population here, but I've never had a hive raided.
A neighbour down the road a mile lost one last year & they certainly make a mess.
Tavascarow

If it was me, & I wanted to populate a TBH from a framed hive I would proceed as follows.
When steady pollen is entering the hive (willow) I would start stimulative feeding with weak syrup (1lb to the pint or even more dilute).
Don't feed with a rapid feeder but use a jar with small holes in the lid.
You don't want them filling up combs with stores but just enough to make the colony think theres a good nectar flow on & increase brood rearing.
If they are prolific give them as much room as you can, the more bees you can raise early the more to populate your TBH.
About mid to late May take all the combs with brood & eggs & brush all the bees off them back into the hive.
Put the brood in a separate box over an excluder & on top of the rest.
Nurse bees will come through the excluder to look after the brood & after a day or two can be moved away.
These will need to be fed as they won't have any bees of foraging age for a couple of weeks
The remainder will consist of the queen & older bees (artificial swarm) & can be shook into the TBH.
If you can fix a little unsealed brood to a top bar all the better.
They are very unlikely to leave if there is a little brood to maintain & it seems to keep the queen laying.
The young bees left in the old hive will raise queen cells from eggs & after a fortnight you could divide them into two or more nuclei, as long as there's at least one good queen cell in each.
That way you get to populate your TBH & also have a framed colony or two to sell on.
& you don't have to cut up combs of brood & tie them to bars other than the little as mentioned.
Cathryn

Yes I can see that. We haven't that far and are at the moment hoping that all his hives continue to thrive. He is distance from me as well (several miles).
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