My, oh, my! I’ve a couple of videos for you… but I didn’t come in here soon enough to accomplish that! After fussing and researching, I decided, once the sun was out and it was a balmy 45˚, to go ahead and break into my new hive and see the conditions.
I had worried that the top bar hive wasn’t stout enough to travel for 3 hours in the back of our pickup (plus during a blizzard!). I was consoled only enough by the lack of any honey running out the bottom (which could have happened had a comb broken loose and fallen). Despite my quick look the other day, I really wanted to see what I was up against.
The Good News is that things seem to look great. Now I couldn’t see the entire length of the hive, but I could see that the brood comb in the “front” was seemingly still in place as I peered through the little exit holes! The previous owner had told me there was cross combing and I’d have to take all that wax out in a few weeks. Boy, was he right!
This was the Bad News, but I knew that going into the purchase. Those combs should be going the same direction as the top bars… in this photo, up and down. North and south. The smallish comb built on the three bars I removed, I’ve already harvested and *replanted* on my own top bar hive.
The plan here… is to wait for slightly warmer weather… so I don’t expose the brood comb to killer cold… and cut each cross comb out and then re-attach them to the bars the correct way. These are feather light, not filled with anything that I can tell, though the bees were crawling over them as the day warmed up. This is beeswax, remember, so with warmth they can be bent slightly into the correct angle.
How do you re-attach them? Well, this is what I did to my old top bars…
Leveled off, embroidery floss through pencil holes, and voila! Once suspended, bees will come along and add to and reinforce this existing comb. At some point, the thread can be clipped and pulled out.
The best news, at least I think it’s Good News, is that the bees didn’t seem to be interested in my syrup I tried to feed them. I think they were leaving to get water to mix with their store of honey. If so, that’s great.
So. More Patience Needed.
It may be the One Thing that beekeeping will teach me… Good Things come to those who wait!
I am a NOVICE. If any of you know I’m wrong, or have suggestions, I welcome them!
One of the best things to ever happen to me… It’s been a year, Elsa, Dear… and I miss you.