23 May 2017

Handling the Bars in my Top-Bar Hive

The problem of cross combed top bar hives is that the bars are difficult or impossible to separate, for inspecion or treatment of the bees without damaging the combs.
The following solution enables a block of bars to be lifted out of the hive for transfer to another hive, or other manuovres you might wish to undertake, without breaking the combs apart.
The two hardwood battens are pre-drilled at 38mm centres and attached to each of the bars in quick succession. My bees did not become unduly disturbed, but I managed to sugar dust the entire colony with sugar from below by lifting out and dusting from underneath before replacing in the hive.

Guidance and advice from my local beekeeper was taken from Peter Hunt without whome I would probably have abandoned the idea of this proceedure. As it was, I am pleased to say I was not stung once but togged in bee suite and armed with a smoker and lemon scented water spray all was well.

Newly scorched top bars



Bars attached together may be transferred en-block to another hive with minimal disturbance of the bees.



My bait hive swarm was recently lifted out in this way and simply dropped into the empty ricipient hive.



The battery drill speeds up the screwing down of the battens and subsequent removal of screws.


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