Bee in Harmony by Sophia Rowe

Changing comb – Part 4 – Season 6

In Part 2 and Part 3 of Changing Comb series for this Season 6, I told about removing of the old comb (foundation) from the beehive before preparing the colony for the winter. This is a modified by me method (called the Bailey comb change method) described in BeeCraft, July 2016, by Jason Learner from National Bee Unit British organization. The difference between my method and Bailey comb change method is that I take the pain to go through the old foundation frames (as one would have to do anyway, to catch and move the queen in the top box) and take out old frames for processing right away, encouraging the bees to move into the second box, and discouraging wax moth and small hive beetle larvae from taking over the abandoned frames. In Part 2, I left only the old frames with brood in the bottom super (there were about 3-4 frames with brood in each of four deep double super beehives). As you could see in Part 3 of this series, I placed just one frame, which had some brood and the queen on that frame, in the new deep super and added frames with fresh comb, or just empty frames. That is because I was doing it in October. The queens were not laying very well. The four colonies from the deep double supers (Part 2) were significantly larger than the three colonies, which I wrote about in Part 3. Like I said before, I do believe that it is because of the heat. Deep double supers are definitely winners for us in Alabama.

In this post, I am wrapping up my changing comb series, showing you how I removed the old comb from the four colonies described in Part 2.

1. So, I started with smoking the hive

1. So, I started with smoking the hive as usual.

I removed the shallow super, which hides my feeding bottle. Then I lifted the medium super with the queen in it and placed in on a bottom board next to the stand.

2. I removed the shallow super, which hides my feeding bottle. Then I lifted the medium super with the queen in it and placed in on a bottom board next to the stand.

3. These frames with old comb were once again inspected for anything suspicious and the bees were sprayed with sugar water and brushed into the deep super. The frames were placed into a plastic container with lid.

3. These frames with old comb were once again inspected for anything suspicious and the bees were sprayed with sugar water and brushed into the deep super.

The frames were placed into a plastic container with lid.

The frames were placed into a plastic container with lid.

 Now, the frames from the medium super were moved into the deep super. The medium super will not be needed until next season.

4. Now, the frames from the medium super were moved into the deep super. The medium super will not be needed until next season.

Once again, the bees were dusted.

5. Once again, the bees were dusted.

Finally, the inner cover was placed on the deep super, the shallow honey super was placed back on the hive. The bottle was refilled with syrup. I also placed another inner cover and an outer (telescopic) cover on the top, before tightening the ratchet strap around the hive.

6. Finally, the inner cover was placed on the deep super, the shallow honey super was placed back on the hive. The bottle was refilled with syrup. I also placed another inner cover and an outer (telescopic) cover on the top, before tightening the ratchet strap around the hive.

So, in my next post, I will be describe how I winterize my beehives.

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