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Markypoo

Lanstroth nucs into topbars

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Hi

I am looking at getting my topbar set up and running. Has anyone used this technique? Described below in the link.

https://kootenaybeenews.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/langnuc-into-tbh.pdf

Basically means no chopping up frames to fit.

My 5 frame nuc has expanded now to completely fill one FD brood box and has nearly completely drawn out the second FD box. Though it has an awful lot of honey stores.

I'm thinking next month I will buy a mated queen and transfer 5 frames of brood into my topbar and see how it goes. 

 

 

 

 

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Yes it will it is deep enough to fit them.

I am also tempted to try a split. Taking my old queen to the topbar and leaving the langstroth queenless. Will have to ponder it awhile. The trouble is, I am on rural delivery and they only deliver packages every second day. Potentially I could have a queen sitting in a hot car for a day or two before she is delivered. So will have to collect one. Might have to make a trip up to @glynn in the new year if he will have any available.

 

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Right. I have been planning and scheming. I am going to transfer 5 frames to my topbar, using the set up in the link in my first post. I am also going to transfer the queen to the topbar. With all the frames I am leaving behind, there should be enough eggs of the right age left behind in the langstroth  for them to create an emergency queen. So I need to make sure there are some standing eggs left behind. This is a form of poor man split if I am not mistaken. I read this thread for guidance and ideas.

 

Going by the queen rearing calendar I saw, if I did the split tomorrow I would see queen cells by New Years, and then eggs after January 23rd. If no cells or eggs seen then  I can try and get hold of a mated queen.

 

Sounds like a plan to me. Any pitfalls?

 

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23 minutes ago, Markypoo said:

Right. I have been planning and scheming. I am going to transfer 5 frames to my topbar, using the set up in the link in my first post. I am also going to transfer the queen to the topbar. With all the frames I am leaving behind, there should be enough eggs of the right age left behind in the langstroth  for them to create an emergency queen. So I need to make sure there are some standing eggs left behind. This is a form of poor man split if I am not mistaken. I read this thread for guidance and ideas.

 

Going by the queen rearing calendar I saw, if I did the split tomorrow I would see queen cells by New Years, and then eggs after January 23rd. If no cells or eggs seen then  I can try and get hold of a mated queen.

 

Sounds like a plan to me. Any pitfalls?

 

Sounds like a good plan ?

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Beware that this may be the classical error of weakening your hive just when robbing and raiding is starting.

Wisdom would suggest letting your hive get strong, come through winter, and be really strong before splitting it.

 

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13 hours ago, Markypoo said:

Going by the queen rearing calendar I saw, if I did the split tomorrow I would see queen cells by New Years, and then eggs after January 23rd. If no cells or eggs seen then  I can try and get hold of a mated queen.

 

Sounds like a plan to me. Any pitfalls?

If they don't make cells after eggs then there is already a queen present. Transfer another frame of eggs to be sure.

 

It's only when you haven't any eggs or young grubs to transfer that you need to purchase a queen. This is why we recommend having two or more hives. You're unlucky if they both go queenless at the same time. 

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Well funnily enough @Rob Stockley I did the transfer today. I could not find the queen anywhere. So I thought I would have a closer look and I found a fat young queen running around. She is not as big as the old one, but I guess she is filling out. 

She has gone into the topbar and has a heap of nursebees, capped brood and empty cells to fill. She also has a good amount of honey stores.

 

Funny thing is I don't think my original queen swarmed. If she did she didn't take much with her. I think it is more likely I squashed her by accident fiddling with the frames. I haven't seen her for a month and I have not looked that hard as I have always had plenty of grubs.I have been in checking weekly because I have had large amounts of swarm cells and queen cups being made all season. Looks like I missed one and she has stepped up to the plate. Trouble is going by my calculations there would have had to be a young queen on mating flights while the old queen was present as I still have a good amount (say 20%) of the cells as grubs. Anyway, she is gone now, however it happened.

 

 A lot of cells are empty of brood. However it appears the young queen has just started laying as there were a good number of cells with single, standing eggs. I left those with the originals. All of which seem to be in the grown larva stage 6-8 days old. Which would work out right with me squashing the queen last weekend.

 

I think the best bet will be for me to buy a queen due to there not being as much capped brood as I would like. This will then give me 2 hives and the comfort of a back up in case I stuff it up again.

 

Edited by Markypoo

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3 minutes ago, Markypoo said:

 

I think the best bet will be for me to buy a queen due to there not being as much capped brood as I would like. This will then give me 2 hives and the comfort of a back up in case I stuff it up again.

That could work but beware that queen introductions aren't guaranteed. While there are eggs I would be patient. Reduce the entrance and let your girls sort themselves out. 

 

In my first season, splitting from one to two hives, I tried unsuccessfully to buy a queen. The logistics didn't work out so I did a pauper split instead. Several seasons later and I still have yet to buy a queen.

 

Queens really are nothing special. Colonies are generally very good at making them when required. All they need is security, resources and favourable weather. 

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3 minutes ago, Rob Stockley said:

That could work but beware that queen introductions aren't guaranteed. While there are eggs I would be patient. Reduce the entrance and let your girls sort themselves out. 

 

In my first season, splitting from one to two hives, I tried unsuccessfully to buy a queen. The logistics didn't work out so I did a pauper split instead. Several seasons later and I still have yet to buy a queen.

 

Queens really are nothing special. Colonies are generally very good at making them when required. All they need is security, resources and favourable weather. 

Its the wrong time of year to be buying stuff anyway! I will give them a check new years eve. There should be a queen cell by then.

 

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....but in 4 days time I will probably panic and try to buy a queen from somewhere.

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@Markypoo, your Bees superceded the old queen and you would have had the old one laying while the young one got mated and then started laying 

 

The wonders of nature . 

 

There seems to be no need for you to buy a queen . Let your clever Bees make another for you 

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I have actually been planning this before I got my first nuc. I knew that it would be difficult to get a nuc and put them straight into a topbar. I was also given a whole lot of old langstroth gear that was mouldering away in a shed. One of my colleagues runs a B&B and had to get rid of his bees years ago as they were a risk to his guests.

 

I followed Chris Mitchells advice and set up a box with tapered wedges in it. I then trimmed up some plastic frames to fit snugly in my topbar. When I gave the girls a second brood box a few weeks ago, they got 5 topbar modified plastic frames, which they proceeded to draw, though not all have been completed by this time. So in my topbar now I have 3 conventional frames of brood, pollen and eggs and a young queen. 5 tapered frames. 1 of which is mostly capped honey and nectar. 2 lightly drawn with nectar and 2 with a good mix of brood and pollen and nectar. I also stuck in three topbars with wax strip foundation starter. I covered it all with a piece of old carpet as a hive mat to seal them in (fluff side up!). 

topbar frame fit.jpg

trimmed plastic foundation.jpg

topbar install.jpg

Edited by Markypoo
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5 minutes ago, M4tt said:

@Markypoo, your Bees superceded the old queen and you would have had the old one laying while the young one got mated and then started laying 

 

The wonders of nature . 

 

There seems to be no need for you to buy a queen . Let your clever Bees make another for you 

But I don't think she was an old bee. I am pretty sure Glynn said she was a spring mated queen. Doesn't matter anyway.

She is probably either flattened under a frame or sitting in a pine tree somewhere!

 

Edited by Markypoo

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2 minutes ago, Markypoo said:

But I don't think she was an old bee. I am pretty sure Glynn said she was a spring mated queen.

 

Glynn would be right . Age of a queen has no bearing on when Bees decide they need superceding . Can be a couple of weeks through to 3 years . 

I doubt you squashed the old one either , your time line suggests that’s about when they booted your first queen out 

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Well its been an entertaining 12 weeks so far! Definitely will have pollinated plum trees next spring!

 

 

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And here is the supercedure queen. Clearly she has been busy, large numbers of cells with an egg.

Not the greatest photo (my brother was taking the photos and took lots of shots of a big drone).

 

Turns out there was enough eggs from the sueprcedure queen for them to start making emergency queens.

 

 

supercedure queen.jpg

queen cells from supercedure queen.jpg

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@Markypoo it may be the angle, or the light. Perhaps the frame is only partially drawn. But that brood doesn't look quite right. The cappings are uneven. Almost like drones in worker cells. Could explain the supercedure but if correct it would mean those cells may be duds. 

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It definitely looks crook can you please give us some more photos it looks like she's laying here there and everywhere a photo of the middle of the brood nest maybe

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3 minutes ago, Rob Stockley said:

@Markypoo it may be the angle, or the light. Perhaps the frame is only partially drawn. But that brood doesn't look quite right. The cappings are uneven. Almost like drones in worker cells. Could explain the supercedure but if correct it would mean those cells may be duds. 

I will give her a few days and check to see how she is going. I had a look at the frames she is on, and she has filled the cells nicely with eggs. She had just started laying on saturday as there was only a scattering of eggs. I pulled a frame today, showing off my bees to my brother. She has been filling the cells nicely, one egg each. Going by that time frame, if I have a look next tuesday or wednesday there should be a heap capped.

 

 

Can you please explain what you mean by duds? 

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2 minutes ago, glynn said:

It definitely looks crook can you please give us some more photos it looks like she's laying here there and everywhere a photo of the middle of the brood nest maybe

No, solid patches of eggs from what I saw.

But on saturday, they were a bit patchy.

 

 

Edited by Markypoo

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Ok was this a frame that had lot's of necter in it? It should be a good solid brood patch not like that more like this

IMG_20171124_173057.thumb.jpg.dae6328485ffd3bd2d290997593299da.jpg

Edited by glynn
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yeah, all my frames have lots of nectar. 

I have ordered wax foundation frames as they have really been reluctant to draw out plastic, but I put a wax frame in and they drew it out in 3 days.

 

 

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I am confident this little queen is doing okay from what I saw inside my topbar today but I will have a more detailed look tomorrow. 

I was going to wait and see if they made emergency queens in my langstroth.

As I predicted, I chickened out and got a queen off Jaspur yesterday. She is currently chewing her way out of her cage.

Just for giggles, I put the frame with the queen cells and heap of nurses in a nuc, just to see if I could make a queen.

Do you think there could be a problem with them?

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