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Jean Rob

NZBF Can't separate supers. All waxed up.

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Hi all. I'm new. My partner and I have 1 hive in suburban garden. Noticed bearding 2 weeks ago - bees clustered around entrance. Figured they were hot and overcrowded. This evening went to have a look, take some honey out and put another super on top of two already there. Tried to take top super off, but very tight and frames from lower box were lifting too when we were trying to lift top box off. Seems lower frames were stuck to top box, I guess that was lots of wax doing it. We didn't have strength or wherewithal to complete the job which I guess was to scrape wax off tops of frames so they dropped back into bottom box. So we just put another super on top and retreated. Would still like to extract some honey. Do we need more people to help us lift while someone scrapes wax off? What do you suggest?

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Rotate the box while lifting slightly so that it breaks the wax.  You certainly don't want to lift out those bottom frames attached to the top frames, they will likely break off and fall damaging everything and greatly upsetting the bees.

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if you twist as you lift you can twist the frames and squish bees, if the wax is really strong. better to break the wax first.

 

probably easiest is to make some wedges. pry the box up a bit, push wedge in each side, then pry down each frame in the lower box.

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Pull one frame at a time across the box. If its really bad transfer the frames into a different box once you have scraped the wax off the top and bottom. If its really bad you may need to drive a pry bar in between the two boxes with a mallet to break the wax....

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Just take a garden spade and push in as far as possible between the two boxes on all sides that will get them apart then lift one frame out at a time.

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And be very aware that harvesting this late where you are tutin could be an issue. And welcome to the forum !

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You’ll want to take the new super off too . It’s completely the wrong time of the year to be expanding a hive .

Once you’ve mastered prizing down each frame while you have the end of the honey box lifted up , take the honey you want and reduce your boxes down for winter , with your varroa treatment in. 

 

Did you know that before you take the honey, you need to check your brood for disease? 

 

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Actually northland could still be going hard...

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2 minutes ago, Kiwifruiter said:

Actually northland could still be going hard...

Possibly ....

I was more aiming at the pest control timing and pointing at the necessity to have the varroa managent plan rolling already .

From experience , hobbiests don’t usually know that winter hive management starts in what feels to us like summer 

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49 minutes ago, Kiwifruiter said:

Actually northland could still be going hard...

depending on where a bit, a lot are downsizing and winter prepping. have heard of some honey flow but this rain may have finished that for good.

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2 hours ago, tristan said:

if you twist as you lift you can twist the frames and squish bees, if the wax is really strong. better to break the wax first.

 

probably easiest is to make some wedges. pry the box up a bit, push wedge in each side, then pry down each frame in the lower box.

I use a maxant J shaped tool and pull each frame up from the top box and they will separate easily when you crack the box. 

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3 minutes ago, Maru Hoani said:

I use a maxant J shaped tool and pull each frame up from the top box and they will separate easily when you crack the box. 

😕 if they are well stuck down you will break the frame before you can pull a frame up. J hook will must through a frame easy enough.

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46 minutes ago, tristan said:

😕 if they are well stuck down you will break the frame before you can pull a frame up. J hook will must through a frame easy enough.

How long do you leave them between checks? I have pullled apart a fair few neglected brood nests and never had a non white plastic frame break.....

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One of you could lift the box from one end and the other person uses the hive tool to work along the edge and unstick each frame that’s stuck along that edge.

once the edge is unstuck the box will come off easily 

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Splitting boxes apart is probably the most common problem I help hobbyists with. Having a decent hive tool helps but it also takes a fair bit of strength and dexterity.  At the moment I am busy putting in varoa strips which means splitting the two brood boxes and they can be really gummed up. Even with over 40 years experience I still struggle with the odd hive. With really difficult hives you need to get the boxes split at least an inch apart at the back and then separate each frame individually by reaching into the gap's. You can do this by yourself but it does take practice.

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I  have always found cracking at least on corner. Putting a knee into to lower of the 2 and pulling the top box towards you. It will be tight then once it moves about 3-4 cm it will release and lower frames will come away from top frames. I see you said you retreated the hive. We you need to be careful what you are using if you intend to use the honey due to residue

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Thank you everyone for your helpful suggestions. We will give it another try.

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12 hours ago, M4tt said:

You’ll want to take the new super off too . It’s completely the wrong time of the year to be expanding a hive .

Once you’ve mastered prizing down each frame while you have the end of the honey box lifted up , take the honey you want and reduce your boxes down for winter , with your varroa treatment in. 

 

Did you know that before you take the honey, you need to check your brood for disease? 

 

Thanks M4tt. Will do. 

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19 hours ago, Kiwifruiter said:

How long do you leave them between checks? I have pullled apart a fair few neglected brood nests and never had a non white plastic frame break.....

depends on the hive. i've had them go from clean to gummed in in a month. some hives just seam worse than others for it. 

even just supers, if they are well packed i have torn frames apart getting them out at times.

i prefer the wide blade to the hook so the load is spread across a wide aera and not just in one spot.

the other trick is to use a 2nd hive tool on top of the frame so the fulcrum is on steel.

 

with neglected hives i havn't used a spade or pry bar yet but i've used a base as a hammer on the hive tool.

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I’m a female Beek & I have a wooden wedge in my pocket. I crack the corner and lever the first two frames with a bit of effort and a twist of the hive tool. Push the wedge in and then lever down each frame until I get to the middle. Then I lean on the back corner and lever down the rest one at a time. You get faster with practice. I add a couple of puffs of smoke in the gap as I go pushing the wedge in with my knee. Practice makes it easier. Bees will make burr comb & propolis where ever they can!

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i'm a male beek and i use my fingers instead of a wedge.

my fingernails have railroad tracks on them. my fingers are munted. 

i wonder why.

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1 hour ago, Bron said:

I’m a female Beek & I have a wooden wedge in my pocket. I crack the corner and lever the first two frames with a bit of effort and a twist of the hive tool. Push the wedge in and then lever down each frame until I get to the middle. Then I lean on the back corner and lever down the rest one at a time. You get faster with practice. I add a couple of puffs of smoke in the gap as I go pushing the wedge in with my knee. Practice makes it easier. Bees will make burr comb & propolis where ever they can!

 

Like you @Bron I use two small plastic tree felling wedges from the local Stil shop.  I hammer the hive tool in with the wedge when there’s space shove the wedges in then work each frame down back into the lower box.  Have found two issues you need a decent tool or it will bend, and placement of the tool between the supers is critical so you don’t damage the corners.  

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On 24/02/2019 at 10:00 PM, tristan said:

😕 if they are well stuck down you will break the frame before you can pull a frame up. J hook will must through a frame easy enough.

Not if you have plastic frames and use pulling and leverage at the same time, it worked for my last thousand boxes this season. 

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12 hours ago, tristan said:

i'm a male beek and i use my fingers instead of a wedge.

my fingernails have railroad tracks on them. my fingers are munted. 

i wonder why.

Well then @tristantry the wedge and save your fingers! 

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Man!!  I'm sooo glad I have a long hive.

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