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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Topsy Turvy Curvy - Decisions to be Made

The new top on Topsy is lifted off of the top bars by two sections of 1X6 nailed to the bottom of the cover. This creates space for ventilation beneath the cover. So in Topsy instead of bearding off of the front of the hive, the bees collect under the cover where I found them on Thursday when I visited the hive.

My first task was to remove the comb we left in front of the follower board from trying to un-attach the comb several weeks ago. It helps to clear out the hive not to have old comb on the floor of the hive.

The hive has built out to about the last ten bars, so they have used about 25 - 30 of the top bars available to them.

Looking in, I could see that the last two combs curved forward, occupying the space under at least two top bars. Instead of trying to look at the comb or any further into the hive, I backed up and decided to make a different plan about this hive.

I don't think there's a way at this point to straighten out the mess that is Topsy. There are several problems:

First, I don't have Topsy at my own house so I don't see what's going on there on a regular basis. If I am to work on a top bar hive, I need it to be at my own house.

Second, I haven't addressed the comb problems in an appropriate way yet - causing the comb to drop off of the top bar is what has continued to happen and that doesn't work. I have a new hive tool for the top bar and understand now that I need to cut up with the hive tool if a comb is attached to the side of the hive, rather than cut down.

So I plan to leave Topsy alone until after I move to my new house in July. At that point, I am going to treat the hive like a cut out and move the comb into probably two hives in a split.

I have recently watched several of JP and Schawee's videos on Beemaster of how they do cut outs and I think I now understand better how to cut comb to fit it into frames. Thus far the only time I have rubber-banded comb is when I am trying to repair an accident, not when I've made an intentional cut.

I think I could treat Topsy as a cut out and following JP and Schawee's lead, I could cut the comb out well.  I'll move the two created hives to my house. At that point, I will move the empty Topsy box to my new house as well, leaving it empty until Spring 2012 when I'll start over with better management.
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  1. Anonymous7:17 AM

    I wonder if you could make a frame rest as well to make inspections easier? The langstroths are nice in that you could set them down on the ground if necessary.
    Also, how do you keep propolis off the camera as you take pictures? Anna

  2. I use two package boxes as a frame rest when I inspect Topsy - they work well set on end so that the comb is held up high enough not to touch the surface below. I set them on the top bars that are closed and inspect what there is to see. Ques. 2: I have broken four cameras in six years, mostly from dropping them. The camera does get propolis on it, but more gets honey on it when my hands are sticky.

  3. Glad to see you're *not* giving up! Your plan sounds like a great way to manage the situation. (You can also rotate your combs 180° and set them down on the top bar if necessary.)

  4. Hi Linda, I just came across your blog while searching for a local equipment supplier. So glad to have found you.

    I'm a new beekeeper in Lawrenceville. I have one hive and currently have two medium supers on top of my hive body. My 'girls' are still really busy and I think they have found a secret nectar stash :)

    There is a fairly new beekeeping club here in Gwinnett, which I joined as soon as I learned of its existence.

    I'm at mudasbees@gmail.com and I invite communication about bees, local equipment sellers (I already know about the big guys, Mannlake, Dadant, etc.).


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