How do I change a bee hive floor?

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Posted by Surreybeekeeper | Posted in Beehives, Beekeeping, Beekeeping Equipment, Bees, Feeding bees, Inspections | Posted on 18-06-2010

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So tomorrow is my 2nd inspection check and I have a few concerns. Firstly I have a concern because tomorrow I will be doing it well and truly on my own and no Richard this time to talk to and calm my nerves. I supose I will take my camera with me to talk to instead and hopefully that might help.

I then have a complete group of concerns that I am also worried about – as a person, I never worry but for some reason I always worry about the garden and my bees; what is the reason for that, usually I am so laid back I might as well be horizontal! Anyway, my group of concerns cover the feeding of the bees and also the floor that they were put on by my great bee friend, Adam.

Firstly the feeding, I have been feeding them with gallons of sugar syrup (they have practically eaten all of the sugar from my local Sainsburys!) but I am unsure when I need to stop. My mind is telling me that they should draw out all the comb in the brood box first and then perhaps I should remove the feed then? I suppose that would make sense. This was confirmed by Adam who mentioned that you should feed until you need to put the super on top – I will have a look at the frames tomorrow and if they have drawn all the comb I will pop one on top – exciting!

Now, the closed floor. Apparently if you are housing a swarm you should put a closed floor on the hive and not an “open mesh” floor which is used more by beekeepers today – mainly to keep an eye on disease apparently as you can remove the mesh to count how many varroa mites have fallen off the bees for example or simple you can open the floor up to give the bees more ventialtion and therefore keep them cooler in a warm summer. However, an open mesh floor is apparently really bad for housing a swarm. Though mainly a qualitative theory by some of my beekeeping friends the story all seems to be the same – the swarm stays a few days and then dissapears off.

Now I have to say the human equivalent is probably trying to go to sleep while having the door wide open – I know how grumpy I get when this happens and so I am not surprised. Anyway, have a look at the pictures below and you will see what I mean.

What I am concerned about is the actual changing of the floors. In my head I have to remove the screws first from each side and that is where I get the mental block. This is partly because I can’t quite imagine picking up the hive, putting it on the ground, taking off the closed floor, replacing it with the open floor, lifting the hive back off the floor and then putting it back on top of the floor. I just find the thought of this quite scary. Surely this is going to make them incredibly angry and I will find myself running toward the pond quicker than I can say beehive. How on earth do I swap the floors with just me for company and a herd of slightly prickly bees? More thinking I think before I do this.

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