Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Discussion about all the various types and configurations of topbar hives.
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trili
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Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:01 pm

My Top Bar hive (started package in April and having 17 combs perfectly built) was visited by a bear 3 nights ago :( . The Langstroth and the Warre hives were not touched, but the TB was ripped from its stand, overturned and the bars and combs were mostly in a heap on the ground, with a few pieces scattered. I was able to recover several of the combs that were intact, with brood and honey, though I do not know if the brood would have survived the night out in the cooler air. They are all detached from the bars and I can not figure out how to re-attach them, or if I should try. I placed them back into the hive resting upright on the bottom, doing as little damage as I could and set the hive back up. I was able to gather up the clumps of bees that were scattered through the area, and put them back into the hive, but they are really "hot" and do not seem to want me messing with them. Any thoughts on re-attaching or cleaning up the mess would be appreciated. Should I feed them to help mitigate the trauma? It is hard to assess how much honey is left for them to use, but I am leaning toward letting them fix up the mess themselves. Would it help with rebuilding comb to offer syrup? I really do not like to bother them unless it is necessary (hence the observation window). As it looks now, the inside is a mess, but the bees are coming and going in their usual manner. They were very productive before this happened.
We are not supposed to have bears in this area!
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Duncan151
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby Duncan151 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:37 pm

The combs setting on the bottom of the hive may be cleaned out, or if there is brood, it will hatch out and more than likely remain empty. Though no matter what they do with it, they will attach it to the floor and walls, right where it is. Odds are that will not coincide with a top bar. You can reattach the brood combs with hardware cloth, do a quick search, and you should be able to find pictures. The other options are to make cardboard slings to hold the combs in place, or hair clips. The hair clips are clipped to the comb and are zip tied to the bars. Once the comb is reattached to the bar you can cut out the hair clips. I am currently at the removing of the hair clip stage, from a comb, in one of my hives, so I have some experience with that method, and it works.

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:21 pm

Duncan151 wrote:The hair clips are clipped to the comb and are zip tied to the bars. Once the comb is reattached to the bar you can cut out the hair clips. I am currently at the removing of the hair clip stage, from a comb, in one of my hives, so I have some experience with that method, and it works.


Thank you. Are you clipping the hair combs around the bar or under it? I have not been able to find any clips large enough to fit around the bar and hold the comb underneath.
again, thanks for the suggestions.

Chuck Jachens
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby Chuck Jachens » Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:42 am

The hair clip will go under the bar. I recommend two per comb. You can notch the comb where the clips attach so the rest of the top edge of comb is closer to the top bar. After the comb is attached, make sure there is a 3/8 to 1/2 inch gap on the sides and bottom. Bee space is needed or they will attach the comb to the sides.

The hair clips at the dollar store work well, I think the ones that are 3 (or maybe 5?) to a package are a good size.

Bears are potential everywhere in El Dorado county, you can expect the bear to return. Electric fence is a necessity.

Feel free to private message me or call (you have my card).

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trekmate
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trekmate » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:33 pm

You could also try the method shown half-way down this page http://www.thegardenacademy.com/BK_-_Rescue_Frames.html

Once the bars are made they are easy to add combs to and I've found them very reliable.

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:43 pm

trekmate wrote:Once the bars are made they are easy to add combs to and I've found them very reliable.

Thank you!

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:48 pm

Chuck Jachens wrote:Feel free to private message me or call (you have my card).

Thanks!

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:55 pm

trekmate wrote:You could also try the method shown half-way down this page http://www.thegardenacademy.com/BK_-_Rescue_Frames.html
Once the bars are made they are easy to add combs to and I've found them very reliable.


I did make a few of these "rescue frames", and they seem to be a very good method for attaching back the comb. I was able to re-attach the comb without any problem.

It has been a week since the upset and the bees are making new comb, bringing in nectar and pollen, but I did not see any brood, though there are lots of bees. Is it time to worry? Should I consider moving some brood in from one of my other colonies? I do not want to buy a queen.

Chuck Jachens
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby Chuck Jachens » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:35 am

It won't hurt to add a comb with eggs and very small varvae (less than 3 days old). Your queen may just be off laying due to stress.

Are the bees sounding normal compared to your other tb hive. If they sound alike then the queen is likely there .

Has the bear been back?

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:34 pm

Chuck Jachens wrote:

Has the bear been back?

The bear has not been back, or I have not noticed it. I put up electric fence the day after, so if it has encountered that I do not know.
The bees are as busy as the other hives, and seem to be as active as they usually are. I will give them another week and then check to see if there is any sign of queen activity.

lharder
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby lharder » Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:28 am

Am in process of building electric fence for new out yard. Next week will hook it up an put some bees out there.

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:55 pm

lharder wrote:Am in process of building electric fence for new out yard. Next week will hook it up an put some bees out there.

I really hope it works. I have spoken with a few (not beek) people that say the electric fence will not keep out a determined bear, but I did see some video of some researchers (NOLS - Bear Fence Test) testing electric fences with bears and it seemed to work well. Good luck with your fence.

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:22 pm

:D Update: 18 days since bear, and 9 days since I rehung the combs and the bees are doing great! The rescue bars have most of the comb reattached. I strapped the last piece of comb (that was laying in the bottom for cleaning) to a bar today using a 2 inch strip of cloth and straight pin together the ends on the top. It seems to hold just fine, and easier than all the wire. Inspection reveled a huge mass of very calm bees, several fresh looking combs, comb with active pollen and uncapped honey storage and several frames of fresh looking brood. There was only one comb that was a bit of a mess. I am not really able to see eggs, and I did not see queeny, but, I know she is there and doing her job. They have really pulled it together! :D

Chuck Jachens
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby Chuck Jachens » Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:19 am

Excellent news! I would move the damaged comb close the the brood area or into the first third. It will force them to deal with it between two good bars of comb. Keep me/us update.

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trili
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Re: Topbar Bear Mess - How to Fix

Postby trili » Sat Aug 15, 2015 5:51 pm

@Chuck Jachens
Thank you. The "mess" comb is a full, regular comb with some overlapping burr on both sides, making it 3 combs thick. I want to watch and see what they do with it. I separated it from the attachments of the forward and aft combs and from a small side attachment, and scrapped the protruding comb off, and will check it in a week or so.


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