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Method For Pruning When Necessary

Category: HIVES.

But when the combs do actually need removing, I prefer the following
method of pruning, to driving the bees out entirely, as has been
recommended. It can be done in about an hour. As we are comparing the
merits of different methods of getting rid of old combs, I shall give
mine here, notwithstanding it may seem a little out of place.

The best time is a little before night. The first movement is to blow
under the hive some tobacco smoke (the best means of charming them I
ever found); the bees, deprived of all disposition to sting, retreat up
among the combs to get away from the smoke; now raise the hive from the
stand and carefully turn it bottom upwards, avoiding any jar, as some
of the bees that were in the top when the smoke was introduced, and did
not get a taste, will now come to the bottom to ascertain the cause of
the disturbance; these should receive a share, and they will
immediately return to the top, perfectly satisfied. When so many bees
are in the hive, as to be in the way in pruning, (which if there is not
it is not worth it,) get an empty hive the size of the old one, and set
it over, stopping the holes; now strike the lower hive with a hammer or
stick, lightly and rapidly, five or ten minutes, when nearly all the
bees will be in the upper hive, and set that on the stand. There being
now nothing in the way, except a few scattering bees, that I will
_warrant not to sting, unless you pinch or get them fast_.

The broad one is very readily made from a piece of an old scythe, about
18 inches long, by any blacksmith, by simply taking off the back, and
forming a shank for a handle at the heel. The end should be ground all
on one side, and square across like a carpenter's chisel. This is for
cutting down the sides of the hive; the level will keep it close the
whole length, when you wish to remove all the combs; it being square
instead of pointed or rounded, no difficulty will be found in guiding
it,--it being very thin; no combs are mashed by crowding.

The other tool is for cutting off combs at the top or any other place.
It is merely a rod of steel three-eighths of an inch diameter, about
two feet long, with a thin blade at right angles, one and a half inches
long, and a quarter inch wide, both edges sharp, upper side bevelled,
bottom flat, &c. You will find these tools very convenient; be sure and
get them by all means, the cost cannot be compared to the advantages.

Now with the tools just described, proceed to remove the brood-combs
from the centre of the hive. The combs near the top and outside are
used but little for breeding, and are generally filled with honey;
these should be left as a good start for refilling, but take out all
that is necessary, while you are about it; then reverse the hives,
putting the one containing the bees under the other; by the next
morning all are up; now put it on the stand, and this job is done
without one cent extra expense for a patent to help you, and the bees
are much better off for the honey left, which has to be taken away with
all patent plans that I have seen, and this, as has been remarked, is
not worth much, occupied as it is with a few cocoons and bee-bread. It
is worth much more to the bees, and they will give us pure comb and
honey for it.

Next: Use Of Tobacco Smoke

Previous: Best To Use Old Combs As Long As They Will Answer

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