Author Topic: 20 Year Old Hive Dilemma  (Read 301 times)

SC Pollinator

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20 Year Old Hive Dilemma
« on: July 18, 2020, 09:37:15 PM »
Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum so I hope I've posted this in the right location. 
I've got a question that I was hoping to get some
advice on. I have come into possession of an old hive that
has not been opened in 20 years. It's been sitting in a remote
wooded area down here in South Carolina. When I went out to inspect it
to get an idea what I was dealing with I discovered the box had
rotted to a point where I was afraid to disturb it, lest the whole
thing fall over into a pile. From the activity at the entrance, the
colony seems strong. My plan was to come back and basically do a
cutout and install them in a new hive and leave it in the same location.
If by chance they were healthy and strong during the cutout I hoped
to make a split from it at the same time. Just leave the split there and
turned in the opposite direction from the original hive. I was going to
feed them sugar syrup until they got established. We have a lengthy
summer and a good golden rod flow in the fall. I guess my main concern is my
fear of robbing right in the middle of the cutout this time of year. I'm
sure there will be honey spilled in the process. Once the robbing begins
I don't know if it can be stopped before destroying the colony. Anyone had
any experience with this or have any suggestions? I appreciate the help guys.

Andrew in SE GA

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Re: 20 Year Old Hive Dilemma
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2020, 11:46:53 AM »
I would probably treat it like a cutout and begin about 2 hours before dark, and then take the whole hive with me. That would be a sure way to prevent robbing at that location. I would not leave any of the original hive there, if you are moving the "cutout" a few miles away.
You could always split the hive in the Spring and take it back to that locaiton.
Please send photos, that is interesting !


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Re: 20 Year Old Hive Dilemma
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2020, 02:21:05 PM »
you may get lucky on the inside (unlikely, but it never hurts to hope), and just need new "outer wear", though odds are it's going to be a bit of a mess on the inside as well.

hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and take a couple video cameras, that sounds like it'd be neat to capture and put on youtube or something.

Dirt Rooster

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Re: 20 Year Old Hive Dilemma
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2020, 02:26:27 PM »
That one could sure get some views on YouTube.  Everyone would be interested to know what a hive looks like after 20 years unattended.  You really won't know whether you can make a successful split or not until you get into it.  You're ahead of the game already just being aware that robbing could become a problem.  If you're comfortable working at night I would do that or at least start late enough that it's dark when you finish as was suggested by Andrew.