Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Mid-Season Shift for Hives with Side Entrances

If you have a TBH with side entrances (BTW, I don't -- mine are on the end), you'll want to do something called a mid-season shift around the time of the summer solstice. Note: The mid-season shift applies only to hives with side entrances.

Before the shift, you're hive should look something like this. The brood nest will be in the center of the hive, and honey bars will be on the outside of the nest at both ends. When you do the mid-season shift, you are going to move all of the honey bars to one side of the nest.

Before the mid-season shift, your hive will look something
like this if you have side entrances

Why do this shift?
In the winter, bees have to eat honey, and they move in a cluster from one comb to another. They also travel in one direction only. If you do not shift all the honey to one side of the nest, you risk the cluster moving to one end of the hive and getting stuck with no way back to the rest of the honey.

How do I perform this shift? 
Basically, you remove all the empty bars and honey comb from one side of the hive. Push the divider and the brood comb down to the end of the hive. Put honey combs that were removed behind the honey combs at the other end. Place empty bars behind the divider at the other end. It should look something like this now:

After a mid-season shift, the hive should look something like this.

In case I didn't explain it well, here is a video of Christy Hemenway doing a mid-season shift.

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