Tips For Using Transfer Boxes
1. Choose a hive body that best fits into the transfer box opening. The goal is to have minimal clearance between the plywood and the sides of the hive body so that bees will not be able to enter or exit through these gaps. When the boxes are test fitted, be sure to have them oriented so that all frames/top bars are parallel.
2. Once you have located the best fitting boxes, use a pencil to place an index mark on both the transfer box and the hive body to be used with the transfer box, so that you can quickly get the hive set up at the final site.
3. Since your bees will have plenty of room, use only two hive bodies and the transfer box to start with. The hive will be top-heavy, so you don't want to make it too tall, but you do have to use two hive bodies rather than only one or your bees might not transfer. Use a ratcheting hive strap to secure the hive so that it can’t get blown over in high winds.
4. When installing the Langstroth frames into the transfer box, use care not to smash bees (that are hanging from the bottom of the frames) between the frames and the plywood pieces at the bottom of the box. There is likely to be minimal bee space in these areas.
5. Place a piece of cloth under the plywood cover to prevent the bees from propolizing the cover to the frames. Use a couple of bricks or rocks to secure the plywood cover in place, or simply screw it down. The fiberglass screen, quilt and roof will only be used after the transfer box is removed.
6. Use popsicle/craft sticks to shim one side of the cover for ventilation during hot weather. Place them between the cloth and the cover.
7. Remove the transfer box in late August as long as all of the honey inside is capped. Otherwise, wait a bit longer. Once the box is removed, install the fiberglass screen, quilt and roof assembly.
8. In order to start the transfer process immediately, place a queen excluder below the transfer box, and then use a queen clip to capture the queen and place her in the hive, below the excluder. If you’re transferring bees into a square hive and find that the transfer process has not yet started after 30 days, you need to do this. If you’re transferring bees into an octagonal hive, you must do this from day one. Thus, we provide the excluder with the octagonal hive transfer box. Also, since drones (male bees) cannot pass through the queen excluder, it’s important that you drill at least one (preferably 2) 3/8” holes through the side of your transfer box so as not to trap the drones inside. It doesn’t matter where you put the holes. Many of our newer (March of 2019 and later) transfer boxes already have these holes. We put them near the bottom, on each side of the slanted roof. Worker bees and drones will both use these as entrances/exits.
9. Speed up the transfer process by using the plastic nuc top feeder to feed your colony when necessary.
Note: Paint all plywood parts a light, pastel color in order to make them somewhat reflective. This will help prevent the plywood from warping and your bees from overheating. Do not use white paint, as it may attract the unwanted attention of other bee colonies that could lead to robbing.