Bailey Comb Change

This sounds like quite a complex procedure however its really not. This is a way of changing all the frames in one go.

You will need a new brood box with a full set of new frames and foundation. Place this new box on top of your existing brood box, put a feeder and syrup feed on top and let the bees start drawing out the comb. Once the bees have drawn out some of the comb find the queen and place her up in the top brood box. Put a queen excluder in-between the two boxes, so that the queen cannot get back down.

You can use a split board if you have one; this is a queen excluder with an entrance on it. If you do use a split board open the entrance and close off the bottom entrance. You can, if you prefer, rotate the floor so the bottom entrance is now at the other side, the bees will leave by that entrance but return to the other side of the hive and find the new entrance above. Close the bottom entrance the following day. If you decide to not rotate the floor but just close the entrance in the position it is in, the bees will find the exit so don’t worry.

Equally, if you don’t have a split board just use a queen excluder and the original entrance. The advantage of using the split board is that the bees won’t travel through the lower box storing pollen around the brood that is still down there. Instead, they will store pollen in the top box where the queen is now laying. Make sure you put a feeder with syrup on the bees and keep feeding for as long as needed.

After 3 weeks all the brood will have emerged from the frames in the lower box and you can now remove it along with the queen excluder. The wax can be rendered or burn along with the frames.