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Thursday, May 29, 2014

"First Inspection" or "I Need a New Optometrist"

I think this was an accidental photo, but I like it.
Five to six days -- that's how long Sam Comfort recommended that I wait before inspecting my new bees. Today is the 5th day, and the weather is a lovely 64 degrees and sunny. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70's with thunderstorms. Yeah, we're doing inspections today.

Austeja
The bees looked great in both hives. Pollen is coming in. Nectar/honey is being stored. Queens are out of their cages and laying eggs. Austeja, definitely has 30-50% fewer bees than Hippolyte, which makes me think that I was right about a large number of its population defecting that first day. On the other hand, while both queens are laying, Austeja's queen appears especially prolific with eggs in just about every available cell. As a result, I hope that hive will soon catch up to its neighbor.

Austeja
Of course, even with the limited number of bees in each hive, I still didn't see the queens in either one. I'm even wearing contacts with a brand-new prescription, so either I need a new optometrist or I simply stink. I know you're too polite to tell me I stink, so I'm going to blame the optometrist. ;-) Maybe I should try looking again in about 2 more weeks when their populations are at an all-time low.

Hippolyte
Speaking of hive populations, that's one thing that I forgot to mention when I wrote about my packages. I was so pleased with the number of bees in each one. A lot of people who buy a 3-lb package get a box of bees which was shaken up to 3 days before pickup and is stressed from traveling across the country. As a result, they have up to an inch of dead bees in the bottom of their box. By contrast, I was so pleased with the packages that I got. Sam doesn't use syrup cans or ship bees. Instead, packages are shaken and installed the day of pickup, so a 3-lb package is 3 pounds of live bees -- not a lot of live bees plus an inch of dead ones.

Hippolyte

Sorry for that informational detour; back to the inspection. Each hive has comb on 5-6 bars, and there is festooning happening on an additional 3-4 bars in each hive. The comb is just lovely -- straight and white. Hippolyte did have a little bit of cross-comb, but that was easily remedied. I tried barely cutting into it and mooshing it into position on the bar. It didn't really want to stick, though, so I removed it.

It's hard to see the cross-comb because of the bees.
However, you can see where it is.
Just look at the comb on the left and follow the line of comb down until it starts upward again.
You''ll see a "furrow" of bees that denotes the right edge of the cross-comb.
The bees themselves are just wonderful to work with. Very gentle, very calm. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe in my second year, I'm the one that's more calm. In any case, I was able to work in just a veil, t-shirt and jeans. The veil has a relaxing effect on me because I don't think about getting stung in the eye, but the bees really were mellow. I didn't need gloves, smoke, or even a spray bottle of water/syrup.

I'm so delighted to be back in "bee-siness."






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Do I have a drone layer/laying worker?

I follow a lot of different forums for TBH beekeeping. Without fail, there are certain questions that come up over and over again. On one particular forum, I think I've seen the question "Do I have a drone layer/laying worker?" at least half a dozen times in the past three days. 

Because I'm obsessed with charts and graphs and teeny colored boxes, I thought I'd put together a flowchart to answer this question. 

Cheers!


Monday, May 26, 2014

Sam Was Right

A couple of months ago, I read about rapid feeders on Beekeeper Linda's blog, and they seemed like a safe, easy way to feed bees. They seem to be quite common in Europe but nearly impossible to find on this side of The Pond. Eventually, I found a gig in Canada that carries them and ordered two. (BTW, the shipping was more than the feeders. Yikes!)

Rapid feeders are meant to be used in Langs, though, so I had to rig a way to place them in my hives. First, I cut a hole into a board. Then I pounded in some of these funny looking nails or staples.

The hole doesn't really need to be this large.
For this feeder, I repurposed a failed feeder I made last summer,
so the hole was already there.



As you can see, the nails/staples hold the feeder in place, and the feeder sits on top of the top bars. With this type of feeder, it's really hard to drown bees, and I had high hopes for it.




I mentioned my feeder setup to beekeeper extraordinaire Sam Comfort when I was picking up my packages on Saturday. He's too nice to say anything discouraging, but I could tell from the expression on his face and the diplomatic answer he gave that he didn't think it was going to work. 

Worried by Sam's lack of enthusiasm, I set the feeders up anyway when I installed the packages. However, I put some capped honeycomb behind the divider as well. 

On Saturday, I noticed that one hive had a few bees in the feeder, but the other hive didn't have any bees in the feeder at all. Yesterday, neither hive had bees in the feeder (at least not while I was checking.) Again, this morning, there were no bees in the feeder. However, I checked the comb behind the dividers, and in both hives, they had been completely cleaned out. I promptly added jar feeders like Sam had originally suggested. I'm not too proud to admit that he was right.

As disappointed as I am to discover that the rapid feeders are a bust, I'm going to keep them because I'm considering trying a Warre next year. Given the vertical design of that hive, I have my fingers crossed that the feeders will work better.

In any case, I consider this write up a public service announcement. In case you're considering investing in rapid feeders for your TBH, you have now been warned. :)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Drifting?

Ok, I know that I can't open up the hives, but that can't stop me from making exterior visual inspections, right?

So yesterday evening, I went out to the hives, and I noticed that Austeja had very little activity at the entrance while bees were all over Hippolyte. Hippolyte, of course, is the one that actually had bees in her last year, and I'm starting to wonder whether the girls from Austeja, attracted by lingering scents from the old colony, are trying to move in with the folks next door. 

Around 8:45 this morning, only one or two bees were going in/coming out of Austeja, but Hippolyte had a large number of  ladies around the entrance. I grabbed my DH's stethoscope and listened in. There was a gentle buzz from Austeja. Ok, so I know that it has bees. Next, I placed the stethoscope up to Hippolyte. Whoa! The noise from inside was twice as loud as the other hive.

Austeja at 8:45 am. 

Hippolyte at 8:45 am.

It's after 11 now, and thank goodness that the traffic has picked up around Austeja's entrance. However, there's nothing like the movement in the other hive.

In hindsight, I think there are some things I could/should have done differently. 
  • For starters, I installed the packages immediately because they didn't have a syrup can and because of the threat of rain. I should have just spritzed them throughout the day and waited until evening to install them -- this would've given the bees extra time to get used to their new queen's scent.
  • I could've installed one package into Austeja (the "new" hive) first and given them an hour or so to get used to it. After waiting for awhile, I could've then installed the other package into Hippolyte (the "used" hive). Then again, would the bees from Austeja simply have found the other empty, "fragrant" hive and still wanted to move over? I don't know.
  • I could have placed the hives father apart.
I guess this is something I'll just have to keep an eye on. Haven't decided what to do about it yet, though. I think I may wait until I check the queen cages on Thursday. I'd hate to go in there and have them abscond entirely -- especially since there isn't a blessed thing I can do about the "drifting" now. Then, once the stronger hive has some comb and brood, I may pull some bees and comb from it for the weaker hive. I might also switch the placement of the hives around so that returning forages go into the weaker hive and boost their population.

What say you all? What would you do? 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

New Packages!

Yesterday afternoon, I got a message from Sam Comfort to meet him in Pine Plains, NY, at 10:30 am "somewhere close to the traffic light in the center of town." As a result, last night felt like Christmas Eve, and I couldn't sleep a wink. The packages (and a horror of  missing the right traffic light) were all I could think about!

Pine Plains. The countryside around this tiny town is amazing.

Although Mapquest indicated a 90-minute drive, the trip took far less time than I'd expected. Even with a brief detour to Tractor Supply, I still rolled into Pine Plains about 45 minutes ahead of schedule (no need to fear missing the traffic light, btw), so I rang Sam up to let him know I planned to grab a cup of tea at The Pit Stop. Happily, he was ahead of schedule, too, so I waited only about 10 minutes.

When Sam stepped through the door, he recognized me immediately, though I don't know how. Of course, I knew him from online videos -- he really does have an unruly mop of curly hair and an open, boyish smile.

Anyway, he was very kind and patient answering my torrent of questions as he helped carry my new bees to my car. I can't say enough about what a really nice person he is and what a pleasure it was to meet him.

Don't they look ready to build comb?

The drive through the country was just gorgeous. The hills looked so green and lush, and the air had a wonderful freshness from the recent rains. On the way to Pine Plains, I almost wished someone else was driving so I could stick my head out the window like a dog. It was just as lovely coming back, though I confess that I was too bubbly with excitement to pay much attention to the scenery.

Sam shakes his packages the morning of pickup, and he doesn't use syrup cans. The weather forecast for my area is pretty iffy today, too. These combined factors impelled me to install the packages as soon as I got home.

Some fanning action

Hiving the first package went perfectly smoothly until I was stung on the ankle. The second package was a bit trickier since I accidentally dropped the queen cage in the box as I was opening it. Arrgh.

I don't think they're interested in that queen cage at all! LOL!

I have gallons of honey/capped syrup that I saved from last year, and Sam recommended giving that to the bees since it was my own and I knew it was germ-free. He recommended putting it in a  jar feeder in the hive, but I mentioned that I'd gotten rapid feeders. He's too polite to say anything negative, but I think he was skeptical because he asked, "Did they work for you last year?" I had to fess up and say that I had no idea if they'd work because I'd just gotten them a few weeks ago. "Ok, try them out then and see what happens. We're all learning, and everything's an experiment." (See how cool he is? He's got years of experience, but he has a modest and generous nature, and he doesn't try to tell anyone how to run their business. He's happy to offer advice when asked, but also just as happy to let people find their own way. Try and see. That's excellent advice for everyone.)

Here is an image of the rapid feeder without its lid.
A bee (the one under the cup) found the feeder within seconds of my placing it on the hive. 

Anyway, I left the girls fanning and making orientation flights. Now it's time to let them do their own thing without any interference from me. Hmmm... Try and see. I wonder if that's something that Sam learned from bees.

My lovely assistant

Growing into her beekeeping clothes

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Bee Photographer

While I really dig photography, I'm no photographer. Forget talent. Somehow, I'm always too busy or too involved in the moment to remember to take a picture of it. However, I'm quite glad that there are people who remember to capture the moment and allow us to see the world through their eyes.

Today, I found an exquisite portfolio by Eric Tourneret quite by accident. I was searching for info on installing packages in bad weather when I came across his gorgeous photos of bees and beeks around the world. Ironically, Gold Star Honeybees had posted one one of Tourneret's photos on their Facebook page, and I had admired it for awhile without knowing where it came from.

With two separate sources pointing me toward this portfolio, I figured the universe was giving me a sign too big to ignore.

If you have some time, I highly recommend checking out The Honey Gatherer's website. You will be awed and amazed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I have a pick-up date!!!

Yesterday, I received confirmation from Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries that I can pick up my bees on Saturday! Whoo hoo!!! When he asked me what time I would like to pick them up, I wanted to say, "As early as possible! Dawn!" However, good sense, decency, and courtesy prevailed. Instead, I indicated that 10 am would be ok.

So in the meantime, I'm pacing back and forth like a dad in a maternity ward, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my packages. At least, thanks to my daughter and trusty helper, we have "the nursery" painted and ready!

Rather than trying to name all the queens, we're just going to name the hives, now. You might remember that Hippolyte and Austeja were my queens last year.

Hippolyte -- Amazonian queen. Seems fitting for an all-female colony.

My princess helped with all the paintings, which is why there are smears and dots all over. My favorite painting, though, is  the one she did all by herself on the back of Austeja (upper right corner in image below). Definitely the image with the most talent!

Austeja is named after the Lithuanian bee goddess.
I think a goddess would like sunshine and flowers, don't you?

In a nod to my kids, we had to do a Nintendo theme. The next nuc will feature Pokemon, of course.
Seems nucs should be named after princesses since they're smaller.
Peach is my peach's favorite princess.

As you can see, we made sure to put a crown on each hive. After all, every queen needs her bling.




Monday, May 19, 2014

Got Stinging Nettle?

A shout out goes to Dewey Sanchez of August Cottage Apiary for sending me a link to a paper by Mărghitaş L. A. et. al./Scientific Papers: Animal Science and Biotechnologies, 2010, 43 (1).While I highly encourage you to read the paper for yourself, I'll give you some of the highlights (i.e., the parts I found interesting) here.

The results of this study examining the effects of various supplements in feed were fascinating. The author tested various types of herbal stimulators, including stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), garlic, onion, thyme, and echinacea. The study also included use of the natural product called Protofil, which is a natural extract that contains dandelion, thyme, chamomile, basil, and others.

Marghitas points out that there are many reasons why people feed bees, including:
  • Ensuring the development of the colony during a dearth
  • Building colony population in order to optimize a nectar flow
  • Building colonies for pollination
  • Extending drone production
  • Building up colonies after losses
In feeding bees, supplements are sometimes added to sugar syrup. These supplements can be categorized as:
  • Plants with trophy (i.e., growth) action and general stimulation: nettle, dandelion, wild rose, box thorn, blackberries, raspberry, wild strawberry
  • Plants with antibacterial action: garlic, onion, chamomile, mug worth, linden, horse tail 
  • Plants with astringent, disinfectant and stimulative action on digestive tract: mugwort, balm mint, tansy, horsemint, wild rose, nettle, oak, birch
The purpose of Marghitas' experiment was to test the effects of various plant supplements on the development of artificially weakened colonies. To do this, he weakened 40 different bee families, which were divided into 8 experimental batches and 40 artificial swarms. He weakened these families by eliminating frames covered with bees from the nest until only 1/4 of the original population was left.

In the first stage of the experiment, he made 2 control groups and 6 experimental groups. Control groups received simple sugar syrup while each experimental group received syrup with a different plant supplement. Marghitas tested the following supplements:
  1. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) infusion: 100 g fresh nettle in 1000 ml hot water. (That is approx. 3 oz fresh nettle in 4 1/4 cups water for those of us who don't do metric!) The infusion was used for preparing the syrup 
  2. Onion extract: Onion juice was extracted by grinding the onion. Marghitas used 5 ml of juice in one kg of syrup 
  3. Garlic extract: The same extraction and preparation method was used for garlic as for the onion.
  4. Thyme infusion: Prepared from dry thyme that was finely ground and infused in hot water. A 10% solution was used for preparing syrup. 
  5. Echinacea infusion: 10 g of plant in 1000 ml of hot water. Infusion was used for syrup preparation. 
  6. Protofil: 17 ml of extract in one kg of sugar syrup. 
In a second stage of experimentation, Marghitas used thyme and echinacea infusions in the supplementary feeding.

Capped and uncapped brood, as well as total brood, were measured before and after the supplemental feeding.

The following charts show the results of his experiments.
This chart compares before/after results in brood development when supplementing with nettle, onion, Protofil, and garlic.
You can see that all of the packages that received supplemental herbs did much better than the control group.

This chart compares before/after results in brood development when supplementing with thyme and echinacea.
Again, packages that received supplemental herbs developed more brood than the control group.

This table provides data showing just how the supplemented colonies compared with the control colonies.
The image says Table 2, and I realize I didn't show Table 1. 
Table 1 describes the amount of polyphenols in each herbal supplement. 
You can view the paper via the link provided above for that info.

As you can see from the data, all of the colonies that received herbal supplements performed better than the control groups with regard to brood development. There was a quite a disparity, though, between the performance levels. Colonies receiving thyme and echinacea did only marginally better than the control groups. Colonies that received onion, garlic, and the commercially available supplement Protofil did very well. However, colonies that received stinging nettle showed great improvement. Results show that nettle induced almost almost twice as well as the next best supplement (Protofil) and almost 7 times better than thyme, which induced the least growth.

I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to plant some stinging nettle!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Beekeeping for All

UPDATED: Added link to free download of Warre's book.

I've just begun reading Abbe Warre's Beekeeping for All (which you can download for free) , and I've been hooked from page 1. I love, love, love how he begins his work.Why keep bees at all? What is the purpose of this activity? He concludes that honey is the purpose. But, he writes:

     It is also worth noting that beekeeping is a fascinating activity and consequently rests both mind and body.
     Furthermore, beekeeping is a moral activity, as far as it keeps one away from cafés and low places and puts before the beekeeper an example of work, order and devotion to the common cause.
     Moreover, beekeeping is a pre-eminently healthy and beneficial activity, because it is most often done in the fresh air, in fine, sunny weather. For sunshine is the enemy of illness just as it is the master of vitality and vigour. Dr Paul Carton wrote: 'What is needed is to educate a generation in disliking alcohol, in despising meat, in distrusting sugar, in the joy and the great benefit of movement'.
     For the human being is a composite being. The body needs exercise without which it atrophies.The mind needs exercising too, otherwise it deteriorates. Intellectuals deteriorate physically. Manual workers, behind their machines, suffer intellectual deterioration.
     Working on the land is best suited to the needs of human beings. There, both mind and body play their part.
     But society needs its thinkers, its office workers and its machine operatives. Clearly these people cannot run farms at the same time. But in their leisure time (they must have some of it) they can be gardeners and beekeepers and at the same time satisfy their human needs.
     This work is better than all modern sports with their excesses, their promiscuity, their nudity.
     Thus if the French were to return to the land they would be more robust, more intelligent. And as the wise Engerand said, France would again become the land of balance where there would be neither the agitations, nor the collective follies that are so harmful to people; it would become again a land of restraint and clarity, of reason and wisdom, a country where it is good to live.
     And let us not forget the advice of Edmond About: 'The only eternal, everlasting and
inexhaustible capital is the earth'.
     Finally, one more important thing: the bees fertilise the flowers of the fruit trees. Apiculture thus contributes greatly to filling our fruit baskets. This reason alone should suffice to urge all those who have the smallest corner of orchard to take up beekeeping.

I like how Warre endorses beekeeping as an activity that benefits both body and mind since I've often found this true. The time I spend in the hive is the most zen experience I can think of. There is the pleasure of being in "fresh air, in fine, sunny weather," but there is also the pleasure of being able to set aside all my agitations. For those moments I am in the hive, I think of nothing else. Out of necessity, all my energy and mental focus are concentrated on the task at hand, and it's a relief to be able to tune out everything else. I always come away from the hive mentally refreshed and invigorated (sometimes, perplexed, too, but I suppose that's the flip side of intellectual stimulation).

Even more, I like how Warre presents beekeeping as a moral activity --The bees actually improve us by providing an amazing example of cooperation and devotion to a common cause. Personally, I don't know if I'm a better person as a result of keeping bees, but it's true that I'm certainly a humbler person and more in awe of the complexity of the world we live in. I've come to appreciate more the things that may seem insignificant.

While self-preservation should be sufficient reason for beekeeping, Warre mentions this reason as almost an afterthought.  Physical fitness, intellectual clarity, devotion to common social causes, abstention from excesses, and work -- these are the things that beekeeping provides, and according to Warre, there are the things that make a country "where it is good to live." Personally, I can't say that I disagree. Beekeeping, then, is elevated to a noble endeavor that builds more than just comb and produces more than honey. It builds a society and produces greatness.

Yes, Abbe, I agree. Everyone should have a hive.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bee-Tox -- It's a Real Thing!

Last year, I got stung in the forehead, and immediately, my skin swelled, eliminating any lines I might have. Jokingly, I referred to the incident as "bee-tox." Imagine my surprise when I found out this morning that bee-venom masks actually exists and are used by royalty such as Kate Middleton and Duchess Camilla! Oh, you know I couldn't leave that alone!

A couple minutes on Google revealed that there are quite a few companies that sell beauty creams chock full of venom, including.
  • Abeeco -- "the original bee venom mask from New Zealand!"
  • heaven by Deborah Mitchell -- "Nature's alternative to Botulinum Toxin"
  • Manuka Doctor's Apinourish rejuvenating face mask -- "The venom is extracted using a safe process that ensures that the bee's lifespan, well-being and performance are not affected." (Really? I'd love to know how says this beek.)
  • Beenigma -- "contains the highest concentration of Bee Venom that is perfectly balanced to produce effective results without causing any inflammation."
  • Wild Ferns 
This is not a complete list, but you get the idea. 

Here are some articles as well from beauty magazine Allure and The Huffington Post

You can even find YouTube testimonials to apitoxin, like this one. 


I thought I was being funny last year when I referred to my "beetox" treatment -- who knew it was a real thing?! So what do you think? Next time I visit the hives, should I leave my veil in the house? :-)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ready and Waiting

UPDATED

I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready! (I know you can't hear me, but I'm doing my best Spongebob impression as I chant.)

My Mother's Day plans for a picnic in the park were completely derailed when my daughter and husband woke up ill. On the other hand, it seemed a shame to waste the glorious sunshine (the first and last sunshiny day for a while), so I spent the day installing the bear fence kit that I ordered a few weeks ago.

I was a little nervous about installing an electrical fence because I've never done anything like that before. Fortunately, as a kid, I did enough projects with my dad (who can do anything) that I know how to use basic tools. I say fortunately because the instructions that came with the fencing kit were rubbish. If I hadn't had my dad showing me stuff when I was younger, I'd have been lost. As it was, I still had to go online and watch some videos of people installing electrical fences. BTW, while I was doing that, I came across a terrific instructional video. If I'd seen this a month ago, I never would have ordered the kit because the one in the video seems a lot sturdier and simpler.


However, once I figured out what I was doing, the fence came together pretty easily. Then came the moment of truth -- turning on the switch and using the fence tester to see if I had current running through it. I plugged my fence tester into the ground and touched the other end to the fence. What? No current?! There was some momentary confusion until I realized that I'd forgotten to run a wire from the charger to the fence. Doh!

After connecting the charger to the fence, I threw the switch again. The fence tester gave me a positive reading. Hooray! I did it! All by myself!



At just that moment, my husband came outside to see how things were coming along. Out of curiosity, he decided to test the fence with his hand. His reaction was disappointing. I had expected him to jump backward, but he said he was only getting a slightly unpleasant buzz. What??? After he went inside, I grabbed the fence. He was right, so I called my dad.

Dad wanted to know if the ground was wet or dry. Our yard is on the sandy side, so pretty dry. Then he asked if I was wearing shoes. Yeah, rubber crocs. Was my husband wearing shoes? Hmm.. probably. "Ok," he said, " wet ground will conduct electricity better than dry soil. So will wet hands. Dry hands have about 20,000 ohms of resistance, but a bear will grab it with his mouth or nudge it with a moist nose, so it should get a greater shock. And your shoes are probably insulating you, too. If you really want to know what the bear feels, take your shoes off and bite the fence. HAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

So my dad was joking, but he overestimated my intelligence. After a quick shower, I went back to the fence slightly damp and barefoot. I tapped the fence's polytape "rails" (the kit I got uses a sort of plastic tape with metal wire woven into it instead of straight-up wire) a few times and got nothing. So I pinched the tape between my fingers. ZZZAAAAP! Ow! I yanked my hand away as the shock traveled up my arm and down my right leg. My husband guffawed while I shook my hand to get the feeling back. Of course, he's as much a doofus as I am, so he grabbed the fence next, and it was my turn to laugh.

This is what the polytape for the "rails" looks like.

On the one hand, I'm glad that this fence requires someone to actually latch onto it because I worry about kids getting accidentally shocked. On the other hand, I was hoping for instantaneous current. I got zapped a few times by my grandfather's electric fence as a kid, and as I recall, just a tap -- the minutest touch -- would be enough to shock a body. However, his fences used actual metal wire and not this tape stuff that came with my kit. I don't know if that makes a difference. Also, he probably had a much stronger charger.

If a bear knocks the fence with its body or swats at it, I'm not sure what kind of jolt it'll get. On the other hand, if the bear tries to chomp it, it should get a nasty surprise. To be honest, I still have a wicked headache from the shock I took. Well, I guess time will tell. Fingers crossed that this works.

UPDATE: This morning, I called the company that sold me the kit. Jonathan, their rep helped me troubleshoot to make sure that the charger was working properly (and it is). In the end, he guessed that when I tapped the polytape, I was touching the plastic instead of the wire. However, a bear will probably make contact with a greater area than I was with my fingertip. Hmm.. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Using a Rod to Push Top Bars Together

I've seen people inspecting bees in Langs, and one of the things that bugs me (no pun intended -- ok, maybe intended a little bit) is the number of bees that get squashed when they put the boxes back together. I'm not sure that it can be helped, though. It's hard to keep bees from landing all over the place.

One of the reasons I like top bar hives is that I can actually get through an entire inspection without squashing a single bee. It's not easy though. However, I worked out a method that seemed to work ok. Here's what I did:

  1. Put one end of bar down right up against the previous bar.
  2. Slowly lower other end of the bar so that it comes down right next to the comb beside it. This will push the bees down. Might have to jiggle the bar up and down a bit, though, to get the girls to move.
It sounds like a simple plan, but it was a little tedious, and I sometimes had to use smoke, which I didn't love. That's why I was so excited when someone shared this video on BeeSource today. What a fabulous idea! It's so simple I can't believe I never thought of that! 

Cheers, everyone!