I have recently seen quite a few questions from beginners about chop and crops as a means of getting combs from national nucs into top bar hives (usually of the horizontal sort).
I’ll start by saying that I have never been a fan of chop and crop, much preferring some sort of converter hive/box as being less disruptive for the colony. OK, it takes time, but where is the hurry?
Second, if a chop and crop is done, it is least disruptive on a small nuc that has not yet filled its combs with brood. A nuc that has been heavily fed by the producer and is bursting with bees and brood should, in my view, not even be considered for chop and crop. A lot of brood will likely be destroyed, or discarded, and the little colony will be put under considerable stress. I’ve seen this more than once where circumstances required surgery – with difficult cut-outs and the like. The result is either a colony that takes a very long time to recover or the bees simply abscond. The more I see it, the more convinced I become that it should be reserved for situations where the alternative is that the colony will otherwise be destroyed in any event.
For those who find themselves with bees on the ‘wrong’ shape of comb, consider converter boxes/hives or just keep the bees on the comb size they are already on and allow them to swarm next year. Swarms are very easy to install in boxes of any shape or size. 🙂
Gareth, West Oxfordshire