Gave away my bees at the beginning of the season as I was away all summer (in Mongolia; I'll post another time about beekeeping there). Came back to find a colony had moved in underneath a National I had left outside. The National had good comb inside, but they preferred to build their own place in the basement. Picture below shows them after I removed the National Brood box, leaving just the roof and floor:
Anyway, as they would be exposed over the winter, I decided that it's best to try to improve their housing for the winter. I've done a cut & transfer of comb before (see Phil Chandler's "Chop and Crop" video), but this late in the season I think cutting their combs out and putting them into a new hive would be too traumatic.
After an initial inspection, it looked like most of their comb was attached to the underside of the hive floor, with a little bit attached to the hive stand itself. So my plan was to cut the comb loose from the places where it was attached to the hive stand, then lift the floor up, bringing most of the combs with it, and place it on top of another (empty) National box. I modified the second National's roof so that it would cover the gaps (since a floor is wider than a brood box), and was all ready to do this.
Then I did a closer inspection (measure twice, cut once!), and found that they had been much more thorough in attaching the comb than I thought, particularly in places along the top of the hive stand that were inaccessible to me since the floor itself is in the way! So it would be extremely awkward to get in there to cut it loose. So that approach has stalled.
Another option might be to lift up the whole hive stand, put an empty box underneath, and lower them into it. This is much less invasive, the drawback being that there will still be gaps.
Of course, I'll still have the problem of how to rehouse them in a top bar hive next season, for now I just want to get them throught he winter.