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Thread: Burr comb

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

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    Can someone give a description for the blind of what this is and how it occurs? My bees, especially in one hive, seem to be building comb based upon the chaos theory; bridges between frames, odd bulbous looking combs at the tops of the frames, bizarre shapes etc. Very little uniformity like I see in pics of other frames.

    thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    mn, wi, tx
    Posts
    174

    Post

    You've described burr comb fairly well. Any comb outside the bounds you have set (the frame holding your foundation) is burr comb. Usually result when bee space is not adhered to. A strong hive with with no room will put burr comb anywhere and everywhere there is more than a bee space.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    White Heath, IL, USA
    Posts
    29

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    Hello All

    I have six new hives this year. They all seem to be doing fine. In the strongest hive though, the bees seem intent on building burr comb between one (just one) of the frame tops and the inner cover.

    I am relatively inexperienced - but to my untrained eye it does look like there is proper bee space at this point in the hive. At least, the space here is consistent with the spacing in the rest of the hive. The tops of the frames in this hive (when opened) have one layer of bees on them. I had also thought that maybe the inner cover had some flaw that they were covering up. But at my last inspection I removed the burr comb and took a look - nothing noticable.

    When I fed yesterday I noted that they had rebuilt the burr comb in exactly the same postion as they had originally. Only now they have built about twice as much as they had originally. I didn't even attempt to clean up the burr comb on this inspection figuring that the bees know what they are doing.

    Do people remove burr comb or just leave it where the bees have decided to put it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

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    Then it looks like the are being stubborn; they seem to be staying in 4 particular frames, the other 6 frames are wide open so I know it's not crowding. Wax foundation with wires, so there shouldn't be an issue, in my lack-of-knowledge mind.

    Oh well, if i get time this weekend I guess I'll just try to clean it up. Right now to keep from potentially hurting an bees, I slip out one of the empty frames, then slide the fuller ones over a touch prior to pulling them out.

    do you simply scrape this comb down, provided it has no brood, to an acceptable level?

    thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

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    I usually, but not always, scrape it off. If you want to prevent them rebuilding it, paint the to bars and the space where it was attached on the inner cover, with FGMO (Food Grade Mineral Oil. Buy the mineral oil laxative at the drug store.) When I don't scrape it off, it's just that I'm too busy to mess with it.

    As to a lot of random comb everywhere, how are your frames spaced? In the brood chamber they should be pushed together tightly in the middle with the excess space on the outsides. Also, is your foundation buckled or is it nice and flat? Did you wire it? Are the wires tight? Are you using plastic foundation? Is it wax coated? All of these things have an effect.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

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    Also, maybe you should measure the space from the top of the frame to the top of the box. Usually, but not always, this is 1/4". Then measure the space from the bottom edge of the inner cover to the inside top of the inner cover. This should be about 1/8" Inner covers usually have a larger and smaller space there. The larger space usually goes up to allow a bee space between the inner cover and the lid. This is usually 1/4" Beespace is from 1/4" to 3/8". Any more than 3/8 or any less than 1/4" and they will always eventually fill it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

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    Ahhh, there-in lies my issue. When I setup my hives, I put an empty shallow ontop to accomodate feeding. I never took it off and put the inner cover and hive top on!

    I know Michael, just shake your head. I'll get the hang of it. The one statement I put great faith in is "By and large the Bees will be ok."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

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    So you have a 4" or more space? Bees don't think in terms of frames. They just fill all available space with some aisles (beespace) in order to get access to everything. I left a hivetop feeder (brushy mt style with floats in it but not screened access) on and didn't fill it for a week or so and had the entire hive move into the feeder and build combs running diagnal across the botom of the inner cover inside the feeder. Bees have little interest in your view of what they should do.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

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    This is most likely my issue. Yes I have at LEAST 4" of space! I just crack the top and peak in.

    So priority one this afternoon will be to remove the empty top shallow and install the inner cover.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    623

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    Some people don't know [and I didn't until someone informed me] that the flat side of the INNER COVER goes down during the summer and then turn it over with the deep side down in the winter. Helps to keep Burr Comb under control. Dale

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