I'm thinking of doing an experiment, in which I will try to get one hive of my bees to just extract comb for the rest of the summer. The season is very slow here and many of my new supers have been on for 2-3 weeks with no extrusion at all! I have 5 supers full of honey right now, but only because they were drawn out last year.
I have one hive in my backyard with V-mites, so I'm going to treat them with mineral oil and a fogger. Their population is falling without treatment. I don't think they can maintain a big hive right now. I will take their two loaded supers off that hive and move them out to the farm for the bees there to maintain. Meanwhile, I will put on an empty super and a big pail of syrup. Maybe I can get the bees to draw out comb. At least I'll have comb for next season. I'll have to extract the sugar syrup and throw it away, but, at least I'll have comb for next year.
Has anyone ever tried something like this?
I have tried comb factory hives as you call them in the past. For some reson they almost always never survive or do well over wintering even though they have appeared equal to other colonies. I suspect that due to the large volune of comb to be drawn they never pack well for honey and pollen stores for winter which keeps them in a build up mode when they should be bedding down. Could you not just remove the supers and add another of foundation. You could even feed back honey from the extra ones have no fear of adulteration and through nothing out. This has been my experience with large volume of comb drawing, others may have had different experience. But I'd prefer to error on the safe side.
If you are going to extract it why throu it away why not save it to feed back to them again? I have thought about this before as well. Setting up one hive to do nothing but draw out foundation and as soon as it is drawn out remove it and put new foundation on. Which if done this way would have little to extract. I was thinking that as soon as a couple of frames were pulled out remove them before they start soring sugar and replace with foundation until the last of the season just let them store some for the winter.
One experiment to draw comb is start a five frame nuc and keep stealing the middle frames out so they have to draw comb for the queen to have something to lay in. Then you can steal the started comb out and put in foundation. Feed them as much as they will take. The queen never gets any room to work but you end up with a lot of started comb. It's not really a hive, it's just a comb factory. I have heard of this being done, but have not tried it.
The trouble I see is that they begin to store stuff in the comb as it's drawn out. They don't finish it first. You'll end up with uncapped honey that will ferment if you take it off prematurely.