Rob Harrison wrote:
Do they or do they not, in the wild?
One amazing thing to me is that the bees never seem to tear down and rebuild cells which have became smaller due to years of brood rearing. I wonder why?
I just found this thread because I was googling for 'Jaycox' to find some research of his I"d just heard about. He'd allededly done a study where he proved that old brood comb was unhealthy (and it was from a chemical beekeeping perspective, so the 'unhealthy' could've been pesticides as much as viruses etc).
Anyway, I was looking for this study because one one of these lists/forums someone was asking where the recommendation to replace old broodnest combs every x years came from. I'd been told that Jaycox recommended something specific like every 2 or 3 years.
I was just talking to top bar hive beekeeper Les Crowder about this issue, asking him what feral bees do to get rid of old broodcomb. He told me that in colonies he's removed from studwalls, he's noticed that they actually move the brood nest around over the years by moving to a different end of the hive/colony/combs, and letting the wax moths eat the old brood nest, then returning to that part of the hive afterwards to clean up the damaged wax. He said he'd often noticed that they'll move right back after that, and build their brood nest right atop an area where there's sign of wax moth damage to the wall studs or other structures.
Les is from the top bar school of thought that says that our regular harvesting of combs and lack of re-use is healthier for the bees, which I think BWrangler concluded also.
[size="1"][ December 18, 2005, 12:23 AM: Message edited by: girl Mark ][/size]
urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...