Wow! 6 days and I had one hive with three bars of comb drawn out! beautiful stuff! they chose the bars right next to the division feeder (furthest from the entrance, this was the hive in which i put the entrance at one end.) I had suspended the queen cage from the 3rd bar from the feeder, and they had built comb all around it. The queen had been eaten out but the cage was "combed in"!
Other hives had comb too, but this one was real impressive. Frankly I didn't stick my head in there on the other two, just enough to see there was comb, but not sure how many bars full... reason I got wrapped up on this one was I was checking on the queen and the cage was wrapped right up in it. Give me another week and I will be gettin my head right in there!
>Wow! 6 days and I had one hive with three bars of comb drawn out! beautiful stuff! they chose the bars right next to the division feeder (furthest from the entrance, this was the hive in which i put the entrance at one end.) I had suspended the queen cage from the 3rd bar from the feeder, and they had built comb all around it. The queen had been eaten out but the cage was "combed in"!
They will cluster around the queen and the comb "grows" from the cluster.
I'm just going to direct release my queen and skip having the cage covered in comb.
Yeah I put the queen cages towards the edges in mine, and I think that has contributed to my sloppy comb building in one hive, the other hive I attribute it to the cage being combed in.
What has happened is exquisite comb, which starts to curve towards the entrance at the center of the bars. Its a mess, I am going to have to train up some straight comb at the front and replace the yucky comb as the session progresses.
I also broke some heavy comb today because of the cross combing. It really is delicate and when laden with honey like this fresh comb was, it just came right off. I had to drag it out with my bare hands while the bees were gathering around my hand licking the sugar syrup honey on it. I broke the comb up into small piece and stood them on end towards the back of the hive, hopefully they'll move the honey out of there. I also looked to make sure I didn't assassinate the queen when the comb dropped and I didn't see her. Only two bees died in the avalanche that I could tell.
Next time I will suspend the queen a few inches down and as close to center of the bars as I can. I places my queens between the 3rd and 4rth bars.
Scott and Michael:
two of my three TBH's have good comb, all of it centered on the top bar. but the one that had the queen cage combed in has cross bar comb. It runs along one bar until the middle of the hive, then jumps to the next bar. there are 5 combs like that.
I broke each top bar loose, separating the comb. should i do anything else? it is still hanging there. I hope they start to go straight!
Of the other two hives, one has the combs in the center of the hive, and the other has the combs off towards one side. but no attachment yet to the sides.
At least I now know what egg sign is!
You have two choices. Cut the "bad" part out or leave it. If you leave it they will continue to do this all the way through the hive. You could try to straighten just the last comb. If you cut it where it jumps they might build a straight comb on the next bar. If you leave it you will be making a mess evertime you open up, but if you leave it the comb will toughen up and and you will be able to cut it out without it falling apart.
What are you using for centering?
Here is a picture of my top bars, can you see it? had trouble making it accesible to public viewing.
I brushed melted beeswax on the spline. doesn't show in that picture.
did hive check tonight, filled up feeders, needed quite a bit. Using HFCS. got some great pictures including the one with the cross comb, I try to post them. still don't see egg sign in one of the hives...
OK, here are a few pictures, 2 of the cross comb bars from the one hive where the queen cage got in the way and one showing what the other hives look like.
let me know if you can see them not sure if i got it set up right for public viewing.
I did a full inspection today. Every bar. The queen was there and has layed up almost every comb. The only real stores they have are on the edges. The comb seems strong in the size and shape it is now (15" top bars and about 9 1/2" deep with a 22 1/2 degree slope) The angled peices I put on for centering seem to have good strong connections to the comb and although they cheat a little to one side or the other, all of them are on the bars and only one end of one comb was at all connected to the bar next to it and that was only one small place. The bars are 1 1/4" and they actually seem to be trying to make the spacing smaller. These are large cell bees from a package.
It was nice and calm and easy to work. I'm really enjoying this one.
I haven't checked on the one with just flat 1 3/8" wide bars other than a peek. They were free to space the combs however they want and it looks like they spaced them a lot closer than 1 3/8" In two bars they have moved it over about 3/8". That puts the combs about 1 3/16" on center. That was with large cell bees.
This is very much in accord with what I was suspecting when I discussed how the combs were being centered closer and closer to the front edge of edge successive top bar.
I wonder what the bee space and comb center-to-center really is in a natural hive. I know what bee space is "honored" by the bees regarding how they wax or propolize a space, but when they get to design their own home? I think its a bit different (smaller) than Rev. Langstroth and his successors have demonstrated.
Have we rediscovered and perhaps are to redefine what is known as the bee space?
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
It's actually pretty consitent with what Huber said it was, way before Lanstroth.
He said combs were on 1 1/4" centers. I went through that hive some more last night and I think my first assesment was wrong. They just made the comb fatter in some places that lead me to the conclusion that they were 1 3/16". Looks more like 1 1/4" to 1 3/8".
The one with the angles on seem to be crowding it smaller than 1 1/4" in places but They are kind of stuck with the 1 1/4 because of the angles on the bars. I really like the way the bars with the angles are working. Better than any other method I've done.
I'm really curious to see what small cell bees will build naturally, but I'm guessing that Huber, who was a keen observer (amazing since he was blind) was probably the one who is correct.
I have seen natural built comb (by large cell bees) that was as small as 1 1/16" between the center ribs of the comb, but most was closer to 1 1/4".
What I have found is they will fill whatever space is available at the top of the combs with honey stores, and they stick out quite far into the bees space and sometimes is even joined between combs with very light burr comb. Comb midrib still seems to shift gradually towards the front edge of the top bars as one moves back through the hive. Its also one of the reasons I started reversing top bars rapidly as they built comb on them. It made them do a light zig zag across the bars but helped keep it generally centered. The only thing I find lacking is sometimes they started a new piece of comb on the opposite end of the bar, and the housel position is reversed on these new combs. I am going to have to cull combs one at a time as the brood nest develops. I also need to redesign my top bars. I am thinking of using an embossed angle that is cut with a router so that the point of the top bar is level with the hive body edges. Will give a little more volume. I don't know though, just speculating.
The top bar do definately need to be reduced in width though because the comb get built at an angle towards the front as the comb gets longer in height.
I inspected mine breifly again today. Amazing how undisturbed they get!
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited May 15, 2004).]
Yes it is amazing. Why do you think I like them so much.
Here are some pics of my son Davis working the hives with me.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
Scott, I can't view the pics cause I get taken to a mirror site
Cinnamon, still without bees but I nearly had the ones that settled in Lambeth Palace gardens yesterday (where the Archbishop lives). Unfortunatly, by the time the beekeepers got there to collect them, they'd taken off again Oh well, tomorrow is also a nice day(finally. It rained like mad here!), there has to be a swarm somewhere
Bleh...The server's user sites are not mirrored like the main part of the site is. THis is a linux distribution site, and the founders have their own pages on the main server. Because I mispelled /Bees/ /bees/ it tried to jump to the mirror list. Sorry about that, try these links below.
What a handsome and brave young man. It's pretty neat when a child takes enough interest to go with dad.
Unfortunately my children worked bees with me when I was a commercial beekeeper. That wrecked them for life. A few years with a top bar hive would have been a much better introduction to beekeeping.
Now that boy has some calm nerves. I won't handle my bees without a veil that's for certain. Took a sting on the nose the other day, that'll teach me I guess. Hive looks good too!
My own bees have stung me 4 times this year. 1 time in the forehead because the hive I was inspecting was "semi-queenless"...that's a long story...basically the queen wasn't done mating I think and spent too much time away from the hives for a little over a week for the bee's comfort.
1 times in the wrist in a hive I just wasn't careful enough while working and this bees launched itself at me.
1 time in the tip of my ring finger, just under the fingernail because I squashed a little while picking up a bar of comb. Didn't let go of that bar either when it happened. I put the bar where it needed to be carefully and swiftly though. **** that one REALLY hurt...I still have the blood spot under the skin from that one too.
The 4th time wasn't even my bees. It was a little red wasp that got under my eye glasses that panicked and stung me in the eyelid when my eyelid automatically reacted. That was 15 minutes before going to work at the resturant. Felt like I got hit by a baseball bat. I am sure no one at work believed that story either....that a wasp stung me while getting ready for work and that it WASN'T one of the many thousands of bees flying around me when working the hives.
All the stings I have received from my own bees have genuinely been directly my fault, even the one on the forehead. I knew the bees were a little antsy and I should have taken greater care.