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Thread: newBee question

  1. #1
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    sorry, i couldn't resist the pun.

    i have just started keeping bees (2 weeks ago). i built a couple of top bar hives. i caught my first (really large i think) swarm a couple of weeks ago. i also have a smaller hive that seems ok.

    http://www.greer.org/picasa/2006/bees/
    http://www.greer.org/picasa/2006/Bees%202/

    i just opened both of these hives. i started with the smaller one went fairly well. i managed to get 1 out of focus picture. after about 1 week, there were small combs on 3 of the bars.

    when i went to open the other hive, i had 6 or 7 of the top bars glued together. when i pulled these apart, i saw comb stretching across them. i didn't pull these all the way out because there were a really large number of bees. when i was trying just to close up the larger hive i had problems getting the top bars back on without crushing some number of bees.

    i have 2 questions.
    1) what do i do about the bars that have comb built across them? do i go in a manipulate (or even destroy) the problematic comb?
    2) how do i get the hive back together when the bees are on all sides of the top bars that i am trying to get back in? as soon as i open up a crack between the bars, 100s of bees come out.

  2. #2
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    another question.

    i noticed that when i shook the bees off the comb, the just kind of fell in the bottom of the hive. after that they seemed to walk to the back of the hive and climb up the back.

    does this mean that they will tend to build comb from the back forward?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    greer

    I'm a rookie so my suggestions don't count for much but I'm pretty sure of one thing
    you need to do something about the cross comb ASAP
    it'll only get worse
    hopefully someone with more experience will have some suggestions about how to tackle the problem

    I'm curious, what did you use for comb guides?

    Dave

    edit: BTW, nice photo's

    [size="1"][ April 17, 2006, 08:27 PM: Message edited by: drobbins ][/size]

  4. #4
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    each of my top bars is about 1.5 inches wide.

    the middle of each top bar has a couple of saw kerfs split by about 1/8th of an inch.

    it is my first attempt at a hive, maybe it is not enough?

  5. #5
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    I built 2 topbar hives I plan to populate next week

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee's/lh/lh.html

    I made the bars 1-1/4" wide and cut a single kerf down the middle, then I stuck a 1/2" strip of foundation in it
    I don't have a picture of it but here's a pic of a frame that's kinda similar

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee's/window/Dsc00780.jpg

    Dave

    edit: oh yea, I wanted to mention something
    in this pic

    http://www.greer.org/picasa/2006/Bees%202/target5.html

    it looks like the hives aren't level
    if they aren't you need to shim them up and get them level
    they'll mess up the combs otherwise

    [size="1"][ April 17, 2006, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: drobbins ][/size]

  6. #6
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    The hive that looks the most unlevel is actually the most level. It is on a slope, so it doesn't look level. It is the hive with the larger swarm and with the combs that are not following the top bars.

    The green hive is actually tilted slightly forward. I was having problems with water puddling on the root of the other one, so I chose to lean it a little forward. It has a smaller hive and the combs seem to be hanging down correctly in it.

  7. #7
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  8. #8

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    IMO for cross comb try slipping a hacksaw blade, just blade not on handle between every third topbar. carefully lift all three bars at same time rotate bars and place upside down on hive. Use blade to cut comb off of bars. position slice of comb on a bar in proper arrangement and use largest needle and thread you can find sew the comb to bar by passing needle threw comb no less than 2" down from topbar and no more than 1/2" apart wrapping thread over bar with each strip. this should hold comb in place till they reattach. On all top bars use melt beeswax to form a line down the bar to help motivate them in the right direction.
    When replaceing frame you should have a least one more bar gap more than the one replaceing. Place frame in at an angle with one end touching previous frame and as you sloooowly bring other end together running brush between them to help move bees out of way. 1 1/2" seems a little much. You might want to try 1 3/8"
    I know 1/8" doesn't sound like much but every 8 frames adds up to an inch. You may reach a point they build comb where bars come together. And that would not be pleasant.

    [size="1"][ April 17, 2006, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: onlygoodSHBisdeadone ][/size]

  9. #9
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    >each of my top bars is about 1.5 inches wide.

    That what I tried on my first one. I ended up going to 1 1/4" for brood and 1 1/2" for honey because that's what the bees were doing no matter what I did. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    if i just replace some of my 1 1/2" top bars with 1 1/4", the bees will just figure it out and use the the 1 1/4" top bars for brood and the others for honey?

    do i need to arrange them in any particular pattern?

    is this how i can get my bees to move to the middle of my hive?

  11. #11

    Post

    if i just replace some of my 1 1/2" top bars with 1 1/4", the bees will just figure it out and use the the 1 1/4" top bars for brood and the others for honey?

    --Nope ,they will use the comb that is nearest the entrance for polen and then they will put brood and in the back they will store honey.They will not care how you will arange your bars,they wil do what they want. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    do i need to arrange them in any particular pattern?

    --Brood in front honey at the end of the hive

    is this how i can get my bees to move to the middle of my hive?

    --no they will do what they want,why would you move them to the midle?
    My mistake was I havent use a follower board.You need to close them in a small area so they build comb that is deeper (taller).And not 15 shalow (short) combs
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  12. #12
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    >do i need to arrange them in any particular pattern?

    If you're putting it in the brood nest, use the 1 1/4" If it's on the edge of the brood nest I'd use the 1 1/4" when they build a fat honey storage comb, move the 1 1/2" there.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    I start with 10 brood bars and wait until they switch over to honey as Michael has suggested. In the 2nd year, you feed empty brood bars into the center early on so they build nice brood comb. Once they stop building brood comb, stop feeding them the bars. In the 1st year you will only get 4-8 good brood combs with a package (swarms are different story), and the 2nd year you can build that up to between 8-15 brood combs. In a top bar hive, the bees will put more honey above the brood chamber than in a lang because in a lang, ALL the honey is above the brood chamber. So you want to have more brood combs than you would have in a lang, so you want to have a few more brood combs than in a lang. They won't necessarily use them all once you have developed the large nest, but at least you have a well developed nest you can refine as you work culling and moving back old or poor combs. They might fill some with honey, but that's ok, the point is to have the comb available to them when they need it. You see not all bees will use the nest the same way. Some colonies will only have an few inches of brood in the bottom and have a long brood nest, some will have a few inche diameter snake running through the middle, and some will fill combs with brood only putting an inch of honey above. So you want to develop a large brood nest so that when your bees settle down the way THEY want to, they'll have plenty of brood room to use whether its 8 wall to wall brood combs, or 15 mixed honey on top brood on the bottom of the nest type arrangement.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  14. #14
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    -what do i do about the bars that have comb built across them? do i go in a manipulate (or even destroy) the problematic comb?

    i take the tuff love approach. i bust into it and do what i can as soon as i see it. i use rubber bands if the comb will hold, set it against the hive wall or eat it. ive decided it doesnt get any better with time and to cut my losses early. i went through fifteen new hives today and had one with crossed comb. i lost another small comb because last week i thought i saw a wandering comb and added a 1/4" spacer. i didnt need it and ended up with a comb perfectly placed on a 1/4" spacer. darned if you do darned if you dont.
    -2) how do i get the hive back together when the bees are on all sides of the top bars that i am trying to get back in? as soon as i open up a crack between the bars, 100s of bees come out.

    lots of smoke [img]smile.gif[/img]
    all that is gold does not glitter

  15. #15
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    &gt; what do i do about the bars that have comb built across them?

    Check out the "Correcting Skew" section of this page http://www.ccdemo.info/GardenBees/CK5/CK5.html . If the combs are just slightly out of alignment this might be a good way to go. I haven't tried it myself.

    [size="1"][ April 18, 2006, 09:45 PM: Message edited by: BruceBee ][/size]

  16. #16
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    i finally got back into my hive and cleaned up a bit. i removed the comb that had fallen into the bottom of the hive. here are some pictures of it.

    i am a newbie, i am assuming this is a bunch of brood comb that they will have to work at to replace?

    http://bees.greer.org/photos/bees/20..._0717.JPG.html

  17. #17
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    You should definately tie that back into the hive. Capped brood is expensive for the bees and that is a severe loss for them. If its only been a little while get it back in the hive and tie it up if possible, if not lay it on the inside wall of the hive under the brood nest and let the bees emerge if they still can.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  18. #18
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    Those are some pretty hives.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  19. #19
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    thats alot of brood for a young hive and big enough to sew onto a top bar. if you dont or cant dont sweat it tho. it will all work out and gets easier. i went through another fifteen hives yesterday and had another hive with terribly crossed comb. i plan on a visit after about four days with those hives. i want to make sure they have something fairly straight to work from and then tweek the comb just a bit each time i visit it. scot has good advice and communicates it well.
    all that is gold does not glitter

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