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Thread: offcenter comb

  1. #1
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    Chatham, NY, USA
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    Default offcenter comb

    Okay, I fed the bees on friday afternoon before going away for the weekend. They ate most of what was in the baggies and I just got back into town. I checked on their food, inspected comb and ensured the queen was laying (all good). .... except

    Last week one of the two colony's clusters had started building comb in the back of the hive (in the area with honey-width bars). I wanted to move the brood nest onto the front where the brood bars were, so using incredible wisdom I moved the entire cluster forward, then spaced the bars with comb apart and inserted brood width bars between. I thought if I could get them to build comb there too, I could rearrange the bars and eventually move the brood nest onto all brood width bars ... well it was a nice thought anyway.

    Today I pulled it open to do my checks and noticed half the combs were offcenter. I didn't really know how to fix the problem so I just put it back together.

    Tomorrow I want to do another feeding, and hopefully work toward fixing the offcenter comb problem before it gets worse.

    I'll be crawling the message archives tonight, but in the mean-time:

    How do I prevent further comb growth to continue this trend?

    What are my options for trying to correct the problem?

    I'm thinking if I take all the off-center combs and throw them in the back the queen may stop laying there (while the colony continues to rear young hatchlings that have been layed). After these bees hatch as adults I can just yank those combs completely. Then again, who knows.

    ps.

    I promise I'll take photos tomorrow.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Default

    Define "off center"? If you put empty bars between uncapped combs of honey or nectar they will fatten the existing combs rather than build new combs. This may be what you are seeing. If so, I'm really not sure what the correct solution would be. You could cut a spacer to add just enough space to leave a beespace between the two fat combs and remove the bar, I suppose. BTW adding empty bars between does work if the two combs are already capped or if they are brood combs.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Define "off center"? If you put empty bars between uncapped combs of honey or nectar they will fatten the existing combs rather than build new combs. This may be what you are seeing. If so, I'm really not sure what the correct solution would be. You could cut a spacer to add just enough space to leave a beespace between the two fat combs and remove the bar, I suppose. BTW adding empty bars between does work if the two combs are already capped or if they are brood combs.
    I saw at least two combs built on the edge of the bars.

    I didn't want to disturb them too much investigating because I didn't have any strategy for dealing with it at the time. Tomorrow I'll see if there's something I can do and take photos. Its supposed to rain, hopefully I'll be able to get in late in the day when the clouds break before dark.

    If I move brood combs outside the cluster will they be taken care of? Is the queen likely (if she's not on them) to leave them alone? Some of them have been layed in, some not.

    I guess the strategy will be to mess with the bees as much as possible disturbing them to no end.

    :P

  4. #4
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    Default

    Are you using a comb guide.

  5. #5
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    >If I move brood combs outside the cluster will they be taken care of?

    If they are touching the brood nest, sure. If they are close to it, most likely. If they are somewhere else, this time of year, probably.

    > Is the queen likely (if she's not on them) to leave them alone?

    She's likely to lay in them.

    As long as the combs are on the bars, I wouldn't lose any sleep over them being right to the edge of the bar.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default

    I've got comb guides, though they're probably bigger than they should be. I used a tablesaw and cut out .5"x.5" raised guides into the center of each bar.

    I was worried because the comb was close to the edge of the bar (not on the guide), when I removed the bar I had to break some burr comb touching the next bar. The resulting comb was weakened and swayed when I moved the bar, I hope they fix it.

    What about rearranging bars? I know its not such a good idea in a lang if it can be avoided. What affect will moving their food/brood around be?

  7. #7
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    I'd be more likely to add a 1/4" spacer to get them back in the center.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I'd be more likely to add a 1/4" spacer to get them back in the center.
    That'll have to wait until I get access to a tablesaw again, I'd be afraid of hurting myself doing it with my jigsaw or circular. Unfortunately I made no extra spacers for this purpose yet.

    ps, the rearranging combs wasn't to fix the center problem but more to get the brood and honey bars in their respective areas as the next expands. I assume at this stage and time of year food storage will be minimal, so I want to try to get them to grow mostly on the brood size bars. I assume by the time the first adults emerge more energy will go toward food storage.

  9. #9
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    I wouldn't worry to much about them attaching comb together. In my attached pic in the top left their fixing some that was attached together. Its happened a few times and seens to be no big deal. They fixed it.

    On the bars. You can get 1/4" sq's at Home Depot, Lowes, ect. And get some fine finishing nails and attach them to the bars.




    http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/40...600x600Q85.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek1 View Post
    I wouldn't worry to much about them attaching comb together. In my attached pic in the top left their fixing some that was attached together. Its happened a few times and seens to be no big deal. They fixed it.

    On the bars. You can get 1/4" sq's at Home Depot, Lowes, ect. And get some fine finishing nails and attach them to the bars.




    http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/40...600x600Q85.jpg
    I used 5/4" bars and cut out notches on the sides. Do you think my guides are too large? I'd have to scrap all the bars or pin guides on guides.

  11. #11
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    They could be to large. 5/4"? What are the sizes of the guides after the notches? 1/2"? Just make some new bars with an 1/8" - 1/4" guide. Take out the other bars if no comb is drawn and replace with the new ones. Or when you have access to a table saw do the triangle guides like M.B. does.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek1 View Post
    They could be to large. 5/4"? What are the sizes of the guides after the notches? 1/2"? Just make some new bars with an 1/8" - 1/4" guide. Take out the other bars if no comb is drawn and replace with the new ones. Or when you have access to a table saw do the triangle guides like M.B. does.
    A table saw can't do the triangle guides unless you have a tilt blade, I'll keep an eye out for one.

    I meant to say I used 5/4" board instead of 1" board, this is so after I cut out the notches the bars wouldn't be too thin:

    <---> 3/4"
    <------> 5/4"
    ___
    | |
    | |
    | |__
    | |
    | __|
    | |
    | |
    |___|

    The guides in the center are roughly 1/2" square, though Id have to double check, they may be 6/16" square.

    What do you mean about the notches? The guides go right to the end of the box with just enough missing on either end so the bar sits flat inside the box (its resting on top, not angle cut inside).

  13. #13
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    Sounds like your bars are 1 1/4" wide. With a 1/2" comb guide. The 1 1/4" wide bar is fine for the brood bars. I would put a smaller guide on. And make a little more clearance on the ends. Ex. If you have a 15" wide bar. Use a 13" comb guide centered on the bar. Have atleast 1" of clearance from the ends. If not I think you will start to get alot of comb stuck to the sides of your hive.

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