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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Pepperell, MA, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Six days later and no comb...

    I'm worried.

    I got my bees on Sunday and put them in their brand new hive. They are still happily buzzing around. I have not opened the hive space as a beekeeper friend told me to stop bugging them or they'd abscond and find my hive inhospitable. However, since the bottom has wire mesh I am able to look in that way and I see that they haven't built any comb. This concerns me.

    How long after installing bees should I expect to see comb?

    Aside from making sure they have sugar water, is there anything I should be doing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Are they hanging in a big cluster on the top bars? If so the comb is there, covered with bees. Did you release the queen when you installed? If not, you should definitely check that she was released and remove the cage.
    You can take a peek. If hey have not absconded yet they'll most likely stay.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Pepperell, MA, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default

    They do seem to be clustered around a top bar, from what I can see. I just can't see the comb at all.

    I accidentally released the queen myself on Monday in my attempt to loosen the wire on the side of her little cage. I am pretty sure she's in there, since there are tons of bees in my hive.

    From reading information about the first week, I expected that they'd be further along than they are.....
    Last edited by spiritfreedom; 05-15-2009 at 08:18 PM. Reason: adding info

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Could be building comb under that cluster. Got the same problem with the swarm I brought home two days ago. I think it might be that the box is not PERFECTLY level. The site was when I plumbed it a month ago in preparation, but two nights ago I got a swarm call and responded without rechecking plumb. I don't want to spook them this early in the game, but in a couple of days I will level it out and probably wipe out what little comb is underneath that cluster of ladies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
    Posts
    1,472

    Default

    are bees bringing in nectar, or if not, are you feeding them sugar water? They need some resources to be able to produce wax.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Pepperell, MA, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by berkshire bee View Post
    are bees bringing in nectar, or if not, are you feeding them sugar water? They need some resources to be able to produce wax.
    I am absolutely providing them with an enormous supply of sugar syrup. They have a food container in the hive and also outside.

    I'm such a newb that I can't really ascertain if they *are* bringing in nectar.....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Are they bringing in pollen? You would see that. Don't know what to tell you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Weymouth, Massachusetts
    Posts
    220

    Default

    If you got them a week ago and haven't been in there since I don't see why you can't just take the lid off and look in on them if you aren't going to be too disruptive.
    It will put your mind at ease.
    I did not notice much of anything when I installed my hives last month for at least a week.
    I was really shocked that they were not building comb and was a little concerned at their progress.
    It was about two weeks before I felt like they were underway.
    I have had them a month now and they have built a brood box full of comb (I am doing all foundationless frames) and they have plenty of brood, pollen and nectar stored.
    I would not bee too concerned right now about your bees.
    There is plenty of pollen around here right now and my bees have just started bringing in some nectar as well.
    They are probably just getting settled in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default

    six days is a bit long for NO comb. but as mentioned there is proably more there than you think. they can cover it real well intil you get a cpl frames worth. I put in 20 packages 4 weeks ago and they all have 8-10 frames drawn....

    open the hive and peek, BUT I would do it without smoke.... they will be a bit more ornery, but not much yet...... the smoke causes them to gorge on honey they saved and sets them back anywhere from a few hours to a day.... no smoke, no problem.....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Weymouth, Massachusetts
    Posts
    220

    Default

    I doubt there is no comb, but as I said even if its very little comb after 6 days I don't think she/he has a problem.
    I live in the same area and there is plenty of resources right now.

    Spiritfreedom, have you noticed them flying in with any pollen yet?
    If you can sit in front of the hive and watch them for a while see if their pollen baskets are full.
    If they are then then they have to be storing it in comb.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default

    The comb sort of grows out of the cluster. At first you think it just IS the cluster but the until there is more comb that cluster you won't see the comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The comb sort of grows out of the cluster. At first you think it just IS the cluster but the until there is more comb that cluster you won't see the comb.
    I got a swarm a week ago today. They immediately clustered in the corner and have not left it. I do not see comb, just a ball of bees. Would like to go and shake them onto the floor again, to get the queen and try to start from ground zero. Don't know. Advice freely accepted.
    And thanks for the web page about this, but now I am a bit apprehensive. The other hives are going gangbusters, all straight & pure, but this small swarm has me worried.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    "Start from ground zero"???
    That's what they are doing. Give them another week, you'll see comb. If they have not left yet it means they like the home you gave them OK.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    I don't doubt they are building comb but it is probably in the center of that mass of bees sitting in the front corner rather than across the bars, as my other hive is doing. They are doing what THEY want to do.......

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    546

    Default

    hello, All well there is comb with out even being there, if they are leaving the hive and returning there is comb..it takes 8 lbs of nector to store 12 lbs of honey.I didn't get honey from my 3# package but they made it. the first year
    I made a split from them in april. seen 1 drone entering wintered over hive 2 days ago next day it was on ground dead.I guess they didn't need him.....haven't seen any drones since. apple trees bloomed already as well

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,124

    Default Day 6

    Here were mine last year at day 6. The first pic you can't see any comb. Then once I pulled a bar comb.


    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Len,
    Yes the comb will be in the center of the mass of bees but that does not mean it's not straight and centered on each bar. You can take a peek, gently move the bars apart. Lots of bees might fall to the bottom of the hive but that will not hurt them. You should see comb as in Derek's picture.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Aram, and the rest of you all, thank you. Not being patient and a bit anxious is its own punishment. Yesterday I peeked through the window and sure enough! I could see three bars of pure white comb where there was a ball of bees.
    Ball 'o bees is still there, but emerging is one of the prettiest things in creation. Wish I had put windows in the other hive as I didn't touch that for the required 10 days and when I did there was comb all perfect on three bars, so that is going well also. Thanks, again.
    =

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