Re: Starting a foundationless hive
This thread reminded me of what I did just early today. I had a slab of natural comb pulled by an overwintered hive in a slot w/o a frame (yes, i forgot again). Nine inches tall and about six inches wide. For giggles, I measured its cell size and got 7 mm. Maybe 7.1 mm. Big. So I think it was drone comb, but may have been where they planned on putting honey. I cut it out. Then I had a shortage of boxes/frames and a swarm call. I put really ratty comb into the box to draw the bees in, took them home. I put in a fully open frame into which I put a handy piece of natural comb that I happened to have lying around. (See where this is going?) Now I'll get to find out what the swarm does with it.
Their queen was damaged, and looked dead, lying on her side on pavement. She was apparently hit by a car and fluttered 40 ft to a concrete parking lot next to the road. The swarm was pancaked all over a 3 ft diameter of concrete. One might think it possible they were heat-prostrated and thirsty, too. But they picked up and went right into the box I placed beside them except for the ball clustered around the queen's body. I put it onto the bottom board and everyone loaded right up. New queen was kindly donated by AstroBee from his insufficiently productive overwintered queens. They needed something _now_, and got it. It will be interesting to see whether they ignore the comb and make worker brood cells (swarm behavior), put drone brood in it (overwintered queen), or nectar (perhaps a swarm packing away stores pending the queen's sugar-plug release from her cage).
Fun times, anyway.
"I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often in my youth from the late David Sebree)