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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sheridan,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Comb being built between deeps

    Hi
    When I did my springtime inspection I discovered brood comb had been built between the bottom and top deep. I removed each frame,cleaned them and replaced them in the same sequence.
    Yesterday I inspected the hives a found a couple had honey comb built between the bottom and top deep. The bees have plenty of expansion room in these hives. Does this comb building between deeps happen frequently? It just seems a pity to have to break up this comb when I inspect.
    Any advice/info would be appreciated.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: Comb being built between deeps

    Happens all the time, interestingly more so with plastic I've found. Typically the comb between the boxes is drone brood so claening it out also may clean out a lot of mites. It may also indicate that the beespace isn't quite right between the boxes, if it's a little too big they will build burr or brace comb.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: Comb being built between deeps

    Heh-- the only answer I could come to was inspect more often so that you can the burr cleaned before they pack it full of brood and honey.
    Nothing, nothing more sad than watching bees drown in their own honey.
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sheridan,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Comb being built between deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    Happens all the time, interestingly more so with plastic I've found. Typically the comb between the boxes is drone brood so claening it out also may clean out a lot of mites. It may also indicate that the beespace isn't quite right between the boxes, if it's a little too big they will build burr or brace comb.
    Thanks Peter I will check the bee space.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Comb being built between deeps

    When you get a chance, check for the space between the bottom of the frame in the top deep and the top of the frame in the bottom deep. Must be standard "bee space" -- 1/4 to 3/8 inch. Some boxes are designed for "top space" with all the bee space supposed to be above the frames, and some are not, and if you have miss matched boxes, you will have too much space, hence the bees build comb in it, usually drone comb since it fits so nicely.

    The fix is to trim the box so that there is exactly the correct amount of space between the frames with the boxes stacked - I would recommend making them all the same. If you want "top space" check to make sure all the frames are between 1/4" and 3/8" from the top of the boxes, then trim all the boxes so that the frames are flush with the bottom. If they are "split space" trim the ones that have too much on one side or the other to get the bee space correct. Again, it's useful to have them all the same, so you can use any box on any other. Too narrow, and they will attempt to glue them up, leading to extremely difficult to remove frames. I'm sure my brother's "survivor" bees would make a real mess, it's hard enough to get the frames out now given the amount of propolis they make as it is.

    Several of my brother's boxes have too much space, we are going to measure and fix this, as the comb between frame is not a good thing -- bees are wasting time and energy making comb there that the beekeeper is just going to remove, and it's messy to scrape off honey containing comb.

    I did use foundationless frames in positions 2 and 9, in my top brood box, and there is a nice patch of drone brood on the outside of each. None in the rest of the brood frames, which is great. The bees can make drones when they want without causing a mess in the rest of the brood nest.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sheridan,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Comb being built between deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazzandra View Post
    Heh-- the only answer I could come to was inspect more often so that you can the burr cleaned before they pack it full of brood and honey.
    Nothing, nothing more sad than watching bees drown in their own honey.
    Thanks Kazzandra......the weather has been so bad here in Oregon this year that I have been reluctant to inspect for fear of doing more damage than good. It has been either raining or real cold or a combination of the two. You are right I could have avoided the situation with more inspections but it was Hobsons choice.
    I try to do right thing for the bees but this time it backfired on me!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sheridan,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Comb being built between deeps

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    When you get a chance, check for the space between the bottom of the frame in the top deep and the top of the frame in the bottom deep. Must be standard "bee space" -- 1/4 to 3/8 inch. Some boxes are designed for "top space" with all the bee space supposed to be above the frames, and some are not, and if you have miss matched boxes, you will have too much space, hence the bees build comb in it, usually drone comb since it fits so nicely.

    The fix is to trim the box so that there is exactly the correct amount of space between the frames with the boxes stacked - I would recommend making them all the same. If you want "top space" check to make sure all the frames are between 1/4" and 3/8" from the top of the boxes, then trim all the boxes so that the frames are flush with the bottom. If they are "split space" trim the ones that have too much on one side or the other to get the bee space correct. Again, it's useful to have them all the same, so you can use any box on any other. Too narrow, and they will attempt to glue them up, leading to extremely difficult to remove frames. I'm sure my brother's "survivor" bees would make a real mess, it's hard enough to get the frames out now given the amount of propolis they make as it is.

    Several of my brother's boxes have too much space, we are going to measure and fix this, as the comb between frame is not a good thing -- bees are wasting time and energy making comb there that the beekeeper is just going to remove, and it's messy to scrape off honey containing comb.

    I did use foundationless frames in positions 2 and 9, in my top brood box, and there is a nice patch of drone brood on the outside of each. None in the rest of the brood frames, which is great. The bees can make drones when they want without causing a mess in the rest of the brood nest.

    Peter
    Thanks Peter...lots of good information!.....I will definitely check the measurements for bee space between the deeps as soon as possible.Great tip re foundationless frames for drone brood on frame space 2 and 9,I have some drone brood foundation(green plastic) but I like the idea of the bees building what they need in the foundationless frame.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,195

    Default Re: Comb being built between deeps

    Another perspective is not to worry about it. It is easier for bees to move up and down in the hive if there is a little ladder of comb. Also, they want to build brood comb; If they don't build it between the frames they will put it somewhere else.

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