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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    I am +5 days after first ever 3lb installations for two hives. . . performing first inspection . . and need your help.

    I am using zip-loc feeder with mini-riser/super (about 3 inches tall) from Brushy mountain. Upon removing the inner cover, I find 3 combs full of sugar syrup that I pulled apart when removing the inner cover (it was attached to top of brood frames and inner cover). She did lays eggs in comb below on plastic foundation (waxed coating).

    IMAG1425[2].jpg IMAG1427.jpg

    Not having any experience with this, I decided to scrape all of this comb to the bottom so they could recycle it (I was also installing a slatted board rack that created a cavity for this messy comb). I turned the inner cover over to hopefully discourage them from doing this again. Any suggestions? (oh and the queen was laying a lot of eggs in a regular pattern).


    Now for the "Balling?" . . . .

    I opened the other hive and found a lot of bees attached to the inner cover. I watched the ball "melt" and to my surprise . . there was the queen!!? I coaxed her back between some frames and she disappeared. I could see she was laying a lot of eggs in a regular pattern . . .so why am I "balling"? sniffle . . .sniffle?

    For more a much longer description and better pictures go here: http://eddieobees.blogspot.com/

    Thus, two questions . . .
    1. Did I do the right thing by scraping all of the comb to the bottom? and why would they do this?
    2. What gives with the "balling"?



    Thanks!!

    Eddie O.
    Last edited by eddieobees; 03-28-2012 at 08:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    Looks like they prefer that gap made by the riser more than they do the plastic comb. Was the Pierco frames waxed? Try spraying them with sugar water to increase acceptance of the plastic frames and remove the riser to force them into the frames. A Beemax hive top feeder or something similar will only give them bee space on tops of the frames and reduce all that comb on the inner cover.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Slinger, WI
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post
    Looks like they prefer that gap made by the riser more than they do the plastic comb. Was the Pierco frames waxed? Try spraying them with sugar water to increase acceptance of the plastic frames and remove the riser to force them into the frames. A Beemax hive top feeder or something similar will only give them bee space on tops of the frames and reduce all that comb on the inner cover.
    I switched from the Plasticell foundation to all natural foundation last year, best move I have made, the bee's love it!
    Steve Wenger
    Gentleman farmer/9 year Bee Keeper

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    Unfortunate, but inevitable if you start a package with a shim on. They will pretty much always start comb in the highest area that has enough space to build comb. Now you know - only use a shim during non-comb-building seasons.

    What to do about it now though.... Is there brood in it? Probably. Is there comb on any of the frames? Probably not. I would be reluctant to remove it until there is brood on the frames. I might lightly fill up the remaining space with crumpled foil or something to force them down into the hive body before doing anything. Otherwise they might just leave.

    If there is any comb below, you could probably speed up the process by putting an excluder between - with the queen below of course. That way, the brood in the burr comb won't be replaced with eggs as soon as it emerges, and all you will loose will be a bit of comb and honey - Which will quickly be robbed out and recycled when you remove it.

    The balling - that's not good. Prepare for the worse - a dead queen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    Your photographs do not illustrate queen balling, just friendly normal clustering, with queen. Balling is where they are in a tight vicious mass surrounding the queen, where they are doing bad things to the queen, and where you will not even be able to see the queen again until the balling has ended and you have a dead queen.

    You did not watch a "balling" incident disperse, you were watching a "cluster" disperse.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    Wow! What a great resource and thank you for the thoughtful responses!!

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Unfortunate, but inevitable if you start a package with a shim on. They will pretty much always start comb in the highest area that has enough space to build comb. . . . I might lightly fill up the remaining space with crumpled foil or something to force them down into the hive body .
    Since I do not have another feeder available and I am leaving to go out of town, I am thinking of filling the void with a paper eggcrate thingy that I found at my office that was used to protect something during shipment. It's all paper and will allow for ventilation, that will hopefully discourage the comb building on the inner cover.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again!!!

    Eddie O.
    Eddie O. Atlanta, GA
    Bumping along on my first year . . . http://eddieobees.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    It may eventually become a little messy, but probably not too bad, unless a strong flow arrives or too much time goes by.

    Any spaces in the honey bee's occupied living space, larger than 3/8" will eventually become interconnected with comb of various styles (burr, brace, honey and/or brood); and the spaces smaller than 1/4" will eventually become filled in with propolis. And bees will chew paper, even cardboard, and remove it from the hive.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    Joseph,

    I also found a FEDEX box that I am pretty sure would fit nicely into the area as well.

    Do you think I should try that first instead of the eggcrate idea?

    Thanks for all the help!

    Eddie O.
    Eddie O. Atlanta, GA
    Bumping along on my first year . . . http://eddieobees.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    If the FEDEX box fits pretty snugly it will probably be the better choice. Eventually they will chew on the cardboard, but it usually takes quite a while before they completely chew it out.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,113

    Default Re: Holy comb in the wrong places!! . . and I'm "balling?" on the other?

    I opened the other hive and found a lot of bees attached to the inner cover. I watched the ball "melt" and to my surprise . . there was the queen!!? I coaxed her back between some frames and she disappeared
    I'd bet she was looking to lay,I looked at your blog
    I think you need to add frames/box you have a picture that shows comb partially built and eggs right up too it
    I have never had a problem with wonky comb builds when using Hive top feeders,you may want to look into them
    Other than the wonky IMHO you have a good bees with the amount of time in box/comb and laying,
    Sure you'll get it all straightened out

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