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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bristol, Pa
    Posts
    30

    Default comb building crooked

    Hello,
    I have a kenyan box. Newly homed queen and 4 pounds of bees. In the box two weeks. Queen took 4 days to get out of the sugar cube keeping her in.

    My bees are building comb and honey like crazy. I took the sugar water off of them a couple days ago.

    the comb keeps being built crooked and makes the top pieces of wood stick together. A couple days ago, I took a knife and cut each one apart and they seem to have built it back as one large mass.

    Any ideas why or suggestions to stop?

    I have comb in 8 rails in two weeks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Slippery Rock PA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    Did you buy your hive, or build it yourself? The important thing to get the bees started, which they already seem to be, is to have something for them to start building from. I have one top bar hive and it has a V that protrudes from the top bar. The bees built straight down from that on all but four bars. On those they went crooked. The bees should build off of the comb before, so If you have any straight comb, I'd imagine you could rearrange things to try and get them going straight and then remove the crooked when time and space allow. I'm not an expert by any means, but I know with foundationless frames in Langstroth hives, they say to make sure your hive is perfectly level. You may want to check that, I'm not sure how that will affect a TBH but it seems like it would involve all comb built by the bees. I've also heard of people talking about the orientation of the hive and that you can turn it to try and match the direction of your comb, I have no idea if that works, just throwing out some thoughts. I'm sure there are many people on here that can give you better advice than me. After I removed my four bars with cross comb and lined them back up to good straight comb they did rebuild those four bars straight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hodgenville, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    I would think if the hive is level the comb should be also. If that's not it I have no idea.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    Quote Originally Posted by leonphelps View Post
    I have a kenyan box.
    <snip>
    My bees are building comb and honey like crazy. I took the sugar water off of them a couple days ago.

    the comb keeps being built crooked and makes the top pieces of wood stick together. A couple days ago, I took a knife and cut each one apart and they seem to have built it back as one large mass.
    First off, congratulations on getting your new hive going!

    As far as the crooked combs, they're just about guaranteed to start off crooked if you don't have something in place to stop them, but at least it isn't too hard to fix. You're going to need to go in and cut the combs off of your top bars, then tie them onto the bars straight with some twine/rubber bands; I like using top bars that are "trimmed" to about 7/8" to 1-1/16" through the middle, with just the last 1" on either end at 1-1/4" to 1-3/8" for spacing, this makes it easier to tie comb back on straight (and the air gap helps discourage crooked comb a little, IMO).

    Once you have the combs tied back on straight, the bees will generally glue everything up nicely, then start building straight comb on the rest of the bars, parallel to the combs you just tied in.

    On all your future hives, you'll want to be SURE you have some form of "comb guides" on the bars to get your bees started in the right direction. (I prefer the "popsicle stick" type guides, as I personally believe they do better at discouraging crooked comb than the triangular guides...to each their own)

    Here are a few pics of some of my top bars; in the picture every-other-one has a comb guide on it (either "popsicle stick" type, or melted on bits of comb), and the rest are just in there as "spacers". In your hives, I'd suggest having at LEAST 1 comb guide for every 2 bars, and it's generally better to get them started on all bars with comb guides up front.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    [QUOTE=leonphelps;783140]

    the comb keeps being built crooked and makes the top pieces of wood stick together. A couple days ago, I took a knife and cut each one apart and they seem to have built it back as one large mass. [QUOTE]

    Are you saying that they are building combs running diagonally to the direction of the top bar?
    When you cut it. Did you just cut the comb loose from the next bar with the comb on it all the way down through the comb,
    and had still crooked slivers of comb about an inch thick attached to your bars?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bristol, Pa
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    I took a warm large serated knife and went top to bottom to separate the comb.

    yes the hive is level on all planes.

    I took the hive apart and cut the crooked stuff off. Tied some of it back on with string and hair clips to try to straighten it out.

    it is a shame to waste so much comb. Probably 1/4 of my comb was crooked.

    there was white honey all over the place.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    Quote Originally Posted by leonphelps View Post
    I took the hive apart and cut the crooked stuff off. Tied some of it back on with string and hair clips to try to straighten it out.

    it is a shame to waste so much comb. Probably 1/4 of my comb was crooked.

    there was white honey all over the place.
    Good job, now you should have your bees on the right track.

    Don't worry too much about the comb, they can always build more.

    Don't worry at all about the honey mess, the bees will have that cleaned up even faster than you'd think possible!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    Wait until you have full, hard combs before trying to cut the hair clips out.
    They won't hurt anything being left in there for awhile. They're going to be built into the honey
    band that will form over the top of your brood combs. Then you won't hurt or lose any brood
    when you cut them out. The older the comb, the less chance of it collapsing when you do.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bristol, Pa
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: comb building crooked

    how long til I see brood? I only saw honey and some pollen.

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