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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Posts
    183

    Default first time with TBH

    Need a little advice, I caught a large swarm about 10 days ago and hived them in a top bar hive that I had waiting for them. I peeked in yesterday and they have built our eight bars and about half on the 9th and a dollar size comb on number 10. These last two are straight on the bars, as I was pulling the bars back to check them I found that they have crossed each bar and attached about a two inches to it's adjacent bar. Kinda in a curved shape. I may have promoted this activity by building the hive too small. The bars are 12 inches long with a 9 inch waxed center strip about the size of a pop stick. in the swarm trap they had followed the ridges in the lid perfectly. I was really surprised to see this and can't imagine what a mess it will be to harvest. How would you straighten them out ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    If it's only a little bit at the end, you can just cut it and push it back into position.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    What Michael said. Don't beat up on yourself. Someone I read awhile back was theorizing that a curved comb is a more stable structure, so the bees may tend to build curved comb naturally. A comb guide just suggests how to build, and the bees don't always follow our suggestions. Just understand that is their tendency and gently encourage them to build straight.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    That sounds great in theory and if I had caught these super comb builders in time would certainly have solved the problem. However, it's like pages in a book now, each bar is tied to the next and so neatly curved around it's predecessor that there is no starting point. Get my point, if I cut the comb off the bar there is no place to move it to until the comb is cut off the previous bar and so on and so forth. I suppose I could slide the entire brood nest back and start at the first bar but the comb is so soft I'm thinking that might be a bad Idea.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    Get in there and position the leading edge/mid rib so that it tracks more or less down the center of all the bars. Do it now before they finish the combs off even worse than they are making sure you don't over correct causing the combs to fall off the bars. The combs should still be thinned down to a point on the leading edge which will give you the chance to reposition with much less adjusting than when the combs are totally finished off and heavy with honey in this area. You may need to shave the depth of the cell walls back a bit also if they have been over extended due to nectar storage. With this you can still move the nest away from the entrance so that some straighter new combs can be built that are more workable allowing you to harvest the ones not so nice over time. If you move the curved combs back, spacers may be helpful in allowing them to be workable depending on how off they are.

    You really should have a reliable guide that runs the full length of the bar in the hive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    Get in there and position the leading edge/mid rib so that it tracks more or less down the center of all the bars. Do it now before they finish the combs off even worse than they are making sure you don't over correct causing the combs to fall off the bars. The combs should still be thinned down to a point on the leading edge which will give you the chance to reposition with much less adjusting than when the combs are totally finished off and heavy with honey in this area. You may need to shave the depth of the cell walls back a bit also if they have been over extended due to nectar storage. With this you can still move the nest away from the entrance so that some straighter new combs can be built that are more workable allowing you to harvest the ones not so nice over time. If you move the curved combs back, spacers may be helpful in allowing them to be workable depending on how off they are.

    You really should have a reliable guide that runs the full length of the bar in the hive.
    The guide is a strip glued into a grove in the center of the bar, it comes to within an inch of the ends. It protrudes down about 1/4" and is coated well with Bees wax. I figured it was about the same as nailing the cleat of a regular frame sideways on the bar as a starter strip. Somewhere they just got a little off track. I've never had bees so gentle or that build comb so fast. I'm going to attempt to straighten them out this evening, following the suggestions received here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    "...Get my point, if I cut the comb off the bar there is no place to move it to until the comb is cut off the previous bar and so on and so forth...."

    Yes, I most certainly do get your point. Been there, done that. It may get a bit messy and awkward, but better to fix it soon by doing whatever it takes to fix it. That might include cutting off some comb entirely and setting it aside to be melted down, if you can't figure out how to fix it back straight so it can stay on the bar.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    Fix it right away or never.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: first time with TBH

    The guide is a strip glued into a grove in the center of the bar, it comes to within an inch of the ends. It protrudes down about 1/4" and is coated well with Bees wax.
    Those should be good guides. It could be that the swarm was big and you have a good flow going on so they are over extending the the cell walls in that area so that they have somewhere to place all that nectar they're rapidly collecting. Do the best you can to make the combs workable.

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