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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Westminster, SC, USA
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    36

    Default Not drawing new comb...???

    I have a hive that was existing when I bought it last year. It is only one deep and I've been trying to get the bees to draw out more comb in a second deep. So far they will not. I added the second deep several weeks ago and have been feeding sugar water to help encourage them but nothing.

    About a week and a half ago I took the two most outer frames in the deep and put them in the new undrawn hive, moved all the frames out and put in two new undrawn frames in the middle of the deep.

    This week I checked to see how they are doing. They have barely started to draw some comb out on one side of one of the frames and look to be working the frames with drawn comb I put in the upper deep but are not touching the other frames.

    They are very busy collecting pollen and nectar and are filling the existing comb. I was unable to do a full inspection yesterday because the weather was not good and they were not in a good mood. I was feeding them with a front feeder but took the advice of someone in the forum and changed that. I took a piece of screen and put it over the hole in the inner cover, inverted the jar of sugar water with tiny holes in the lid, placed an empty medium super over that, and covered it all with the telescoping cover. I have two hives and not sure if robbing is going on so I did this for both hives hoping to prevent it.

    My biggest problem is getting them to draw out comb. My other hive was a package I bought this spring and they have no problem drawing out comb so far but this hive just won't do it. And it swarmed on Easter Sunday and they had the second deep on but didn't touch it. I thought they had plenty of room. I did find a queen and brood a couple weeks after the swarm so not worried about that.

    What can I do to get them to draw out comb?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Meriden, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    i would suggest, moving some of the frams around. bring a few drawn combs up and a few empties down. this should encourage movement. they might be honey bound.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    You mean more than just the two I already moved?

    They probably are honey bound as you say because I really don't know how long this hive was going before I got it and I think the man I got it from was robbing the deep for honey. From what he was telling me I don't think he ever put another super on this hive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    You can tell if they were honey bound by looking at the frames in your brood box. Pull a couple out from one side and then you can just move the others over after you pick them up and see what the frames look like. If all the bottom frames have brood or honey and pollen then move honey up to your second box and put the new frames in the middle of your brood box, at least that is what I would do. It probably will not take but about 10 minutes or so to do that and then you will know for sure what is going on in the bottom box. Others will probably give better info.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Jackson, Ga USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    What kind of frames and foundation are you using? Plastic or wood? I have a hard time getting the girls to draw comb on Perico and other plastic frames. Take some wax and rub it on the foundation or melt some and pour it on the foundation so it will put a good coat of wax on it. Sometimes that will do the trick.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
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    36

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Quote Originally Posted by Nantom670 View Post
    You can tell if they were honey bound by looking at the frames in your brood box. Pull a couple out from one side and then you can just move the others over after you pick them up and see what the frames look like. If all the bottom frames have brood or honey and pollen then move honey up to your second box and put the new frames in the middle of your brood box, at least that is what I would do. It probably will not take but about 10 minutes or so to do that and then you will know for sure what is going on in the bottom box. Others will probably give better info.
    Yes...I checked the two outermost frames and they looked like all honey stores so I pulled them out and put them in the upper box and put two new frames with plastic foundation in the middle. This plastic foundation has wax on it and I was hoping they would quickly draw out comb but they haven't. And it looks like they may be cleaning up the wax on the plastic?? It looks like they just barely got started on one side drawing out a little comb and that's it. Maybe I'm too impatient? But everything I read says that they can draw out comb very quickly and possibly even draw out 60% to 80% in a weeks time but not these.
    Also, I can see from my other hive that they can build quite a bit of comb in a weeks time. I guess I will wait a little longer but at this rate they will never produce extra honey for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    I have a hive exactly like that. I've sort of come to the conclusion that the problem is either a weak or unproductive queen or a disease.

    One of its sister hives died out from Nosema c. earlier this Spring. Their mite load is very low. I finally treated for Nosema, and they've improved a little, but are still behind my other hives and also my new packages as well. I've just about decided that I'll divide the hive into nucs and requeen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,280

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    i have noticed that hives without a laying queen still forage and store nectar, but don't draw comb.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    I'm not really experienced to know a whole lot at this point, but I did notice that when I lost my queen the hive stopped drawing comb.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    GA-Bee,
    My frames are wood with plastic that already has wax on it. They are new frames.

    geebob,
    I looked up nosema since you mentioned it and I don't see any of the signs they say are associated with that disease.

    squarepeg and TrvVn5,
    Very interesting. You may be on to something there. This hive swarmed on Easter Sunday. Although I saw a queen in there it could be that she was not fertilized. Wait I saw brood in there. If she was not fertilized would she be able to lay eggs that develop larvae?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,280

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    if you have eggs and developing larvae there should be a laying queen. if they swarmed, they may not have the workforce right now for drawing wax.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Hopefully that's all it is. I thought they would have wanted more room for the queen to lay so she could build the workforce but what do I know.....
    I'll just give it more time and see what happens. Thanks everybody!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Quote Originally Posted by lissa View Post
    geebob,
    I looked up nosema since you mentioned it and I don't see any of the signs they say are associated with that disease.
    I mentioned it only in reference to my hive being weak, not to try to diagnose your problem. I should have made that more clear. You probably will have to figure out what is affecting the hive (mites? bad queen?) and correct accordingly.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,922

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Over the years I have come to the conclusion that about 1/3 of my hives will be great honey producers, 1/3 will be okay honey producers and 1/3 will just collect enough to maintain their size. I think that it is directly related to the queens. Unfortunately, I never know which one is which until it is too late to make a queen change and see if my honey flow will improve.

    I do requeen those weaker hives, but it is in a effort to make next year better.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
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    36

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Ok I checked this hive yesterday. Inspected 3 or 4 frames. Seems to be more bees in there than before and there is lots and lots of larvae and capped brood it looks like as well as honey stores and pollen. But I also saw one of the frames had lots of capped drone cells and I also came accross what looked like a queen cell capped. What the ??

    I thought I gave them plenty of room (two empty frames in the middle of this deep with only a few inches in diameter of comb they are starting to fill out and a second deep above with two frames of honey and pollen stores from the bottom).

    I was thinking with all the larvae I saw they were building up the colony so they would get better/faster at making comb.

    The queen seems to be doing her job well since there were lots of larvae and capped brood and drones.

    So what can be going on??? I just don't get it!!

    If they swarm again it looks like to me the pattern is to just build up in one box and swarm and then do it again no matter what I try.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,280

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    usually there would be quite a few queen cells if they were going to swarm. also, the old queen stops laying and the workers will fill the brood cells with nectar, so you wouldn't expect to see a solid pattern of young brood.

    have you had the chance to see what drone cells look like? they are bigger, raised, and sometimes are at funny angles to the rest of the comb.

    if it is a single queen cell, it might be for supercedure instead of swarming.

    that said, i had a few of my "starter" hives swarm even though i thought i was giving them enough room. but the extra room was just foundation and that didn't seem to get the job done.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    I didn't pull every frame during this inspection but did only see one queen cell and it was towards the top of the frame and not on the bottom like I saw before the other swarm. And you're right, I did see several the last time not just one. Maybe I need to get in there and just pull every frame.

    Also, yes I think I know what drone cells look like cause I looked it up when I saw them before. They looked different and I didn't know what or why but yes they are bigger, raised and there were several in clusters on the frame I pulled out.

    Any yeah they have plenty of room but not drawn comb it's just foundation and they just aren't building comb. Maybe I should wait this one out...I just don't want another swarm cause it seems they are building up very fast with more larvae than I've seen before in this hive.

    And why would they need to supercede the queen if she is laying so well?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
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    1,922

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Just because you think they are doing well doesn't mean that the bees do. Also this thread started because you didn't think that they were growing fast enough. Maybe the bees don't either.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westminster, SC, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Quote Originally Posted by beedeetee View Post
    Just because you think they are doing well doesn't mean that the bees do. Also this thread started because you didn't think that they were growing fast enough. Maybe the bees don't either.
    I understand. However, I am just trying to figure out what they need.
    I started the thread because I am concerned that they won't draw out any more comb but keep growing in number which can only lead to another swarm. I know they are capable of growing very fast. They proved that to me when they multiplied and swarmed in April. I just don't understand why they won't draw out more comb to accomodate their growth when the room is available. Like someone else said..it is not the kind of room they want apparently. Really hoping to prevent another swarm and was hoping this could be a good hive for me. Doesn't look like it so far.
    I have tried a couple different things now and was looking for some advice from experienced beeks like yourself. Any advice is welcomed and I thank you for it in advance.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    619

    Default Re: Not drawing new comb...???

    Bee's don't always do what you think they should do. Give them some more time. It's hard to change them once they get their mind set to do something. They know what they want to do even if you don't. Good luck,

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