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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Oakville, CT
    Posts
    35

    Default some advice please

    Hi, I posted a while back about my first hive drawing comb uneven. Well at the time I took most of the worst comb out and let them redraw it. I now have two deeps about 80% full of brood pollen and syrup. The problem is that their comb is still very uneven, some much worse than others. There are only a few frames that I can see that are even and straight on both sides. Most have comb that come out past the frame in areas and so the frame next to it is drawn very shallow. Also quite a few frames have comb attaching two frames. I had left them alone for a couple weeks trying not to disturb them, and when I went to check them a few days ago I had a very tough time of it. The hive is very heavy with propolous, and with the comb the way it is I couldn't help but damage some of it. I slid a couple of the outside empty frames in to be drawn, but that was all I could manage at the time, as it was hot and I really pissed the girls off, and got stung a few times.
    I have been thinking that I need to add a medium honey super and just leave the comb the way it is for now, what else can I do?
    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    McDonough, NY United States
    Posts
    244

    Default Re: some advice please

    Is the hive level or close to it? Looking at how the bees chain and hang to produce plumb comb, that may effect it. I assume you aren't using foundation?

    I would try to stagger new frames in between the couple that you know are straight. Make sure they are pushed up tight so they only have proper bee space and no room to waste. I might also consider, every time they build a straight comb, take out one crooked one. Then just keep checkerboarding in empty frames in between straight ones.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Oakville, CT
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: some advice please

    I am using foundation. And the hive is perfectly level. I messed up in the very beginning by not making sure all the frames were tight together, however I thought I had fixed that by taking out the bad comb and pushing them all tight. And in the second deep I moved up a couple of the good frames to get them started and made sure to keep the frames tight together, but now this box has some really bad comb. I will try your advice about moving out the worst ones and moving in new frames between good ones. What do I do if there is brood in the frames I want to remove? And I guess I should add a super so they have room right?
    Can it just be a bad trait that they are not building straight comb?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    McDonough, NY United States
    Posts
    244

    Default Re: some advice please

    I don't have the knowledge to comment on the traits of comb building.

    Now that the weather has warmed up, you might be able to put the brood that you want to save in a third box on top of the other boxes. The queen might be less likely to lay again up there and it should be warm enough to keep temperatures steady up there. Once they hatch out, toss them before she can lay again. Even if she does lay, it may be easier to swallow tossing a frame of eggs than capped brood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    406

    Default Re: some advice please

    Would these bees be under, or near,power lines or cell towers etc?That will cause some really wild comb sometimes.If these were mine I would leave the comb as is for now and just add supers as needed.Next big honey flow work the bad box,gradually, to the top of the stack.If the bee inspector gripes just explain what you are doing.Most are understanding and will work with you

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Blackstone, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: some advice please

    Was the foundation, once installed in the frames, straight and flat? I've had a terrible time this year with the foundation wires being too long, so much so that they cause the foundation to be bowed once installed. I finally figured out that I have to take sidecutter pliers and snip about 1/8 to 1/4 inch off the ends....its a real PITA...and will lead to some terrible comb if the foundation is bowed. I also have some honey frames that are way to fat w/ overdrawn comb (that was due to my error putting new foundation frames beside frames that the bees were still working and hadn't yet been capped). But we've decided to not take any honey, and split up what we have amongst our hives to try to see the small splits and caught swarms through...

    Ok...I just have to ask...
    gone2seed....are you being sarcastic with the comment about the bee inspector griping? Or does that really happen????

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    406

    Default Re: some advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by Bees&Wood View Post

    Ok...I just have to ask...
    gone2seed....are you being sarcastic with the comment about the bee inspector griping? Or does that really happen????
    No sarcasm intended.Bee inspectors,plant inspectors etc. have always been helpful and courteous.BUT the bee ins has the right to expect combs he can easily manipulate so I can imagine one getting his drawers in a wad if he has to do a cutout in order to inspect a hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Blackstone, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: some advice please

    gone2seed.....ok, so that statement was from an 'ease of manipulation' standpoint, not in terms of the inspector complaining on how one chooses to manage his/her hives (when not relevant to pests/diseases etc)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: some advice please

    his keep phreas was "I can imagine"... your bee inspector has seen it before, and its not power lines or cell phones... or uneven hives. some colonies are just lacking talent in the engineering dept. just like some build tons of burr comb, some gather propolis till it drives you nuts!...

    The only cure you have is a long knife. take out the really bad comb and level it with a long bread knife. then put them nest to other simalar frames to keep them from redooing what you just undid. they will leave beespace,

    Not all hives will be such a pain. so will draw perfect straight and balanced comb. I have one hive not that fill supers with softball sized clumps. but most pull fairly well and balanced

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Oakville, CT
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: some advice please

    Thanks for all the advice, I like the idea of moving the worst frames up to a new box and switching them out, how do you feel about a queen extractor so the queen doesn't lay up there?
    The other question is do I put the frames up there by themselves or with some new foundation, the problem I see might happen is that if I put up new foundation next to the worst comb next to them that they will draw those out awkwardly as well.

    I do feel that my bees just do lack some talent, or that I just started them off wrong and they now just keep continue to build the comb not straight. The frames are wood with plastic foundation.
    Again Thanks so much, I really appreciate the time and advice!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: some advice please

    I'm a new beekeeper and have had my bees do the exact same thing with a good number of their frames: wavy comb thick in some spots causing the next frame to be drawn very thinly.

    I decided not to intervene immediately. Instead, what I did was wait until it was time to harvest and trim all of the comb flush with the wooden frames, so that the next time they work them, they will have a level surface of comb to work with.

    I'm not 100% positive they will draw them out perfectly this time around, but I have a good feeling that restarting with evenly drawn comb should help a good bit.

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