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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Reminder Best use of Comb

    I run single deeps with an Excluder.
    I super with deeps and Mediums.
    This question is about supering with mediums for a flow.
    I don't want brood in my honey supers.

    I don't have drawn comb mediums to supply even 1/2 the hives I would like to super with mediums.

    I would like to spread out the drawn out medium comb frames as thin as I can and still draw the the bees through the excluder.

    How thin can I go?

    Will 3 drawn out frames (pierco plastic) 7 blanks (waxed Pierco plactic frame) work?

    Yes I know excluders are honey excluders and bees hate plastic!!!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    The key to getting bees above the excluder is to move a frame or two of brood above the excluder. Nurse bees will folow to attend to the brood. The nurse bees and emerging bees will stay above the excluder and the brood frames can be returned below the excluder. If you don't put brood above the excluder, there is a big danger of backfilling the brood nest with nectar and swarming.

    Apply a thin coat of bees wax to plastic foundation, using a foam paint brush and bees will much happier with it. I also plan to try the 3 or 4 inch foam paint rollers to apply wax to plastic foundation.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Thanks for trying I think you may have misunderstood.
    The problem is the brood box is a deep and the super is a medium.
    Having them draw out and lay in mediums frames in deep box and moving up is a solution I want to even think about if that is the next suggestion.

    The frames have wax on them, I've used extra wax but find it really is more trouble than its worth during a flow. (In my limited experience,in my location with my bees). Helps if you are feeding and trying to get them to build out. Foam roller works well when you find a brand that can handle the hot wax

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    The problem is the brood box is a deep and the super is a medium.
    Having them draw out and lay in mediums frames in deep box and moving up is a solution I want to even think about if that is the next suggestion.
    I had this exact problem this spring. I started a hive from a deep nuc in a deep brood box and when it was time to add a medium (new keep, no drawn comb) they just wouldn't move and they swarmed on me. After realizing what had happened I made some spacers so I could put a couple deep frames in a medium box with the spacer underneath the medium and got the bees to start drawing some medium frames after a week or so I put the frames back in their respective places and removed the spacer. Didn't have much of a problem with comb being drawn where it shouldn't be either.

    The problem can be solved for good by using all medium boxes or all deep boxes or getting a little creative as I did.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    My $0.02: if you're going to mid drawn and undrawn frames in a super, don't stagger them. I would put all three together in the middle to give them some bait to start. Last year I tried staggering drawn frames to maximize the drawn stuff I had, and they used the flow to pull super-thick comb from the drawn frames clear over into the undrawn space...

    I'm probably wrong, but that's that's what I've seen with my limited experience. It's just an excruciating process to build up your comb supply!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    642

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    As stated, you need to get bees to stay above the excluder and the best way to do that is with brood. They then will draw comb and store honey.

    My suggestion then is to remove the excluder and add the medium honey super. Let them draw it and get a couple of frames of brood underway in the medium and then insert the excluder.

    There is many advantages to using the same depth super throughout the hive.

    Maybe you convert to a totally medium hive for a period of time to get some comb drawn.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  7. #7
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Sorry I'm not being clear.

    What is the minimum number of drawn frames of comb I need to combine with new frame/foundation per medium box to place over a single deep brood box and excluder to entice bees to begin to draw out remaining frames and store honey?

  8. #8
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Quote Originally Posted by Nichols747 View Post
    My $0.02: if you're going to mid drawn and undrawn frames in a super, don't stagger them. I would put all three together in the middle to give them some bait to start. Last year I tried staggering drawn frames to maximize the drawn stuff I had, and they used the flow to pull super-thick comb from the drawn frames clear over into the undrawn space...

    I'm probably wrong, but that's that's what I've seen with my limited experience. It's just an excruciating process to build up your comb supply!
    Thanks for the answer, I understand what a mess tha can be.

    So three seemed to work for you? With the exception of goofy comb!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    You know, I can't really say that with any authority... .

    I don't have the experience to say that it's the "bait comb" that drew them up, versus the nectar flow stimulating wax production. I would think that a little bait wouldn't hurt though...

    Hopefully some one with more experience will sound off!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,824

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    In my experience, mixing drawn and undrawn frames in a box results in a lot of bridge comb and poorly drawn frames. Just put the mediums on without the honey excluder and like the man said, put it on after comb is drawn, first making sure the queen is down, usually by shaking or brushing the bees off if she is not marked or you have endless time. When you get drawn comb is time enough to get high standards on extracting frames. Also, always draw ten and better yet, shave to 1 1/4 so you can put in 11 frames until they are drawn, then pull two. You will get better comb that way.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,273

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    i didn't have much luck mixing drawn and undrawn foundation frames in honey supers. they ones that were already drawn got drawn too fat and vice versa. i only use one drawn frame for 'bait', start with 10, and reduce to 9 once they start working them.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Think the other way around.

    Pull a frame from the deep (without brood) and put a medium foundationless (or just a short strip of foundation) frame in between two frames of brood. When a frame is put between frames of brood, the brood frames don't get overdrawn.

    Also, there is little issue with comb being drawn below the bottom bar of the medium as they stop at the bar and only start below the bottom bar when they are running out of space. Once the frame is more than 75% you can move it up to a super, then put another foundationless frame in it's place. Do this at least three times. Although, if you HAVE to use an excluder (I don't), I wouldn't put the excluder on until the super is mostly (like more than 75%) drawn comb.

    Matthew Davey
    Last edited by MattDavey; 12-07-2012 at 02:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
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    1,918

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    In my experience, if you store frames wet, you don't need many to convince the bees that the area above the excluder is for honey storage. On strong hives 3 frames is fine, just place them together and don't stagger them tempting the bees to draw extra deep comb on your drawn frames instead of starting to draw the foundation. Don't put them on two months early and allow the bees to clean out the frames and get bored up there.

    When you see new white wax on the top of frames in the upper box, it's time to add the supers with your drawn comb and foundation.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    How thin can I go?
    One is obviously as thin as you can go. Don't you think that would be hive dependent?
    Not knowing what your goals are, honey vs. number of hives, you might be able to fill out the medium drawn frames quicker by selecting your most active hives. Then use those filled frames in your other hives as lures in a foundation mix.
    I wonder who would have the experience with different number of frames on many hives to tell you which would be the optimum configuration. It certainly would be useful information. Looking forward to seeing other answers.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    8,996

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i didn't have much luck mixing drawn and undrawn foundation frames in honey supers.
    Use the ones that are filled and capped and that won't happen.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,589

    Default Re: Best use of Comb

    Mbeck,

    Scroll down and read about queen excluders http://www.bjornapiaries.com/equipmentmanagement.html
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

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