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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    25

    Default Question on reusing old top bar combs

    Due to losing one of my colonies last year, I have a lot of old top bars with attached comb that I want to re-use this year to save the bees precious nectar usually lost to comb build-up. The combs have been frozen to kill any pests during the winter.

    Last year I also had a LOT of trouble with cross-combing.

    I'm worried that putting old top bars in (due to the waviness and irregularity of the combs) will cause a lot of problems with cross-combing, as the combs are not in the original "order".

    Would it be worth it to "shave" down the sides of the combs to the width of the top bar in order to prevent cross-combing due to lack of bee-space? Theoretically wouldn't that allow the bees to re-build the comb out to a proper bee-space?

    I guess I'm looking for any helpful info for re-using top bars with attached comb. Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,503

    Default Re: Question on reusing old top bar combs

    I think it is Michael Bush that says straight comb makes straight comb. If you can get the comb straight it would be worthwhile. I don't know that shaving would work, the center of the comb would be offset, so they may just pull it back out straight. What if you warmed it with a hair dryer or something to get it pliable and then get it straighter? You may have to detach the comb on the bar at places that are far off. The bees will fix it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Question on reusing old top bar combs

    I would straighten the ones that are feasible and for the others trim away the bad bits.
    Cheers
    Rob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Question on reusing old top bar combs

    I sort of thought there might be something wrong with the idea of simply shaving the combs down. The center, or back of the cells I suppose, is where the bees would build out from, and they would probably end up just as cross-combed as if I hadn't shaved them down.

    I'll try the hair dryer thing to bend them into as straight a line as possible. Anything too out of whack I'll just cut off. Thanks for the advice!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Question on reusing old top bar combs

    Do the combs have honey in them? If they do you can place a comb at a time in the back end of the nest for the bees to clean out during your dearth period. Scratch the cappings so they can easily remove the honey. Once they are empty you can straighten them with the hair dryer idea.

    Those combs will come in handy for a fall flow if you have one or for early spring expansion if some are nice worker combs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default Re: Question on reusing old top bar combs

    If the comb is not as straight as you want, I would not reuse it. If it is straight enough, I would. No natural comb is perfectly straight but it should all be on the top bar and not running off the bar to the next bar...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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