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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    126

    Default Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    Well, both of my hives seem to building lots of comb, but I still learning how to move the bars while detecting any brace comb that needs to be cut first.

    I pulled a large piece off this morning. ugh. And I totally know what Micheal Bush was talking about....crossed comb sucks! And it was because I hung the queen cage.

    I am gonna have a bear of a time straightening it out and I could use some tips for working with very fresh (new) comb.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    long beach, ca.
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    i just started bee keeping and using a top bar hive, i found out quickly just how fragile combs are. there just starting to build combs so i'm sure this will be something i need to deal with soon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I wouldn't bother mucking about at all for a while. As they get things build out and use the frames they will become more durable. As long as the combs are straight and pollen is coming is I'd not remove any frames.

    If you do have to move a frame just remember slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Move very slowly, even when prying the bars, and keep the comb vertical. Do not tilt from vertical in anyway. Practice w/ a top bar on how to keep the bar parallel to the ground as you rotate it--as if you were going to look at the other side. No flipping over.

    I'd cut any comb out now that got messed up by the queen cage so the problem doesn't grow. Once they have straight comb drawn you shouldn't have many issues w/ cross comb. Make sure the hive is level.

    All that being said, I never worked a top bar so take w/ a grain of salt. Do run foundationless in the brood nest though and imagine handling is the same.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Chicagoland, IL, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    Yes, fresh comb is so fragile! I know now is the time to straighten stuff out though - in about a week's time the bees will either have completely messed you up or have built so much brace comb it'll be a mess! Plus, I've seen comb harden pretty quickly - depending on weather conditions. So your open working time is fairly short. I would make sure to have a smoker going, as they'll not like this very much! And a good brush to remove stray workers too (even a bunch of grass with a rubber-band to hold the blades together works great!)

    If the cross comb is on one bar - you can cut the attachment at the comb/bar joint with a sharp knife (careful not to cut anyone!). Use a dagger type motion, not a sawing motion - sawing with make things worse! Then using string or a rubber-band, move the comb to where it should be and brace with the string or rubber band. You'll need to get the bar completely out of the hive and brush off all bees that you can. I've seen a comb-holder for top bars (or Warre's) that's made out of a few scrap 2x4's....here's that picture link:

    http://warre.biobees.com/haverson.htm

    If the comb is across more than one bar - you'll need to cut from BOTH bars and then decide which bar will get the comb. Again, using string or rubber bands attach back onto bar. This is messy, messy stuff - but the girls will rebuild faster than you can imagine! If it's across 2 or more bars, you can move the offending bars as a group into the dead space after the follower board, which will give you space to work in peace (perhaps). Having a second helper would be best in this situation, as one holds the bars above the opening created in the hive and the other brushes the bees back into the hive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I agree with Life is Good. However, if the cross combing is only one comb right now (the one that had the queen cage) I'd not want to disrupt the hive at this critical time trying to fix the comb back on unless it's very large and has eggs in it. It may be better to just cut off the offending part of the comb and then place the bar between two other combs so that when the bees fix it, they have guides on either side. I've heard of people using masking tape looped over the bar and under the comb to hold up comb. The bees will eventually chew it off, by which time the comb is fixed back to the bar.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,461

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I had good success fixing the comb using hair-clip(s) - bunch of videos on youtube. Yes, fresh comb is very fragile especially if full of nectar/honey. My approach is to make sure that sides of the comb are not attached to the walls. I am using top bars in the Land-style boxes. I have absolutely no problems with medium size. Deep-size - is too big. It needs some support from the sides. It is different with TBH.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    That is why I attached one of my top bars to a Lang frame and let my Lang build my first straight comb trimmed it to fit the angle of the tbh dumped in my package waited about 10 min for them to settle down and direct released the queen onto the comb done all this at 6 pm and by noon the next day they were bringing in pollen

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