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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    baltimore, md
    Posts
    6

    Default Bridge comb and brood loss

    hi, total newb again. i started working my first hive a week ago -- a top-bar nuc installed in a langstroth bottom deep.

    When i installed the top bars from the nuc last week, two top bars were fused together via bridge comb. I didn't spend any time focusing on the bridge comb "problem" but rather installed the fused frames in the deep as one.

    Yesterday I did my first inspection of the newly-installed nuc. When I came to the two top-bars fused by bridge comb, genius me decided to try to separate so that I could work the frames individually. I used a serrated knife to cut between the two frames so that they were no longer connected. I was horrified to see that there was beautiful brood maturing in the bridge comb, and I had just annihilated a bunch of future honeybees. Mortifying.

    Several questions:

    1) Is this type of bridge comb situation common with top bars?
    2) Is it normal for brood to develop and mature in bridge comb?
    3) How can I prevent this in the future while I've got the nuc top bars in place (i plan to swap out top bars to all langstroth frames over time)
    4) Have I done irreparable harm to the hive by killing nearly 1/2 the brood on one frame of an eight-frame deep?

    any thoughts appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Bridge comb and brood loss

    Quote Originally Posted by bjwisbar View Post
    1) Is this type of bridge comb situation common with top bars?
    Not necessarily a "top bars" thing nearly so much as a "honey bees" thing. I've heard TBH and Lang keepers both lamenting this trouble on a regular basis...it just happens, or as someone else put it "bees do as bees do."


    2) Is it normal for brood to develop and mature in bridge comb?
    Happens all the time; the bees don't see bridge comb, burr comb, or brace comb as anything different than "good" comb...the difference only matters to us, as beekeepers...bees build it & use it for whatever they need at the time.


    3) How can I prevent this in the future while I've got the nuc top bars in place (i plan to swap out top bars to all langstroth frames over time)
    4) Have I done irreparable harm to the hive by killing nearly 1/2 the brood on one frame of an eight-frame deep?
    No major harm has been done...they'll just have a few dozen fewer bees...a drop in the pool of thousands that you have. As far as keeping brood out of the messed up comb, either cut it out or, as I suggested in your other thread, encourage the bees to start using it for honey storage, then remove it when it's full of honey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Bridge comb and brood loss

    One bad comb leads to another. One good comb leads to another. If you have bad comb, wishful thinking will not fix the next comb. It will be messed up unless you make the last comb a straight one by whatever means is necessary. Having a frame you can tie a comb into is good to have. Then you can always create a straight comb. Another solution is to find a straight comb and put it at the point they are building comb and put the messed up comb at the front (assuming you don’t tie it into frames or remove it). Empty bars between drawn brood combs will keep them busy building straight combs. Just don’t spread them too thin. They need to be able to fill that gap with festooning bees quickly.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    baltimore, md
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Bridge comb and brood loss

    thank you all! a week ago i added another deep. I pulled half of the top bars from the bottom and alternated top bar-->langstroth-->top bar in the new deep, placed on top of the existing box. checked it five days in and they were still crossing comb from one frame to the next. this past weekend I pulled most of the langstroths out and wired the horizontally, thinking it will give these girls a guide for when they need to move to the next frame. I'm planning to leave the kids alone for the next week and let them do what they will. I'm pretty sure they're tired of seeing my smiling face, shaking up their household! will let y'all know what I find....until then, any sage words of wisdom from folks who have "been there, tried that" are welcomed!

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