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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Tineo, Asturias, SPAIN
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    184

    Default Hive just for comb building?

    I apologize, I am sure this has been asked but I cannot find any threads on the subject using the search function.

    I recall reading/hearing a comment or two about having a dedicated hive for drawing comb. I just suffered a setback (lost three out of four hives to AFB) and the remaining hive is a swarm I caught along with a small amount of comb it had started building in an ancient abondoned hive. I have them building on empty frames right now, but for the future it would be nice to be able to help a colony like this with drawn comb. The queen is laying nicely, but only as fast as the workers can build.

    Anyway, any information, for future reference, on dedicated hives for comb building would be appreciated. Put another way - what is the best method for building up a stock of empty drawn comb to give to newly hived swarms?

    Forrest

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Unfortunately it's a very sad answer....dead outs. But NOT when AFB/EFB is part of the demise! I hope you burned that equipment? (Sorry...3 colony loss sucks!) Can you at least give them some foundation? I prefer wired wax. And sure, in the future, when you have additional resources, healthy drawn comb is perfect, or if you have a frame of brood that can be spared, that surely helps keep the swarms. I don't do it anymore. I have found after dark relocation has been extremely effective, even if it is a relatively minimal relocation. I think a lot of my decisions are made less thoughtfully, as we have pretty much something going on for the bees nearly year round. I do not know your area, so take my advice with caution. Sorry about your lost hives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Tineo, Asturias, SPAIN
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    184

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Thanks BIM, yes, I burned those hives and even frames/boxes than had been on them previously, I am taking no chances.

    So right now I have no drawn comb to give the remaining colony to help the queen lay faster, but I would like to have a supply in the future - I plan on trapping swarms so I will need a good stock of drawn frames.

    This swarm had taken up residence already in an old box in the woods and the queen was already laying in new snow white comb which I took as well - so they have stayed put, but I would love to (again, in the future) be able to give a boost in these circumstances.

    As to the AFB, I took lots of pictures of the brood - which had all the classic symptom - will post later in a thread in the section on diseases.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    I had a speaker talking about the need of drawing frames out for his Operation. his answer was to feed 3 water to 1 sugar surup and all of the nurse bees you can get.
    Davi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,759

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    I was thinking split the hive you have and feed.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
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    May 2013
    Location
    Tineo, Asturias, SPAIN
    Posts
    184

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I was thinking split the hive you have and feed.
    They only have maybe six frames drawn/partially drawn so far. They were just starting to build comb when I caught them - can I split them so soon?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,429

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Actually, swarms are the best way to increase your drawn comb inventory. The primary goal of a swarm is to quickly become established, and drawing comb is at the top of their list. Swarms are usually very prolific at wax making and comb building.

    I like to hive swarms in the Spring and let them build most of their comb from scratch. As the season progresses I'll do some combining, keeping the best queens, and end up with extra frames of drawn comb for next Spring.
    To everything there is a season....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,111

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    It's hard to get bees to build comb out of season. I think the way to get it done is to start out with more hives than you want to end up with. Want to keep 3-4 hives for honey fun and profit? Manage 6-8 until you have enough comb to fully equip the 3-4 you want - then cut back.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,759

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestB View Post
    They only have maybe six frames drawn/partially drawn so far. They were just starting to build comb when I caught them - can I split them so soon?
    I would say not. I thought this was an established hive. Sorry.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Tineo, Asturias, SPAIN
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    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I would say not. I thought this was an established hive. Sorry.
    Yeah, no, I got them out of a "truebano" - a log used as a hive here in Spain (until not that long ago) maybe three weeks ago - they had a few combs built and it appears I got the queen okay, there are new eggs in there as of Weds and they building - just a shame I don't have any drawn comb for her to lay in right away...


    Thanks for all the replies guys - I like the idea of using swarms to build and then combining - I am going to build ten or so five frame nucs/traps this week and get them out here - we have had a lot of rain here this spring and it appears they are just now starting to swarm a lot. I hope I can get a few more this summer so that I don't go into winter with just one hive.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,759

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestB View Post
    just a shame I don't have any drawn comb for her to lay in right away...
    Even if you had the comb they might not let her lay in it. Comb is only one resource. They need honey, pollen, and lots of nurse bees to take care of the brood. The hive might not have all of that right now.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Tineo, Asturias, SPAIN
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    184

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Even if you had the comb they might not let her lay in it. Comb is only one resource. They need honey, pollen, and lots of nurse bees to take care of the brood. The hive might not have all of that right now.
    Thanks - didn't know that.

    I was watching them for a while today and the good news is they are bringing in lots of pollen (and I assume nectar) - there is a lot of activity. The bad news is that it is raining tomorrow. This has been the wetest year in Asturias (northern Spain) since the 30's. It has been raining more days than it hasn't.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,759

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestB View Post
    It has been raining more days than it hasn't.
    Don't I know...
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,938

    Default Re: Hive just for comb building?

    >what is the best method for building up a stock of empty drawn comb to give to newly hived swarms?

    I try to draw out my brood combs first as a honey super during a strong flow. This of course only works using foundation, foundationless honey combs are drawn out as drone cells. This give me lots of comb to use for expansion after they are extracted. They are also drawn better than as by a swarm.

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