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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Fenton, MI
    Posts
    255

    Default Spare supers with drawn comb?

    In a recent post, David Laferney wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    First of all understand that the whole concept of "brood chamber/honey super" is a bee keeper idea. Unless you use a queen excluder - which generally you should not - until you have at least some drawn comb in honey supers. There are some general trends, but the queen lays where she will, and the workers put honey where they can.

    If they have room they will often (sometimes) store most of the honey above the brood nest (in the honey supers) in the spring, but if they don't have room upstairs they will put nectar/honey right in the brood nest - and once that gets started it is much much more likely that they will issue a swarm during the same year.

    This is an extreme oversimplification, but...

    If you have supers full of drawn comb you start putting those on when your spring nectar flows first start - dandelion bloom more or less - and that is one of the main things you can do to make a honey crop and prevent swarming without splitting your hives.

    Supers full of undrawn foundation DO NOT WORK for swarm prevention. Period. When you hear the term "give them room" it means room to store honey in already drawn comb - not foundation.

    As far as I know all swarm mitigation strategies involve the use of drawn comb - or some form of splitting the hive. Except "opening the brood nest" which might work if you have enough skill to know exactly how and when to do it.

    And none of them are 100% effective when I do them.

    So possibly second year bee keepers with strong overwintered hives, and no supers full of empty drawn comb should seriously consider splitting aggressively early in the season - before any swarming activity whatsoever gets started. After splitting You can let your then multiple hives build comb that year - even if you recombine them in the fall. Or you can do what almost everyone actually does and try all the little tweaks (like opening the brood nest) to try to prevent swarming without having comb - and usually lose half your bees into the trees.

    You might get some honey in your second year either way, but you will get more done if you are realistic and do what you have to do to keep your bees in your boxes.
    I didn't want to take that thread way off track (the thread was about a swarm trap) so I thought I'd get it going here.

    How do you get a super full of empty comb (unless you lost a hive)?
    I don't expect to have honey this year with my new hive but perhaps I could feed like crazy and add another super with a queen excluder and get some frames that way.
    What if my hive IS able to come up with some honey this year? Do I save the medium frames with drawn comb and use them next Spring?

    Dave's post is a good one - has spurred lots of questions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    361

    Default Re: Spare supers with drawn comb?

    I made a box of drawn comb last fall by feeding for a few weeks. Then removed the box and let the bees rob out what they had stored in the drawn comb.

    This spring I had one strong overwintered hive and two packages each installed w/ one box of medium comb from a hive that didn't make it through the winter. All of these hives got supered w/ foundation--the overwintered hive just as the cherries were starting to boom.

    Overwintered hive filled out two boxes (warre w/ frames) w/ honey and then swarmed. End result--2 boxes of drawn comb for use next year and 60lbs of honey for harvest. Bees now occupy the two original boxes plus the box I had drawn last fall (they are fixed comb). If the brood nest moves down a little more I may get another 30lbs of honey but the flow is basically done here.

    2 Packages: Carnies have drawn 2 deeps and 2 mediums (8 frame) and I am about to harvest at least one medium and one deep. They may have swarmed recently too but I think the end of the flow may have just caused them to down shift in activity. Italian package only drew 2 mediums and I won't get any honey from them. Lets just say I think I am becoming a carni fan.

    Anyway, the spring flow is so good here that you can super w/ foundation and do no swarm prevention measures and still get an appreciable honey crop even after they swarm. Will be interesting to see what happens next year now that I have some drawn comb.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    917

    Default Re: Spare supers with drawn comb?

    Dave , I hope your still following this thread , I feel like the light came on and I finally got what your were saying . But being a newb and using cut comb foundation for cut and strain I don't have any drawn comb for spring and won't have any way of stopping a swarm next year.We do have a big goldenrod crop in the fall and I hope to get some honey then , I have a strong carnie nuc I started this spring with a second deep brood box on that seems to be busting at the seams and a package of Italians thats doing good also . Sounds like splits are another way to stop swarming but I was hoping just to keep building strong colonies , but I'd rather split than loose them . Whats a crush and strain beek to do with no drawn comb .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    943

    Default Re: Spare supers with drawn comb?

    Whats a crush and strain beek to do with no drawn comb .
    It's probably late in the season for this year, but NEXT year plan for extra drawn comb by stealing frames from your established boxes. I routinely steal 1-2 per box per season and put them aside. I give the hive a fresh new frame to draw out as a replacement for the one that I stole. By the end of each season I generally have another 10 drawn frames or better safely tucked away for emergency use. I do this both to have some extra drawn comb frames and to regularly replace older combs to avoid any buildup of toxins in my wax. I use foundation, but I don't see any reason this would not work for foundationless beeks too. (I also date my frames so I can keep track of which ones I want to replace in each box.)

    JMO


    Rusty
    Last edited by Rusty Hills Farm; 06-29-2013 at 11:17 AM.
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Spare supers with drawn comb?

    Laketrout - how to efficiently get comb built is a good question. Look for the thread "how do YOU get comb built?" (More or less) In the commercial forum. Those guys do it for a living. It's a great place to learn and let the experts do most of the talking.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    917

    Default Re: Spare supers with drawn comb?

    This problem of not having any drawn comb is worse for someone without an extractor correct ? I'll never accumulate enough drawn comb with crush and strain unless I continually rob frames from other hives , and with only three hives I'll never get ahead unless I do some splits ?

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