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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Cary, NC, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Bees ignoring comb?

    Hi all. New beekeeper with yet another question!

    I started my TBH earlier this month and gave them 10 bars before the follower board.
    They built comb on 8 of these, so I figured it was time to give them more bars - based on things I've read on here.

    I also read that I should put new bars between existing straight comb to keep it all lined up.

    I did this yesterday, and now the bees are totally ignoring the last comb they had, and mostly ignoring the next to last one. They're definitely building new comb on the new bars toward the front of the hive.

    I tend to believe that they know what they're doing and that they'll take care of themselves, but just wanted to know if I put in too many empty bars or anything? I guess if those last two combs had brood they wouldn't be ignoring them? They just seem so thin on all the combs now, and their first brood is capped, but still has days to go.

    -josh

    IMG_20140424_190120.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,322

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    From your description I don't see anything wrong. The photo shows pretty much empty comb, no brood in the photos.

    Most likely, since you inserted new bars in the middle of their brood nest, they have shifted their focus to build out those new bars so they can have an uninterrupted brood nest.
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Cary, NC, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    Very good - that's kind of what I figured. They definitely have a bunch of bees working on the new bars in the "main" part of the hive that has capped brood. So I guess they're wanting to keep everything together so they can keep it warm or something.

    This is all so fascinating!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    935

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    Ok lets see if i can get you on track here. Yes you are correct about adding bars between the ones that have been drawn out nice and straight. There is actually 2 reason for doing this. 1 - They will give you another good straight comb, 2 - It breaks the brood nest and causes the bees to go immediately to the empty bar and create new comb in order to reunite the brood nest and give the queen more room to lay in. So as long as you didn't put say two bars side by side between to already drawn combs you should be fine. As for the end of the nest next to the follower board, always make sure you have an empty bar next to it. The bees will draw comb right on to it if not.
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Cary, NC, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    Thanks drlonzo - that sounds like what I did.

    I also noticed that they started making a small extra comb between the first bar and the front wall of the hive. I don't guess there's anything I can do about that except remove it. I don't see how they even had room to move between the two combs!

    DSC_8023 (Custom).jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,501

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    They do this when there is a little too much room some place. Mostly called ribbon comb. If it is at the end of the hive I would leave it. If you cut it they may just draw it back out again, wasting resources.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    If they have built comb where it shouldn't be, my suggestion would be to remove it. It will only grow and cause problems.

    Regarding adding new bars, do be careful not to add too many at a time. As you have seen, they sometimes can't cover all of the comb when you add new bars. Those empty combs at the back are a great place for hive beetles and wax moths to get a foothold. In my area the hive beetles don't show up until mid summer and when they do it is essentiall that every comb be covered with bees to keep them at bay.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Springfield, MO
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    Where is your location?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGeneralsBees View Post
    If they have built comb where it shouldn't be, my suggestion would be to remove it. It will only grow and cause problems.

    Regarding adding new bars, do be careful not to add too many at a time. As you have seen, they sometimes can't cover all of the comb when you add new bars. Those empty combs at the back are a great place for hive beetles and wax moths to get a foothold. In my area the hive beetles don't show up until mid summer and when they do it is essentiall that every comb be covered with bees to keep them at bay.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Cary, NC, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    very interesting - thanks for the tips. i figure that once they've got the brood nest filled back in they'll head back to that comb again. That's only 2 or three bars that need filling in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by onesojourner View Post
    Where is your location?
    Onesojourner sir, I am blessed to be in the great state of Virginia.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    I started my TBH earlier this month
    I would not spread the brood nest quite this early. After the second round of brood is well on its way in development (capped) a few empty bars can be inserted. No point in adding extra stressors until they are better equipped to handle it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,501

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    +1 pm Delta's post. Once you get hatch out they should start building again. If you go in and you see new comb being drawn that is the time to open it up some. Don't be surprised if they pull out all drone comb. If they are getting stronger they will want drones.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Cary, NC, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bees ignoring comb?

    OK, I went back in and removed a couple of the empty bars. I had 5 empty bars placed between drawn comb, and they'd already started drawing new comb on three of those, so I left them where they were. The other two were between bars with brood, so I took them out and snugged everything back together.

    They already seem happier and busier on those last couple brood combs.

    Thanks everyone!

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