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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC
    Posts
    19

    Default Bees drawing comb between supers

    I'm new at beekeeping. I installed a package on 4/20. About two weeks ago, I added a super for brood. I don't plan on harvesting honey this year.

    I checked today to see if they had moved up and started working the new super. I went to pull one of the center frames and it was stuck. I couldn't pry it up with my hive tool. I had to use a frame puller. Let's just say, they were not happy.

    What I found was they were drawing comb between the top bar of the lower and the bottom bar in the upper. Being new to this, I chickened out as I was being buzzed by a dozen or so, so I scraped off the comb on the bottom bar of frame I pulled and put it back in and closed it up. I was able to see they were working about four other frames in the upper super and I suspect they are attached to the top bars in the lower super as well.

    Since this is for brood, should I go back in and scrape off the other frames and how do or can I stop this?

    TIA!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    jackson,arkansas,usa
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    Sounds like the bee space between boxes is not correct. You can scrape it off but unless the space is corrected they will build more. The easiest way i have found was to lift the hole box and scrape instead of one frame at a time. Too much space and they build comb not enough and they propolis it together. I would wait it'll they get the super drawn before scraping sometimes the frames line up just rite as to give them more space than when they get the frames drawn.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    I had to tug pretty hard to get the one frame loose. But I agree, I know I need to pull the box and scrape the bottom and top bars. Not sure why the space isn't correct. These are 10 frame deeps with 10 frames.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    I have found that most "standard" deep frames leave nearly half an inch of space between boxes, which induces the bees to build drone comb between the boxes in the spring.

    There are two ways to keep this under control -- buy a couple sheets or frames of drone sized comb and let the bees use them (they work best one frame in from the outside of the box, one on each side), or put a foundationless frame in that slot in each box. The bees will draw them out as drone comb and happily use them in the spring to make the spring drone supply, then fill them with honey for winter stores. Since they have plenty of space to make drones when they want them, they will not make anywhere near as much drone comb in other places.

    If you want to use foundationless frames, I recommend you put them in early in the spring so the bees will draw them out during the spring flow. otherwise they will often leave them incomplete, and draw out very wide comb on the adjacent frames to fill the gap. Makes it hard to move frames around.

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    Thanks for the info. Looks like I have my work cut out for me. Getting the stuck frames out is going to piss off the bees. They were pretty intimidating today. Going to have to get the upper super off to install the drone frames. Not looking forward to that!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    A couple of thinks you might try to detach the frames from each other....

    If you can lift the edges of the top box a tiny bit you can use some frame wire wrapped around two "handles" to slip between the boxes and slowly saw your way through the comb.

    You can also give the top box a firm but slow twist to break the comb loose.

    Notice in both ideas that I used a form of the word "slow". Bees react to fast movements and if when you broke that frame free it was a snatching or otherwise fast movement it could have riled up the bees. Slow, smooth movements pays dividends. Or, you may have simply rolled some bees which will definitely hack them off.

    What type of protection do you wear?

    Ed

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,971

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    What you experienced is completely normal. I expect this every time I go in a hive and have learned to pry the top box up an inch and take my hive tool and separate the bottom frames so they go back down. This is the least disruptive way of going about it. I never scrape this burr comb off as the bees are going to immediately replace it once I am gone. It is their roads and bridges. Just smoke the bees down out of harms way when you set the box back down. Then you can pull individual frames if you still need to.

    Foolish to disallow yourself taking a crop. Who knows what the season my have in store. When your brood boxes are done, add a super or the bees may decide to relieve overcrowding with a swarm that might leave your hive queenless. This blanket instruction not to super or take a super of honey from first year colonies is monumentally foolish. If the bees have the required weight to survive your winter season, you gain nothing by leaving a super on.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    A couple of thinks you might try to detach the frames from each other....

    If you can lift the edges of the top box a tiny bit you can use some frame wire wrapped around two "handles" to slip between the boxes and slowly saw your way through the comb.

    You can also give the top box a firm but slow twist to break the comb loose.

    Notice in both ideas that I used a form of the word "slow". Bees react to fast movements and if when you broke that frame free it was a snatching or otherwise fast movement it could have riled up the bees. Slow, smooth movements pays dividends. Or, you may have simply rolled some bees which will definitely hack them off.

    What type of protection do you wear?

    Ed
    It caught me by surprise. I was expecting this. I did have to use some force. I think if I had 'twisted' the box, it may have come off easier than the one I pulled.

    I only had a jacket with veil and gloves. I have the bee pants but with the temp in the 90's, I didn't don them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    What you experienced is completely normal. I expect this every time I go in a hive and have learned to pry the top box up an inch and take my hive tool and separate the bottom frames so they go back down. This is the least disruptive way of going about it. I never scrape this burr comb off as the bees are going to immediately replace it once I am gone. It is their roads and bridges. Just smoke the bees down out of harms way when you set the box back down. Then you can pull individual frames if you still need to.

    Foolish to disallow yourself taking a crop. Who knows what the season my have in store. When your brood boxes are done, add a super or the bees may decide to relieve overcrowding with a swarm that might leave your hive queenless. This blanket instruction not to super or take a super of honey from first year colonies is monumentally foolish. If the bees have the required weight to survive your winter season, you gain nothing by leaving a super on.


    If this is normal, do I need to do anything? I was just checking to see how they were progressing in the new super. The super was added for brood as this is a new hive and I wanted to build up their numbers so they could make it over the winter. I didn't see any capped or uncapped brood, just uncapped honey.

    When I said I didn't plan on any honey for this year, I meant I wanted to make sure the bees had enough. It may work out that I get some but not planning on it. I'm just putting the bees first.

    Here's a pic:

    10440772_719126078126507_8757195906780901704_n.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Bees drawing comb between supers

    Ok, that's a pretty good stretch of bridge comb there. It appears that the bees are building upwards, instead of starting at the top of the frame they're starting at the bottom...basically a continuation of the lower comb/frame. I wonder if once they get the frame drawn out whether they won't be so inclined to build solid bridge comb.

    I'll pose this for the more experienced beeks to comment on... If he swapped a frame of drawn comb from the lower box with the frame in the upper center location could/would that encourage the bees to move up in greater number and spread out to the adjoining frames drawing comb there...possibly reducing the amount of bridge comb built?

    Ed

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