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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Henry Co. Virginia USA
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    Default I'm in comb trouble

    I put a swarm into a 5 frame nuc box Sunday. There were full foundation frames alternated with some starter strip frames. I just checked them and from what I can tell things went wonky and now I've got a mess. I've got a rainy weekend coming tomorrow. Any advice on what to do, when, and how is appreciated.

    Julie
    3rd year beek, 3 hives, Zone 7a
    You do the best you can, and that's the best you can do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Greenbrae, CA, USA
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    608

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Fix it sooner rather than later- swarms draw comb like crazy so it's just gonna get worse. Can you remove the starter strip frames (the ones I presume have the worst comb) and replace with foundation frames?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    51,892

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Did you have the frames tight together? Did the strips fall out? I have never seen a messed up comb with even a simple empty frame between two well drawn brood combs that are all tight together.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Marshall county, AL
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    2,879

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Foundation, foundation, founation.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    2,159

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    I would keep the frames pushed close together. I tend to use all foundationless (or, in the honey super, plastic foundation) rather than alternating. Everything is easier when you have a frame of drawn comb to use. That's just me.
    David.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Henry Co. Virginia USA
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    151

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    I used what I had, which didn't have wires. It may have melted a bit or the strips may have fallen out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,084

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    I've had the best luck if all the frames with foundation are in the center of the box, then the foundationless frames are on the outside of those. They will usually start with the foundation and work their way outward.

    I'll only alternate starter strip frames between "drawn comb" for the best results. Otherwise you risk having off center comb or fat comb protruding into the empty space on the frame next to it.

    As was mentioned, keep all the frames pushed tightly together, and fix this immediately or you could end up with a real mess on your hands.
    To everything there is a season....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
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    5,726

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by julieandwadeshelton View Post
    I put a swarm into a 5 frame nuc box Sunday. There were full foundation frames alternated with some starter strip frames. I just checked them and from what I can tell things went wonky and now I've got a mess. I've got a rainy weekend coming tomorrow. Any advice on what to do, when, and how is appreciated.

    Julie
    What to do - fix the comb.
    When to do it - Do you have a time machine? If not do it now.
    How - pinch it back straight if you can. If they were tight together it can't be THAT screwed up, but they certainly do like to mess up empty space and that's what foundationless gives them - plenty of opportunity to "opps".

    Take it as a lesson learned. Scraping the messed up comb (likely with eggs now) is a cheap price to pay considering they haven't invested too much into it or the brood just yet.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    Otherwise you risk having off center comb or fat comb protruding into the empty space on the frame next to it.
    Learned this the hard way
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Henry Co. Virginia USA
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    151

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    What to do - fix the comb.
    When to do it - Do you have a time machine? If not do it now.
    How - pinch it back straight if you can. If they were tight together it can't be THAT screwed up, but they certainly do like to mess up empty space and that's what foundationless gives them - plenty of opportunity to "opps".

    Take it as a lesson learned. Scraping the messed up comb (likely with eggs now) is a cheap price to pay considering they haven't invested too much into it or the brood just yet.
    Ahh the time machine. I work a day job.
    3rd year beek, 3 hives, Zone 7a
    You do the best you can, and that's the best you can do.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,123

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by julieandwadeshelton View Post
    Any advice on what to do, when, and how is appreciated. Julie
    At this point the comb will be extremely fragile, and you most likely will do more harm than good. I would let it ride (its only five frames), and when it is time to transfer them into 10 frame equipment, transfer as many of the frames as you can together (hopefully all 5). Add the other 5 frames with foundation or drawn frames to help them get the idea of what you consider staight
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    2,879

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Foundation, foundation, foundation.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    2,712

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    How bad is bad?

    This is bad

    (Photo off the internet)

    535038_1006172472781170_4864417358783951102_n.jpg
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn & Wild lines.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Henry Co. Virginia USA
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    151

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Not that bad.

    From what I could tell close to dark, 4 of the 5 are glued towards the bottom of the frames. Perhaps the strips from the alternates fell off and flopped over on the bottoms of the entire sheets, and have now been connected. I was afraid to keep pulling on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    How bad is bad?

    This is bad

    (Photo off the internet)

    535038_1006172472781170_4864417358783951102_n.jpg
    3rd year beek, 3 hives, Zone 7a
    You do the best you can, and that's the best you can do.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    3,793

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    At this point the comb will be extremely fragile, and you most likely will do more harm than good. I would let it ride (its only five frames), and when it is time to transfer them into 10 frame equipment, transfer as many of the frames as you can together (hopefully all 5). Add the other 5 frames with foundation or drawn frames to help them get the idea of what you consider staight
    Sorry, but I definitely disagree. Fix it ASAP. The sooner you get it fixed the more time they have to make properly formed comb. Particularly now, which is comb building time.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  16. #16
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    Feb 2012
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    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    No need to be sorry, that's what I would do, because I have done it. I doubt whole foundation sheets fell out of frames, so I doubt its that bad. Regardless, it will be so fragile, and in my experience it is not worth the risk of jacking up what they already have going, destroying eggs that have been laid, or squishing/rolling a queen. But I guess it comes down to comfort and ability. On another note, I think the bees think what they made is properly formed comb
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Henry Co. Virginia USA
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    151

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    So I did a speed run on lunch to the house. Sunday when I caught the swarm, I had no drawn comb. In the meantime one of my splits had gotten robbed out, so the drawn comb I'd given them was available. I pulled out the frames that had lost the starter strips (which had sunk to the bottom) and replaced them with drawn (in the center ) I shook them all in, and left the remainder of the girls on the screwy frames laid onto the entrance, and they were marching back in. And I felt better as I saw the black cloud of the rainy weekend coming in the distance. I wasn't as bad as I thought, and I'm glad I could get it straightened out.

    I told my husband last night, it would be good to get all my mistakes out of the way this year, so I can get it together :P
    3rd year beek, 3 hives, Zone 7a
    You do the best you can, and that's the best you can do.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Dutchtown,Louisiana,USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: I'm in comb trouble

    Glad it worked out
    it would be good to get all my mistakes out of the way this year, so I can get it together :P
    hehe, good luck with that part

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