turning a comb upside down? [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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ThisBud4U
05-21-2007, 10:53 PM
Got a question for you all--I just moved a wild hive from an irrigation box on the farm into a regular Langstroth hive box. As it was situated originally, the wild combs hung from the lid of the irrigation box. My beekeeping friend vetoed my idea of turning the lid upside down and simply putting the whole lid, combs and all, into a hive box. He thought the bees would be very upset to find their comb upside down. I thought this was unlikely, but maybe I'm wrong. Does anybody have a clue as to whether the bees would feel disoriented if their comb was upside down or rightside up? I mean, they crawl all over it in every direction, right? Kind of an esoteric question, but if there's any info on the subject, I'd like to know. Thanks.

Troy
05-21-2007, 11:02 PM
I had read previously that if you turn it upside down the queen will not lay in it anymore and the honey will tend to run out so they won't store any more in it, so once all the brood hatches out and the honey is consumed - they will abandon it.

I'm counting on this to be true as I turned two hives bodies upside down (on top of new frames) to encourage them to abandon the box.

I'll let you know in a few weeks if this worked.

middlesattrefarm
05-21-2007, 11:14 PM
Honey comb is slightly pitched upwards, hence the reason radial extractors work, the slight upward angle allows the honey to flow out.

Michael Bush
05-22-2007, 05:22 AM
No, the honey won't flow out. I've watched the bees put it in upside down combs in my observation hive many times. They use the surface tension to hold it there. These were upside down combs that the bees built that way.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BurrOnGlass.JPG

Yes, the queen will lay in them. The Heddon hive was designed to be able to flip any give frame upside down or use thumb screws to hold the frames so that the entire box could be flipped upside down. This was supposed to discourage swarming and encourage expansion of the brood nest. Many people at that time were doing this in one way or another. None complained of the queen not laying, in fact they seemed to think she layed more.

Here is a previous post with more info:
https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=197657

This fellow made a rotating hive so the combs change orientation constantly:
http://www.anivet.hu/?page=kaptar_en

tecumseh
05-22-2007, 05:58 AM
mr bush sezs:
No, the honey won't flow out.

tecumseh replies:
I very much suspect this would depend on the viscosity of the honey... at this location uncapped honey will most definitely flow out of the comb when inverted.

I have (long ago) united weak hives with stronger hives by simply inverting the weaker hive over the stonger hive with a bit of newspaper inbetween.

Hobie
05-22-2007, 06:15 AM
My first cut-out, I tied the combs in sideways because the shape fit the frames better. I also did not get the queen. The colony eventually absconded. Whether it had anything to do with the sideways comb, I don't know.

Ross
05-22-2007, 07:44 AM
I have combs at least 3 years old that were tied in sideways and upside down. The bees could care less. The queen lays in them. They store pollen and nectar in them.

shawnwri
05-22-2007, 08:32 AM
I had read previously that if you turn it upside down the queen will not lay in it anymore and the honey will tend to run out so they won't store any more in it, so once all the brood hatches out and the honey is consumed - they will abandon it.

I'm counting on this to be true as I turned two hives bodies upside down (on top of new frames) to encourage them to abandon the box.

I'll let you know in a few weeks if this worked.

After trying what I thought were less drastic measures this is what I did to get them to abandon comb they had built on the inner cover. Turned the inner cover upside down on the bottom board and it took about a week for the queen to move up and start laying, but once she did I but a queen "excluder" under the brood box. Things are finally where they should be now.

Jim Fischer
05-22-2007, 09:23 AM
Other comments aside, putting extracted supers back on
hives upside down seems to prompt the bees to clean
the combs out, and has not, in my decades of doing it,
resulted in either stores or eggs being put in these
combs.

There is a tendency for honey to drip down the surface
of extracted combs placed on a hive upside down in hot
weather. The process is slow, of course, but the effect
can be seen.

The rotating Api-Anivet brood chamber is motorized, so it
will slowly rotate forever. The promotional materials say
"Rotation makes the bees reorganize the brood daily
releasing the beekeeper from this task." Which seems to
imply that there is a tangible effect on what the bees do
in the brood chamber as a result of the rotation. The
take-away message here is that cell orientation (up/down)
does matter.

But even the Api-Anivet hive is not a total solution to mite
woes, as they say here (http://www.anivet.hu/?page=meztermeles_en)
"In the rotating broodframe beehive, in the foragefree season at
the end of August and in the breedfree season in late autumn,
chemical protection must be used against mites which have
survived or are brought in."

I'm not sure why they are so worried about mites that wander in
if they can't reproduce, so I'm guessing here that not all the
reproduction is prevented by this approach.

I've never tested by offering a hive nothing but upside down
combs for brood and/or honey storage, but I would think
that with a set of ratchet straps and a willingness to
flip brood boxes every few days, one could get the same
advantage as provided by the Api-Avinet hive. I'm not
signing up to do all this box flipping, but I might just do
this with an observation hive if I can work out how to
have an entrance tube that can be rotated around multiple
pivot points.

Hobie
05-22-2007, 11:34 AM
Okay, stupid question. How does one turn a hive body upside down on a colony without all the frames just falling out?

ThisBud4U
05-22-2007, 12:22 PM
Wow, what a diversity of opinions. Reminds me of pulling petals off a daisy, "Orientation matters, it matters not, it matters, it matters not...." I had no idea my question would prompt such a debate. I just wish I knew which side was winning.

My purpose in asking this question was to figure out if the queen and the colony would accept their new home if the combs were upside down. I guess there is at least some doubt about this. Here in sunny southern California, where temperatures get pretty warm during the day, especially as summer approaches, I gather that the honey might come out, and while the bees could simply create more, I wouldn't want to make life any more difficult for them than I already have by ripping them out of their home in the irrigation box.

Hobie, I assume, simplistically, that they must nail the frames into the hive body. BTW, do you know where that quote of Thoreau's comes from in the canon of his writing?

Troy
05-22-2007, 01:13 PM
Hobie, you asked: "How does one turn a hive body upside down on a colony without all the frames just falling out?

I just did not remove the frames and left the propolis to hold them in place. I had thought about cutting a board at exactly 16 1/4 X 19 7/8 and then cutting a hole in it leaving just enough material to overlap the end bars to hold them. (14 3/4 X 16 3/8)

This would be quick and easy. Just slap the board on the top and hold in place while flipping the box end for end.

I agree with the previous post too, you gotta watch out for thin honey to run out. i figured some would be spilled, but it was mostly capped in the supers I was looking thru, so less likely to run. If some runs thru, the bees can clean it up, and re-store it somewhere else.

bjerm2
05-22-2007, 01:43 PM
In all my years to quote some and my self I have never had problems with turning comb up side down. I do this to empty the comb from brood and also honey. It will not leak out (honey), the bees will not store or lay in it. And I agree with Mr Bush. I have kept bees for over 30 years and really like to do this when I remove a wild hive. They get the honey, brood and new foundation to draw out. Place the up side down frames on the lower box and place foundation on the next one up.
Dan

Hobie
05-23-2007, 07:23 AM
BTW, do you know where that quote of Thoreau's comes from in the canon of his writing?

It's altered from the actual writing in "Paradise (To Be) Regained", 1906. I didn't know it was changed when I picked it, but it's simpler.