New hive - no comb?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
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    194

    Default New hive - no comb?

    Hi all,

    New'bee' here. I have done a great deal of research on beekeeping and reading forums, watching videos online, talking to fellow beeks at the local chapter and taking a beekeeping 101 class. I love to learn and take a very methodical approach to most things. As many of you experts may know, there are so many methods and anecdotal information it can be somewhat confusing to start with. I personally align with Mr. Michael Bush's philosophy on beekeeping naturally and have all 3 volumes of his books - read them twice.

    Well, I installed my first (2) packages over the weekend. Very excited! I have 2 parallel hives started, all using 8 frame mediums and foundationless Langstroff frames. I installed them without spraying them with sugar syrup, and direct released the queens into both and closed up the hive. I could not believe how smooth that went - although a little nerve wracking being among a group of confused bees. They quickly started to explore and fanned Nosonov at the entrance -

    Day 2 - I know, let them settle, but I wanted to see. I had to see what they were up to. Please see pics. Although I am fascinated by the festooning, I do not see any new comb started. They seem to be hanging from the frames and along the top of the inner cover. No comb though. I am feeding them within a frame feeder that came with the hive using 1:1 syrup and a bit of Healthy B. In the other side I am trying a dryer sugar "paste" almost to the consistency of fondant with a little Healthy B as well. They really seem to like hanging out in it with those little tongues licking it.

    Since I am going foundationless, I read it was key to get in there early when they are building comb to be sure that they start right and correct them if they get off track. Both hives have been painstakingly bubble balanced to be true.

    I am concerned with not seeing any comb. Am I overreacting? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    Friendly laughing here, yes, give them at least a minute to get started with comb drawing! Just check on them in a couple days, it takes them a bit to get started. Keeping syrup feed on them simulates a nectar flow and keeps them drawing comb. Have patience and enjoy!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    Leave 'em alone for a couple of days! They've just moved in and haven't got the place fixed up the way they want it, yet.

    Seriously, do leave them closed up for the next few days since it's going to be much, much, colder here in the northeast (I'm in northern NY) until later in the week. Maybe by the weekend they will have started to draw some beautiful - and very soft and fragile - white wax arcs for you. Meanwhile get used to studying them from the outside. It's how you'll see them them 95% of the time and there's lots to be learned by watching and thinking about what you're seeing.

    Very nice hive colors, BTW. My own three are green, yellow and violet-blue.

    Enj.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    Yes, what they said. Bees can actually abscond if you mess with them too much. They will think something is "not right" with their new home. (That would be you. ) Congrats on your new-found love.
    Zone 7B - central Arkansas. 8fr meds. 6 hives. 5 years. Still a beginner.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    Since you released your queen there is no need to go back into the hive. I always recommend the least theory. use the least interference possible. I know it is hard when the excitement is overflowing. Let me put it this way. Since you are subscribing to natural bee keeping. How natural do you think it is for the bees for you to be poking around in there house daily.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    The pictures make me nervous... There should be no open space that does not have frames in it or you'll get comb in places it does not belong (from the beekeeper's point of view). The festooning bees will build comb and you won't see it until it grows enough to get bigger than the cluster. Any empty space at the top will likely get filled with comb as the bees tend to cluster at the top.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    623

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    forgo the fondant at this time. the water is also very important for them. make sure every frame is in the hive body or u will be upset when u open the hive to see comb on the lid (or inner cover if u choose to use them). close them up and leave them for no less than 1 week. 2 weeks if u can. in that short amount of time they should not have too much comb built for u to correct/align them.
    new hived bees...especially packages are prone to abscond when being messed with too much before they get established. that is why letting them build comb in the new hive while slowly releasing the queen is important for them to stake their claim in that hive. less chances of them leaving pronto.

    i applaud u for being foundationless.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    Hi all,

    Thank you for the awesome feedback - I feel so much better just knowing this forum exists for noobs like me.
    Some takeaways:
    1. Leave them alone. Intuitively I knew this, but so difficult in practice being this jazzed about my new friends.
    2. Open space in the picture - the picture was taken after I moved the frame askew to 'peek' in. All 8 frames are touching each other in the center of the hive body when its all closed up with the remaining space at the ends. It was quite comical seeing all those little eyes looking up at me while forming a 'bee chain' in the frame.
    3. Feed them syrup - forgo the fondant to stimulate comb building and to provide water. It is set to freeze in a couple days at night as a cold spell moves in, so I wanted to see if they would accept it.
    4. Leave them alone! It was correctly said enough times, so this was more for me to remind myself.


    You are all the best and I appreciate your time to guide me properly.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    I figured you move a frame so we could see. It's the space in the feeder that concerns me. If it was fall it wouldn't be an issue, but I've had a colony move into a feeder like that and build the brood nest there:

    http://bushfarms.com/images/BroodNestInFeeder.JPG
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by [url
    http://bushfarms.com/images/BroodNestInFeeder.JPG
    That is a fantastic picture! Always in awe of their building skills.

    I am a little concerned too - quite a few bees were already hanging off the inner cover down inside that gap in the feeder. The picture of the feeder (2nd on the page) was taken after that mass fell when lifting the inner cover off. I just hope they decide to stay in the brood chamber to build off the frames. I'll take another look towards the weekend when I have to pop the top to replenish the syrup.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: New hive - no comb?

    Update: Comb building has definitely taken off.

    Problem is that in one hive, the bees are building the comb in the feeder itself. There are a few smaller comb starts on the frames in the hive body. 20% of the bees are in the actual brood chamber while the rest are in the feeder box. I removed the wax in the feeder and placed it down in the bottom of the hive. I did not see eggs - just a lot of syrup and some pollen stored in that chunk of comb. There is not a queen excluder separating the hive body and the feeder box in the picture above. Any thoughts?

    The other hive has a great mass of bees inside the hive body and building on the frames. I did see small eggs sticking out of the bottom of a frame I inspected. It looks awesome!

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