How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?
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  1. #1
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    Default How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    You've seen it...the bees stop 1/2" short of attaching the comb to the frames - rounding off the edges. Sometimes the comb is only attached at the top.

    Of course, this causes problems with handling the frames while moving, inspecting and extracting.

    So I have new and old comb that I'd like the bees to attach to the frames.

    comb.jpg

    ALSO, how do I prevent this from happening to begin with?

    Please tell/show me how to do this.

    thanks!
    Last edited by onestory; 06-20-2018 at 09:11 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    I scrap a little brace comb off and put it between the comb and the place I want it attached. The bees will usually take the hint and attach the comb around the brace comb. You might have to do this is a few spots along the bottom to get them to finish the job.

    Good luck.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Gough View Post
    I scrap a little brace comb off and put it between the comb and the place I want it attached. The bees will usually take the hint and attach the comb around the brace comb. You might have to do this is a few spots along the bottom to get them to finish the job.

    Good luck.
    Should I cut off the rounded edges of the existing comb or will the bees fix all that?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    You can also use your hive tool to cut a "low" angle in the existing comb and bend the end to touch the frame. No need to cut off anything with either method.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  6. #5
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    You can also use your hive tool to cut a "low" angle in the existing comb and bend the end to touch the frame. No need to cut off anything with either method.
    I have tried this method also but not had as good of luck with it all the time. I have heard that it works well for others but for some reason I have not had as good results. It is easy for me to just scrape some brace comb from the top of another frame, cut it to size and put it in place. I agree that there is no need to cut off anything with either method.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    You can also use your hive tool to cut a "low" angle in the existing comb and bend the end to touch the frame. No need to cut off anything with either method.
    This is the situation I'm referring to...
    comb.jpg

  8. #7
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    Onestory, to follow eikel's advice, start at the bottom corner of the comb. Cut about a 5° angle upwards across the bottom about half way. Pull the sliver you have cut downwards and mush it slightly into the bottom bar. The bees will finish the attaching job for you and fill in the gap you created.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    If you are using grooved bottom bars, put in starter strips in that bottom bar groove. Alternatively, fill it with melted beeswax until it is heaping full. As it dries, it gives a raised beeswax "bumped up line" they will attach to.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    Ray, I had wondered about a starter strip on the bottom. Never tried it so didn't want to get a case of foot in mouth disease.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    I have tried it. Also, when adding a box of foundationless frames over a brood nest, the bees will use that bottom bar strip as a starting point and build comb upwards from the bottom. Even with having a comb or two as ladders and guides, it does work out much better with a starter strip in the bottom bar even then.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    I will give it a try. Onestory, adding a starter strip would be easy. I have a planer so I make my own, but a paint stir stick works pretty well.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    I don't have anything better than what Eikel suggested for the attachment problem but I do have another suggestion. Even on foundationless frames I string fishing wire just because it helps with handling the frames and decreased the likelihood of comb detaching. The bees will build right around the fishing line and then the comb is reinforced.

    I don't know if you know this tip or not, but rotate frames like this so that the comb is never horizontal.



    image credit from here.
    Zone 6B

  14. #13
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    Default Re: How do I get bees to attach comb to sides and bottom of wooden frames ?

    Onestory, your unattached area is more than mine normally leave but a few chunks of burr comb will give them the right idea. Or, as Ray suggests the starter strips, my bottom bars are solid so that option is out for me.

    My first choice is adding the chunks of burr comb or any old wax I scrape together, cutting the shallow angle is just another alternative.

    I know a lot of folks have had good luck with fishing line but the little chewers I have even went through 50 lb test monofilament. There was a few chuckles when the trash haulers would take a loose end out the door and ends up looking like a kite in a windstorm. lol I finally went to using wire and a jig to bow the frames, I found it easier on the fingers and quicker.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

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