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Thread: Help

  1. #1

    Default Help

    Hi. My name is mike. This is my first year. I have one hive from a five frame nuc I got in April. I live in western NC. To make a long story short, I hurt my back and was down for about 3 weeks. When I walked up to it today there were thousands of bees on the front of the hive, kinda looking like a swarm. I have a pic, Iíll post it as soon as I figure it out. The bigger deal it seems, is that a friend convinced me to go foundation-less o my second brood box, and it now appears to be cross combed. I canít remove any frames without destroying others. Can anybody advise me on what to do? Thanks in advance
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Plumas County, California, USA

    Default Re: Help

    Hi Mike/Phatglass. Welcome to Beesource. There's a lot of great information on here.

    My guess is that the bees on the front of the hive are bearding. Is it hot and humid there? Bees beard when the hive gets too warm and they have to make some room to cool it down. They can also beard when there's just too many bees. In three weeks, a lot of bees can emerge from a 5 frame nuc and suddenly it's full.

    So, did you put the five frames into a deep box with 5 frames of foundation or comb? And there's a second box on top? I doubt they'd be swarming with that much room after what, a month or so? I mean it's possible if there's not enough space for brood, but that still seems unlikely to me.

    As to the cross comb, I don't have any advice except to use your hive to to cut and separate. Somebody else will probably have a solution.
    Year 4
    Zone 7b 3500 ft.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Help

    Thanks so much! I was a little worried. Especially hot and humid today compared to earlier in the year. The bottom box has frames from the beekeeper I bought the Nuc from. They had drawn comb already filled in. The ladies got to work fast, and I had to add the second box in about a month or 6 weeks. The top box is now so heavy, I can hardly move it with my still sore back. It has to weigh 75 # I’m a big pretty strong guy. Even with a good back it won’t be easy to move. It appears, from I can see, there’s brood, syrup and honey, but it’s like one giant comb. Looks really cool, but I’d like to see more of what’s going on inside.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Aylett, Virginia

    Default Re: Help

    Phatglass, take a picture of the top box looking straight down into the frames. Then, tip the box on its side and take a picture from the bottom. It may not be as bad as you think, or it could be worse. I use foundationless in my brood boxes and have no issues with cross combing, so we should also discuss how you prepare the frame. Did you use waxed starter strips, wire or fishing line supports, or just put in some empty frames? Also, what looks like cross combing could just be some bridge comb, hence the need for pictures.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Wise county,Texas

    Default Re: Help

    I use foundationless and every once in a while you will get a hive that doesnt follow the cad drawings Make sure your hive is near level in both directions, a slight slant to front or back will help with drainage but dont make it a bunch.

    If you have a spare box, just suit up and go in that box and start gently removing what you have too to pull frames is what I'd do. Use the extra box to hold the cleaned up frames as you go so you dont have to tackle the full weight of the brood box. Good idea to have a clean bucket with a lid to keep any clean honey comb you have to remove as well. From the couple times I've had hives like this, it usually doesn't fix itself and just gets worse if you dont act.

    Also helps to pull a couple drawn frames up into a new box to give the bees a reference guide for drawing combs next to them.

    Last, most of my hives will have a "bridge" between combs , usually near, or attached to the top wood of the frame, most times it looks worse than it actually is.

    Sounds like you may be ready for honey super.
    ďNever be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the TitanicĒ

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    England, UK

    Default Re: Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Phatglass View Post
    The top box is now so heavy, I can hardly move it with my still sore back. It has to weigh 75 # Iím a big pretty strong guy. Even with a good back it wonít be easy to move. It appears, from I can see, thereís brood, syrup and honey, but itís like one giant comb. Looks really cool, but Iíd like to see more of whatís going on inside.
    Hi Mike - welcome aboard ...

    The priority here is to take care of your back - I'm on the big side too, and can speak with personal experience about back issues.

    It certainly would be useful to see photographs from the top and from underneath with the box in question tilted back, but do seek out some help for doing this if at all possible. Your health needs to be the main concern here - the bees will live quite happily with whatever they've created - it'll only be a problem (maybe) for the beekeeper.

    Re: the bearding - shade, ventilation, more space - they'll all help.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa

    Default Re: Help

    I agree with Western about taking a frame at a time approach. Be aware that if they are especially crowded the cross comb is likely attached to the frames below. If you use brute strength to lift the top brood box, you could inadvertently lift some frames from the bottom box. Twist it first to be sure.

    Good luck
    Last edited by AHudd; 05-20-2019 at 06:35 AM. Reason: typo
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Cullman, Alabama, USA

    Default Re: Help

    Can the freind whom suggested you go foundationless come over and help with the inspection & frames?
    I also go foundationless (& try every new idea I hear about)
    I also "standardised" on the 8 frame medium format. ... i am not deaingl with 10 frame deeps either.
    Also, frame interchangeability is such a plus.
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Help

    Thanks so much to everyone. I. Gonna get out there today and try to get it sorted out. I’ll post back and let everybody know how it goes

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Wake Forest, NC

    Default Re: Help

    That looks like a good hive! A lot of bees bearding. Cross combing is very tiring to fix. You can use rubber bands to hold the cut out comb in place in the frames. That is if you want to fix all the cross combing (I would probably leave it alone and leave that box to be "unfixable", since cutting comb out is hard to do without injuring the colony. If you would like you can put the box of cross combs on top to get the bees to fill it up with honey and then make cut comb honey. For foundationless I put a comb guide into the middle groove of the top-bar of the frame and put the empty foundationless frames underneath the colony. That is called nadiring.

  12. #11


    Hey everybody thanks again so much for all the help and advice. So I went outside yesterday all suited up and ready to go. Opened up the hive. From there it was pretty much a disaster. I dropped a frame and made a whole bunch of bees angry all the frames are crossed combed together. I was able to save a couple and separate them. I think I’m going to have to leave the others I killed a lot of bees and it makes me feel really bad. I was able to visualize the bottom brood box All seems well they are as it was already drawn comb when I put those frames in. I’ve visualized the queen all seems well otherwise so I may just put on my queen excluder and then some honey supers because it looks like there’s more bees than Space available


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