BetterComb Experience, Anyone? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Nov 2017
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    New Paltz, New York, USA
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    Default

    At that price I don't see these being used much by folks who are trying to make money from their bees. But it's an interesting idea, maybe I'll give it a try!

    I have some spare Apimaye "handy frames". https://youtu.be/77SRdnZVsFo They come in two plastic parts that snap together to hold wax foundation. I'm thinking that would be an easier way to install these, and the support bars would add a little sturdiness without needing to bother with wires.

    That being said, I've been preferring solid plastic frames. My bees chew through wax foundation and build all kinds of funny stuff on it. In the rare case that they build weird stuff on my plastic Acorn frames it's easier to just scrape it off and let them try again.

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
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    526

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I am wondering if they got one of these machines/are getting foundation from one of these machines

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-nb1acIJJ0

    There was a thread about this a few months ago but I am not able to find it again.

  4. #23
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    144

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I did want to be as natural as possible as a beekeeper, however, I was told in the TF forum that my current situation does not exactly promote that goal. I have accepted the fact that only having (now) 4 colonies in the middle of a large city just won't work as a TF Beek. What I have realigned my goals to now is simply survival of their first winter. I just thought not having to draw out all their own comb may be a boon to my bees, as they may be able to focus more of their energies on the storage of resources in pre-drawn comb instead of building it first. I do understand the point of needing to have higher numbers of nurse bees in order for that pre-drawn comb to even be used. My mentor has really given 2 of my hives an amazing population burst by donating 2 frames of capped brood with adhering nurse bees to both the Caucasians - which began as my weakest colony, and is now my 2nd strongest, and also to my Bee Weaver Survivor Colony. The Survivor colony is now the strongest, and the brood pattern is so nice and solid that I anticipate being able to donate capped brood frames from them to my (2) 5-frame nucs of Saskatraz. I may overwinter these 2 as a Mike Palmer style double nuc with divider board. I went ahead and ordered the Bettercomb, as I do have the funds available, and am not in this to make money but for my love of the bees (and I hope to get honey some year, LOL). My thinking is that if I pull a frame of capped brood from the survivors, that I would replace it with the Bettercomb, and that when I super the double nuc I would use the bettercomb in the super so that they can start storing their winter survival resources in it immediately...It's an experiment I am willing to try and have either good or bad results with at this point...I also am not interested in obtaining beeswax comb because of the many warnings about the levels of chemicals it contains. The beauty industry won't even purchase beeswax from American Beekeepers now because of our wax contamination levels. The claim of Bettercomb is that it is free of harmful chemicals, and I do feel like Betterbee is a good vendor, so I'm willing to try to take them at their word. They have told me they use the Bettercomb in their own Apiary with good results. So I guess now it's wait and see how my bees take to it. Yesterday, I switched out 2 undrawn foundation frames in the Survivor hive with the Bettercomb, 1 in the Caucasians...They are drawing their own comb on foundation free frames so fast that I don't want to disturb that, but they did have one untouched Acorn frame on the outside of their brood frames. Each of my Saskatraz nucs got 1 undrawn foundation frame replaced with Bettercomb as well. I will share my experience, good or bad with the product.

  5. #24
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,968

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I think that these may be good for a first year beek with packages. Go in with a person or two and put in two or three frames per package. Since they don't have any drawn comb it would make sense, and the difference in a package that is given a little drawn comb can be significant, at least that is what I have seen. That and late splits if you are out of drawn comb but have hives to split. It is hard to get bees to draw comb after the solstice, this could be the ticket if you have no other resource. As far as the cost it doesn't seem crazy expensive, $8.50 a frame (with the frame). I doubt I could get clean drawn comb from anyone for $8.50.

    If I lived in an area with a longer flow it would be a different story, but in my neck of the woods we get our primary flow in mid May to the end of May, and with a little luck we see a minor flow through June, enough to keep them from going robbing crazy. Our last frost is mid April, and folks getting packages can get them around the 1st of April. It isn't uncommon for a late frost to take out stuff in early May. Fall flow is fickle, lots of year it is a wash out. So there really isn't much of a window to get a chance to get a surplus when you have 60 days to get a hive going prior to the end of the flow.

    I would rather see a new beekeeper have success their first year, this may be the difference between getting a little honey or getting none.

  6. #25
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    144

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I do have 3 frames of Bettercomb in my Bee Weaver Survivor colony about 3/4 full of nectar 10 days after installing it. My Caucasians only received one frame of the Bettercomb, and they have it about 1/4 full of nectar 10 days later. I didn't have time to inspect my 2 Saskatraz Nucs this weekend, ended up supering the Caucasians...So, yay!!! Stayed up late last night assembling medium frames to add a super to my Survivor Colony, and hope to put that super on after work today. I will likely be able to check in on how the Saskatraz are doing with their Bettercomb frames tomorrow.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
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    209

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I ordered some, thinking it would be good for honey bound hives, that way you can just freeze the full frame of honey, or put it in a split.
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  8. #27
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    May 2019
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    144

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    I ordered some, thinking it would be good for honey bound hives, that way you can just freeze the full frame of honey, or put it in a split.
    I am curious if you've received yours yet? If not yet, will you post when they start using it and how? I find it interesting that in my survivor colony, even though I put the 3 bettercomb frames in the center of the hive, rather than the queen laying eggs in them the workers have filled them with nectar.

  9. #28
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    Feb 2019
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    209

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I just got the tracking number, be here Aug 2nd it says.
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  10. #29
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    May 2019
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    I just got the tracking number, be here Aug 2nd it says.
    If you could do us a favor and let us know how your bees react to it that would be awesome! I didn't start this thread in an attempt to make beekeeping more expensive for new beeks. I just saw an opportunity for my delayed build-up hives to start filling their hives up faster, and I think it's important for others who are considering purchasing a product new on the market to know other beekeepers' experience with said product.

  11. #30
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    Feb 2019
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I installed it in 3 or 4 different hives, will update in a week or so.
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  12. #31
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    Nov 2009
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    Manning, SC
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Iíve heard the bees will readily put honey in them, but queens donít like to lay in them. They will until comb is available, then thatís it.
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  13. #32
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    May 2019
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    I’ve heard the bees will readily put honey in them, but queens don’t like to lay in them. They will until comb is available, then that’s it.
    I just did an inspection on my Survivor colony, and all 3 of the Better Comb frames are filled wall-to-wall with nectar, and some of the upper cells are capped. I still have them clustered in the center of the brood box, but am considering moving them to the outside positions since it seems the Queen wants to lay in every other available cell in the brood box. I don’t want the brood to remain broken up on either side of the Bettercomb when we start getting cooler nights in about a month.

  14. #33
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    Feb 2019
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

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  15. #34
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    Jul 2019
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    Newtown, ct
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    Iíve heard the bees will readily put honey in them, but queens donít like to lay in them. They will until comb is available, then thatís it.
    As they say results will vary. We put in three frames of better comb into a strong colony about a week ago. We checked this weekend and they quickly put some honey in and it would appear the queen skipped them completely. We grouped the better comb all together as it tells you on the facebook page, not sure why they want all bettercomb together and right in the center, maybe to force the queen to lay? I would have thought a checkerboard would be better.

    It will be interesting to see if she does start to lay.

  16. #35
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    Jul 2008
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    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadofMeadow View Post
    As they say results will vary. We put in three frames of better comb into a strong colony about a week ago. We checked this weekend and they quickly put some honey in and it would appear the queen skipped them completely. We grouped the better comb all together as it tells you on the facebook page, not sure why they want all bettercomb together and right in the center, maybe to force the queen to lay? I would have thought a checkerboard would be better.

    It will be interesting to see if she does start to lay.
    I checkerboarded them and some are full frames of brood now.

  17. #36
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    May 2019
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by MJC417 View Post
    I checkerboarded them and some are full frames of brood now.
    You rebel, you! hehehe

  18. #37
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    Feb 2019
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I talked to the Betterbee people at the NCSBA convention today, they said they would absolutely lay in the bettercomb, they had a lot of research in it. I'll check on mine tomorrow. Also saw Kellys Beekeeping there, long ways from KY.
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  19. #38
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    May 2019
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    I talked to the Betterbee people at the NCSBA convention today, they said they would absolutely lay in the bettercomb, they had a lot of research in it. I'll check on mine tomorrow. Also saw Kellys Beekeeping there, long ways from KY.
    Awesome! Sounds like a fun day! Can't wait to hear about what you find tomorrow... )

  20. #39
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    Feb 2019
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Didn't see any eggs, they fastened the comb to the frame all around, filling with syrup and pollen. I think once they remove the syrup and pollen and clean and polish the queen will lay in it.
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  21. #40
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    Jul 2019
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    Newtown, ct
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    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    So, I checked last weekend, and as you can see the queen is laying in it. I bought some to just have as another tool if I needed it. I ended up putting three frames in one hive and three in another (to reduce honey bound). I can not honestly say if the queen took any longer to lay in it but at this point it seems just like any other built comb.

    The one thing I will say is that assembly was kind of a pain in the butt. If I had wires and used the resistance melting method it would be easy but I bought the bettercomb which included toothpicks. It just took a little time to get the hang of getting it in. The main problem I had is that there was no paper separating one comb from the next. Which is odd because wax foundation includes it. This means you have to almost pull apart each comb and it took time. Also, as you can see in the picture one of the combs ended up getting mashed together with the next comb so one side of each of these frames was pretty damaged. I know the bees will fix it but one of the reasons to buy built comb is to not have to have the bees need to spend time and resources building/fixing or repairing comb.

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