Bees won’t draw comb in super
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Post Falls, Idaho
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    191

    Default Bees won’t draw comb in super

    I have two deep boxes almost full of bees and stores. Two supers on top with no interest in drawing comb in supers. Now crowding out deeps with food with no room for laying egg. I have tried spraying syrup on foundation without results. Any other suggestions?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
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    740

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    If you have 2 boxes of bees, you may only need 1 honey super up there. Also, you need to pull up a frame or 2 of brood into your super to get the bees moving up. Also, I like to checker board a few frames into the lower 2 brood boxes. They will draw comb unless your in a dearth. Down south we are close to one or already into one. Up in Idaho you may not be yet. If they are pulling in nectar, and pollen nicely, they should start drawing comb with the 2 suggestions above in play. If a dearth moves in on you, you will need to feed your bees to get them to draw out. I personally like to move any capped honey in the brood boxes to the super, leaving only 1 frame on each side of brood boxes. This helps them in capping honey, and giving space for the new frames to be waxed in. Good luck, and let me know if this works for you also. Rich

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Post Falls, Idaho
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    With brood boxes being deeps, how can I move brood frames up to supers that are not deeps?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    You could let them dangle down into the deep super below.

    There's a substantial chance that the bees will draw comb out on the bottoms of the dangling frames, but that is something that can be readily scraped off (scrape it off before it gets to a stage that your queen is laying in it.

    Once you get them interested in drawing out the extracting super, you can drop the deep frames back down into the deep super.

    Also, check to see if your bees are severely limiting your queen's space to lay by filling up brood space with nectar/honey. This is sometimes referred to as plugging, and it can occur with either nectar or pollen. You need a lot of bees and a good flow to get them to draw comb briskly. You may want to pull a frame or two (or more) of capped honey (from the edges of the deep supers) and replace them with empty deep frames (foundation would potentially work also (if there's a nectar flow occurring)) so that your queen can get busy with her main job.

    The frames you pull should be frozen for a few days to kill the eggs of any wax moths, etc. that may be on the frames, and then can be stored in a cool place until the fall/winter, when they can be added to the hive as supplemental feed to help ensure the colony makes it through the winter.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
    Posts
    94

    Default

    If you can get ahold of some beeswax, and you’re using plastic foundation, melt the wax and coat the foundation with a thin layer. You can also take burr comb and rub it on the foundation. This should stimulate them to draw in those areas.

    I’ve had partial success by inserting the medium super between my two brood boxes FOR 1 WEEK ONLY. They will try to reconnect the brood box by drawing it out. Don’t go over a week since the queen likely won’t cross that foundation. Also, don’t do more than 1 medium super sandwiched in there.

    Ryan

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Grant Co WV
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    Applying wax to the frames helps a lot. Offering an Entrance above the suppers can also. Be careful when placing a super between brood boxes not to split the brood. As the queen barrier Ryan Mentioned can make the colony believe there is no queen if she happens to be in the lower box. Not so much so if she is in the upper.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RTBBEE View Post
    Applying wax to the frames helps a lot. Offering an Entrance above the suppers can also. Be careful when placing a super between brood boxes not to split the brood. As the queen barrier Ryan Mentioned can make the colony believe there is no queen if she happens to be in the lower box. Not so much so if she is in the upper.
    Good point RTB. Thanks. I’ve not really had a problem with it but still a very valid concern. It is very very important that there’s a flow on, otherwise they won’t draw at all. If there’s no flow, you can always continue to feed with a super on to get them to draw comb as long as you don’t leave it on to harvest the sugar honey. That may be the safest bet.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    Newbie here. In central NJ we are past the main flow, and other than some clover I am not sure there will be much flow at all the rest of the year except for maybe golden rod?? I have three healthy colonies, didn't get any honey to harvest this year, but I am hopeful to winter them over and get a harvest next year.

    I have honey supers on two of my hives, neither is built out much at all. Is there any advantage of feeding heavily now in hopes they build out the honey supers this year and be a step ahead for next year?

    Thx,

    Alan

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Clinton, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    432

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    Quote Originally Posted by rmdial View Post
    I have two deep boxes almost full of bees and stores. Two supers on top with no interest in drawing comb in supers. Now crowding out deeps with food with no room for laying egg. I have tried spraying syrup on foundation without results. Any other suggestions?
    if you are drawing comb, i'd suggest only adding one super at time. but in the end, it takes a huge population of appropriate age bees and big nectar flow to truly draw comb. no backfilled brood nests suggests they dont have a flow to do anything with and you're forced to wait until they do or attempt to feed to make them draw

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanInNJ View Post
    Newbie here. In central NJ we are past the main flow, and other than some clover I am not sure there will be much flow at all the rest of the year except for maybe golden rod?? I have three healthy colonies, didn't get any honey to harvest this year, but I am hopeful to winter them over and get a harvest next year.

    I have honey supers on two of my hives, neither is built out much at all. Is there any advantage of feeding heavily now in hopes they build out the honey supers this year and be a step ahead for next year?

    Thx,

    Alan
    Yes, it’s a very good idea. No reason not to be ready for the flow next spring. I use this method during the golden rod bloom. They draw supers during the fall, and I’m ready for the spring flow.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,260

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    I will second that thought. My plan is to get all the undrawn frames on my strongest hives ( beeswise, not storeswise) and feed thoughout the summer to get those supers drawn. I would rather they used cheap sugar to get the job done, and not the honey from next year. This is my first year to try and force them to draw comb so we will see how it goes.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    Thank you! Syrup mixing will commence this weekend!

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    740

    Default Re: Bees won’t draw comb in super

    Rmdial, I use all med. Equipment here. You can use med. Frames in deep box, they may draw below frame. Knock it off regularly to your frames are built out, then move to your med. Boxes. Would be my plan, in your situation. Not best, but surely not the worst. I think some have chimed in on this in more detail.... Rich

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