What's up with the all the Bircomb?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Blanco, TX
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    3

    Default What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    My bees are building up bircomb outside the frames. All the frames are not drawn out yet but they're going crazy going up instead of out! Should I be concerned? Should I remove the extra and point them back to the outer frames? Should I just be thankful that they're motivated and working? I started this hive on April 24th of this year and it's my first one.

    Thanks,

    E.J.

    IMG_0284.jpg
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,804

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    They would rather build top down than from the bottom up. They draw quicker if you put undrawn frames between ones mostly drawn. They also need the manpower...... er, beepower. Those frames are not exactly crawling with bees for a colony started in april. Did you have problems?
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    3,108

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    Quote Originally Posted by te066538 View Post
    My bees are building up bircomb outside the frames........E.J.
    Let me guess... you have plastic foundation in your frames?
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,751

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    Based on the photos you are feeding on top of the top bars using an entrance feeder. You are using an empty super to cover the feeder, but all the area around the feeder is empty? If this is so, the bees will often begin making combs from the top bars up toward the roof. You may want to put the inner cover on and the feeder over the hole in the inner cover. This would solve the problem of space around the feeder.

    Is this box a deep and is it the only box in use? As stated in the other post, I would expect to see more bees in a colony started in April. Usually the first 10 frames would be fully drawn in 3 to 4 weeks after the package is started in the hive.

    What are your temperatures this time of the year? If you are having cold nights and cool days the bees will be slow drawing comb and will want to work in the warm areas of the hive, usually the upper box.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Blanco, TX
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Let me guess... you have plastic foundation in your frames?

    I do have plastic foundation but didn't think it was giving me problems. My frames that are building out are doing so nicely, I think. Were it not for the vertical construction I'd think I was doing all right. We've had a drought here in S. Central Texas since about August that is just now breaking a little.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Blanco, TX
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    Howdy: I'll try to answer your questions in order. I DO like the idea of putting the cover on THEN the feeder. I have a second entrance feeder in the classic position but thought I needed more food so added the second inside the empty deep box. I'm located in the Texas Hill Country in a cedar thicket. Not a tremendous amount of greenery close by but there are open fields within about 3/4 mile. We just had our first cold front of fall and it got down to the mid forties but now back to 70s at night and 80-90s in the day.
    I like the idea of putting the feeder over the top cover. I will give that a shot this week!

    Thanks,

    E.J.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Litchfield, Ct, USA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    Quote Originally Posted by te066538 View Post
    My bees are building up bircomb outside the frames. All the frames are not drawn out yet but they're going crazy going up instead of out! Should I be concerned? Should I remove the extra and point them back to the outer frames? Should I just be thankful that they're motivated and working? I started this hive on April 24th of this year and it's my first one.

    Thanks,

    E.J.

    IMG_0284.jpg
    Is normal. Just remove it so they can't keep building off of it and create a further mess you'll need to deal with at some point.
    Put it in a baggie along with the rest of the comb you might want to store away for whatever reason.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,842

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    Bees love empty space to build comb in... never give it to them...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: What's up with the all the Bircomb?

    I suggest that you move towards being able to use a hive top feeder, a frame feeder, a rapid feeder, or an inverted bucket or inverted paint can feeder and that those boardman feeders eventually end up in your trash can. Those little boardman feeders don't feed fast enough for fall build up, they encourage robbing when placed at the entrance, and when you try and use them inside the hive, you end up with burr comb.
    Zone 6B

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