Help with Comb Honey
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Fox Lake Il
    Posts
    35

    Default Help with Comb Honey

    I had a good honey crop (extracted honey) with 3 hives this year. For the second year in a row I could not get bees to make any comb honey. I have a two deep setup and add drawn medium supers on that in Spring. I have one shallow super that I put thin comb honey foundation in. I tried this shallow super on different hives two years in a row with no success. Once I placed it directly above the two deeps with queen excluder. Once I placed the shallow between two medium supers with drawn comb. Both fails. No storage of nectar at all in the shallow. Any suggestions? Thank you.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Queens, NYC
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Have you tried foundationless frames yet? Works for me all the time.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Louisville, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,541

    Default

    We get nice crops of comb honey.
    You basically need 3 things:
    1. A strong ambitious hive.
    2. A good honey flow. If the nectar is coming slow and steady, go for extracted.
    3. Timing. I usually wait until I see new white wax along the tops of the frames in the upper brood chamber. Then add a super.

    The bees are sometimes reluctant to go past the queen excluder into a new box. You can cut a small piece of comb from one of the lower boxes and put it in the new honey super to entice them the first season.

    I always use foundation, but that's my personal preference. Helps keep the comb nice and straight.
    If you're frugal cut the foundation in half lengthwise and hang that from the top frame bar.

    But the main prerequisites are, strong colony and heavy nectar flow.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    One thing that help me was just do a couple of frames mix in with drawen comb. I plan on put it on way early next year than i have in the past

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,911

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    For me it was hit or miss this past season, mostly miss. I use foundationless frames for my comb honey and place them in the center positions of a super in which the bees have already shown an inclination to draw comb early. Even still, I had 10 medium frames, 2 per hive, and only had one hive carry them to completion. Most of my production hives swarmed thIs Spring, so honey came from last year's overwintered nucs. Netted me four really nice straight and fully capped half frame sections of about 1-1/2# each.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    449

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    For me it was hit or miss this past season, mostly miss. I use foundationless frames for my comb honey and place them in the center positions of a super in which the bees have already shown an inclination to draw comb early. Even still, I had 10 medium frames, 2 per hive, and only had one hive carry them to completion.
    Same for me. Screwed up year. Had about 15 out of 25 frames get drawn beautifully, only to have them pull the honey out of it during the next rainy spell. Got 1 good frame.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,885

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    As mentioned, you need a strong flow and a strong hive. You also will have better luck if you crowd them and maximize the foragers by doing a cut down split as close as you can get to two weeks before the main flow.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    4,138

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Read Killian's book.

    Run a single deep brood chamber.

    Are you making comb honey, or cut comb?

    Crazy Roland

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Fox Lake Il
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    I want to get cut comb. I tried thin foundation made for cut comb bty may try foundationless next year. I can also try a single deep brood chamber with QE.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Hello cyber,

    I had bad luck this year too, everything did go in snail speed and a good strong flow is essential (strong hive too). Hive development was way behind flowering (or flowering was ahead of hive development?) I use one special frame I made in 2018 and it filled then in two weeks, this year I had it in for six weeks and it was not fully drawn.

    IMG_6019.jpg

    My hives don't have excluders, so that can't be the hold-up. It is all in the year. As a farmers saying: next year is going to be better.

    Joerg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    4,138

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Learn how to make populous hives first.The Killian book describes what to do to insure success.

    Crazy Roland

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Hello Roland, darling, where do I find the wisdom of the 'Killian' book? Any info? ISBN nr.?

    Found it: Bookstore in our forum!

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Biermann; 11-17-2019 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Found it
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    4,138

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Try to get the original, not a compilation. He was a family friend.

    Crazy Roland

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,810

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    To get foundation drawn above an excluder you need a strong hive in a good flow. I place foundtionless frames between drawn combs and am very successful. Foundation will work between drawn combs also but you get thin combs as they draw the drawn comb wide.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,589

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by cyber View Post
    I had a good honey crop (extracted honey) with 3 hives this year. For the second year in a row I could not get bees to make any comb honey. I have a two deep setup and add drawn medium supers on that in Spring. I have one shallow super that I put thin comb honey foundation in. I tried this shallow super on different hives two years in a row with no success. Once I placed it directly above the two deeps with queen excluder. Once I placed the shallow between two medium supers with drawn comb. Both fails. No storage of nectar at all in the shallow. Any suggestions? Thank you.
    Rusty Burlew of Honey Bee Suite has a bunch of articles on comb honey how to’s. Very informative.
    Proverbs 16:24

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    4,138

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    I believe the Killians used a method that involved killing the queen, knocking them down to a single deep, and striking all but one cell. The bees back fill the brood chamber without a laying queen. When she hatches and begins to lay, the bees MUST move the honey up into the sections. This must all be properly timed with the beginning of the seasonal honey flow.

    We use a similiar method.

    Crazy Roland

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Wayne, WV, USA
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Hi Roland, would you mind sharing your method? Thanks!
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Greene County, New York, USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    This year unexpected expansion left me without enough supers and a strong flow expected while I would be out of town. I decided using a deep box with medium drawn comb on one hive would be better than not enough room. When I checked the box the bees had drawn beautiful white comb filled with honey on the bottom of all the (filled) medium frames. Maybe just a strip of drawn comb on a frame would get them started.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    4,138

    Default Re: Help with Comb Honey

    Same as Killian.


    Crazy Roland

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Muenster, TX, USA
    Posts
    48

    Default

    I made some Ross Rounds for the first time this summer. I just kept a hive top feeder above the super and crushed honey filled burr comb into it during the flow. Worked like a charm

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