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Hi. New to the forum and beekeeping. Thank you in advance for any help! We lost our hive and had an infestation of larvae. We saw hive beetles running a muck prior. We took out the infested frames, looked over the other frames and cleaned up the box. Much discussion and no action, a few weeks had passed before we notice our dead hive had a flurry of activity. Now we have a mess because a swarm has moved in (but very excited they have) and built a large blob of comb on the hive lid where the four frames were missing. Any advice as to how to proceed. We think it has been at least two weeks of activity in the hive.
 

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PoppyFlower:

Welcome to Beesource!

Glad to hear that your hive set-up has been reoccupied.

In your specific situation, I suppose my advice might depend upon your approach and goals for this season.

If you are not in a big hurry for surplus gathering and have a few additional boxes laying around, you could consider nadiring (undersupering) the box with the freeform comb in it and work to move this box up and off the colony by years-end.

I am currently doing this with a colony in my yard that was a trap-out last year.

Otherwise, you could consider carefully cutting these combs away and rubber-banding them into frames- the bees will do an admirable job of adhering them to the frames in time and even haul the rubber bands out for you (in most cases).

Again, welcome to the forum and do keep us posted on what you decide to do and how it turns out.

Russ
 

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Any advice as to how to proceed.
You can leave the blob in the bottom box and leave it alone, you can work the blob to the side or top and eventually remove it when the bees have established a brood area elsewhere in the hive, or you can cut it out now and be done with it. I’m sure I’ve done all three. Most beekeepers are too (I’m not sure what the right word is, maybe “fastidious”) for the first option. The second option is too prolonged and stressful for both the beekeeper and the bees. So, I’d likely take door number three, work steady but fast, and be careful not to injure the queen.
 

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Russ’ advice is prudent and sound, but I’ve rubber banded a lot of comb in my time, and I’m just not one for doing it anymore. I’m not sure why; maybe I’ll get back to it at some point. Having said that, I will spend three hours busting up a pallet, getting the nails out, and building a telescoping cover for a swarm trap out of the wood using mostly non powered hand tools. (I know ‘cause I did it this evening.) So, like I said I may get back to rubber banding comb into frames at some point, but I kinda doubt it.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I will play devil's advocate and say that having comb attached to the the top is not an acceptable situation. It must be removed. Now, what to do with the comb? Chances are good the swarm queen has laid this new comb with eggs and has ignored most of the old comb for the time being. I would carefully cut the comb from the lid and rubber band it into open frames. I have had good success with this technique. Last year I only had 5 frames in a six frame swarm trap. Naturally they built the first comb in the space and it fell whan I opened the box. Had no choice but to put it in a frame. All worked out well and that hive is thriving.
 
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