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I'm installing two packages this afternoon into some long langs with foundationless frames. I have some drawn comb from a dead out I'm going to seed them with. Should I alternate drawn comb with empty frames or just put all the comb next to each other?
 

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I'm installing two packages this afternoon into some long langs with foundationless frames. I have some drawn comb from a dead out I'm going to seed them with. Should I alternate drawn comb with empty frames or just put all the comb next to each other?
Recently, I attended a lecture by natural beek Chris Harp (though he uses Langs instead of TBHs), and one of the things that he said was that he creates "visual walls" for the bees so that they know where to build their comb. I'm not explaining it well here, but you can see my notes on his lecture at:
HTML:
http://happyhourtopbar.blogspot.com/2014/04/chris-harp.html
. Based on that info, I think it makes sense to add empty bars between the comb, but I can also understand that you may not want to give them more space than they can defend.

What if you just put most of the empty comb all together, but put an empty bar between the last two combs on the end(s)? That would give them some comb to get started, but it would also guide them to where you'd like them to start building.
 

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I started my package with 3 drawn bars from my other hive. When I went back in on day 3 to retrieve the queen cage, I added an empty bar between 2 drawn combs. Then on day 10 after package install, I added another empty bar between drawn comb. I've been feeding them syrup for 30 days, and they have drawn out all the additional bars that I have given them. I will say, on a couple of the empty bars that they didn't get the comb placement just right. Because the pieces were small, I chose to remove them rather than to reposition them. So it's important to check on the bees weekly when the comb is being drawn.
 

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If you are indeed using foundationless frames, do exactly what you planned to begin with. One frame pulled, one empty, etc. This will encourage the bees to draw the frames out without problems. Also don't give them too much room in the beginning. Give them about 8 total frames in the start, then once they draw out those frames, push empty frames into the nest once there is enough bees to take care of them.
 

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Alternating works very well in a brood nest (which a new package will be building first) not well in a super (for future reference)...
Just curious as to why it doesn't work so well in supers. Is that because they will just make the exisiting comb to have wider "fins"?
 

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>Just curious as to why it doesn't work so well in supers. Is that because they will just make the exisiting comb to have wider "fins"?

Brood comb is very consistent in depth. Right about 1" thick. This is the correct depth for a larvae to develop correctly so the variance is extremely small. Honey comb varies greatly in depth from 1/4" to 2 1/2" with most around 1 1/2" or so. If you insert an empty frame between two drawn frames in the brood nest there is only one correct course of action and that is to build a brood comb, which will be 1" thick, between those two brood combs. If the frames are tight together only one will fit. In the honey supers with two drawn combs and an empty between they will just make the drawn combs thicker and ignore the empty frame because there is no reason not to make honey comb thicker and it's less work than making a new comb that will require three more walls--two caps and a midrib--which will take more wax and more work.
 
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