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Bees building comb upwards

3680 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Joseph Clemens
Hi everyone. I split my 4 deep frame observation hive last Sunday because they were prepping to swarm. Decided to give them 3 foundationless frames because they love building comb. Apparently they love it so much they decided to impress me by building it from the bottom bar of the top frame skywards instead of the usual top down. Has anyone ever seen this before. I was always under the impression that they built downwards. Here is a link to the pics that I took. I am holding a glass of water so that you can see the orientation of the pictures isnt upside down.

Thanks for looking
Athens, Tn
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· Banned
2,322 Posts
This can happen when you put a foundationless frame above the bees, but don't provide them a ladder to get to the top of the frame. Usually this comb built from the bottom bar upwards is pretty, but about useless and gets damaged the first time you pull frames. Maybe being in an observation hive the bees will attach the comb to the frame and you can salvage the comb.

Bees normally start at the top of a cavity and draw comb down, but you just made a big cavity above them and they are trying to get to the top.

If you place the foundationless frame below where the bees are working, they will festoon and draw it normally.

· Registered
7 Hives of Apis mellifera with some Africanization
5,509 Posts
Sure, whenever they have the resources and the opportunity presents itself, bees will build comb. I've seen comb built like this and it has been most curious to see them build comb in foundationless frames with horizontal wires - they sometimes start a comb segment on a wire and build it up, down, and side to side, until it connects with other, adjacent comb segments.

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