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My hive is exploding in population with the clover nectar flow right now, and I added a second brood box with plastic foundation. I thought they were well waxed but the bees quickly started making weird cross comb on a few. I pulled it off today to remove the cross comb and rewax the cells.

My goal is to have them expand into 2 brood boxes so I can split them and have 2 hives going into winter. Do you think I should just put the 10 empty frames all above the first brood box (which has all drawn comb) or checkboard some with the brood comb from below? Also, when should I go back into the hive to do this? I know you're not supposed to disturb the hive more than once a week, but they definetely need the extra space. Thanks for the help!
 

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Any time I put plastic foundation next to other plastic foundation, I expect trouble. Sometimes they do right, with enough wax and a strong flow and really strong bees, like a big prime swarm, etc...Otherwise I always try to "every other" plastic foundation with brood frames.
 

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Any time I put plastic foundation next to other plastic foundation, I expect trouble. Sometimes they do right, with enough wax and a strong flow and really strong bees, like a big prime swarm, etc...Otherwise I always try to "every other" plastic foundation with brood frames.
Awesome, thanks for the advice!
 

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When I every other or checkerboard in plastic frames, I get the existing drawn comb built out so deep that you cannot pull out the plastic frames and they do not get drawn! Pack the new plastic frames as tightly together as possible. Sounds contradictory but I put one drawn frame in the middle of the foundation to get the bees working in the box. When the bees have started drawing in that box, I remove the bait frame.

The best way to get perfect combs drawn is to place the frame between two frames of wet brood. The bees will draw it fast to fix the hole in their brood nest and the queen lays the frame full of eggs. After that frame is done, repeat. Putting in multiple frames overloads the bees and slows them down.

When I was going to cure varroa with small cell, I was shaving my plastic frames so eleven would fit in the brood nest. It didn't work, but the tightly spaced frames did result in better combs. The bees need high temps in the cluster to drawn comb most effectively and I think the tight spacing helps that. Worshipping the false god of ventilation does not help comb drawing, I know that too!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I every other or checkerboard in plastic frames, I get the existing drawn comb built out so deep that you cannot pull out the plastic frames and they do not get drawn! Pack the new plastic frames as tightly together as possible. Sounds contradictory but I put one drawn frame in the middle of the foundation to get the bees working in the box. When the bees have started drawing in that box, I remove the bait frame.

The best way to get perfect combs drawn is to place the frame between two frames of wet brood. The bees will draw it fast to fix the hole in their brood nest and the queen lays the frame full of eggs. After that frame is done, repeat. Putting in multiple frames overloads the bees and slows them down.

When I was going to cure varroa with small cell, I was shaving my plastic frames so eleven would fit in the brood nest. It didn't work, but the tightly spaced frames did result in better combs. The bees need high temps in the cluster to drawn comb most effectively and I think the tight spacing helps that. Worshipping the false god of ventilation does not help comb drawing, I know that too!
Great advice, thanks for sharing. I ended up pyramiding the hive, so I took the center 5 frames and moved them up and checkerboarded the rest of the frames in the bottom box. I never crossed my mind that they could just deepen the existing comb, but I guess that happens to honey frames when you only put 8 or 9 in a box. I'll take a look this weekend and see how they're doing, hopefully there are no issues!
 

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Ditto on the best drawn frames are between brood comb. Another point is to be sure your hive is level side to side. If not, they are more likely to draw the comb sideways in my experience.
 

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But adding a frame to the brood nest is un-natural and disturbs the brood nest. LOL
do not try that in cold weather.
 

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I tried checker-boarding plastic frame with already drawn frames.
The result was - ignored plastic and double-fat pre-existing combs.

I am gradually cutting-out the plastic frames into foundation-less frames - that works well.
 

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Waxing definitely helps. I haven't had this problem (yet), and wonder if it is because I add fresh wax even on previously waxed foundation if it has been sitting around for any length of time. Who knows how long ago it was waxed when you buy it, but one clue is how sweet it smells. J
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I tried checker-boarding plastic frame with already drawn frames.
The result was - ignored plastic and double-fat pre-existing combs.

I am gradually cutting-out the plastic frames into foundation-less frames - that works well.
Thanks for sharing. I'm also going to do foundationless, I just placed an order for some wedge top frames that I'll wax to get them started. It's defintely more affordable and seems more natural to me.
 

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But adding a frame to the brood nest is un-natural and disturbs the brood nest. LOL
do not try that in cold weather.
I agree but I just don't have any other drawn comb since this is my first year. Temps have been around 70 degrees at night and 90 during the day -- I've noticed that they fan a lot during the day so I think cooling the hive is more significant at the moment
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Waxing definitely helps. I haven't had this problem (yet), and wonder if it is because I add fresh wax even on previously waxed foundation if it has been sitting around for any length of time. Who knows how long ago it was waxed when you buy it, but one clue is how sweet it smells. J
Thanks. In the future, I'll definitely rewax anything I put into the hive. I was able to melt down some of the cross comb so maybe having their own wax on the foundation will make it even more enticing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ditto on the best drawn frames are between brood comb. Another point is to be sure your hive is level side to side. If not, they are more likely to draw the comb sideways in my experience.
Thanks Jade. I'm going to try foundationless with my new frames, so having everything level will definitely be important. I'm going to do an inspection tomorrow, hoping to see nice comb. There was lots of capped brood last time, so I'm thinking those new bees have made lots of wax.
 

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Thanks for sharing. I'm also going to do foundationless, I just placed an order for some wedge top frames that I'll wax to get them started. It's defintely more affordable and seems more natural to me.
If going foundation-less, cutting out the plastic frames is perfect - gives perfect all-way-around starting strip.
Works well for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Quick update. On Saturday, I did an inspection to see how they were drawing out the comb. The hive was full of bees and they had drawn out 5 of the 10 new frames. I noticed a queen cell and decided that I should come back and do a split. So, today I split it pretty much 50/50, leaving the queen in the original location and moving the new hive 20 feet away. I gave them 4 frames of capped brood. Right now I am debating if I should just let them rear their own queen or give them a mated queen. My concern is that they'll accept the new queen and then swarm because they also have queen cells. If I introduce a mated queen will they destroy the queen cells? Being later in the season I have a feeling giving them a ready-to-go queen might give them an edge up. Thanks again for the help

Hayden
 

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If I introduce a mated queen will they destroy the queen cells? Being later in the season I have a feeling giving them a ready-to-go queen might give them an edge up. Thanks again for the help

Hayden
Most likely they will destroy the mated queen... You have to cull the cells yourself first if planning to introduce foreign queen. If you like your queen genetics, I would let them finish their own queen- they are already ahead with (assuming) capped QC. There is still time for them to build up, but you will want to feed your split right from the start.
 

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"I gave them 4 frames of capped brood." And a frame of eggs/ young open brood?

" leaving the queen in the original location and moving the new hive 20 feet away." You will get less drifting doing it the other way. Move the queen. Better feed for the split and maybe a better crop, a bit of a cut down split. Plenty will argue for your move though.

A queen cell? This is an Overwintered hive?

Your split may go a little wild on comb size without a need for brood comb.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
"I gave them 4 frames of capped brood." And a frame of eggs/ young open brood?

" leaving the queen in the original location and moving the new hive 20 feet away." You will get less drifting doing it the other way. Move the queen. Better feed for the split and maybe a better crop, a bit of a cut down split. Plenty will argue for your move though.

A queen cell? This is an Overwintered hive?

Your split may go a little wild on comb size without a need for brood comb.
There were queen cells on the frames with capped brood, sorry I should have made that more clear. I figured that the hive with the queen would need more foragers because she would continue to lay eggs that would need pollen.
 

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Most likely they will destroy the mated queen... You have to cull the cells yourself first if planning to introduce foreign queen. If you like your queen genetics, I would let them finish their own queen- they are already ahead with (assuming) capped QC. There is still time for them to build up, but you will want to feed your split right from the start.
Thanks, I think that's what I'll do.
 
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