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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I am a first time beekeeper this season. I went to do my second hive inspection today and realized that, due to not properly spacing the frames correctly (user error), the bees have built out burr comb between frames. I am using a single box for now. This makes it hard to correct the spacing issue and put the fames back in correctly because I don't want to squish the bees. I've been told to deal with burr comb quickly to avoid future messes/hiccups, but didn't know if this was enough of an issue. I have seen different advice (per usual with beekeeping, I'm learning) and I'm not sure if I should take the frame out and clear out the burr comb to make the frames properly spaced or just leave it alone. Any guidance is appreciated, thanks!
 

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Hive is looking good.

First off, that is not burr comb. Burr comb also referred to as bridge comb is built as a connecting point between two areas. They commonly do it on the top frames of a lower box so they can get onto the box above.

What you have there is honey! It's likely sugar syrup honey but it means they are taking it from the feeder and storing it in the cells. It's entirely normal to have them put honey around the brood next, concentrating it at the top. Bees will also draw out honey cells longer than brood cells, which is what you have there. Usually the frames on the outside of a box will get elongated for honey, because there is a little extra space.

As such, you can simply organize the frames and use them as outside frames. Take the one on the left and do a 180 on it so the bulging honey part points toward the outside. The second frame can be moved to the other side of the box with the bulging side to the outside.

Since they are now storing your syrup instead of using it you may be in a good flow. I'm not sure what area you're in as you're profile isn't updated, but you can remove the feed once you have nectar coming into the hive and they have enough stored, which you do. You may also be ready for another box soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for responding and giving such clear instructions, I really appreciate it! Shows how much I don't know yet...I'm very much still learning, obviously. And I'm in Sacramento, CA - I registered just to ask my question lol and haven't done anything with my profile. We got the bees (one, 3lb package) on April 3rd, so that's great there's already honey being stored! There are still about 3 frames that nothing has been built out. I'll do as you advise with flipping and moving frames, and I'll check again in another two weeks and have another box ready. Thanks again!
 

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Glad you joined! I'm not too far from you and I'm jealous you're so much closer to Mann Lake than me. That might be a good thing though, as I'd end up just going broke!

If they aren't filling up the entire box you'll want to make sure you're not spreading out the drawn out frames. When organizing the colony I'd switch them around within what they are already covering. If you put a frame of brood on the outside with undrawn frames between the other, and there aren't enough bees to cover it, it could kill the brood and set them back a little.

So if you have 6 frames of bees, move those frames to the outside of those 6 frames. You should be able to push the frames together and if that honey touches the other bar or squeezes honey out, the bees will easily fist it. They only do this at the top of the frame so it's not like you're smashing all the bees together.

Your nectar flow is full on in Sacramento right now. Maybe feed a little more until all the frames are drawn out then remove the feeder and get your honey super on, or your second brood box.
 

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I was curious as well i just did my first inspection today and i was told to keep the frames the same as they were in the nuc hive...i was struggling though because like kre was saying, i have like 3 frames thar arent drawn yet, 1 is drawn other isnt it, and 4 that was what it appearee was honey. I shouldve shined the cells in the sun to see if i saw any eggs but the sun was behind the trees already....but the first 4 frames i picked out look very much drawn out with honey in there (looked like there was liquid in there anyway)...is it just my eyes are fooling me? Been told that the honey is on outside frames with brood inside but ya even one frame some of it was capped off (2nd or 3rd frame in) definetly realized i need to get some small hive beetle treatment though i noticed as well that the girls ran most of them to one frame
 

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It's a good practice to always move your honey frames to the outside as the colony grows. When you add another box I like to put all the honey in the bottom box up and to the outside of the second box. This keeps the next from getting honey walled, as the queen can sometimes have a hard time moving past honey.

You definitely should install your nuc as it was when you got it. They may consume some of that honey in the nuc and open up the next for you. However, as they grow just do as previously mentioned. Move honey out, keep the brood together, and empty frames between the brood and the honey. Don't ever split up your brood, especially when you're learning.
 

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Slice those protruding honey combs off using a bread knife or something similar.
Let the honey drip and combs fall down there and don't worry.
Carefully space the frames correctly (tightly).
They will repair it in short order and everything will be as new.

If any brood combs down below, they most likely are of desired thickness.

I'd do it rather sooner than later - now is a good timing for corrections like this since they are actively building.
Else you'll regret it later.
What you have is really a minor deal - fix it and move on.
 

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It's a good practice to always move your honey frames to the outside as the colony grows. When you add another box I like to put all the honey in the bottom box up and to the outside of the second box. This keeps the next from getting honey walled, as the queen can sometimes have a hard time moving past honey.

You definitely should install your nuc as it was when you got it. They may consume some of that honey in the nuc and open up the next for you. However, as they grow just do as previously mentioned. Move honey out, keep the brood together, and empty frames between the brood and the honey. Don't ever split up your brood, especially when you're learning.
Roger that thanks for the advice whats the best way to look for eggs in the cell? Would like to know how people hold there frames while there inspecting as well (very novice here) put some screws into my stand so i can take one frame out, rest it on the screws, and have some room to pick up the frames and inspect
 

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If you put the sun at your back with the shadow of your head on the frame you can slightly move your shadow out of the way and look down into the cells.

New comb is incredibly yellow and makes it hard to see the eggs (unless you have black foundation) but after a few rounds of brood the comb naturally darkens and it becomes incredibly easy to see them.

Like GregV said, your issue is very minor. You could scrape it off or even smoke the bees out of the way and push them together. The bees will lick up any drips and fix the spacing.

Good lesson on keeping your frames tight though. I'm so OCD I even clean by bar ends occasionally to keep the proper bee space. Not everyone is so picky and the bees don't seem to care, but it makes inspections down the road a lot easier, having space to work.

And a screws to hold a frame is clever. I just lean them on the ground against the hive stand, but often get things from the ground sticking to the side of the frame. Oh well.
 

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A quick scan of previous replies doen't mention that it looks like you are missing a frame!
You should always have a full box when drawing brood comb which means 8 frames with a 2 frame feeder.
Edit: A closer look at your 2nd picture maybe shows a frame outside the picture.
It seems that there is a lot of extra space in your box.If there are 8 fr,I would use a dummy board against one side wall to take up a bit of that extra space
Anyway,after every inspection,you should develop the habit of pushing all the frames together so the sides are touching(with no propolis) and then center the group with extra space split between the 2 side walls.Treat the feeder as a side wall.
 

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Jack,

He's running a frame feeder which takes up space as a frame, or two.

With everything pushed tightly I doubt he'd be able to fit another frame, but if he could, then yes he should. As long as it's not too tight to where he can't get a frame out later.

Is this a bad time to mention I run 8 frames in a 10 frame super and 7 in an 8 frame super? Although it's ideal to keep everything tight in the brood nest, we commonly take advantage of the bees willingness to bulge out honey comb - making it easier to knife and extract in the supers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello again, thanks to everyone for your feedback. Jack, there are 8 frames in the box, the picture just cuts it off weirdly. But with my wonky spacing, might as well be 7 :rolleyes:

So far I've read three suggestions - 1) flip the frames 180 so that built out comb is on the outside, 2) smoke the bees away and squish the frames together tightly, and 3) cut off the built out comb with a bread knife. So many options! As an inexperienced beekeeper, I'll probably go with whatever I feel comfortable with in the moment (still working on my demeanor and not getting nervous around the bees lol). But I'm relieved that my rookie mistake with the frames is only a minor issue and whatever I choose, the bees will do what they do and make the magic happen.

I am sure I will be posting here more often as I encounter new things - appreciate the guidance so much!
 

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Always more than one option in beekeeping. But you're dead on, use which option you're most comfortable with.
 

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In the future, always push undrawn combs tightly together with any leftover space being on the outsides of the box. Best to not slight your slight spacing problem as you would just disrupt the bees for no real gain.
 

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As others have already said, that's not a major issue - easy enough to deal with using any of the methods suggested.

I came across the following photograph yesterday whilst looking for starter-strip photos. It's not one of my frames - I don't do Langstroth - but when I saw this posted on a forum I thought it worth saving as a perfect example of what can go wrong if frame spacing is ignored or neglected.



Apologises to whoever this happened to, for any ongoing embarrassment caused by the posting of this picture ...
LJ
 
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