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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know feed will help them do it, but what conditions "encourage" them to draw comb?

There was talk of a particular type of split involving putting the existing queen and some amount of brood and lots of feed into a box moved to a different location/position that would cause that box to "want" to draw out foundation (presumably for her to have a place to lay), while the left behind queenless colony would "want" to make queen cells (emergency response).

I mention that only because as it was described to me, the fact that they would make lots of drawn foundation and comb was kind of an after thought in the discussion. But the fact that it happens, raises the questions of what the key elements in play would be and how to act on them. Perhaps something like, as they draw it out and it gets laid into, move them to a different hive and add in more capped or emerging brood and foundation. Just a guess.

This would seem like an interesting topic specifically for one starting out with plenty of foundation but not a lot of drawn comb. Which, more than one person has offered as advice "Your first year should be about creating comb."

So like people make "cell builders" and "cell finishers" colonies, what are the optimal conditions for a "comb drawer" colony, and how to best maintain it? Or am I just dreaming?
 

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The conditions needed to draw out comb are Food, Temperature and Population. From there it's pretty much what bees do when they have time on their hands.
 

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Large population, wax making conditions; season, flow/sunshine, prolific queen, perceived need. Think conditions the bees face as a newly landed swarm. Search Lauri's posts. They wont make comb unless they need it.
Exactly as the man says. Splitting is not a recipe for getting wax drawn as it decreases need. A shook swarm/taranov swarm may accomplish what you desire, but if you can catch swarms and put them on a frame of brood to anchor them and the rest foundation, you will see bees draw serious amounts of comb.
 

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Large population yes, but more importantly a large population of the proper aged bees.The wax glands are activated at about day 12 after emergence and become inactive as the worker transition to a forager.
The need for comb is critical,so most comb is built on a flow.You can try to replicate that with feed,but a strong flow will also stimulate the queen's egg laying and the colony explodes.
And then there are swarms..........

If you get to know your bees and your location,you learn you have a small window in your season where drawing comb is effortless and you use that to your advantage.
 

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I know feed will help them do it, but what conditions "encourage" them to draw comb?

There was talk of a particular type of split involving putting the existing queen and some amount of brood and lots of feed into a box moved to a different location/position that would cause that box to "want" to draw out foundation (presumably for her to have a place to lay), while the left behind queenless colony would "want" to make queen cells (emergency response).

I mention that only because as it was described to me, the fact that they would make lots of drawn foundation and comb was kind of an after thought in the discussion. But the fact that it happens, raises the questions of what the key elements in play would be and how to act on them. Perhaps something like, as they draw it out and it gets laid into, move them to a different hive and add in more capped or emerging brood and foundation. Just a guess.

This would seem like an interesting topic specifically for one starting out with plenty of foundation but not a lot of drawn comb. Which, more than one person has offered as advice "Your first year should be about creating comb."

So like people make "cell builders" and "cell finishers" colonies, what are the optimal conditions for a "comb drawer" colony, and how to best maintain it? Or am I just dreaming?
That sounds like a fly back split.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That sounds like a fly back split.
Lots of things sound like a "fly back split" :) I have seen so many techniques outlined that start off with "Move the queen" and do xyz.. They get a little funny after that. Different things to move with her, different things to do with the remaining colony and so on. The point was, that in the process of describing this particular technique, was the comment that "just fill it with foundation and they will draw it out like crazy"... unfortunately I don't really remember the details of the conversation beyond that.
 

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What Jack said in post #6
Simulate conditions typical at swarming time. Feeding is often mentioned and will help if flow is not generous but you better be keeping a regular watch that you are not flooding the queen out of laying space. More of a benefit if you are in a dearth.
 

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I like the way Mike Palmer does it with his double nucs, use the nucs for resources.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Lots of things sound like a "fly back split" :) I have seen so many techniques outlined that start off with "Move the queen" and do xyz.. They get a little funny after that. Different things to move with her, different things to do with the remaining colony and so on. The point was, that in the process of describing this particular technique, was the comment that "just fill it with foundation and they will draw it out like crazy"... unfortunately I don't really remember the details of the conversation beyond that.
If you are moving the queen, it is not a fly-back split. What you described IS a fly-back split. The queen and a single brood frame are left in the original location and all the other bees are placed in another location in the same apiary. The returning foragers will perceive the need for comb so the queen can continue laying and will draw out frames at breakneck speed, given sufficient carbohydrate resources. Other than that, feeding a very weak syrup can stimulate comb building as the bees will need more room to dry down the syrup. Care has to be taken not to let them backfill the brood nest or you will have a bigger problem with swarming.
 

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My understanding is that 1:1 syrup will stimulate the bees to produce brood. If you have more brood you have more bees at 10-18 days old who are best a building honeycomb. Here in NE Georgia I'm starting 1:1 syrup in January. That will build up brood and honeycomb so that when the pears bloom in early March they can make honey and store it right away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you are moving the queen, it is not a fly-back split. What you described IS a fly-back split. The queen and a single brood frame are left in the original location and all the other bees are placed in another location in the same apiary. The returning foragers will perceive the need for comb so the queen can continue laying and will draw out frames at breakneck speed, given sufficient carbohydrate resources. Other than that, feeding a very weak syrup can stimulate comb building as the bees will need more room to dry down the syrup. Care has to be taken not to let them backfill the brood nest or you will have a bigger problem with swarming.
So, can this scenario be maintained? If the comb and eggs are replaced with more foundation eventually the older bees age out without replacement. Perhaps frame of sealed brood, or just shake in some nurses or something? If they are allowed to just come up to speed on their own, I assume the split could be done again. Anyway, just wondering aloud. The idea of "purposed" colonies intrigues me.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Not sure I follow. The comb with the eggs and brood is not removed post split. The hive is allowed to rebuild normally with the laying queen doing her best to get 2,000 eggs per day. With proper manipulations of the combs, you should have a ten frame box, 9 new frames of comb, drawn out in about a month. With normal growth, they should get the new upper box, an additional ten frames, drawn out by the end of the flow or another two months.
 
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