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Cross comb and spring inspection

1796 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  stewarth
First year beekeeping, first year problem.

As spring approaches I'm wondering what my next step should be. End of last summer I created a problem by inserting spacers between the top bars too early which allowed the bees to build crooked comb and to join across combs, it's a real mess. They did this for 2-4 bars. Between these and the brood area there is roughly 3-4 straight bars.

How much honey is left is a mystery but here's my dilemma.

1) when it's warm enough do I open up the hive and try to clean up the mess, knowing that I will destroy 3-4 bars. This gives me the chance to inspect and see if the queen is laying and hive is doing ok, but may disrupt their spring build up. If I did do this I assume I would have to feed to supplement removing stores.

2) leave it alone, hope their ok and they can build straight comb after the mess, then clean up after the hive is stronger. I assume I don't have to feed in this case as it looks like they have plenty of stores, viewing from window.

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Shift all the cross combing to what is the very back of the hive, which in this case is probably your divider board. Make sure you keep shifting it backward as you add new bars between your straight combs. The bees should fill the cross combing with honey, not brood. Harvest when the honey is capped, and your cross combing problem is gone. This was my solution in a hive with the same problem.
One disclaimer: the combs in my hive did not have side attachments. If yours do, you will need to find a way to cut them before shifting the combs.
Thanks Jon, I'll give it a try and see how much I can move in one go without ruining it all.
Thanks for the video. I'm in MA so waiting for a warm'ish day to do my 1st inspection
Opened up the hive for the 1st time in Friday and performed a full inspection. I was able to address my primary concern and remove the cross/crooked comb. The bees had eaten most of their stores so I left in one and half bars that were pretty straight.

Otherwise there was about a half to and inche of dead bees and callings on the bottom board which I helped clean up.

No brood and didn't sight the queen as it was getting cooler. I put some syrup in but don't expect them to start feeding until it warms up.
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