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Hello,

I made a typical newbie mistake when installing my package this year, and provided too much space between the 3 middle frames on account of the queen cage.

The hive is doing well, but now the 3 middle frames of our brood box cannot obey bee space rules due to burr comb. We have hesitated about cutting everything off, since we see a lot of capped brood. But we also have noticed, when we do our weekly hive inspection, that the bees are spending too much of their energy filling the empty space instead of building out new comb on the empty frames.

How should we best fix this problem?

- Aggressively remove all burr comb on the middle frames (regardless of the how much it puts the hive back) and space the frames properly? or,
- Move the bad frames to the outside and move empty frames into the middle to encourage building out new comb (so that we don't waste the comb already built until they've had a chance to make some good frames)? or
- Place the second brood chamber on the hive and have them work into that space?

Out last inspection was very disruptive due to a few mistakes we made, so we put everything back together to give the bees a chance to recuperate. How long should we wait before going back in to fix the burr comb/spacing issues?

Best regards,
Ben
 

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You need to correct this problem ASAP. I would grab an outer frame, which from your description has not been drawn out, and remove the foundation. Thoroughly and neatly trim out all the wild comb, and rubber band them (or a similar method, there are several to choose from) into the frame. Install this frame near the middle of the box; the bees will tend the brood and attach and rebuild the comb.

Good luck,
 

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Move the three gobbed up frames to the outside of the hive body. Have the rest of the frames tight against each other leaving any extra space on the far side. The outside of the box is cooler and the queen will not be as inclined to lay in outer frames. As the brood emerges, from them, carve them back into shape and move them to the far side of the brood box. Repeat until you have things squared away. In the future, consider putting your queen cage horizontal with the screen side down. Push the side of the cage into the honey band at the top of a frame and bring the other tight against it/. Just make sure that you have not totally covered the downfacing wire side of the cage or the entrance.

Or if you feel the need to put the cage between top bars, check for release of the caged queen three full days after introduction and release her if not already released, slide frames together and STAY OUT for two weeks.
 

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From those pics it doesn't look like a lot of bad comb. You have the option of just cutting them off and tossing, and shrug off the loss of a small number of cells. More important in the long run is to get the comb true. The longer you leave them in there, the bigger the problem will get.
 

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yeah, its not too bad yet. and the longer you wait the worse/harder it will be to correct. i would just trim off as necessary. in the future keep all your frames pushed TIGHT together.
 

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New beek here. Started from a nuc the end of May and at every weekly inspection there was burr comb on the bottom of the frames, a little on top too. Every week I removed it. I then had to go two weeks in between inspections and not only did they rebuild it as usuall on the bottom, the queen laid eggs in the burr comb on the bottom. I felt bad removing it and killing bees. Should I remove it anyway? See picture. May as well ask this too. Check out how many drones cells. Is that a lot or just a function of an ever growing hive?
 

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They tend to draw out drone comb at the bottom of the frames. I scrape it off and put it in a plastic bag. Either toss it in the garbage away from the hives or feed it to the birds away from the hives. The danger of not removing this comb is that the frames above and below will stick together. When you go to remove the upper box and a couple frames stick to it and then release it is not fun. I'm sure others will disagree but I have found that they are more prone to making Burr comb on plastic frames. Just an observation, not picking a fight. J
 

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I am on my phone so I could be wrong looking at your photos but did you have a wax moth problem? That calm looks pretty funky
 

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Comb that is. It looks gray and separated from the rest of the comb around the edges. Also looks like parts of it have been eaten out. J
 

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Comb that is. It looks gray and separated from the rest of the comb around the edges. Also looks like parts of it have been eaten out. J
The pic isn’t great because it’s a snap shot from a video. That frame is from the nuc so that wax could be very old, hence the color. The grey you’re seeing is also some probably real old capped honey on the edges. Pretty sure it’s foundationless which is why it looks like there’s a wax moth trail. The comb isn’t perfectly flat. I’ll be sure to double check to make sure though.
 

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They tend to draw out drone comb at the bottom of the frames. I scrape it off and put it in a plastic bag. Either toss it in the garbage away from the hives or feed it to the birds away from the hives. The danger of not removing this comb is that the frames above and below will stick together. When you go to remove the upper box and a couple frames stick to it and then release it is not fun. I'm sure others will disagree but I have found that they are more prone to making Burr comb on plastic frames. Just an observation, not picking a fight. J
Does the number of drones look excessive though?
 

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There are two basic approaches when dealing with burr comb. If spotted fairly early on in it's development, and relatively early in the year - then deal with it ASAP.

However, IF that wacky comb has become well-established (say with capped brood) by the time it's first spotted - and IF it's getting late on in the season, then you may as well leave it 'as is', and re-visit the problem (suitably armed with a bread knife) come the following Spring.

Bees won't come to any harm over winter on their 'crazy comb': after all, they built it that way, and bees - unlike humans - aren't concerned at all with nice neat straight combs. That's only of importance to us ... :)
LJ
 

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..... Is that a lot or just a function of an ever growing hive?
This is a function of a shallow hive/shallow frame configuration (typical of one deep Langs).
Bees *really* want to build deeper combs (vertically).
This is what they are telling you.
 

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I am in lj's camp. Once there is brood in it, I leave it alone for the season. It is easy enough to fix in late fall when the brood nest is mostly empty.
 
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