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I open my hives and inspect the frames only to see lots of bees clustered between the frames, festooning with their feet locked together. I understand that this is the building process and they are doing construction work inside the hive.

My question is this. I see bees clustered together on the underneath side of the bottom bar of the frame. What are they doing? They aren't building comb but they do festoon together. When I pull the frame out, sometimes several inches of bees are locked togehter suddenly hanging from the frame and I have to be very careful with them.
 

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It's called chaining and as you say is part of the building process, in particular a way to build comb over an open expanse.
Possibly the bottom bar 'festooning' is them building burr comb between the bottom bars of an upper box to the top bars of a lower box?
 
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