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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have recently added a new hive body to one of my hives. I run all foundationless comb and wanted to kick start some new comb build out. I moved 2 frames up into the new box and replaced them with 2 empty frames in the lower box.

Configuration:

Top
EEEBEBEE

Bottom
BBEBEBBB

Checked in on them after about 5 days, and here is what I found:
img_0369.jpg

Its hard to tell with these tiny pictures, but the 3 different starts are actually different cell sizes! The one in the center was drone comb, now merged with worker comb. Should I cut it out? Was not expecting to find this.

watching me...
img_0355.jpg
 

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Do you have all the frames pushed tightly together? If not, they are prone to building off the outside edges of the frame rather than the starter you nicely provided for them.

In any case, you can carefully detach the comb and use large rubber bands to hold it in the correct position in the frame. The bees will re-attach it and cut out the rubber bands for you. You definitely do NOT want to leave it, it will cause more and more trouble.

Very likely they will draw out a large amount of drone comb. This is fine, just put it one or two frames in from the side of the hive (one frame in is probably best) so that you don't restrict the size of the worker brood area, and they will raise a lovely crop of drones every spring, then backfill the comb with honey for winter use.

Works best if you insert those empty foundationless combs between frames of capped brood or solid frames of stored pollen and honey -- empty comb temps them to "rework" and chew into the drawn comb to accomodate the new comb in the wrong place. Brood comb they will usually not chew up so much, too many cocoons in it I think.

Don't wait, fix it soon. The small pieces you may have to remove, but messed up comb in the hive is bad. I left a frame of warped foundation in a hive a couple years ago and it took me all summer to get them drawing decent comb, that warped one caused the bees to bulge the comb on adjacent frames until I just took it out and trashed it. Best to get them on the straight and narrow quickly!

Also watch for incompletely drawn foundationless frames tempting the bees to draw out the frames on either side to fill in the empty space when putting away winter stores. This makes it very difficult to remove any of the three frames individually, and I eventually had to pull the oversized frames and extract them to fix the problem. I put capped frames next the the incomplete foundationless frames, but they are now in the bottom box and I'll have to check them again. Not a problem when I put them in early, the messy ones were put on late in the season, so don't do that, only put foundationless frames for drone comb when there is a strong flow on so they build them out fully.

Peter
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Do whatever you think will work to get them in the center under the top bar. Push, bend, etc. Always keep all frames in the brood nest tightly together. Better yet, shave off 1/16" from each side of the end bars and put them even CLOSER together...
 

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What is everyone seeing that I am missing? I think the comb in this picture looks straight and inside the boundries.
 

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>What is everyone seeing that I am missing? I think the comb in this picture looks straight and inside the boundries.

I can only see it in two dimensions. But I see no comb up onto the comb guide up to the top bar, which makes me think they are off center and they go all the way to the top bar on the other side (that we can't see). I could be wrong, it may be they just didn't build it all the way up to the top yet, but that would seem unlikely...
 

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it looks like it is off center to me it looks like they are drawing the comb on the back side of the starter strip
 

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What is everyone seeing that I am missing? I think the comb in this picture looks straight and inside the boundries.
Ditto jipsy!

I have seen DRONE and worker size drawn on foundationless, but I do not recall seeing 3 different cell sizes. Next time I do an inspection I will look more carefully. :)

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi all - i should have been clearer. The comb is centered on the frame well enough and looks good, however, the comb starts include worker cell sized and drone cell sized on the same frame. When they come together, I am not sure how the resulting frame will look. So should I cut out the drone comb and allow them to just build out the worker sized comb or let it be and have a frame with a mix of worker cells and drone sized cells?
 

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I leave mine as I feel when they don't want or need drones, they will use those bigger cells for honey or pollen...being right next to worker brood is convienent.
 

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Hi all - i should have been clearer. The comb is centered on the frame well enough and looks good, however, the comb starts include worker cell sized and drone cell sized on the same frame. When they come together, I am not sure how the resulting frame will look. So should I cut out the drone comb and allow them to just build out the worker sized comb or let it be and have a frame with a mix of worker cells and drone sized cells?
I never cut it out....I figure the bees know what they are doing
 
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