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Just a little background. I have two hives that I started with packages in late April. They are in eight frame mediums. I am trying to do foundationless with the small plastic foundation strips as guides. Both hives are doing pretty well. Both built the first the comb for the first super reasonably straight. I was easily able to pull the combs out and inspect them.

I added a second medium super to each hive a few weeks ago. One hive is building straight comb. The other, somewhat stronger hive, is not doing as well. I have a few frames where they started the comb on one rack and it crosses over to another. I have been cutting the comb in these cases and trying to gently straighten the comb back into the racks. Occasionally when I do this the comb falls out. To prevent wasting the wax I have been picking this comb up and putting it into a rack that has empty space. Is this a bad idea, possibly causing further cross comb issues? Will they join all the wax together?

As usual I really appreciate your input.

 

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...and what size is the worker brood comb?
 

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Last year ousted some foundationless frames and had a problem with 1 comb having a section building at a 90* angle to the strait comb and cut it off and pinched it onto a new frame and re bees took to it quickly too. But I had not pinched comb onto the same frame with other comb already on it. Looks interesting.
 

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I also run all 8 frame mediums foundationless - just started this spring, so I know what you are going through. Had a few false starts myself, but dont give up hope. I can tell you, my experience is that it gets MUCH better once you get a start. I did not use any starter strips, just the wedge on top of the frame glued back in. I now have 2-3 hive bodies per hive almost completely drawn, where 80% is just fantastic looking comb and the other 20% is good comb, but a little wavy in some areas due to empty space in the adjacent frame causing them to draw the comb deeper for honey storage.

Couple thoughts:
  • Don't try to save the whacky comb. Unless it chock full of brood, you are better off scraping it and allowing them to rework it. I have used the rubber band method to save large pieces of comb, but as an exception. Melt it down, make candles instead. If it has honey in it, you can steal it, or toss it on the bottom of the hive - they will clean it out in no time.
  • Once you get a couple frames of capped brood, you are golden - pop in an empty frame in between those nice looking comb with capped brood = another drawn frame of nice comb (and fast). Keep doing this to create a factory of comb building.
  • I have bees draw out frames completely (end to end practically) in less than a week now when there is a flow and need space. Food/flow = comb
  • If the comb is too thick in certain spots and full of honey - shave it off. Any thick comb will have a ripple effect on the next comb. Get in front of it.


Couple pics from 2 weeks ago

img_1251.jpg img_1232.jpg img_1284.jpg
 
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