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So I've got a few honey questions... (I've got 3 and 4 foot TBHs)

My bees like to start back filling the brood area before they completely fill the back combs with nectar. The top two thirds get filled, but that bottom 3rd remains empty. At this point they'll start filling the brood nest and I'll expand the brood nest. So I wind up harvesting bars with the bottom 1/3 or 1/4th empty. Any ideas how to get them to fill the back combs more before trying to fill out the brood nest?

Also, I'd like a few virgin combs of honey, but I almost never get them for a couple reasons. First, I expand the brood nest and old brood combs get pushed back, back filled with honey and harvested. The virgin comb became the new brood comb. Secondly, those queens love laying in that virgin comb. I've tried creating walls (a few bars of honey) in their way in hopes they would leave the virgin comb alone, but they are stubborn and will manage to lay in a comb 7 bars past the their main brood nest. I could drop in an excluder a couple combs before the end of the hive, but wanted to avoid it.

I mention issues together because I see how they could be related. Backfilling the brood area gives less laying space so the queen hunts for more while the new comb is being drawn out in the brood area. Possibly solving the first issue would solve the second. Any ideas? Thanks.
 

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So I've got a few honey questions... (I've got 3 and 4 foot TBHs)

My bees like to start back filling the brood area before they completely fill the back combs with nectar. The top two thirds get filled, but that bottom 3rd remains empty. At this point they'll start filling the brood nest and I'll expand the brood nest. So I wind up harvesting bars with the bottom 1/3 or 1/4th empty. Any ideas how to get them to fill the back combs more before trying to fill out the brood nest?

Also, I'd like a few virgin combs of honey, but I almost never get them for a couple reasons. First, I expand the brood nest and old brood combs get pushed back, back filled with honey and harvested. The virgin comb became the new brood comb. Secondly, those queens love laying in that virgin comb. I've tried creating wall (a few bars of honey) in their way in hopes they would leave the virgin comb alone, but they are stubborn and will manage to lay in a comb 7 bars outside past the their main brood nest. I could drop in an excluder a couple combs before the end of the hive, but wanted to avoid it.

I mention issues together because I see how they could be related. Backfilling the brood area gives less laying space so the queen hunts for more while the new comb is being drawn out in the brood area. Possibly solving the first issue would solve the second. Any ideas? Thanks.

What you describe is a general issue with most any horizontal hive, not just classic TBH.

For virgin combs of honey you need vertical hives with clear top/bottom separation of brood and honey.
That is a general solution to your problem.

One possibility - try queen excluder with your hive to not allow the queen into honey section and then maybe you will have virgin honey combs.
Also bigger hives should help to prevent the queen going to deep into the storage area (3-4 foot TBH are really too small to have clear brood-only/honey-only segments).
 
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