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My bees have been building perfectly formed combs up until this last week. They decided to make the last comb so thick it is attached to two bars and they were on their way to attach it to a third. I cut some pieces off that were headed toward the third bar and inserted a full brood comb in its place. Was that a good idea? If not, what should I have done to make them start a new comb instead of just making the existing comb wider? This set of combs is about 13 bars back from the front of the hive and the entrance is on the end.
 

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They will sometimes build honey comb for storage in wide combs to be more efficient with the wax. as long as they have other bars of honey stored up than pulling that one to harvest is fine. they will back fill the brood comb you put in with honey and start another comb next to that. same chance as before to get a big comb. depends what they want to do
 

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Sounds like they want to store honey. They will make the storage comb wider than brood comb, so you can use a spacer, 1/4" thick, between 2 top bars to make them a little further apart. I just bought some from backyardhive.com. I don't think you should have put brood comb in with the honey combs.
 

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A brood comb will restrain them. I think that was probably a good idea. You didn't by any chance alternate drawn comb with empties did you? That will always result in fat comb during a flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A brood comb will restrain them. I think that was probably a good idea. You didn't by any chance alternate drawn comb with empties did you? That will always result in fat comb during a flow.
That was my original problem. I didn't realize when I inserted the empty comb that this comb was going to be honey storage and a week after I did it the comb was covering both bars. I did insert blank spacers next to the honeycomb, I just want to ensure that they don't do this again.
I checked on the hive yesterday and they appear to be building combs properly again. I guess I just need to check on the back of the hive more than once a week to make sure everything is ok. I have viewing windows, but there are so many bees, I can't see anything anymore.
 

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That was my original problem. I didn't realize when I inserted the empty comb that this comb was going to be honey storage and a week after I did it the comb was covering both bars. I did insert blank spacers next to the honeycomb, I just want to ensure that they don't do this again.
I checked on the hive yesterday and they appear to be building combs properly again. I guess I just need to check on the back of the hive more than once a week to make sure everything is ok. I have viewing windows, but there are so many bees, I can't see anything anymore.
with a TBH you only want to expand in the brood nest...........as you have found out.
 

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Brood comb tends to be 1 1/4" on center. Honey comb varies a lot but tends to be much thicker. I would leave the one that is on two combs on two combs if it can't be extricated from the one next to it easily. I'd add some bars to the brood nest to get them drawn smaller and straighter. You might consider harvesting the thick one. This is why I run half 1 1/4" bars (for brood) and half 1 1/2" bars (for honey).
 

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>How do I know what combs will be used for honey and what will be used for brood?

The first comb of honey, you won't. But once they have a capped comb of honey in the box, the rest will be honey going that direction.

>Will the front of the hive stay brood and the back continue to be honey?

I can't guarantee that, but that is a general tendency, yes. Brood will be together. Honey will be together.
 

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We put two packages into TBHs May 5th. One has built nearly perfect combs with just a couple needing to be pinched back to center on the last couple of inches towards the ends. The other has been a battle from the get go, but it never got bad until they'd backfilled the broodnest and my "fix" was to add a couple of bars into the brood nest while they were raising a queen. They build the combs around those bars out very wide. They also built three honey combs covering four bars, the combs are pretty straight, but those combs need to be moved as a unit. So far we've just isolated the messed up stuff with straight combs around it and we'll cull what we can when we get to that point.

Strangely, I did the exact same thing at the same time to the other package installed the same day, and they basically ignored the spaces and didn't build another speck of comb until their queen hatched. I haven't experienced much luck having any of our bees (packages or swarms) drawning squat for comb without a queen present. Maybe that changes with a very strong hive, I don't know. But comb building so far has been a stopwatch for the colony having a queen or not.
 
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