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Discussion Starter #1
checked on my bees today that I got out of the tree last week. they were all buzzing around in the cluster. did not see any dead:). as you can see I have a few frames with comb banded to them and the rest is one solid chunk of comb with tunnels throughout it. how should I deal with this when the weather warms up?

 

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You need to get all that comb out of there or you will have the mother of all messes! Replace it with frames, even if it's only foundation, or empty frames with a guide strip on the top bar. :D
 

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Never been in the situation, but I think I'd start by making sure the queen stays out of the mess. If I was sure she was working the framed comb, I'd replace the clump with fresh frames and put the clump in another super above or below the box with the frames with a queen excluder between. When I was sure all the brood had hatched, I'd remove the clump completely. Maybe put it above the inner cover later and let the bees rob it out?

Hope someday to have your "problem." It looks interesting.

Wayne
 

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I'd try something like Wayne's idea.
Get that box full of frames, as he said you'll have a huge mess, when they start building wax.
 

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It is easy but not pretty -- cut out comb every week, replace it with frames, put the cut out comb outside the hive, the bees will recover everything quickly because it is outside home. Brood too, I know you love the bees. This is "tough love" they need frames so you can take care of them.
 

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If you have a lot of brood in the wild comb, place it is a separate super, with a queen excluder between the boxes. Of course, make sure the queen is on the frames. After the bees have hatched, you can remove the comb outside, and the bees will clean it out, and bring the stores back to the new hive. If there is not any brood, just place it outside. I would reduce your box sive to a Nuc, and let the colony buildup, from there.
 

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I am in NC. when should I start doing this?
As soon as the Dandelions are blooming in earnest. If there are no eggs in that pile of comb (there probably won't be this early) get it out ASAP. Make sure it's above 50 degrees and calm. Tear it open slowly to leave it in front of the hive so the bees will walk/fly home. If there's bunch of nectar or honey in it be careful with creating a robbing situation and haul it 50 yards off. Replace the open area with undrawn foundation.

If the queen starts laying in that mess you'll end up killing lots of larva or making an awful situation when you end up dealing with it. Yank the band aid off quickly and get it done ASAP. Very cool picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
As soon as the Dandelions are blooming in earnest. If there are no eggs in that pile of comb (there probably won't be this early) get it out ASAP. Make sure it's above 50 degrees and calm.

<<<< so if there are no eggs, don't wait for the dandelions just make sure its above 50 and calm?

Tear it open slowly to leave it in front of the hive so the bees will walk/fly home. If there's bunch of nectar or honey in it be careful with creating a robbing situation and haul it 50 yards off.

<<<<what if the queen is still in the clump of comb? will she go into the hive? how long should I leave it in front of the hive before taking it 50yards off?

sorry for all the questions, easier to ask now rather when I'm in the middle of screwing something up
 

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Supposed to be above 50 starting Saturday. Can do some then.
 

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if the queen is still in the clump of comb, move her to the frames in the hive.
you only need to move the comb 50yards if there is a chance of robbing, like if you have 2 or more hives close together. you only need to leave the comb out in front of the hive if there is honey/pollen in it, so the bees can clean it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
the girls were cleanin house today, had a bunch of their fallen sisters out the front door. first time I've seen them at the entrance. I have an entrance reducer set to the smallest opening, is that ok or should I make it bigger now?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
not yet, still pretty cool here. they are still mainly clustered. will start cutting that chunk apart this weekend
 
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