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Hi all, I am a new beekeeper, first year, in Oregon. My first hive was a top bar, with every bar in, full of horrible cross combing, and occupied by a swarm for a few weeks back in May.

I took the hive, relocated it to my apiary, and then let them just be bees for a while. The plan was in mid July to go in, rip the thing apart, try to rehang the comb straight, and then give the hive some time and food while it recovers.

First try to do the comb I used hair clips. After two weeks the bees had really struggle to reattach the combs held with hair clips so I replaced them with rescue combs, which gets the comb right up to the bar, and they seem to do pretty well attaching it in just a few days.

That was yesterday. The good news is, that in removing and rehanging more than 20 combs, I managed not to kill the queen, and the hive looks to be recovering nicely. I'll put some pics up soon, but I have a flickr album that has all of it, including some videos of me removing and rehanging comb.

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Who likes cross comb? Not me.
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Some of the honey and nectar in extra comb being fed back to the hive.
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Extra comb that no longer fits after the remodel.


Flickr site is The Apiary
 

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Standard operating procedure for TBHs. And one of the best reasons to go to something else. :)

The only way TBHs worked for me was to be in them every few days during comb building... pinching combs straight. It's manageable, but it made me dislike inspections and as I scaled up, it became untenable. Then I'd inevitably think they were "done" at least for a bit and would go back a few weeks later to an absolute disaster in the back end of the hive.
I went with foundationless Langstroth frames after cutting everything out of my TBHs and that was also a total pain. So eventually cut to the chase and started using plastic foundation. Foundationless has it's place for me. I like to have drone comb available for my colonies (for early drones and to reduce burr comb between boxes). But just a couple of frames per colony works swimmingly.
 

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This is one example where one can see what the "back-loaded" projects are about. :)
You start easy and later suffer for it forever (a TBH story).
 

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Have you tried a different comb guide or a third follower board? I have good experiences with top bars that have a full triangle at the bottom - no horizontal part left and right to it. Sorry I don't have foto.
Also a third follower board might help. It separates the broad chamber from the rest of the (empty) hive. This way the bees only get the space they need a the moment. If the comb of the last bar before the 3thrd follower is about half or 2/3 drawn, I move a bar from behind the follower in. They can't really cross comb that way.
 
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