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Based on comments by others here, last week I inserted an empty frame into the brood nest to allow the hive to build the comb from scratch. A week later, I inspected, and, WOW, the new comb was attached at the top and filled the frame to within less than an inch on all sides.

Here's the question: will the bees build the comb out completely and attach it to the sides and bottom of the frame?

I about broke the comb as I was turning it over, since it wasn't attached on all sides. Just wondering if I'll end up with fragile combs this way.
 

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Did you wire the frame before you put the wax foundation in?

Alex King (K142)
 

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Tim H,

I believe that you asked if a completely foundationless frame (ie empty frame) would stay fragile. The bees will attach it to the frame on the sides, top and bottom to support the new wax so it won't give way.
 

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Another little tip on the empty frame, especially without wire - when pulling and inspecting the frames always keep the comb vertical to the ground, turning it horizontally could end up pulling the comb loose from the frame.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>Here's the question: will the bees build the comb out completely and attach it to the sides and bottom of the frame?

Eventually.

>I about broke the comb as I was turning it over

Don't turn it over. Keep it vertical at all times. Turn it front to back or flip it upside down by rotating it vertically, but don't turn the comb horizontal to gravity until it's attaches on at least three sides.

> Just wondering if I'll end up with fragile combs this way.

Until it is attached, yes.

Here's one:

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/FoundationlessDrawn.JPG
 

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The comb will also harden over time. I have some from last year that are attached only on top that can be handled pretty easily if the weather isn't too hot. If they are heavy with nectar/honey, be very careful. They do draw them in a hurry when the flow and weather are right. My bees seem to like to leave a bee space at the bottom of the frame, but will fill to the edges pretty reliably.

[ May 04, 2006, 10:43 AM: Message edited by: Ross ]
 

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Wire it! The bees have no problems working around the wires, and it's much more solid even when the comb only covers part of the frame. Here's a photo of one they're working on with wires.

Also note the unusually small cell size :D

-Pete
 

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what size wire is frame wire? is it steel or aluminum?

can you easily buy it locally or is it one of those hard to find items that you need to pay shipping on?
 

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>what size wire is frame wire? is it steel or aluminum?

I don't wire them. But the stainless steel from Glorybee is the only wire I ever had that was sufficiently strong for crimping it tight without breaking.
 

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On my Dadant Deeps I put one horizontal of 1/16" welding rod in for support because it's twice as deep as the mediums. I also put angled comb guides on the sides and bottoms to get them to attach them sooner because of how deep the comb is. It worked fine: http://www.bushfarms.com/images/DadantDeep1.jpg
 
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