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Okay. Here's a couple of small problems. Maybe very small, but they seem big to me ( first year beek)

My package arrived Monday and I installed using the "set in" method in which you remove five frames and place the open crate inside the hive body.

I also elected to place the queen cage between my center frames (hole up) using a rubber band because....

The hanger was on the opposite end from the candy and there were five dead bees in the cage wit the queen, so she'd have had a pile of bees to contend with to get at/through the candy hole.

All went well that day and the next day I popped in and removed the now empty big shipping cage. I did nothing to the queen and barely looked in the direction of those frames.

Fast forward four days to today. I smoke and go in. The candy is totally removed from that end of the queen cage. However, the queen cage is totally encased in comb.

In the process of removing it I tore a1.5" x 3" vertical hole completely through the new comb and foundation. There's nothing in that spot except wire now.

PROBLEM #2
Add to this the fact that I'm one handed and as such can't hold frames by their ends. This didn't seem to be a problem with the hives I helped out on last year (with much older comb).

However, I noticed that when I grabbed the middle of the frames on my new hive/comb, my gloved hand was crushing comb along the top edge. Not much, just a thumbs width/length. Unfortunately I think the strength of the grip I have to get to hold from that position means I can't grip lightly on the edge.

Yeah, I know..... I'm ordering a frame grabber from Kelley on Monday morning.

My questions are thus:
1. Will the bees repair my ham fisted damage to the comb, or will I need to put in a new frame with foundation and let them start over? I'm particularly worried about the big hole in the center frame. I don't mind if the comb is not pretty in that spot as long as it's functional.

2. If I need to replace, how do I do that knowing that this is a major center frame with tons of bees and brood/pollen/syrup?

3. If they do replace the comb will they most likely do some free form art project that will mess with the surrounding frames and get everything grossly connected, or will they most likely work from the good comb and make a seamless blend (or something like).

4. Also, to avoid this problem in the future should I have just used the queen cage hanger and let the queen and outside workers deal with the candy end being down and the dead bees at the bottom?

5. Is older comb more durable? Is that the reason that I didn't tear up any comb last year when working with several year old comb?

Thanks,
Glenn

P.S. - On the good side, I have plenty of comb being built out ( four frames at least partially built), pollen, and what looks to be syrup being stored. I also have eggs. At least I think they are. I missed them at first, but then held the frames in the light and saw them. Little white commas in otherwise dry chambers.
 

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1. Will the bees repair my ham fisted damage to the comb, or will I need to put in a new frame with foundation and let them start over? I'm particularly worried about the big hole in the center frame. I don't mind if the comb is not pretty in that spot as long as it's functional.

Wax foundation/plastic foundation, they will fix it, foundation less they will fix it, no big deal.


2. If I need to replace, how do I do that knowing that this is a major center frame with tons of bees and brood/pollen/syrup?
No worries, they will fix it.

3. If they do replace the comb will they most likely do some free form art project that will mess with the surrounding frames and get everything grossly connected, or will they most likely work from the good comb and make a seamless blend (or something like).

Possibly a combination of both. If you just have a hole in the center they will most likely just join it together.. Most likely.. Keep an eye on it, if necessary you can always scrape off the unsightly comb and they will rebuild.

4. Also, to avoid this problem in the future should I have just used the queen cage hanger and let the queen and outside workers deal with the candy end being down and the dead bees at the bottom?

I'm a fan of releasing the queen the same time I release a package.. They normally are used to each other. Any time there are not a full hive of frames the bees will build comb to suit them. Not to suit you. Someone else will come along and give a different opinion. A hundred options for releasing packages, none better or worse than others, "it all works if you let it"

5. Is older comb more durable? Is that the reason that I didn't tear up any comb last year when working with several year old comb? Older comb is hardened. Until it is several weeks old it is fragile. In cold weather it is fragile, it hot weather it sags.. It's part of the experience.
 

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My questions are thus:
1. Will the bees repair my ham fisted damage to the comb, or will I need to put in a new frame with foundation and let them start over? I'm particularly worried about the big hole in the center frame. I don't mind if the comb is not pretty in that spot as long as it's functional.

2. If I need to replace, how do I do that knowing that this is a major center frame with tons of bees and brood/pollen/syrup?

3. If they do replace the comb will they most likely do some free form art project that will mess with the surrounding frames and get everything grossly connected, or will they most likely work from the good comb and make a seamless blend (or something like).

4. Also, to avoid this problem in the future should I have just used the queen cage hanger and let the queen and outside workers deal with the candy end being down and the dead bees at the bottom?

5. Is older comb more durable? Is that the reason that I didn't tear up any comb last year when working with several year old comb?


1: Bees will repair almost anything and remove debris with ease. Rest easy.
2: More intentionally the above answer.
3: Bees are pretty organized when frames are in place. With added spaces, they tend to do some odd shapes and designs.
4: That's a tough one for me to answer. Dead bees in with the queen doesn't sound good. From what you described, it sounds like the outer bees knew she was in trouble and "Uncorked" her quicker than normal or fed her through the wires somehow. By the books I've read, the package cage does not go into the hive, they dump the bees in. Replace the empty frames and hang the queen cage in the middle between two frames with candy-cork exposed. Any dead bees will be "swept" out usually the same day if access is OK and weather permits.
5: Older comb is fine. They'll re-fresh whatever they need and re-use.
 
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