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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New new newbee here. Bees hived from package 4-16. Queen released successfully. First inspection last week--eggs, larvae, capped brood. Second inspection today. Disastrous. The frames wouldn't come out for a long time, so while I struggled I got more and more nervous about leaving the hive open too long. Turned out to be the least of my worries. When I finally got a couple of frames out, the comb fell out of one of them. Lots of unhappy bees. Larva on the ground. :eek: Had a frame sitting in empty body, filled body with rest of frames but one, dropped broken comb in, closed it up. (13-yo-Daughter got stung, but she wasn't wearing shoes, even though I told her to. She's MUCH braver than her mother.)

I KNOW I handled this poorly. :cry: Any advice much appreciated. (Could stand some reassurance, too.)
 

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get some rubber bands, rubber band the comb you dropped back into the frame.

are all of your frames pushed together to the center of the hive body? If so you should have a little room to take a hive tool and gently pry the frame on one end to the hive body. Then once it is loose, pull it out, leave it out, and you should have more room to manipulate the rest of the frames. when done inspecting, reinsert that lone frame. pushing all frames back to the center.

If you are so heavily propolized that three weeks into having bees you cant get the frames out at all, they may be to big for the box, or perhaps the box is to small?
 

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Can you describe your setup more?
Are you using one deep brood box with 10 frames?

What kind of frames?
Are you using foundationless or with foundation?
If foundationless, did you tip the frame and hold it horizontal to look at it? (not recommended, watch some Youtube clips about examining foundationless frames in such a way that avoids having them fall out of the frames)

Get some rubber bands that fit vertically around a frame easily.
Go get the piece of comb that you tossed back into the hive and rubber band it back into the frame it fell out of and put the frame back where it was. The bees will reattach it. I've read that the bees will even remove the rubber bands when no longer needed. Be sure to use a smoker.
If the brood box is for 10 frames, you should have 10 frames in there. Leaving a space with a frame removed and just plopping some loose comb there will only cause them to glue the comb in and build yet more freeform comb around it to fill the space that the frame used to be in.

Is the whole box full as you say? Time to add another box maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have 8-frame mediums. Two hive bodies with frames, inner cover, empty body, jar of syrup on inner cover, telescoping cover. Bottom body full. Second body completely empty. I think maybe because it's still chilly at night.

Foundationless frames, which I knew would be trickier. I didn't tilt it, it just wasn't well attached.

All frames were together, but they weren't centered in the body.

Lots of walking bees. Does that mean newly emerged? One that I noticed strolling about (even before the chaotic hive opening) had wax secretions on her underside. (Do new bees take orientation walks?)

How soon do I go back in to attempt to repair the damage? I'm afraid they're doing to take such a disliking to their meddlesome landlady they'll seek lodgings elsewhere.
 

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go back in tommorrow. the longer you wait the worse it is. my recommendation is the same as other experienced beekeeps have expressed lately-use wax foundation for the first year or two. contact your local club if you dont have a local supplier and borrow or beg about 30 sheets, get a book and learn to crosswire. learn to beekeep the tried and true way, then experiment. good luck,mike
 

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How big was the chunk of comb that broke out? Unless it was really large (like almost the entire frame) I wouldn't worry about trying to fix it. The next time you get in the hive, you can remove the chunk of broken comb - you said you dropped it in the hive and closed it up. It's just going to be in the way if you leave it in, and a small comb probably isn't worth trying to salvage.

Those things happen. Don't let it get you flustered. Keep feeding the bees and they will have that frame repaired before you know it.

Lots of walking bees. Does that mean newly emerged?

No, it just means you were doing a good job of not making them mad. Worry about them when they are flying and buzzing madly, and keep trying to attack your veil.

New baby bees will be gray and fuzzy.
 

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This is really hilarious. I feel for you though!

Being a new beekeeper myself and from reading your despair I'd just like to say - keep going with it. Be brave. Remember that the bees don't need us and it would take a lot of damage from you to make them think they want to go somewhere else.

I started less than a year ago but I decided to go with foundationless and my bees didn't build the comb in the hive properly. Today I cut all the comb out of the honey super and put back about half of it with rubber bands exactly as you were instructed to do in some of the previous posts.

The half of the comb I didn't put back was full of honey. The first ever honey I have tasted from my own hive.

It's worth every bit of trouble and learning!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the encouragement! I have a knot in my stomach about the mess I made. But planning a trip to the store for rubber bands, and if the weather isn't too chilly I'll be back out there.

It sounds so simple, this rubber band thing, but I'm really good at making messes, so . . . exactly how does one do this? And will I ever get to the point that I can open (and close) the hive without killing the girls?
:eek:
 

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I use all mediums for brood boxes like you do but not foundationless. I have had no problem with wired wax foundation that I did not reinforce with more wire. So I agree with the suggestion that you leave the foundation less frames until you feel more confident.

One thing I wondered from your description of your inspection - do you have the type of hive tool that has the little hook projection on it? This tool makes breaking the propolis bond at the top of the frame where it hits the box rim easier than does a regular type tool. (My bees live close to about 200 White Pine trees and love that propolis so I would be in a bind without this tool).

Also it sounds like you may be removing all the frames as you inspect and then returning them at the end of your inspection. ??? I may be reading this wrong but if you are doing that, consider not doing it. Rather, remove only two of the outer frames and then slide and inspect the remainder one frame at a time holding the frame over the box so that there is no chance you will drop the queen on the ground outside the hive.

I think all of us have had moments like you describe -- like the old country song: we have more than we wanted of some of the things we had and more than we needed of some things that turned out bad -- but here we are still keeping bees and writing on Bee Source. So don't fret. Its a great thing to keep bees. Cheers.
 

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Also keep in mind theat when you do rubber band the comb back into the frame the iis turned the right way...........up side up. If you are not sure about it look at the comb from the end and you will see that the cells are pointing ever so slightly upwards.

No need to be nervous about it and yes one persone can do this, I have held many frames with my knees while rubber banding.

I doubt your bees will leave (abscond) for this little mistake you made. All will be fine.

New wax is very fragile and will fall out of frames very easily as you have learned.

The bees will re-attach the comb to the frame, chew the rubber band in half and drag it out the front of the hive in about a week or so.

Good luck and let us know how it all turns out!!

G3
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's rainy and cool today, so the project is going to have to wait for tomorrow. In the meantime: do I brush the bees off the comb before I handle it?

Clarkfarm, would that be an Italian hive tool? I've got one, but I was using a more traditional one yesterday (and thinking, wish I'd brought the Italian one instead).
 

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"New new newbee here."

Can I ask you a question? How did you come to decide that you wanted to use foundationless as a first time beekeeper? Was it from your readings? In most, if not all of the beekeeping books I have read, [Ross Conrad, Natural Beekeeping mentions it] there is no mention of 'foundationless' in the index. All of these books were written by expert beekeepers who have kept bees for 10-20-30 years. There are a very few, if any books published prior to the last 2 years that even mention foundationless or starter strips as an option for those that want to use the "natural/organic" approach to beekeping.

Did you,. 'discover' foundationless on the internet? Many aspiring beekeepers, without access to the internet would just go to their local library and read,..read.

I don't have an 'agenda' like some beekeeepers do about natural/organic beekeeping and foisting that philosophy upon unsuspecting newbies.

My major concern and philosophy is first and foremost,,...about the welfare of the bees. SO,..my final statement about this is,.. if you have NO EXPERIENCE AT ALL WITH BEEKEEPING: Do NOT,..I repeat,.. DO NOT use foundationless.

Your NEWBIE experiences with this foundationless fiacsco may be entertaining reading to some folks that read blogs, .but it really isn't.

Granted,. a few mistakes here or there regarding the use of foundationless among new beekeepers isn't that important in the greater scheme of beekeeping in general.

The major problem I see is the teaching of beekeeping that has come to the fore. That all these things about keeping bees is so very simple that anyone can do it. You don't even need an introductory course or someone to recommend starter strips,...FIRST!
 

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Re your question about the name of the tool I mentioned -- have no clue if it is called "Italian" hive tool. It is very common and is sold by Dadant and probably other vendors as well. Old fashioned one looks like a paint scraper and this one has a hook on one end to lift the edge of a frame. If I were a techie I would attach a picture. Alas. Maybe someone else knows if it is called "Italian". Susan
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I suppose at this point, with 8 fully drawn foundationless frames, going foundation-ful would be kind of like locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen. I appreciate your concern for me and your desire to help me embark on this adventure using methods that will guarantee success. But I'm a stubborn old girl, and I want to do it foundationless. Yup, even with my messes.

Where did I learn about it? I wondered about foundationless before I even heard about it, while I was sitting in my extension office beekeeping course. Then at the field day, during lunch, a longtime beekeeper showed me pics of his foundationless frames, as if he had been reading my mind. Great conversation. THEN I started to research it. (And I'm reading every book I can get my hands on.) That was a year before I found this fabulous forum. So don't blame anyone but me--I put the foundationless bee in my bonnet all by myself.

I really like the way the members of this forum have different methods and opinions, and are free to express them. Nothing like a good discussion, I always say. Seems to me a great way to learn. I like to do things naturally as much as I can, even though my experience has been that it's harder and it takes longer.

Everyone's circs are different, and everyone has to make his own decisions. I have only one little hive, and I don't depend on it for a living. I want my (and my neighbors') fruit plants pollinated--which is happening--and hopefully some honey and wax. If the hive doesn't make it this year, I'll try again next year, hopefully learning from the many mistakes I fully expect to make.

Sorry I'm rambling so long! The day I picked them up, I almost hyperventilated--I don't like to be sticky, and I don't want to be stung--why am I doing this? But so far I am loving having bees, and hope I can graduate to keeping them. I'm hooked.
 
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