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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I realized I made a total noob mistake.

Over a month ago I added my second honey super. Before I did I read a bunch of threads on whether I should add the new empty super to the top of the hive or below the first honey super.

Well not to be outdone I had the bright idea of mixing almost fully drawn frames with new empty frames (the empties have a wax foundation). Basically I moved all the frames around so that the supers would have an equal amount of new frames and honey comb filled frames.

Today I discovered why this is not typically done..... I just inspected my hive and I see that the bees have built the comb from the fully drawn frames into the spaces of the new empty frames. I can barely extract the frames without tearing up the honey comb and making a mess. What should I do! HELP!!!! AAAAAaaaa!!!!

I hope I making sense here....
 

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You now have a mess and that is why I always advise against mixing drawn comb and foundation. If you are lucky the mess is not full of brood and you can basically cut off the extrememly deep layers of honey on the drawn comb and crush and strain out your honey crop. If you have brood spudded in, you will have to decide how much of it you can cut out and rubber band or fishing line wrap into empty frames. You can also smoke the queen and bees down out of the mess and place aq queen excluder under it and wait 21 days. Then see what you can salvage.
 

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Nutlub. Just do a bit of rearranging. Take the top honey super off the hive. Then pull the skinny frames out of it, replace them with the fat frames from the other box, and put the skinny frames from the top box into the other box. So, you have all, or mostly, skinny frames all against each other in the lower honey box, and then put the other honey box on top, containing all the fat frames. You may have to remove a frame or two completely so the frames can be spread apart a bit in the box with the fat frames. No worries, you'll find them easier to uncap & extract when the time comes.

Me, I only run 8 frames in my 10 frame supers, so the bees will build them fat & extraction is less work.
 

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Everyone who has done this raise your hand. I feel there's a lot of hands in the air.

Generally brood is not drawn out that deep and your frames are probably honey. I used a sharp fillet knife and just sliced it off into a bowl. Put it in the hive together and the foundation together. The bees will recap the honey.

Mash what's in the bowl with a potato masher and strain it thru a window screen or just eat as is.
Woody Roberts
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Phew! I feel much better!!! You guys are the best.
Its all honey, no brood, so I guess its not too terrible....just messy.


Thanks for the quick replies!
:D Nutlub
 

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It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen, I guess sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.
 

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Flip the box upside down and take the box off the frames instead of removing frames individually. You won't make a mess that way.
 

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I mix foundation and comb all the time. Usually I give the boxes two frames of foundation making a 9 frame box. Any frames on either side of the foundation must be tight to the comb, the rest I space out accordingly. Rairely do I have drawing problems
 

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I was with someone that will remain nameless a couple years ago who put a box of empty frames on top with the intention of going foundationless in that super. It loooked like modern art or something It was crazy beyond all belief and there was no salvaging that box other than crush and strain.
 

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I like to put a frame or two of drawn comb in a new box of foundation when adding honey supers, but I don't recommend "checkerboarding" those frames -- the bees always draw out the started frames wider than normal and leave you with skinny frames of new comb that are a pain to uncap and it's hard to get them out without making a mess.

I would handle them as suggested -- put all the fat ones in one box if you can, and all the skinnys in another and put them back on. Feel free to trim down the fat ones and collect the honey if they are really bad, and next time don't intermix them!

This particular habit of bees causes trouble elsewhere too -- I tried leaving a couple of foundationless frames per box so they would make some nice drone comb and not put it all over in the brood nest, and put them on too late. On the spring flow they will draw foundationless very nicely and fill the frame, but later on tend to leave it incomplete. In one box, they then proceeded to draw out the comb on the adjacent frames to fill the space where there was no comb, resulting in quite a mess. I had to pull those fat frames and extract them to clean things up, and so far they have STILL not drawn those foundationless frames out very well. Maybe next year, I'll put them in an active brood box early on,

Drawn comb is much nicer in honey supers -- the bees fill it much faster and while they like to draw it fat, if all of them have at least some comb on them, they don't draw one frame out super fat an the next thin. Since they tend to draw adjacent faces of comb at the same time, plain foundation gets drawn fairly evenly, although at the end of the flow they tend to cap in off rather thin rather than full width. A pain to uncap, but next year they will make it full sized.

And, as noted, you can take advantage of that wide comb habit and only put 8 or 9 drawn combs in a honey super. The bees make the comb nice and fat, so it's very easy to uncap -- no areas lower than the frames -- and put at least as much honey in a box a with 10 frames.

Peter
 

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>Flip the box upside down and take the box off the frames instead of removing frames individually.

That is the solution to the current problem.
If you follow that "solution", you have an open hive and box of frames tipped out. What's the rest of the solution?
 

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You could cut out the comb one frame at a time and crush and strain the honey. If it isn't fully drawn and full of honey you could just cut the comb in between the frames, but it may be possible that some of the comb is salvageable. If the comb is quasi salvageable you could cut around the edge of the frames and pull them off and then find pieces that are worthy of salvage and rubber band them back in. I had a mini-mating nuc do something like this a couple weeks ago. I corrected the comb and they fixed it. They pulled the rest of the frames straight.
 

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>If you follow that "solution", you have an open hive and box of frames tipped out. What's the rest of the solution?

The problem is the fat combs cannot be removed nor can the empty frames between. Once you remove the box, you can now do whatever you like with them without mashing combs and honey running down in the hive. Harvest them. Remove the empties and put them back. Whatever flips your trigger or fits the current situation.
 

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We have checkerboard thousands of such boxes through the years. We usually put them under a box of fully drawn comb as well. I guess I like to spread the work of drawing foundation to a lot of hives. The "fat frame/skinny frame" issue isn't really much of a problem unless you have a weak flow and/or a weak hive. I never put foundation on a weaker hive. However we are using a de-boxer so the frames come out as a unit. Occasionally some "skinnier" frames will come through that need to be hand scratched but it is rarely much of a problem.
 

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I am quietly jumping up and down screaming NO! Spreading out foundation invariably results in a terrible mess. It is all about bee space. Packing the frames as tight together as possible provides a planned space that is most likely to result in evenly drawn frames.

AFTER the frames are partially drawn, pull one or two frames and spread them out for wider filled extracting combs. If they are already capped, the bees tend to build another layer of short cells to get back to bee space. plan on putting up with having to scratch a lot of short cells the first time they are extracted. After the frames are drawn, I usually only run 8 in supers.
 

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They will also cap the frames fairly shallow if not drawn on a strong flow, which is a pain to uncap as the cappings are below the edge of the frame. Next year they will draw them out full depth, or more if you space the frames out some.

I don't know if they will uncap a capped frame and expand it into the space under the adjacent foundation, but they will certainly expand a drawn but uncapped frame out much too wide. A frame of capped honey in a box of foundation can get them working it sooner, but otherwise put all foundation in a box. Usually get better results if you put that box under drawn and capped boxes, but I've been putting mine on top, too much work to unstack six heavy boxes to get down to the bottom!

Peter
 

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What he said:
They will also cap the frames fairly shallow if not drawn on a strong flow, which is a pain to uncap as the cappings are below the edge of the frame. Next year they will draw them out full depth, or more if you space the frames out some.

I don't know if they will uncap a capped frame and expand it into the space under the adjacent foundation, but they will certainly expand a drawn but uncapped frame out much too wide. A frame of capped honey in a box of foundation can get them working it sooner, but otherwise put all foundation in a box. Usually get better results if you put that box under drawn and capped boxes, but I've been putting mine on top, too much work to unstack six heavy boxes to get down to the bottom!

Peter
 
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