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Last Saurday I installed a package in my first top bar hive. I used 1-1/4" top bars and left a 1/4 x 1/4 in the middle of the top bars for a comb guide. The bees are doing great, taking in about 3/4 qt of 1/1 syrup a day with tons of activity. Heres the problem, seems to be a major problem to me and not sure how to correct. Today I can finally see inside the ball of bees, (I have a glass window on one side that covers up), and they are building the comb length ways! There is no way I will be able to access them with out tearing out part of their comb. I did have half the box blocked with a divider board and thet havent reached toward the front yet with comb, so I can remove bars from the rear and pull the divider board and also pull some from the front in the time being. If I continue to let them build I will never be able to harvest any honey or inspect them properly. I thought about just letting them have it for nature and let them have at it. But it seems a waste not to be able to make any splits or gather any honey from it, I could try to catch swarms from it I guess? I dont know how to properly correct this problem? Has this happened to any of you and does anybody know a solution to correct before it gets really huge? Right now the combs looks to be 4 or 5 so far are about 6 to 8" long. Thanks for any advice. I would of melted wax on the strips before installing but I didnt have any to melt, I have read this helps them to start it straight. Right now they are a complete 90 degrees off...:scratch:
 

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Do you have a beek nearby that will give you 1 or 2 pieces of comb or some foundation? Even 1 frame from a Langstroth hive to cut and fit into the TBH would give them a direction to start. You could take the biggest comb they have and cut it off and reattach it with string or wire or rubber bands. You may even want to turn the hive 90 degrees as well. You could build a frame to put the cut pieces in. You are going to have to intervene sooner or later; I guess it’s up to you.
 

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A suggestion - just don't hold me responsible for the result (unless it is good!):

1. Lift all the bars they have crossed, and turn them through 90 degrees, resting the ends on other bars placed normal way on.

2. Cover any space thus created with extra bars.

3. Turn the whole hive through 90 degrees.

4. Leave for a few days and tell us what they did.
 

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What I did when this exact thing happened to me was, take the bars with the comb clump as a unit rotate so the comb is upside down then carefully remove comb watching for the queen, you can tie the comb to some other top bars or just let them build from scratch, I suggest picking the best brood comb and tie it up. I had to give them only 3 or 4 bars and THEN they decided to build the right way ;)
 
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