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Discussion Starter #1
Posting this here mostly for the benefit of others, since I could find no information on this anywhere else.

I built a new hive design last year where the frames slide in from the side instead of dropping down into the top of the box. Don't ask me why -- it's an experiment in progress. I installed two nucs (the design allowed for back-to-back hives): one was weak and never took; the other was bustling and expanding until a structural mishap in the Spring.

The question was the effect of having the cells re-oriented 90 degrees. One beekeeper I talked to kept saying I was an idiot putting them in "upside down" when the difference in angle was basically the few degrees cells usually tilt upward then just becoming zero degrees horizontally (with this slight angle to the side).

Observations:

(1) They couldn't fill the honey cells well because they dripped;
(2) They eventually used the cells however they could;
(3) They preferred new comb oriented properly and stopped using the old comb by the end of Winter.

I haven't decided if I would do it again this way (buying nucs and inserting without orienting them first). I thought about taking out the comb and putting into new frames, or maybe placing the old frames the usual orientation next to the new ones and letting them migrate.

Thoughts and suggestions welcome.
 

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Folks who use the Slovenian AZ hives often turn their frames around 180 degrees I think to get their frames fully drawn out and they seem to work out OK.
Johno
 

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You might want to think about getting your combs initially drawn out with the box tilted at 45 degrees - that way there would still be a downward angle to the cells whether those combs were then installed vertically or horizontally, but the downwards angle in both cases would be half of what it would be normally. Whether that would be sufficient to stop nectar dripping out or not - couldn't say, as I've never tried doing this.
LJ
 

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In general, the liquids in small vessels affected by the surface tension force much greater than by gravity force anyway.
This directly applies to liquids in comb cells (especially in the worker cells).

For example, fill a straw with water.
Plug one end.
Turn the straw upside down and watch how the water will NOT run out (being turned completely upside down).
This is called - surface tension force, folks.
Obviously, works in smaller vessels best (not so good in cooking pots).

So, all the talks about honey running out of the combs I find rather not credible (regardless of the angles).
Show me.
 

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Well - I've just pulled a drone comb which was destined for the melter - filled it's cells with water - and a helluva lot of that water ran out when the comb was inverted. Not all of it - but enough that I wouldn't want to rely on inverted combs. Try it for yourself.

One other thing you need to consider is how a liquid's surface tension alters in the presence of molecules having both polar and non-polar groups - the best example being that of detergents which for-all-intents-and-purposes largely eliminate surface tension. Hence they are commonly used as 'wetting agents'.

The constituents of nectar vary hugely, but are known to contain molecules with both polar and non-polar groupings. Also - the wax cells themselves are hydrophobic: a characteristic which doesn't exactly lend itself to the formation of an attracting meniscus.
Lastly - over millennia, the bees must have figured out that building cells angled downwards affords some advantage - otherwise why build them this way ?

LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Theory aside, here were my observations of what actually happened:

For one or more inspections, there was honey dripping down the frames. Not a LOT, but enough to note. However, later inspections showed them capped, so either they had eventual luck keeping it in or they reworked the comb a bit. I think it's the former since they eventually abandoned the comb when other comb was produced.

I'll see if I can find pics.
 

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Well - ......

Lastly - over millennia, the bees must have figured out that building cells angled downwards affords some advantage - otherwise why build them this way ?

LJ
For sure, an angle upwards is beneficial; no doubt. I don't even argue.
Gravity has still has the pull; yet the tension is totally part of the game (often the largest part).

But also for sure, they totally can work with 0 degree angle.
I know it because I have done it many times (you know the hacks I have been doing).
I never tried negative angle intentionally - no need for me (even though MB says if that works also).

So, for sure they have the preferences and would rather work less hard to get the same result.
Still, I got fully capped frames with zero degree angled cells from the last crop.
I keep few for myself still; for when I run out of honey again (crush and strain honey as I need it).
 

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Theory aside, here were my observations of what actually happened:

they reworked the comb a bit.

.
Don't think so.
They cap just fine; no need to rework.
What they need to do - thicken it.

Just picture - reworking the comb completely is needed to change cell angles.
I mean - completely remove cells down to the mid-rib - then rebuild.
Not going to happen.
Just thicken nectar (if too runny) a little and it will not run out.
 

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Sorry, I meant Ken JP Stuczynski. Just, I can't quite envision how his combs are placed.
 

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Thanks. For some reason I was thinking you had them like a set of drawers. One side of the comb pointing up, one down.
 

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Well Ken you have just built yourself a type of AZ hive, the problems you will find are from propolizing the frames together and make it a little difficult to get the frames in and out of you box. The AZ frames are all the thickness of the top bar and the frames are spaced with sheet metal spacers, there are no protruding ends on the frames and they rest on 3 x 5/16" round bars. So each level can be worked from behindand as the brood chamber is under a queen excluder you can work the brood chamber without having to remove your honey boxes.
Johno
 

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So looking at your pics - these should work fine.
Of course - long-term, bees will build proper combs using the new frames.
But in a short-term, those turned frames will work fine and I would not even worry about few spilled drops of nectar. Insignificant issue.
You will gradually eliminate those.
This is exactly what I have been doing.
 

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Thanks Ken JP,for the pictures.
I had been considering ways to do this, but unsure exacly how to go about it.
GregV, do you mark the frames to be sure you get them back in right end up? ( silly question!...)
I think I see a support bar a few inches back in there.
Umm, what about honey supers ?
Any thoughts on how to do this but keeping the top bars on top?
do you crush many bees sliding the frames in & out?
Thanks ... CE
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You can tell which end is up generally, and in my frames I cut the foundation into a smaller piece glued to one side (the top), which makes it more obvious.

The "support bar" is on bottom and top to give bee space above and below the frames and reduce the amount of propolyzed contact points (in theory anyway, LOL).

It's also part of an intricately detailed design to eliminate crushing bees. Yes, you heard right -- ELIMINATE CRUSHING BEES.

That was one of the main constraints of the design -- everything fits together and the doors move in such a way as it is nearly impossible to harm bees if you are careful. And it seems to work -- I don't think ANY bees have ever been crushed in manipulating the frames or opening and closing the box.


Thanks Ken JP,for the pictures.
I had been considering ways to do this, but unsure exacly how to go about it.
GregV, do you mark the frames to be sure you get them back in right end up? ( silly question!...)
I think I see a support bar a few inches back in there.
Umm, what about honey supers ?
Any thoughts on how to do this but keeping the top bars on top?
do you crush many bees sliding the frames in & out?
Thanks ... CE
 
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