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This is only my second season keeping bees. Last year I built a top bar hive and made a few rookie mistakes. I started too big and the bees couldn't keep up with the hive beetles. I lost the hive. This year I made some corrections to my design. I cleaned out all the old comb, tightened up some gaps and burned out the SHB lava. I did not make any changes to the bars, in size or shape, because last years bees built out comb beautifully.

But I have a new issue this year that I don't know how to correct. The bees have built new comb diagonally across the bars making it impossible to remove the bars without destroying all their hard work. Has anyone had this experience? How do I correct it?
 

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Welcome to Beesource!

As far as the diagonal comb, if you want to correct it, really you will need to break/cut the comb from the bars and position and hold/fix the individual comb(s) to a bar. Once the comb is held in the correct position the bees can build their own comb connections. One way to do this is to use chicken wire 'hung from' (or wrapped around) a spare bar, forming a wire loop that will support the comb. Then do the next one similarly -- until you have them all done. Messy, and not much fun, but its either that or just leave as is.

Here is an older thread with a similar situation:

There are alternatives to chicken wire, some have used cable ties, others pieces of stiff fence wire bent into a "C" shape.


If the bars that are in your hive were not built with a "comb guide" as part of the bar, you may wish to look into that for any bars that don't have comb yet. Here a thread with more on that:
 

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if you can remove all the cross combed bars at once and get it turned on it's head, you can slice off the cross comb and reattach it to your bars with masking tape slings (or other various items). This works best when you can make a straight cut across the top, and when you don't have the wedge bars. My comb guide is a rectangle piece so I just push the comb up against it and do the painter's tape sling. Works best when it is not honey comb, for those, I just cut them and let the bees repurpose the honey. They don't use that comb for brood.

And to avoid cross combing in the first place, reduce the size of the hive area when you first install the swarm or package to only about 12 bars. I also add my additional brood bars between drawn straight comb so I get more straight comb. If I leave a bunch of bars at the end of the brood area, I always get cross comb.
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The bees have built new comb diagonally across the bars making it impossible to remove the bars without destroying all their hard work. Has anyone had this experience? How do I correct it?
Depends.
How strong is the cross-bar angle?
If it is 45%, of course, there is not way without cutting.
If it is 15% you might be able to only partially cut and bend/attach the combs onto the proper bats (not likely though, but a possible option to be aware of).

I'd go with the painter's tape option from Ruth.
 
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