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Discussion Starter #1
This was my father's top bar hive. I don't know how long it had been since it had been opened. The back end of the hive, wood was rotten and open. As we pried the top bars off (with roaches scurrying everywhere) we quickly found that the comb was not aligned across with the bars. So we ended up cutting the comb off at the top, and this is what we came up with.



In the bottom left was a rodent nest.

We treated it as a cutout and transferred the comb to a new topbar hive, cutting the comb into pieces, so it would fit.

Despite all the chaos, it was actually a pretty strong hive.
 

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Looks like they never got started off in the right direction.

Was there collapsed comb in the bottom, like they had started out right and maybe died out at some point, the comb becoming overheated and falling to the bottom and a swarm moving in??

just a thought

G3
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Time for frames and a cut out. This is the downside of no foundation and no frames. Once they are off, every comb after that is off. With foundation they may get off, but at least they start on a "clean slate" on the next comb...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I gave this hive to a friend. So he has it in his new (and first) top bar hive, but he was so dismayed with what I saw here, that he no longer wants to deal with a TBH, and is trying to convert this hive into Langstroth. Kind of a shame.

I told him that a well-maintained TBH can be really cool. And easy to manage.
 

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Had the same thing happen! They started out OK and then started and continued building side ways. Starved this past winter, too bad, but gave me needed comb for long Langs I built out of it.:D
 

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I have made frames for my tbh to use in cutouts, they work with my standard triangle tb's and can be removed after the comb is tied to the tb itself, would work really well for straightening out comb like this and could be used for individual combs when needed.
 

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I had this problem with a TBH I set up for a friend, because I took some bad advice about the queen cage and the girls worked around the queen cage, building their comb off angles on the bars. I was just going to deal with it, but it meant you had to lift ALL the bars at once to get into the hive, and my friend and I had an opportune disaster that led to a solution.

We were putting the big crooked mess back into the hive, miscommunicated, and dropped the whole dang wad of crazy into the hive box. Combs broke, bees were pissed off, everything looked like a complete apocalypse, but we sat for a while, then took an unused top bar, a needle, some upholstery thread, and a sharp knife, and fixed it.

I set up a little frame to hold the top bar, took a large piece of comb, trimmed off the ends to make it fit in the hive (lots of larvae gore in this part, alas), then used the needle and thick thread to essentially sew the comb onto the top bar in about six loops per bar. The whole thing looked shaky as hell, just hanging there, but we went through comb after comb, down to trimming up the broken pieces and stitching them on, then put them back into place and left the whole thing alone for a couple weeks.

When we went back to check, all the threads were loose, which turned out to be because the girls had reattached each comb with fresh new wax, then snipped off the threads and dumped them outside the hive. Diagonal problem solved, stupid beekeeper problem solved, and they just cleaned up the mess, built onto the comb, and built every other comb perfectly in line after that.

Amazing, sometimes, what our bees can cope with.
 

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My top bar hive was built to attract feral bees out of my birdhouse. They built perfectly straight comb with nothing but a guide of beeswax on each bar. I don't understand why wayward comb equates to feral bees. What am I missing?
 
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