In early June I installed two Italian colonies the same day from the same supplier, in to two identical hives, just 2 feet apart.
But while one colony is building comb that looks finely machine-tool straight, the other colony is running comb crosswise at seeming random patterns. The straight-as-an-arrow colony is building a bit slower than their curving-comb-builder sisters next door.
I carefully tried to exactly duplicate every aspect of the two home-made hives, just to be able to compare.
The 10 deep frames in each hive are foundationless. Although each hive is overall a top bar configuration, the dimensions within inside the false-back are exactly the same as a single Langstroth deep body. For the frames, I added a strip of wood to the underside of the topbar, with a triangular cross-section (that is to guide the comb in a straight line, parallel to the top bar).
I tried a couple weeks ago to remove some of the cross-comb but wound up killing a few hundred larvae. There is so much cross-comb that curves to adjacent frames that I would have to destroy much of the comb just to pull out frames to do inspections.
I have decided to just let the speedy bees go and not remove frames for inspection. But I will harvest honey from the (equivalent of) the third deep, assuming they get that far.
This is very curious. What would you do or suggest I do? Thank you.
-Lee in Black Hills, SD