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Update on foundationless hives: good news

4060 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Sam-Smith
Well, after the trauma of cutting out wild comb while it was still fresh and fragile, and causing some destruction almost two weeks ago, I'm pleased to report that the bees have mended the damage and have begun to build their comb in the right direction. It's absolutely wondrous to watch foundationless hives be built up out of thin air. In spite of the rocky start, I can't imagine wanting to run hives in any other way! I posted a couple hive-inspection photos on my blog, together with the whole story.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you folks for the encouragement.

Sam, I know, elastics would have been better. I just didn't have any and I don't live anywhere near any stores. I also agree that smoking the hive is preferable to killing bees; I caused damage to hive structure and larvae when I opened the hive box up for the first time, but wasn't aware of losing any adult bees. The second, more successful hive inspection didn't result in too many upset bees. I only caught one passing whiff of the banana-type alarm scent.

alpha6, I appreciate your input. I'm trying hard to understand the physical basis for the use of smoke. Pheromones and the way they drive the whole social engine of the hive really fascinate me. I'm just starting to learn about how they work.

A study published in the Journal of Insect Behavior in 1995 found that "smoke causes antennae to be 50 percent less sensitive to both alarm pheromones. " A publication of the U of Florida Dept of Entomology, discussing the above study, goes on to ask: "Now we know that smoke can interfere with the releaser alarm pheromone, albeit only temporarily. What might it do to the more long-term, and perhaps more significant, primer pheromone communication that takes place within a honey bee colony? "
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