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Sorry - forgot to read back a few posts ...

I installed a small swarm of bees last week into the bottom box with a couple of pieces of old comb leaning against the left wall with honey for the swarm. I expected the bees to move up to the top box and begin building comb, but it looks like they are building comb right next to the old comb pieces.
Of course - because "that's where we live" - that's where the all-important comb is. "Someone's already drawn comb there - so we'll build some more alongside it."

Solution - do nothing - wait until that box is drawn out, and if they haven't already sorted themselves out then pull a couple of combs and use them as 'ladders' up into the box above. They'll be ok.
LJ

Or - another way of proceeding is to wait until they've fixed that old comb to the box wall, so that the box becomes moveable, and then swap boxes over so that the box they are already established in becomes the top box - then they'll start drawing downwards ...
 

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So why is this a problem?
Let them build where they choose.
This is a "small swarm" and they can not be everywhere.
They are simply clinging to where it is more optimal to them.


Right, as LJ stated - it is optimal for them to start where there is existing base vs. starting anew.
If prefer, flip the boxes around (they should be light) and make the occupied box to be the "top".
This is not required, however.
 

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I would have put a comb or two in the top box to encourage the bees to. move up, if I had any comb attached to the bars. Alas, my other hives are top bar hives with longer and bigger bars and I have no white comb to stick to the new bars. I have some old brown comb I could put on a couple of bars to get them started, but I don't really have a good way to attach them. Can you tell me a good way to accomplish this? Would it be too late to do this now?
 

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Does your Warre have frames, or fixed top bars? Do you have any wax that that you can melt from your other top bar hives?
 

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If it’s old brown comb you could trim to appropriate size and use rubber bands to hold it in position. The bees will attach comb to the bar, chew and dispose of the rubber bands. I’ve done a cutout into a top bar hive this way once. That was tedious and slow going. I think firm empty comb would be much easier.
 

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Can you tell me a good way to accomplish this? Would it be too late to do this now?
Use masking (painter's) tape to attach combs to the bars.
Just kind of cradle a comb under the bar so it is hanging on the tape; allign appropriately, of course.
Kind of like this (I don't have an exact picture, but this full frame shows the idea):
20180708_144619.jpg
Bees will remove those tapes on their own.
I do it all the time.
 

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If it’s old brown comb you could trim to appropriate size and use rubber bands to hold it in position. .
Keep in mind - the rubber bands work OK with full frames.
With only top bars (the case here, per the descriptions) - not so much.
 

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I don't have any sturdy, empty comb at this point as I have harvested the nice comb for wax. I'll look for some big rubber bands or try to melt some wax to attach the old comb. Thanks.
 

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I don't have any sturdy, empty comb at this point as I have harvested the nice comb for wax. I'll look for some big rubber bands or try to melt some wax to attach the old comb. Thanks.
 

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If it’s old brown comb you could trim to appropriate size and use rubber bands to hold it in position. .
Keep in mind - the rubber bands work OK with full frames.
With only top bars (the case here, per the descriptions) - not so much.
Fully read post. I’ve done some for TOP BARS using sturdy comb. Not some as in two or three frames, but some as in 2-3 cutouts.
 

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I would have put a comb or two in the top box to encourage the bees to. move up, if I had any comb attached to the bars. Alas, my other hives are top bar hives with longer and bigger bars and I have no white comb to stick to the new bars. I have some old brown comb I could put on a couple of bars to get them started, but I don't really have a good way to attach them. Can you tell me a good way to accomplish this? Would it be too late to do this now?
To be perfectly honest - if this was my situation to deal with, I'd leave that box 'as is' to consolidate and, as some of the combs within it are no doubt going to be in something of a mess (being drawn alongside loose comb) - personally I'd prefer it up there on the top of the stack, so that when the time eventually comes to remove some honey (perhaps later this year, or if not then sometime next year) those combs can then be dealt with by 'crush and strain'.

I know it's hard leaving something alone which is not quite as you'd like it to be, but the bees won't come to any harm with wonky comb, and with that box on top - as soon as conditions require it - the bees will start building down into lower boxes, and so this minor hiccup will then be over. :)
LJ
 

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Fully read post. I’ve done some for TOP BARS using sturdy comb. Not some as in two or three frames, but some as in 2-3 cutouts.
Could have used painter's tape, just the same.
Try next time.
 

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I thought I had replied to this. Sorry! Well, Warré suggested leaving the bees to themselves for the most part, so, in general, that's what I like to do. If I understand your post correctly, you are suggesting that I leave the bees to themselves until they have mostly built new combs and, hopefully, attached the loose old comb and then move the bottom box to the top, hoping that the loose comb comes with it. I don't want to tear new comb, so I'd have to make sure the loose comb isn't stuck to the bottom when I move it. That way, they can continue to build in the top and then move down when they are ready, using the honeycomb at the top for insulation and sleeping bags. Thanks. I like the idea of leaving well enough alone for a while. They need time to catch up.
 

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so I'd have to make sure the loose comb isn't stuck to the bottom when I move it. .
You simply cut off any combs attached to the bottom - using a wire, for example.
That's is the beauty of true Warre - move the box and done with it (whatever is inside the box).
You should not be concerned about the between the box attachments - just cut them (very similar to the box-management techniques used in Japan by Apis Cerana keepers).
 

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GregV, I must have seen the same video you saw with the wire pulled through between the boxes. A friend attached some metal to keep the boxes from sliding, thereby eliminating the use of the wire to cut the boxes apart. I put four toggles on the bottom of each box so that I can keep them from sliding, but then I can turn them sideways when I want to cut the boxes apart. Cutting the combs at the bottom will be a little interesting because of the wire underneath, but it should work ok. I won't worry about the mess! Thanks!
 

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GregV, I must have seen the same video you saw with the wire pulled through between the boxes. A friend attached some metal to keep the boxes from sliding, thereby eliminating the use of the wire to cut the boxes apart. I put four toggles on the bottom of each box so that I can keep them from sliding, but then I can turn them sideways when I want to cut the boxes apart. Cutting the combs at the bottom will be a little interesting because of the wire underneath, but it should work ok. I won't worry about the mess! Thanks!
Personally, I would not even bother with the wire (right, that video).
I always carry with me a serrated bread knife and that is my go-to tool for such jobs.

You can just insert a long knife or bread knife between the boxes and cut it that way.
Being careful, collateral damage should be minimal.
Bees will cleanup the mess - not an issue at all.
 

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I'm not sure I would trust myself with a long knife! Wire seems safer and takes up less room in my tool box:)
 

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Since my question about the loose comb and what to do, I see two lines of comb attached to the glass, so they are coming along and my Linden is about to bloom (Yay!). i've given it some water, so I hope that the flow is better than it would be otherwise (not much rain lately). My question at this point is how many combs does it take for a hive to get through the winter in Colorado? Any idea? I would guess that they'll need at least 15 if not 20.
 

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You need about 75 lbs. A full Warre box is about 35 lbs, so you should plan on wintering on at least three boxes including brood. Weigh the boxes if you can and subtract the weight of the box.
 
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