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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We did our first inspection of our TBH today which is two weeks after installing the package. We had noticed over that two weeks that the bees were clustering on one side of and to the back of the hive. When we opened the hive we found just two bars with comb on it and the comb was not straight but rather attached to the bar at an angle which brought it into the next bar. There was also comb in the bottom half of the hive that was not attached to any bars. All the comb contained honey and some pollen. We didn't see any brood nor did we see the queen.

The temps have been in the 50 & 60's during the day and in the 30 & 40's at night.

See below pics.

What should we do to straighten this mess out.

On a good note, the bees were calm and accepting of our intrusion, even without using smoke.

Thanks

Steve & Jeannie


Comb is at an angle

Comb is at an angle

Comb in the bottom of the hive not attached to a bar

Comb in the bottom of the hive not attached to a bar
 

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I had similar trouble with a small swarm, I gave them to much space so they built 90deg opposite the bars, maby if you reduce the space to like 5 bars until they get started? I had to do that and they built exactly were they were supposed to :)
 

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I've never run TB hives, so take this with a grain of salt; I clean up the burr comb, try to straighten out the crooked comb, and selectively cut away any "funky" comb that's on the frame. For example, I checked on my strongest hive today. They are drawing beatiful white comb, some of which looks to be two different layers. I straightened out the twisted stuff, cut the comb that was getting in the way of the next frame over, and left the rest. The fact that there was 2 layers, kinda like 2 slices of bread, hanging from the frame doesn't bother me. I figure the bees know more than I do, so I let them do what they want...within reason. ;)
 

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Also, did you paint the apex of the top bars with beeswax?

Melt down a bit of wax and using a brush or qtip draw a line along the base angle of the top bars to help give the bees some guidance.

The fact you don't see any larvae or the queen may be a bigger issue. I'm just over two weeks in and when I did my two week inspection, definitely had a good bit of larvae. (Not as much as honey, but they were well underway at that point.)
 

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I've got the crooked comb problem too- ran deep grooves in my bars and filled them with beeswax, but alas, the bees built across the bars! I'm not quite sure what to do, I don't want to destroy all their nice work, but I can't take the bars out without destroying their comb. I told my wife that maybe we should just keep them as pets and let them build as they please.
 

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hello well when i started no hives let them build what ever they wanted....its a pain in the bee hind to straigten later like next spring.since i don't feed i leave them alone for the first year.fix their comb second year as far as the wax i had none,tring the wax thing this year installed two packages this year.waiting for nwc queens to make 2 more splits....i have 2 strong hives from last year.lost 1 hive starvation
 

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Welcome to topbar beekeeping :). Keep fixing it by bending it into place; once they're started straight the rest should fall into line much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies --- Here is what we did

A few days ago the temp was 70 so we opened the hive. We moved the feeder and follower board forward in the hive to make a space with 9 bars in it (This TBH holds 24 bars). We then took the two bars with the crooked comb and cut off the crooked parts to make them straight and then moved them forward into the into the front 9 bar space. Then we scooped up the bees and moved them all into the new 9 bar space. Then we cut out the burr comb. Now all the comb and bees are in the front of the hive with a smaller area to work in and straight comb. The bees tolerated this suprising well and seem to be happy in their new space. We examined the comb we took and although we didn't see brood we did see eggs in the cells. So it looks like the queen is laying. It's now been three days since we moved them and they seem to still be doing fine. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed.

As a side note. We're having so much fun with our bees that we built another TBH and today we installed a 3 pound package into it. Now, with two hives, we'll have something to compare to.

Steve & Jeannie
 
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