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A long backstory for perhaps a simple question:

My hives are made up of all medium boxes, so I started out with new packages using two boxes. When I first installed my package in late April, I left three frames out of the the upper box so that I could keep the feeder that came with the package, and future bag feeders, in there while they established themselves. Within a week the bees had started building wild comb in the gap, attached to the bottom side of the inner cover. They built them neatly in three rows, emulating the frames, which I thought was cool so I let them go on after I removed the feeders. The comb continued to grow, so when I added another medium honey super I moved things around to accommodate it, and at one point one of the wild combs got to be two frames deep. Up until today, I was able to lift the inner cover out with the wild comb and hang it between two buckets so as not to disturb it when I was inspecting the hive. But, it looks like during the last few weeks either the wild comb got too heavy with honey and/or they fused it to some other part of the hive, because the largest of the combs broke when I lifted the inner cover off today. I set it back down and left the hive alone hoping not too much honey would escape and that they would repair it. But at this point I don't think I can get in to any of the supers, except for maybe the very bottom one, without demolishing the wild comb and making a huge mess. For added context, I live in the Seattle area, and I'd say we just recently hit the peak nectar season as the masses of blackberry bramble have been flowering for the past few weeks.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to handle? Do I need to take my lumps, remove the wild comb, and deal with the resulting mess/losses? Are there preferred methods for removing wild comb? Should I abandon all hope of extracting honey from that hive, stop inspecting it, and let it be solely the dominion of the bees??

Thanks in advance for your advice,

jared
 

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Jared - the frame feeders that I have are made to only take up one frame space. If you have similar that was your first mistake. You should have put in the other 2 frames. You might also consider going to top feeders that sit over the hole in the inner cover. I prefer them myself and no longer use the frame feeders.

What to do with your wonky comb? You could consider cutting them in half and then holding them in place in foundation-less frames with rubber bands or wire. That would let you save the comb. If there is honey in them it might be a bit messy but the bees should clean it up. It might be worth it to save the combs. The bees expend a lot of energy making comb.

You should update your profile with your location. It helps people to respond if they know your local conditions. Good luck!

Jon
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I would do as jonsl suggested. It is essentially a cut out. You carefully remove the comb and cut it to fit inside empty frames using rubber bands to secure it in place. You have now discovered why beekeepers are quick to cut away burr comb and why forgetting to put all the frames in a hive is a huge mistake. All part of the learning process. I was making splits today and found some medium frames in a deep box. Bees had drawn the comb all they way down and attached it to the top bars of of the frames in the bottom box. Of course it broke when I lifted the frame out. Oops.
 

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Before you try to rubber band the comb,take a number of frames and lay them flat on your work bench.Zig zag kite string from top to bottom with staples on one side of the frame.
This will give you a "net" to lay the comb on and support it while you rubber band it.
Make sure to keep comb oriented the same as in the hive.
 
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