Bees building comb on bottom of frames

What to do… Hive inspection tonight and found that in the top brood box the bees have started building comb on the bottom of the frame up. There is a huge clump of new comb right in the middle of the frames. Do we just remove and hopefully they use the starter stips ??. They did start to build correctly on the one frame but the huge clump in the middle is the problem. My wife and I wanted to post before destroying their work and removing it to see if anyone has any ideas… Thank You.

Photos would really help.

In the absence of those, I would say that the sooner you correct it, the better. Personally I would rubber band the “clump” to the tops of the frames you want them to build down from. Even squish them into the starter strips a bit, but try to make a straight line, because you are giving them a cue. :blush:

thanks Dawn, uploaded now… We were thinking of squishing them up there somehow too

Ah, you beat me to the Send button! :blush:

That is beautiful comb, take it off and rubber band it as described above. :smile:

agreed. tomorrow if no rain

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I find it hard to tell what’s going on in the second photo: is that an empty super you have with starter strips and the bees have built the comb at the bottom of the frames- and not along the strips? Is the plan for that to become a brood box or a honey super?

It may be hard to salvage that comb as it isn’t straight- and has unripe nectar in it- and is super soft virgin comb. When you go to cut it up it will be sticky and very fragile- and then I fear if you rubber band it into the frames above it will be wonky- and the bees will build out the whole box wonky. Which you definitely don’t want.

Have you considered using sheets of foundation and wired frames? I think its a good investment - in building up a very nice even set of brood frames. If you want to use starter strips I would at least try to ‘checkerboard’ strip with foundation- so that the natural comb is guided and kept straight by the adjacent foundation.

foundation-less can be great- but I think it requires a bit of skill and experience to avoid running into troubles with irregular combs.

You can still cut out the flattest parts of that comb and rubber band it- but I would strongly recommend that you do checker-boarding- and keep a close eye as the bees build it out- correcting it as it goes- before any small deviation becomes a bigger issue down the road.

I started out all foundation-less- but soon started using foundation and wiring- as I quickly ran into issues. Now I plan to set up most brood boxes with wired foundation- and then to add foundationless frames later on. The bees can draw very good foundationless combs if you place that frame between two frames that are already drawn out well (or beside one frame and the wall of the hive). I also use foundationless in shallow frame honey supers where wonky comb doesn’t matter as much- and the bees build more regularly on shallow frames anyway.

How have they got enough room above the frames to build that much comb? The space above the frames should be a bee space and that looks to be much higher wild comb.


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Agree. Why the big space? There should not be enough room to build comb like that. Is second photo the bottom of frame? Both photos look like the top of frame. If you do use any of that comb be sure to install the correct orientation. There is a up and down on comb.

The first photo Is the bottom box. that small piece of comb was coming up through between the frames of the top brood box. Second photo is taken from the side across the bottom rails with two frames removed. the top rail has the starter strip and they are building across the bottom rails. you can’t lift out several of the middle frames as the comb crosses them. this top box is a second brood box. I have to remove and put it on the starter strip to guilde them I think. I have another hive and have not had a problem with using these frameless frames until now.

I also use starter strips with 1 inch or less wax or wood. Seems to work well. I do checker board them in to prevent cross combing.

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I have a big space above my flow brood box in the form of an empty super. However I placed a vinyl hive mat over the brood frames for warmth. As the population grows, they’ll start building similar comb above the hive mat, which I’ll remove, (mat & burr comb) at the same time as I introduce a couple of more brood frames to help boost the population. They’ll be flanked by frames containing drawn comb. Once that box is half full of bees, I’ll remove that super & frames, then replace it with the flow super & flow frames.

I agree. Checkerboarding is a great way to get a new box filled out. Often the bees see the bottom of the top frames as the next step, but as soon as you put filled frames up there they get the idea post haste.


The other method to consider when using foundationless frames in double deep brood is “nadiring”. Rather than putting the new empty box on top (supering), you put it underneath the established box. The bees are much more likely to follow a straight line down in my limited experience with foundationless. :blush:

we tried it underneath first. it was the I bet for month and they built nothing. we moved it up and this is what we got. it is late to be starting a second brood box but we had to do something to get them building in it. our other hive had the same problem. after putting box on top they began building comb. :thinking:

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