Just checked the hives of 2 swarms I caught and put in 10 frame hives about 6 weeks ago or more. I notice they are building comb between the frames and when I separate the frames it destroys the brood or honey comb. The frames were pushed tight together with only gaps between the last frames and the sidewalls. Any suggestion on a fix? I am using plastic wax covered foundation.
Hmmm…maybe its bridging comb but it goes most of the height of the frames . Its as if they built comb accessible from both sides on one side of the foundation and partially connected to the adjacent frame. Like a double layer of comb. The problem is when I pull out a frame it ruins the comb-brood and honey. Ill try to get pictures. Does this forum allow me to upload videos?
Hi Kevin, sounds like you have both bridge and cross comb going on. It’s a horrible job, but separating and trimming back the combs that connect from one frame to the next is a necessary evil. I just had to do this with a very young & small colony yesterday - thankfully it was only two frames that were connected that way.
If a lot of frames are like that in your hive, here’s what I suggest:
Get a bread knife, a bucket, and fire up your smoker.
Pop a piece of mint gum to help you concentrate & relax.
Make SURE your suit etc has zero holes or gaps, down to the soles of your boots.
Get an extra brood box and rest it on top of an overturned regular outer cover if you have one. Use blocks or wood sections as a resting surface for the extra box if you only have a peaked Flow roof that doesn’t sit flat when overturned.
Smoke gently but consistently down into an end frame to disperse the bees, and very slowly and carefully use the knife to slice through the connected comb until you can safely lift it out of the box. This will be messy but also least destructive bc end frames are usually filled mainly with nectar/honey, and the queen will typically be towards the center.
Do the same with the next frame, and also remove it once you’re sure the queen is not on it to give yourself more space to work on the brood area. No need to shake bees off of it, they will fly off if foragers and stay on if nurse bees, making less disruption. You will have to take out some comb panels that stick out. Shake bees off of them and put them in the bucket.
As you smoke and slowly cut the brood frames apart, leave them in the hive and just move them to the side to save time looking for the queen and still avoid the risk of dropping her outside the box. The more frames you can remove, the more room you’ll have to put your hand down in between remaining frames to grab the cut sections that need to come out.
Hope that helps. Good luck!! Let us know how it works out
Yes for photos, no for videos. For photos, there is a little upload symbol in the window you use to type messages. It is a horizontal bar with a tiny arrow pointing upwards above it. Click or tap on it, and navigate to the photo you want to upload.
For videos, you need to upload it to YouTube, make sure it is public, then use the share link button on Youtube to copy the URL. You can then post the link here by pasting it into a message, and we can all watch your work of art!
Thank you! I can see the value of a long kitchen knife for this process. So what keeps the bees from just reattaching the cut cross comb (assuming thats the correct term for the comb built between the frames rather than on top).
They can and will, if you leave them for long enough. However if you inspect every week or two, lifting the frames seems to break enough of the comb (especially if you tidy up with a hive tool) to deter them for a while. The price of neat comb in a hive is eternal vigilance!