Bees comb off frame into "ball"

I have started a new bee hive this spring and am 1 month into the process. Today I checked on the hive to see how it was doing and planned on adding a medium to serve as extra storage for the bees during winter. When I opened the hive I found the bees had not drawn out the comb of the open frames from the wooden start. Instead there was several balls and uneven “waves” of comb attached to several frames together. The good news is that I was still able to identify capped brood cells, so I have a laying queen. Still I am unsure how to fix and organize these girls so that I can inspect easily. I was able to separate 3 frames from 4 frames and place a nee frame with plastic foundation in between. I hope this will help them organize some. The hive is so new and just producing new bees so I am reluctant to do more right now. Any advice? Thanks.

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Hi Kevin, and welcome to the forum. It sounds like you made a good start in correcting that mess, and the only thing I’d say is to not separate brood frames in such a new colony. The plastic foundation represents a big barrier between the ones with brood, if I understand your description. Go ahead and move it out to one side, push the brood frames back together - and if you have more, put foundation in the remaining frames. Large open spaces leave too much room for interpretation, even with those handy comb guides as you discovered :rofl:. In general, when getting a brood box started, you can put an empty frame between two frames with drawn comb, preferably on the outer edges rather than inside the middle where the brood is.


Thanks for your advice. My idea on placing a plastic foundation frame in the center was I am hoping the ladies will draw that one out and lay brood on it since they typically start from the center out. Once I have 1 frame with brood I will feel more comfortable to break the 3 comb mess on one side and save what brood I can on 2 of these and replacing the center one with a plastic foundation frame. Once that side is drawn out and laying brood, I will go back into the 4 frame cluster and save what I can with that side. I just dont want to damage more brood than needed, but want a fairly organized frame. I am also wondering if the ladies will start to draw out the medium with plastic foundation frames and if they will use it for brood or as a honey bridge. At this point I am fine with either. I just want some capped brood on a “normal” frame.