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Brood comb is spanning across three frames


#1

I’ve had my bees in the their new hive for 7 days now and I was eager to see how they were doing in the brood box so I had an inspection and found that the brood comb was spanning across 3 frames.
Does anyone have any ideas why this may have happened and how I may go about correcting this issue before the bees get to established as I can imagine its going to make it difficult to inspect the frames down the track.

Thanks


#2

Do you have any photos Nathan? Is there brood in the comb or is this just burr comb that the bees have linked between the frames? Any burr comb I just remove with the hive tool, there is generally no harm in doing this, sometimes there may be nectar of drone brood in the burr comb.


#3

Hi Rodderick, I have a photo, I’m not sure if it’s clear enough.


#4

oh OK, I see your problem, there is too much space between the frames. Also, are you using foundation wax for the bees to build comb off or are your frames foundationless? The frames should be butted up against each other tight. You should pull each frame out ASAP and with a clean knife shave the comb back to the width of the top bar. A few millimetres each side is fine. Then push your frames hard up against each other. This will fix it. See my photo below, its the best I could do, ignore the gap as I was requeening the other day, but take note of the rest of the frames they are all together tight.


#5

It appears that your using foundationless frames. If you want to go foundationless, I’d recommend starting off with 3 or 4 frames with foundation, then put the empty frames hard up against those. The foundation frames will guide the bees to build the comb in the manner you want. PS, if you do use foundation frames, make sure you embed the wire in properly. I recently uploaded a video on Youtube, the title is “wax foundation fail”. It shows what happens if you don’t embed the wire in properly.


#6

Understanding Bee space is pretty important. Here is an interesting article talking about it.


#7

Use plastic or wax foundation in the brood nest. Then, when they are established (next year) start swapping out some of the old brood combs with foundationless, if foundationless is your hearts desire. All the Flow frames are plastic anyway so I don’t see how it will hurt the bees anymore to have plastic in the brood nest.


#8

If you can’t get frames out because of cross combing, flip the box upside down and remove the box then you can get to the frames. Cut the combs out and rubber band into frames, unless they are full of honey. Then harvest those honey combs.


#9

I have a similar issue as we wind down into Autumn (Tamworth, Australia). I did an inspection the other day and found that two of the outer (foundationless) frames have parts that ‘bulge’ toward another frame, and in one place the bees have joined the comb on the two frames together. It looked like a few drone cells together in one corner reduced the bee space between that frame and the next, which was being laid down, and so the bees maintained the space and built the comb with a bulge in it. The bulge was then maintained in the next (and outside) frame, which is only about 15% built.

Given that the weather is turning colder (13-27C today; 55-80F), should I leave them to it now? Or, as suggested above, try and shave back the bulging comb? Should I get rid of the small bit of wonky comb on the last frame and have them start again after try to correct the frame causing the problem?


#10

I definitely wouldn’t “leave them to it” - it is likely to get worse with time. If the drone comb is causing the distortion, I would cut that section out and discard it. Then I would try to straighten the rest, holding it in place with rubber bands if it was detached around the frame edge.