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Comb Guide for Brood box frames


#1

In assembling my new complete Flow Hive I see there are some strips of wood called “Comb Guides” that are designed to fit into the top slot of the frames that go into the brood box. I use/plan to use plastic foundation in my brood box. Obviously, with this Comb Guide inserted into the slot, my plastic foundation won’t fit. Do I just leave that out…or am I missing something here?

Thanks,
Louise
California


#2

If you have plastic foundation, leave out the comb guides. They are for foundationless comb. You may want to consider putting support bins through the end bars of the frame to hold your foundation in place, especially if you are new to handling frames.


#3

Yes the comb guides are for starting foundationless frames. So you will just leave them off as you said, and install your foundation as normal.


#4

Thanks…no pins needed. It’s my 5th year of BK…but I used to use the
pins when I was using wax foundation. Now I’ve gone to plastic. I had never seen
the set up for foundationless comb before, so that sort of threw me. We
don’t use that much where I’m from.


#5

Its (foundationless beekeeping, that is) a-coming!!! :smile: Glad you don’t need the pins - I use them occasionally in colored plastic (same colors as queen years) to remind me of how old frames are. White this year, right? :wink:

Dawn

California (but further south, only my umpteenth year of beekeeping… lol)


#6

OK. Here in the USA we tend to use frame foundations with wax-covered plastic as a starter so I had no idea about foundationless when I followed the early version of the instructions and glued in a comb guide into the top of each frame. I realized my mistake when I tried to put in the wax-covered plastic foundation but thought it would all work out and tacked the foundations into the frame and started my hive. Since then I have had problems with empty frames on one side of the hive and breached combs on the other. I am not sure what to do now. Start over in mid-spring by replacing the frames with correct foundations of foundationless? If so then do I insert the new frames into the brood box then shake the queen and her workers off to begin anew mid-season? Seems traumatic and I’m worried they will swarm for more hospitable grounds. Or do I tough it out and let what happens happen until next spring then start replacing a few frames at a time? (Shame is all of this could have been avoided if the early version of construction instructions had noted eliminating the comb guide for the option of many in the USA who would be using the plastic/wax foundations. I understand this has since been corrected.) Any suggestions?


#7

Not quite sure what you are talking about. I keep bees in the US, and although I do have some wax-coated plastic foundation, I use mainly wired wax or wax starter strips. What is a “breached comb”?

I don’t think either of those options sounds quite right, but until I understand clearly what your problem is, it is going to be hard to advise. You should be able to do something to improve the situation this year, or even this week, if you have spare equipment. However, every situation is a little different, and until we have a proper diagnosis, we can’t discuss the treatment. :wink:

Willing to help whenever you can give a bit more info. Thank you!


#8

I just read that the frames should be pushed tightly together to eliminate burr combing. True? If so then my problem may be too much space between frames.


#9

Hi;

Thanks for being there! Just sent a photo. If the problem is too much space between frames can I just crush the extra space and let them fix it or do I need to scrape the excess comb and have them start over?

Thanks again! Guy


#10

True. Nice photo. You made your own diagnosis. I guess you are are talking about “bridging comb” - “breached comb” was an autocorrect snafu probably! :wink:

I would remove the worst (don’t crush it, scrape or cut it off with a knife or hive tool) of the bridging comb, then put the frames shoulder-to-shoulder. If you don’t do that, it will never get better because they will use the creative comb as a guide to build more of the same.

My hives seem to have more bridging comb with plastic foundation than wax, especially if the spacing is not right. I think that is because the bees don’t really like plastic, and while they will use it, if there is enough space, they prefer to build their own creative comb with no plastic. I would suggest a follower board like this one at one end of the box to discourage creative comb up against the hive wall, because when you push the frames snug together, you will have a big gap at the side.

I wish you and your bees all the best. Please keep us updated, and ask any more questions if you want to! :slight_smile:


#11

Great! Thanks so much for the guidance. Will stay in touch on this forum.

Best regards. Guy


#12

www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm

Has good info on bee space.