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Comb inside the roof peak

Hello, some time ago when the temps were running >90 degrees for days at a time with high humidity, we cracked the roof for better ventilation. Today we removed the roof, and of course, they had built comb, and it was full of honey! :flushed:
The Flow Hive frames are not all capped. Therefore we were waiting a couple weeks to harvest. Does this mean we are over crowded?
We have only had bees since June this year. Help please?

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A few picks would be a help to give better assessment of what is happening. I don’t like to see comb built in the roof. Have you removed the Flow Frames to check if any of the frames are at least 80% capped? If so you can drain those frames. If the hive is over populated you will see bearding from late afternoon into the night, are you seeing that? An exposed hive to all day sunshine can soak up a lot of heat so even if the hive is not bursting with bees some will beard outside to help reduce the internal heat to the desired 34C (87F) which is ideal for the cluster.
Cheers

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Here are a couple pics from the peak of the roof. Yes, they are bearding in the afternoon into the evening. Seems they are always on the outside of the hive, covering the front, sometimes a small beard, sometimes larger.
image image

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Mesh over the hole in the inner cover, having freeform burr comb like that in the lid is a nightmare to manage and just makes a mess.

How many boxes are you running on your hive at present?

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This is burr comb? Full of honey?
How do I remove it? If we extract from the Flow Frames, will they fill them and not rebuild the burr comb?
Here’s a picture of our setup

It’s easy to remove the comb. Shake the bees into the hive and cut the comb from the roof with a hive tool. Same with the comb on the inner cover. Take the comb inside and if it’s full of honey you can spread it on toast as normal, the wax won’t make much difference. Store it in a tupperware container, or crush it and let the honey flow into a container through some fabric over the next few days.

There are people who generate comb like this in frames designed to be cut into squares and packaged for sale.

Cover the hole in the inner cover with insect mesh so it ventilates but stops the bees getting up in there.

Burr comb is any place where the bees build it away from the frames. Sometimes it bridges two frames, or from frame to side. If you see it just cut it away. The only reason they built it up there is because there was entry. They will build it anywhere they can find a spot that has room. The frames are made so they match the distance between them that the bees find comfortable. They like to be packed in with only just room to move back to back against each other as they work adjoining frames. If the space is bigger they will build in it.

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Is that a single deep with a flow super on top? Eight frames?

The advice I can offer is limited by my knowledge of beekeeping in North America, but I think you need to have at least two deeps for overwintering and you have to be on top of mites too.

This may be useful:

https://hudsonvillehoney.com/2019/12/20/wintering-bees-in-michigan-revisited/

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Thanks for the pics ree, Use your hive tool to scrape off all the burr comb into a bowl and you can then drain the honey from the burr comb. Put some fly screen mesh over the hole in the inner cover with duct tape so the bees can’t access that area and build more comb. Remove the Flow Frames and any that are at least 80% capped on both sides can be drained and the bees will work on cleaning up the Flow Frames, resealing the cells and begin storing honey in them again. I’m not seeing a QX in your picks so if one is not fitted I advice using them to keep brood from being laid in the supers.
Cheers

Do you have a double deep brood set up?

From your picture, looks like you have double deeps and no flow super.

In your initial post you said that the flow frames are not all capped but do you really mean that your deep foundation less frames from Flow aren’t capped?

There might be some terminology confusion.

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This may be a silly question, In Perth would you block the inner cover during winter and then unblock during summer to allow air to flow through. Also is is standard practice to put a piece of fly screen mess over the hole, it makes a lot of sense.

Steve

I’m sure someone in Perth will comment re venting as that depends on local conditions.

I have standard migratory lids with vents and also some insulated and non vented lids which I use as required to control high levels of moisture etc.

I would mesh over the hole as uncontrolled comb usually just creates a mess during inspections. The Flow people seem to recommend the opposite.

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Thanks Stevo, It looks like the way to go and it is easy to install and remove when required.

Steve

Hive ventilation is a highly charged topic in beekeeping circles. It is also a very complex and fascinating subject.

You really need to keep moisture under control, while keeping bees warm.

This from the ABK may help you decide what to do.

1469753658007

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Hey everyone, first post. Also in Perth.
I dont’t have any bees yet, but was give a new hive as a present which I think is a rip off flow hive. It has a stainlessteel mesh top lid and the roof has 2 holes in the front and back. Am I better to use a solid wood top with a hole like the flow hives?

Thanks for that, a bit more study on this subject will be required.

Steve

Hiya Ozarrian,
I made the mistake of buying a fake Flow hive and had nothing but troubles with it as my Bees didn’t like the frames, they were all over them but never laid a drop of honey in them.
You will need to get a proper base board and also a proper cover as the wired top board will allow to much air flow in Winter, it’s also supposed to be the bottom board and a plain board with slightly raised sides with a hole in the middle as the upper board and then the Roof goes onto that.
If you look at a proper hive setup you will see what I mean as they leave a few things out on the fake hive setup.
You may also have fun trying to put the Hive together as mine had very poorly made joins and I had to chisel them out properly.

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I blocked mine in SE Qld, not because it had to but I felt that if I am wearing a jumper then the Bees may also be cold and so I made a restrictor with two doors on a swivel so I could open and close as much as I felt it needed, the Bees told me that the swivel was not needed as they almost gnawed the one on the left to nothing :slight_smile:.
It was soft pine but I didn’t think that the Bees would get rid of it if they didn’t like it ?
I kept the right hand door closed for most of the Winter and only opened it two weeks ago as the weather was getting warmer during the day.
I am now taking the restrictor off during the day as there is a huge flow on at present and they are far to many and to busy to block as it’s a huge traffic jam with the restrictor on.
What you can do is use the thermometer into the top of the hive and see what temperature it is in Winter, if it’s colder than 34C then block it and if it’s 34C it’s perfect and if it’s hotter then don’t block it :slight_smile:

I have used duct tape to gold fly screen over the hole in the inner cover for a few years till I did away with the Flow gabled roof and went for a migratory roof on my Flow hives. That move solved a couple of issue I was having.
Cheers

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Duct tape and fly screen seems like a simple idea Peter. I like it.
Also were any of the issues with the roof something that we need to be aware of and make changes as required?

Again Steve, climate, and particularly the internal hive temperature is the enemy for bee keeping in Australia. The brood cluster should be 34C +/- 1C. A wooden bee hive absorbs heat if it is in the sun like there is no tomorrow. My Langstroth hive I had fitted roof vents at each end of the roof and had cured a massive amount of bearding, When I bought four Flow Hives bearding was an issue so I fitted roof vents in them too with the same result. For the same reason, as a previous commercial bee keeper all my hives are painted white to reflect the heat.
The other mod I made to my flow hives was to reduce the entrance to 100mm wide to reduce the number of guard bees needed and the risk of robbing events. My Coolum Beach apiary has hives only about 20cm apart but because they are all about equal in bee numbers robbing isn’t an issue ---- so far. Bees tend to attack a weaker hive and then usually in a dearth…
Cheers Steve

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