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Crazy comb 🚑 - options for single hive near dearth


Found this when I checked on my colony this past Sunday:

In case it’s hard to tell what’s going on, this is a view into the medium second brood box, added a couple of weeks ago. The comb is being built from the bottom of the frames -up! And is wavy. Could’ve even become curly, if I’d left it alone :spaghetti:

It was new & just partially filled with nectar, so removing it was simple. After I cleaned up those frames, I decided to put that medium under the first deep box. Wow, that full deep sure was heavy! Thanks for the warning @Michael_Bush. And thanks @Dee for the tip to have an outer cover ready to put the brood box onto, to catch a falling queen - and, @Dawn_SD I remembered your tea towel tip too late, so instead used the inner cover as a sun shield as much as possible while the deep was exposed :sunglasses:

When I lifted the deep away from the SBB I saw several bees grappling with a dead carpenter bee, bundling it out the door! Wish I’d stopped to take a picture or video, but I was so enthralled - one bee had a leg & was lifting/flying while four other bees pushed & pulled! So fascinating.

Once the deep was securely on top, I removed some obvious brace comb…and gently tried to free the outermost frames to be able to take them out & get a look into the central area. There was lots of brood in different stages all the way out to the last frame - a hunk of which I dislodged in this process :worried: because it was bridging from frame to frame. So I tidied up & closed my hive for the time being.

I don’t see how I can correct this much bridge comb, which they keep rebuilding in spite of my two previous fixes, without major disruption, loss of brood & risk of killing my (second) queen. On the positive side, the colony is bursting with bees, brood & capped honey. Saw no SHB & only one mite on the corflute (had a break in the brood cycle early on with first queen loss) I’m hoping they’ll have a chance to build the medium out before the dearth here in PA - would anyone suggest feeding again during the dearth since it’s a new colony?

Or, should I maybe try splitting this strong but small colony and checkerboarding with foundation? Of course, this would also make a big mess…


Clean off the comb and move the new box to the bottom. Add a straight drawn comb from the first box to that box as well.


Did the first :+1:
Cant do the next exactly, it’s a deep & a medium. None of the deep frames are drawn straight. Could go back in & replace some of the empty, foundationless mediums with foundation though.


Put starter strips on the new frames. Always works for me.



Rob, you mean wooden strips? Or strips of foundation…I have wooden strips on all the frames.


@Eva I think Rob means staple a strip of foundation (2 INCHES WIDE??) onto your wooden strip in the frame. It allows them an opportunity to get started the right way.


was there a starter strip installed, if only 1" then install 2.5 " and see if they will fit the problem maybe stagger the 1.0 inch with a 2.5 inch and so forth. Either way cut what you can and rubber band and clean off the other comb.


Thanks for everyone’s helpful replies, really appreciate the support. So far I’ve cleaned off the new combs that were like curly toast popping up from the medium frames, switched the medium to the bottom & freed the outer two frames in the deep. Ended up too sweaty & timid to forge ahead with the rest…which is why I posted…but consoled myself with a small hunk of honey comb that was dislodged :heart_eyes: And gave the hunk of brood comb that came off to my chickens.

When I go in tomorrow or next day, starter strips will be affixed to the comb guides on the med frames, unless they’ve managed some good straight comb. Fingers crossed!