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Creative comb in my second box


#1

Hello I just had a look at my bees and in the second box (the foundation less frames in the first box are flawless) that had only foundation less frames the comb is all over the place, it looks like they started building from the bottom up rather than the top down and now stuff is going across the frames.

Why did that happen and how do I fix this now? Should I remove what’s there, add some frames with foundation and move the box to the bottom?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks


#2

Hi Sabine, yes remove it as soon as possible. Replace every second frame with foundation and this will straighten up your comb. Of course you can persist with the foundationless but you will need to inspect more often (several times a week) to trim any wayward comb. So many inspection may set them back, so my choice would be to checkerboard with foundation. If you are keen to have all foundationless then mark the frames so they are easily identified and then remove later. Foundation has larger cell sizes so I have been using these in my honey super, they are also wired for the extractor. Foundationless is just for brood. Hope this makes sense.


#3

They did start from the bottom up. It’s helpful to add the second box to the bottom instead of the top. Bees naturally build down, not up. If not, then you should pull some drawn comb up into the second box when you add it for a “ladder”. Now that you have messed up comb you need to either cut it out and rubber band it into a frame or, if it’s too soft and full of nectar, remove it.


#4

I have a very small colony, two frames, that has creative comb also and as it’s beginning winter I’m wondering whether I should leave it until the cold spell ends in a couple of months or should I act on it sooner rather than later? This colony has been a disappointment since I bought it. Unlike my free pot of bees.
Apologies for the hijack…


#5

As you are now an expert in rebuilding crazy comb from your pot bee experience, you should have no trouble fixing it if you choose to leave it alone! :wink: I wouldn’t recommend that for most people, but you made a good solution from a very sticky plant pot, and it sounds like those bees are thriving.

If you don’t want to leave it, I would fix it on a warm day, and try to reduce the hive space if there is a lot of empty comb (remove, freeze and store the empty comb), either by transferring to a nuc box, or by putting dummy/follower boards into the existing hive.


#6

Thanks, I will most likely remove all the messed up stuff and add the box to the bottom and see if they start drawing within the lines :slight_smile:


#7

Darn. I added my second to the top.
Two weeks later, would it help to swap the two boxes, or would that just add insult to injury?


#8

Depends on how much they have done in the new box. If they have drawn quite a lot of comb, and the queen is laying in it, I wouldn’t move it. If they have hardly touched it, you should be OK to move it.


#9

If they have started drawing comb from the top bars of the top box, I’d just leave it. If not, I’d put it on the bottom.


#10

All done, wayward comb removed, some frames with foundation added just to clarify to the sisters what I would like them to do and the box moved to the bottom.
Let’s hope they are happier with my arrangement now and do a good, straight job :slight_smile:


#11

Thanks Dawn. I’ve decided to leave the comb until it warms up as I don’t want to take the chance of killing the queen. As unproductive as she is I’m not sure a new queen would be mated at this time of year here.
I have taken your advice and reduced the hive space by half and this morning I’ve seen more activity than before.
Curiously enough I find it more of a challenge keeping this colony going and will be impressed if the bees can make it through to spring when I will reframe the comb and requeen if necessary.


#12

Well done Sabine, did you reframe the wayward comb?