Looking for assistance as a new bee keeper, I apologies if this has been covered but i didn’t find the answer i was looking for when I searched. I did a hive inspection last weekend, I havent been too intrusive as we head into winter and its freezing. But i noticed that they have really started extending the comb from the frames. Still going with the correct direction as the frames but with deeper cells. This is causing the frames to really sit tight and join together. Im not sure if i should be doing anything to fix this or how to fix this. The bees a pretty aggressive coming into winter so I have sort of let them be. I am worried that itll be a mess to fix after winter. Additionally it makes it had for inspections as I essentially have to damage the comb to pull a frame out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Lydia, it would be good to see a photo of what you’re seeing.
Essentially when you look down on a frame, there shouldn’t be much comb sticking out of either side. The best way is to keep the frames close together, or evenly spaced with no more than about 3-4mm between the frame shoulders. If the frames are not evenly spaced, that can cause problems like you describe.
The best thing to do on a warm day is to remove the frames, then scrape any bridging comb off the frames before replacing them. Make sure that no comb is touching each other while replacing frames. Use your smoker to drive bees away from where you want to replace frames. This is important to avoid bee deaths, which can lead to hive beetle problems.
When frames are evenly spaced, with the comb sitting within the confines of the frames, it’s still hard to avoid cross comb at the tops of the frames. I use the j of my hive tool to break that comb upwards, not downwards. Once you can see the first frame is easy to remove before removing it, the rest will be easier. I always scrape that comb/wax off before replacing the frames.
PS @MissLB I’m thinking that North Clyde is in Sydney. It’s pretty cold up here on the Sunny Coast as well. I walked outside earlier & I thought I walked inside a fridge.
I had a 10 liter bucket full from the past fortnight of those frame scrapings I mentioned, with bits of brood mixed in. As I poured it out into my wax melter, a strong odor of hive beetle larvae wafted out. Something to avoid in the hives.