Honeycomb in 2nd brood box, first timer

New beekeeper here, & I just added a 2nd brood box on my first hive last week. When inspecting it yesterday, I noticed the bees had built a lot of honeycomb between the frames, rather than drawing out comb on the foundations. Honey was dripping from the franes I pulled out, as those pieces of comb broke apart. My question is should I remove all this excess comb, then put a super on top?

Hi Nancy and welcome. My quick answer to your question of putting the super on is no. Your second brood box needs to be 80% full of drawn comb that is full of brood and food, and 80% covered with bees before the colony is ready for a super of any kind.

I was wondering what else you saw during your inspection, in the lower brood box? Is your queen laying well?

In addition to what @Eva recommended, make sure that your frames are pushed together. You might be able to salvage some of the comb they have drawn if it’s in big pieces you can rubber band it into some foundationless frames. Also you could consider checkerboarding the new frames between your drawn frames so the bees have a better guide for their spacing.

When looking at the photo, I’m wondering if there is a large gap between the frames, which will allow the bees to build comb between. It looks like a large gap between frames in the bottom brood box as well. My recommendation is to evenly space the frames.

I put 9 frames in a 10 frame brood box. I start with a 3mil gap on the sides, then evenly space the frames. I never put 7 frames in an 8 frame box because there is usually extra space with 8 frames, which I also evenly divide.

Are those plastic foundations wax coated? It appears that the bees are ignoring them.

Thanks Eva. The last time I inspected the lower box was almost 2 weeks ago, and it looked great, saw the queen & lots of brood. Plan to inspect again tomorrow, and address the excess comb in the 2nd box.

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Thanks chau06. The frames are pushed together & centered. I’ll try to salvage comb, & checkerboard some new frames.

Thanks JeffH. The frames are all tightly pushed together, & each box has 10 frames each. The plastic foundations are wax coated, & the bees did a great job drawing comb throughout the 1st box, since installed there April 14. They have drawn some comb in the 2nd box in the past 2 weeks, but also made a lot of bridging honey filled comb as well. There has been a lot of nectar in our area the last 2 weeks.

Hi & you’re welcome Nancy. With all that in mind, it would appear that the bees are building comb between the plastic foundations, instead of onto it. Otherwise there would be nowhere for the bees to build comb like that.

I use all wax foundation & don’t have that problem. There has been the odd occasion when boxes are deeper than normal (these were boxes from China that were gifted to me), which created a larger gap than normal below the frames. In those cases the bees started building comb in the gap first, then continued it up to bridge between the frames. However the bees still built onto the wax foundation. Switching to normal depth boxes fixed my issue.

I have never had success with bees building onto plastic foundation. Apparently it needs to be well coated in wax before bees successfully build onto it.

One thought, did you honeycomb the top box. I mean taking the outer two frames from the bottom box and putting them in the middle of the top box separated by an empty frame. Kind of gives the bees a ladder to work off.


Thanks Rmcpb. I haven’t heard of honeycombing the frames before. That sounds like a good idea. Yesterday I took 2 frames w brood from the bottom box, and put them in the center of the top box, and took 2 frames with nectar on them from the top, and interspersed them with the bottom frames of brood. Hoping for good results at next check. :crossed_fingers:

I generally leave the broodnest alone and only use the outer two frames. All they need is the idea/ladder.