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This is a multi topic- swarms and robbers


#1

History - I have had a flow hive for three years now. I was lucky to collect a swarm in my first spring. It has always been an active hive. It swarmed twice last year and swarmed last week. My main problem is that they love brace come. Every time I try to inspect there is so much brace comb. I have tried pushing a tool down however that just makes honey pour out. So now I have honey everywhere trying to do an inspection. I just put the boxes back on. I have two brood. and the flow on top. I think I would do more damage pulling frames than just leaving them alone. I did notice yesterday I have two flow frames that have about 20-30% not set properly. I realise the bees wont work these areas. I just thought you might like to know. I think there was robber bees today. How far will they travel. I was thinking they may be from my swarm.


#2

Hi,

We caught a seriously crazy comb swarm last year and made the problem so much worse by giving them foundationless frames. We have finally got the problem under control by removing the craziest of frames (or at least putting them above the queen excluder) and giving them foundation frames. They are now drawing nice straight comb with minimum cross combing.

We also caught another swarm last year that were a) aggressive and b) swarmed themselves to the point of being queenless at the start of spring. We have, fingers crossed, sorted this hive by giving them frames of brood from our good hives for them to make a queen with better genetics. If I have another hive that keeps swarming I will probably remove all the queen cells and add frames of brood from my good hives to try and make a new queen, as I believe that super swarminess is a genetic trait.

Happy bee keeping,

Cheers,
Julia


#3

If you have brace comb in the brood box then your spacing is wrong. If you have had the Flow for three years it’s time to change the brood frames so you could get a clean start that way and make sure your spacing is correct st the very beginning. I’d use foundation too.


#4

Harry !

I was a beekeeper back in the 1950’s n 60’s. I know a lot of folks that go foundationless … but not me unless up in a shallow Super I would do for harvest of comb honey only.

Seeing your selling off the hives (colonies) it’s a bit late for you to pull n use only frames with foundation. I have added empty foundationless between drawn foundation frames with pretty fair luck but still have to watch for bee creative comb building n correct immediately or like your the comb can get totally out of hand n need starting over from scratch (some of the flat drawn comb might be used rubber band into place) but that would n will be a personal call.

Question: are both colonies cross combing all hive boxes ?! You just mentioned the Flow-hive having the cross-comb issue but might have meant both hives have been creative. That would kind of eliminate the fun out of your beekeeping n cause a bit of discouragement… A real bummer.

I’m wishing you best of luck Harry !

Cheers,
Gerald