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Author Topic: Fat comb  (Read 609 times)

Offline Bush_84

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Fat comb
« on: August 09, 2017, 06:37:10 pm »
How does everybody deal with comb that bulges with honey at the top. It drives me nuts when all of a sudden all of my hives have to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I typically just wait until spring when they are empty and deal with it. However I still have management goals that require moving combs. His becomes impossible with stupid comb.
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Online Oldbeavo

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 06:52:17 pm »
When you add new/empty frames tighten them up so as the spare space at the side of the box.
We run 7 frames in an 8 box and love fat frames as they uncap without any scratching.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 07:22:34 pm »
Usually I ignore it.  Sometimes I take a serrated knife and cut it off.  When it's on PermaComb and Honey Super Cell, I can scrape it down to the plastic without any real damage to the comb.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
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Offline gww

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 07:23:56 pm »
bush
I am still new at it but what I do more times then not is flip the fat ones and shove them against the wall and put the straitest side out.  I move combs around and smash them against each other.  Many time while doing this I may have to remove a frame from the hive body. The bees seem to cut the comb back down to get thier bee space back and in the end over the season, I get pretty nice combs.  I also smash the comb sometimes with what I use as a hive tool.
Good luck
gww

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 08:07:32 pm »
A few years back I put a fat honey frame in my observation hive and it was too close to the glass. I did not realize it until we put the hive back inside. It took the bees two full days to cut it to provide bee space. When they were done, it looked like a laser cut it and the cells looked perfect. It was pretty amazing.
Jim
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Offline eltalia

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 08:30:43 pm »
@ Michael Bush
The issue of "top heavy" fattened honeycomb during my first venture into
a TBH structure was one factor which had me abandon that design build.
The newest TBH design incorporates some of your concepts in frame sizes(width) Michael. The first of which installed yesterday I am pleased to
report the 'standard' @1 7/8" shows no sign of comb obesity but the problem of no beespace between bar wood remains. The change in design
based on your @1 1/4 (32mm) bar should show results in due course.

One of the huge benefits of not having to make beekeeping "pay" is to have the freedom to try these concepts... maybe for the first time since
boyhood I am really enjoying waltzing with the bees ;-)

Cheers.

Bill

Offline Acebird

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 08:44:45 pm »
I would have to see a picture.  I use foundation so fat combs don't happen unless I want them to happen by increasing the frame spacing.
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Offline eltalia

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 10:25:23 pm »

It happens on foundation also, AB, if you run 9frames in a 10frame box and can be overcome if the frames are pushed up tight as someone else noted.
As it is best practice to run 10/10 for supers it rarely happens, more common is to find uneven finish to a fully drawn comb but most uncappers handle that.
The TBH setup I wrote about appears to run even from top to bottom but it is only a few frames so no real "data" for such a small sample.
I could grab some pix next outing if the text does not compute ;-)

Cheers.

Bill

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 03:25:02 pm »
>I am still new at it but what I do more times then not is flip the fat ones and shove them against the wall and put the straitest side out.  I move combs around and smash them against each other.

I have done that and then had wax moths get in the spot the bees can no longer get to and they make a mess.  So I stopped doing that.

>I would have to see a picture.  I use foundation so fat combs don't happen unless I want them to happen by increasing the frame spacing.

I get it just as often on foundation as foundationless.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Bush_84

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 09:00:39 pm »
I've always been hesitant because of the mess but it appears that I can just do whatever to flatten it and the bees will deal with it. I may have to buy a tool box and put all of my stuff in it. At this point I have just jammed everything in my pockets but I'm running out of room!  Serrated knife wouldn't fit. Otherwise the pushing against the wall is another idea.
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2017, 09:11:08 pm »
I get it just as often on foundation as foundationless.
Maybe I don't understand the problem.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Bush_84

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 12:09:44 am »
I get it just as often on foundation as foundationless.
Maybe I don't understand the problem.

So if you take a frame out of a honey super and evenly space the frames. The result is very wide combs. If bees are given the space they typically do this in my brood combs, but since they only generally store honey at the top the band around the top gets really fat. The combs on the outsides typically do this. If I stick a frame in the brood nest to draw it out I get the same result this time of year.
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline gww

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 12:33:06 am »
Michael
Quote
I have done that and then had wax moths get in the spot the bees can no longer get to and they make a mess.  So I stopped doing that.

I haven't noticed that yet but thanks for the heads up, I will have to watch closely.

I have had pretty good luck getting nice stuff by pushing things tight against each other.  I am like bush84 and really only carry my smoker and painters multi tool to the hives and do all kinds of things.  Last time I cut a piece of comb off and then let it sit on the top bars and just smash the frame on top into it till the frame sit correctly.  I don't like when the bees are not really drawing comb and just make little domes of comb but never really finish it or come back to it or tie it in well. 

I am a pretty lazy bee keeper and not smart enough to be so lazy and I have been lucky rather then good that it seems to work out.  I don't want wax moth though.  I do wonder if some of my luck so far is due to the short time that I have had bees in the area and if maby the pest have not grew with the hives like they will eventually.

Thanks
gww

Offline eltalia

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 01:58:20 am »
Acebird wrote; "Maybe I don't understand the problem.."

Could be, or could be an almost obssesive adherance to rule which denies
the "fatcomb" outcome whilst introducing other 'results', again dealt with by more 'rules'?
Run 7/8 or 9/10 in a brood chamber, placing #1 against the wall and spacing all others evenly with #7/#9 against the opposite wall.
The resulting honey band is "fat" on all frames between, as others note.
The problem then is found in mixing (manipulating) those frames with others in other colonies or differing box layouts, again as others have noted the frame/s have to be 'altered' to fit.
The frames do not sit easily in a way that maintains even beespace between the whole face of frames resulting in wonky combs and sometimes whole chunks of comb chewed out leaving significant holes in a frame.
Running 9/10 in all broodchambers I have managed there has never been a bother with "fatcomb" as generally it is the same across all broodchambers - they can be "skinnier" but never "fatter" as the layout is pretty much universal. Interestingly enough, if you put down a "fatcomb" frame adjacent a "normal" brood frame any honey band on the "skinny" frame is built out.
The bees don't make the "fatcomb" fatter.

Running 10/10 in supers produces a finished off capping which is most suitable for a mechanical uncapper (mine), however, having listened to those running 9/10 in supers I can understand the thinking "fatcomb" is best. The thing is, to a man/woman they all uncap manually -  and often surgically remove "indentations" in the face - using up more time and effort in what is already the most tedious time consuming part of extraction (harvesting). If I could devise a jig to automagically remove rogue comb/burr comb/propolis on frame wood I would, eliminating another time consuming tedious part of extraction.

IF I can get an even comb built in the TBH - as per my earlier post - then I will have eliminated the tedious wonky comb uncapping predicted for TBH frames AND the frame wood clean.
More better it will the bees doing the work, not I...  "win win" I reckon ;-)

Cheers.

Bill

Offline Acebird

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 09:31:31 am »
So if you take a frame out of a honey super and evenly space the frames. The result is very wide combs. If bees are given the space they typically do this in my brood combs, but since they only generally store honey at the top the band around the top gets really fat. The combs on the outsides typically do this. If I stick a frame in the brood nest to draw it out I get the same result this time of year.

Is this not obvious?  Why would you space brood comb wider then what the frame was designed to be and then complain?  Some people who regress bees shave off the combs to space them closer.  The reason for spacing combs wider then normal is to make honey comb wider for uncapping.  I only do that in the top 2 or three boxes because those are the only ones I intend to extract.  I think but don't know for sure that the wider honey comb makes it unappealing for the queen to lay brood in because I never see it even if the comb was used for brood previously.
The bottom line is in my way of thinking a fat comb problem is a self inflected problem.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Bush_84

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 01:30:18 pm »
*facepalm* I never said I did that. It was the best way to paint a picture for you. As I said...my outer combs typically do this.  Also when I put an empty frame in the brood nest the adjacent combs will do this. I run 8 frame hives and keep 8 frames in them.
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline little john

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2017, 02:56:57 pm »
I've always seen the widening of brood combs at the top as being a positive feature.  If you focus on the space between brood combs, rather than the combs themselves, you can see that the space generated is rather like the shape of two saucers being placed rim-to-rim, with two bee-spaces existing within the working brood area, and just one bee-space around the top and upper sides - where environmental control is presumably more important than (say) lower down.

That's why it's important to replace combs exactly as they were before removal, that is, as often as possible.  Sometimes this can't be done of course, which is when the problem of 'frame-fit' arises.
LJ
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Offline gww

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 03:51:39 pm »
Lj
I move the combs alot but am starting out with nothing and if I see the combs becoming bad enough and still have some frames that are undrawn, I flip, smash and move around the comb so I still end up with a box I can get in and inspect with out rolling bees trying to pull the first comb.  It seems like when there is not a very strong flow that the bees like to use what they have and do funny things rather then start a new frame.  I do the things that let me stay foundationless with the least amount of work for me and also in a way that I don't have to keep a bunch of rubber bands and cotton string along.  I doubt I am helping the bees much with what I am doing but I also don't do big deep dives in the hive very often.

I hope to get much better at learning what can be lived with and when I am hurting more then helping. 
Cheers
gww

Offline Acebird

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2017, 10:01:23 pm »
It seems like when there is not a very strong flow that the bees like to use what they have and do funny things rather then start a new frame.

If there is not a strong flow pull out the empty frames and block the space.  Add frames one at a time when the interior frames are full or fully drawn evenly.  If you give them a whole bunch of space they will work like a teenager with nothing to do.  They will be creative and totally unproductive.
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Offline gww

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Re: Fat comb
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2017, 10:56:05 pm »
Ace, I have no doubt but that you are correct.  I have read michael bushes position that bees do much better when condenced in space that fits thier density.  What I do however is start all bees no matter how small in a ten frame medium and then when they get about 70 percent of that drawn, I and a medium and pull a drawn frame up.  If it is warm enough out, I like pulling a middle brood frame up.  I don't do this cause I don't believe that michael doesn't know more then me but more because it seems to work just good enough for me and seems easier and the small bit of creative work that the bees do does not cause me enough issues to worry about.  I had issues controlling swarming earlier and so now I go the other way and give them more space then is reasonable.  I have a hard time doing a lot extra when the bees are making it with my very small efforts of making it hard on them.

I know you guys are right but have not set up the little infrastructures like follower boards or cutting a peice of foam that fits.  I should but the bees are mostly doing ok in spite of me.   If it is any consulation, I am sure I am doing other things that I would not have to do if I was smart enough. 

So I know I should condence the space sometime and so could do better and maby someday I will do better but have not yet. 

I also have a bunch of 5 frame medium nucs made that I have never used and probly never will if the bees keep surviving when I just throw them in ten frame stuff.

I know I should, I know I should, I know I should but I haven't.
Cheers
gww