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Author Topic: Comb honey. A journey of learning  (Read 23391 times)

Offline beesnweeds

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #240 on: January 26, 2024, 10:53:38 pm »
Back in my early days of mite fighting there was the idea of putting 2 medium frames in positions 1 and 10. This was before the green drone frames came out.  When the bees draw the comb it would be drone cells.  When the drone brood was capped you just cut it off and put it back.  It didn't work to keep mites down.  The drawbacks are the queen will lay in them if you don't use an excuder and you can't take them out and set them down.  You have to have another box to set them in. 
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Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #241 on: January 27, 2024, 06:48:04 am »
Back in my early days of mite fighting there was the idea of putting 2 medium frames in positions 1 and 10. This was before the green drone frames came out.  When the bees draw the comb it would be drone cells.  When the drone brood was capped you just cut it off and put it back.  It didn't work to keep mites down.  The drawbacks are the queen will lay in them if you don't use an excuder and you can't take them out and set them down.  You have to have another box to set them in.
As it stands right now, I'll have extra boxes and frames at start-up but doesn't everyone have an extra box or two laying around for surprise events?

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #242 on: January 27, 2024, 12:14:10 pm »
It is best to have plenty of extra Woodward.
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Offline beesnweeds

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #243 on: January 27, 2024, 01:02:20 pm »
Back in my early days of mite fighting there was the idea of putting 2 medium frames in positions 1 and 10. This was before the green drone frames came out.  When the bees draw the comb it would be drone cells.  When the drone brood was capped you just cut it off and put it back.  It didn't work to keep mites down.  The drawbacks are the queen will lay in them if you don't use an excuder and you can't take them out and set them down.  You have to have another box to set them in.
As it stands right now, I'll have extra boxes and frames at start-up but doesn't everyone have an extra box or two laying around for surprise events?
Of course, but when you start building up colonies and need to do quick inspections you will be surprised how often you left the extra box across the yard next to another hive looking in circles for it carrying the frame with the queen on it.  When doing health checks less equipment is better. You'll see.
Also extra boxes get used up real quick during swarm/split season.
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Online The15thMember

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #244 on: January 27, 2024, 01:36:09 pm »
As it stands right now, I'll have extra boxes and frames at start-up but doesn't everyone have an extra box or two laying around for surprise events?
Certainly you should, but the question is will you.  :wink:  More than once I've found myself on an emergency run to the next town over looking for 8 frame woodenware because either the honey flow was way more than I anticipated or I had way more swarms than I anticipated.  I do always have an extra empty box with me during an inspection, as its a handy secure place to set frames.   
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Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #245 on: January 28, 2024, 07:47:21 pm »
Quote
because either the honey flow was way more than I anticipated or I had way more swarms than I anticipated.

This is the way it always works. The whole barn is full of equipment after condensing bees down. You build a few more boxes, nucs, Buy a bunch of frames, and you think your ready for spring. Never enough, Never enough.

I find this interesting, because I have never figured it out.

Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #246 on: January 28, 2024, 08:00:28 pm »
Also, I tried this once. Cut a sheet of plastic foundation in half. center it in your frame. and let the bees build on both sides natural comb. It was a complete fail because they built almost all drone comb. Now minds turning, because this was before green frames also. so maybe a green frame and this mixed. I have some drone frames somewhere, I have to try.

And LES, I think I said it before you do beautiful work.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #247 on: January 28, 2024, 08:26:00 pm »
Thanks Bill,

Designing and building the frames is the easy bit. Having the bees fulfil their part of the agreement is the challenging part. I?m glad that the conversation is moving towards other aspects of comb honey production ie. equipment sizes and quantities, managing large hives and a variety of techniques explored. I may also consider a box of mediums for comb honey. This is what I use for the other style of mini frames that I have developed. Most of the design work has been done and it would only take about 15 minutes to modify this current design to suit.

Offline cao

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #248 on: January 29, 2024, 02:41:36 am »
As it stands right now, I'll have extra boxes and frames at start-up but doesn't everyone have an extra box or two laying around for surprise events?

Right now I have about 60+ boxes laying around.

It is best to have plenty of extra Woodward.

Yes, it is.  I always seem to run short on nuc boxes.  Seems if I have an empty nuc box it will get filled with bees.

Also, I tried this once. Cut a sheet of plastic foundation in half. center it in your frame. and let the bees build on both sides natural comb.

I have done this also.  This was just one of the ways I was transitioning to foundationless frames.  And yes they usually will draw it out in drone comb.



Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #249 on: January 29, 2024, 09:17:09 am »
OK, I figure that drone comb is different size than others but if it's up in the honey super, will that matter?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #250 on: January 29, 2024, 10:05:07 am »
If you have an excluder the difference is that it's MUCH easier to extract drone comb.  If you don't have an excluder and there is little drone comb in the brood nest, the queen will cross any amount of comb to get to the drone comb so she can lay drones.
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Online The15thMember

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #251 on: January 29, 2024, 10:51:26 am »
There is no issue with drone comb being used for honey, as Michael said, but if the bees are on foundation and are restricted in the amount of drones they are allowed to raise, any space where they can draw freely they will probably put drone brood in, not honey.  If you are foundationless and let the bees maintain some drone brood, this is less of a problem, since they aren't gunning to make drone brood at the first opportunity. 
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Offline Terri Yaki

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #252 on: January 29, 2024, 10:56:49 am »
OK, my hives came with plastic foundation in wooden frames. The medium foundation is yellow and the deep is black. Will the patterns on the foundation define the size of the comb that they attach to it or will they make it whatever dimensions the deem to suit their needs?

Online The15thMember

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #253 on: January 29, 2024, 11:11:21 am »
Will the patterns on the foundation define the size of the comb that they attach to it or will they make it whatever dimensions the deem to suit their needs?
Oh yes.  That's one of the reasons I am foundationless.  I prefer to let them do whatever they want with cell size and where they'd like to put worker comb, drone comb, and honey comb. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #254 on: January 29, 2024, 01:23:36 pm »
>Will the patterns on the foundation define the size of the comb that they attach to it or will they make it whatever dimensions the deem to suit their needs?

Yes.  It will set the cell size.  The bees will very seldom change the size of plastic foundation.  They have to be desperate for drones to redo worker sized cells into drones.
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Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #255 on: January 29, 2024, 05:36:30 pm »
Years ago I made my own foundation by casting wax into a silicone mould that was made from plastic foundation. The cell size from memory was about 5.3mm. At one point in time I wanted to informally test the drawing of this cast foundation compared to normally rolled, commercial foundation. A few supers were filled with a combination of both types of foundation for the test. After about a week the frames were checked. Both types of foundation were drawn out quite well with the homemade foundation showing slightly better results. This was pleasing from my perspective but as the test was very small it didn?t prove anything except that the bees had no problems drawing the cast wax. That?s all I wanted to know. The interesting thing that I did observe was that the cell walls in the cast foundation were slightly thicker than the commercial foundation. It?s funny how bees adapt to suit their needs. We often forget this when we talk about these little critters.

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #256 on: January 29, 2024, 06:48:36 pm »
A few days ago I saw an image of a comb honey mini frame that used foundation strips rather than filling the whole area. It took me about 2 minutes to copy and paste one of my current designs and modify it to take foundation strips top and bottom. It?s definitely another good option for comb production.

Offline beesnweeds

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #257 on: January 29, 2024, 11:12:40 pm »
A few days ago I saw an image of a comb honey mini frame that used foundation strips rather than filling the whole area. It took me about 2 minutes to copy and paste one of my current designs and modify it to take foundation strips top and bottom. It?s definitely another good option for comb production.

Nice work!  In the US they're called Basswood sections. A starter strip and they come out great.

https://meyerbees.com/product/comb-honey-super-kit-with-basswood-section-boxes/
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Offline cao

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #258 on: January 30, 2024, 01:50:55 am »
Kelley beekeeping used to make those basswood sections.  I have some that I got at an auction of a retired beekeeper.  They are pretty cool but they are expensive.  I don't think kelley's offers them any more since mann lake bought them. 

I really like your design les.   

Online Lesgold

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Re: Comb honey. A journey of learning
« Reply #259 on: January 30, 2024, 02:27:20 am »
There are quite a few variations on the same theme out there and they generally look similar and should all work when conditions are right. I have been making them using small sheets of plywood and the unit cost has ended up being 37 cents. You guys in America would buy plywood much cheaper than what I can and would therefore have a cheaper product. If I buy a full sheet of 3mm ply, the cost drops to about 27 cents. I?ve made enough frames and timber comb sections to fill a deep. It will cost about $30 in materials to make the 80 frames. The adjustable frames ended up costing me about $90 for the 10 that I made but this is a one off cost. Buying materials in bulk would obviously bring that cost down. Selling 8 frames of comb honey would cover my costs. The other 72 would be the cream. In reality, not every mini frame is a saleable item but in a good flow, about 90% should look the part. A bit of frame manipulation also helps to keep the comb flat and even as it is drawn.

 

anything