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Author Topic: Inconsistant comb on foundation  (Read 535 times)

Online JurassicApiary

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Inconsistant comb on foundation
« on: May 19, 2020, 01:26:38 am »
Hi Everyone,

I inherited a struggling colony back in December and was contemplating replacing the queen, however on the last inspection in March to determine her fate, her brood pattern significantly improved and numbers were way up and so I've decided to let things play out for now.  However, I'm puzzled by the worker's inconsistent/patchy drawing of comb on some of the foundation.  They aren't drawing out more comb to grow their numbers and the queen seems maxed out on egg laying cells, but the workers aren't utilizing all of the foundation space on some of the frames and haven't even touched a fee new framed.  The two pictures of the frame with black foundation (it's actually the same frame, opposite sides) are very patchy as you can see.  It's been that way for quite a while and they're not expanding on it.  Any thoughts on this behavior?  Is it likely that they've decided they don't like some regions on the frame for some reason? Should I swap the frame out for a new one for them to draw out?   I swapped out two unused frames with some that have a fresh wax coating on the foundation that other hives have really liked, so I'm hoping that will encourage them, but what about the frame with the patchiness?  Thoughts?

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2020, 02:23:35 am »
Jurassic it looks like the bees do not wish to draw out new comb on the remaining plastic foundation. Perhaps it was not properly coated in wax from the beginning or other reasons. Blowing the picture up it shows that are by-passing the plastic and have started new comb on the far edge of the top bar. If it were me, I would cut off the far edge comb which is not attached to the plastic and rubber band into an empty frame in order to save what I could. The rest I would place away from the hives and let the bees recoup the remaining honey (if any), then I would clean the plastic, re-coat in fresh wax, place in between two already established frames for a new start. This way the bees would have two choices. Draw it out properly because of lack of space to do otherwise, or totally ignore it. I am betting they will draw it out properly if placed in between two already properly drawn out frames.   

Offline CapnChkn

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2020, 05:38:54 am »
Yeah, I don't like plastic foundation.  I've learned to make wax sheets which I use instead of embossed foundation.  I just ended up with a few cases of foundation, so I'll now see if there's any difference.

I see that kind of pattern in weak hives that are building sporadically.  I can't say why though.
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2020, 06:07:41 am »
I don't know why they miss patches and build above it. It doesn't seem to occur in strong hives.
 I have a ball of wax that is collected from frames or boxes, it seems that the darker the better.
Leave the ball of wax in the sun for a while, scrape off the patchy stuff, add it to your ball or new ball, then get wax ball and rub it over the whole foundation leaving a coating of wax, scrape off the over built comb and rub the wax ball over the foundation, which will be clean, until covered.
Put back into hive or into a stronger hive and helps if there is a honey flow.
Works 80% of the time and also allows you to fix it in the field while you have the hive open.
We only use plastic foundation and we draw it out on big honey flows, most new foundation is draw out in Spring on Canola.
When a hive gets new foundation the super is full of new frames only, no choice.

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2020, 08:59:27 am »
I?d guess the foundation, but they might like some syrup too.


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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2020, 10:52:44 am »
I?d guess the foundation, but they might like some syrup too.


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If you offer, (and they accept sugar syrup just before a flow) . You may wind up with impure honey mixed in your supers. (Sugar Honey),  fake honey.  You would need to be diligent to keep this from happening. I don?t think anyone wants to eat sugar syrup (honey). 😊

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2020, 11:02:34 am »
I?d guess the foundation, but they might like some syrup too.


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If you offer, (and they accept sugar syrup just before a flow) . You may wind up with impure honey mixed in your supers. (Sugar Honey),  fake honey.  You would need to be diligent to keep this from happening. I don?t think anyone wants to eat sugar syrup (honey).

I understand, but the alternative if the frames aren?t drawn is no honey and feed sugar all winter? 
I?d be curious to see if they could sort things out if you removed one frame and smeared the comb out flat to cover the frame with a wide putty knife and dropped it back in close to the brood.


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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2020, 11:06:14 am »
He is in Hawaii.  There winters are not like my winters here in Mississippi or yours in NC.  I feel sure he will keep us updated. I am curious also as to what he does and how he does it. 

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2020, 11:25:23 am »
Oh, I didn?t catch that. Can?t wait to see what happens.


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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2020, 11:31:50 am »
Yeah, I don't like plastic foundation.  I've learned to make wax sheets which I use instead of embossed foundation.  I just ended up with a few cases of foundation, so I'll now see if there's any difference.

I see that kind of pattern in weak hives that are building sporadically.  I can't say why though.

CC which type of cases of foundation did you wind up with? Your own wax sheets or plastic?

Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2020, 01:48:40 pm »
Perhaps it was not properly coated in wax from the beginning or other reasons.

BF, thanks, that has been my main thought.  I have a 100-pack of foundation that are pre-waxed, but I recently felt that the wax was so minimal it seemed negligible.  Last week I melted down some really nice wax (ver aromatic, A+ stuff) and applied my own coat to about 14 foundations for which my daughter and I assembled frames for.  We subbed those into this same hive during this recent inspection to see if they'll take to it.

As for this frame in particular (pictures 1 & 2), one side has a bunch of brood and the other is filling with nectar.  As I don't want them to lose any of this at this time, I think for attempt number one at encouraging them to accept the rest of the foundation, I'm going to brush off the bees from this frame, then use a small brush to apply a new coat of fresh wax to the areas they're neglecting, re-install the frame right back into the hive after coating and see if that prompt them to fill in the blanks so to speak.

If that doesn't work, then I may move this frame to the #2 position with brood faced in so they'll (hopefully) keep tending them after the move, and hopefully they'll relocate the nectar (as they ton't want it out there I assume) and vacate the frame so I can replace it completely without them losing a bunch of brood and food.

Capn, I have not had any problems with bees taking to plastic foundation in the pst and I love its ease of use.  I have however noticed IMO that the wax coating from the manufacturer seems so thin it's almost moot, so I've begun to give them a coat of my own wax now before installing into hives.  It's still thin as it should be, but it's how I'd like it and I think (hope) they'll take to it better. 

Oldbeavo, indeed, I've not seen this problems in any other hives to date, and they are all much stronger than this one. 

30, I fed these girls syrup for a month when I got them.  They built some comb, but not much. Hence, I was considering replacing the Queen, but it was December, so I didn't think it was fair to judge her performance just yet, plus she wasn't laying very much and I wasn't sure they would survive.  She's laying much better now, but the workers just aren't giving her much to work with aside from the middle four frames.  That's why I'm trying newly coated foundations that I swapped in, but I was wondering if anyone had seen this or had any ideas as to the cause.  Indeed, the bees forage year-round here as our winter's are very mild.  I'm at a higher elevation that most on this island, and the coldest we probably see here is about 55F at night in the winter.

We're in the middle of a flow right now.  The hive next to this one has exploded its numbers and is filling frames in their deep super very fast right now.  I'm tickled about them., however, I do not have a super on this weak hive as they've yet to demonstrate that they're in need of it. They've not touched the outer two frames on either side (#'s 1,2,9,10) and two frames are patchy (#'s3,8).  The middle four are in good use, full of brood and food, although they're building a fair amount of bridge comb between frames, despite me ensuring they're spaced properly.  I trimmed some during this last inspection and tightened the spacing a smidge...we'll see.

Anyway, I'll give them a few more days before I intrude on them again to apply wax to the patchy frames.  Will followup on this thread post-inspection.  Further thoughts are welcome from all.  Thanks to those who chimed in already.


Online AR Beekeeper

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2020, 04:40:22 pm »
Poor wax application or it could have been in storage for a long time.  The requirements for good comb is a strong adult population and a good nectar flow, or heavy feeding.  If either of these requirements is lacking poor comb results, and that is with plastic or wax foundation.

I would put those poor frame of comb in a super above an excluder, let the brood emerge, then remove it to let the honey be robbed out during a nectar dearth.  Or place the combs in a super on the bottom board under an excluder so the bees will move the honey up.

Online TheHoneyPump

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Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2020, 04:51:47 pm »
Bees will NOT draw wax unless they need the space AND there is a good flow on (or copious amounts of sugar syrup being fed). One or both of those conditions is missing.
When they need it, they draw the plastic (coated or not) just as well as wax or no foundation.  In my experience, they actually do much better job of uniformity with the plastic.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2020, 05:20:21 pm »
Though this is my first year to use plastic.  I take your valued word of experience. But In this particular case, looking at the picture blown up, they had plenty of resources to draw the comb ON the plastic, but chose instead to mostly BYPASS the plastic using their resources to start their own foundation on the outer edges of the bars. Resources, in this case was not the problem. Wether Syrup or Nectar, either or, had to be on hand for the bees to be able to draw this wild comb. Is this reasonable?  I will confess, I can not see well so I could be wrong.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2020, 07:36:48 pm »
HP is correct as a strong honey flow will give very uniform drawing of frames.
Depends on where the prewaxed frames come from, some Chinese wax is mixed with Parafin to extend it, and the bees don't like it.
We always wax frames with our own wax using a 5mm nap paint roller.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2020, 07:39:50 pm »
Mr. Jurassic, you ask if beeks have seen this, referring to the burr comb as I call it.  Yes, many times, including this morning.  Same as your pics, bees building from the frame edge.  I believe all the above post have answered very well I might add.

So I will post a question regarding the topic, wax:  There are three requirements for bees to build wax comb.  Two are mentioned in this thread, but not the third.

What are the 3 requirements for bees to build wax comb?  I will answer later.

Van
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2020, 09:04:36 pm »
Mr. Jurassic, you ask if beeks have seen this, referring to the burr comb as I call it.  Yes, many times, including this morning.  Same as your pics, bees building from the frame edge.  I believe all the above post have answered very well I might add.

So I will post a question regarding the topic, wax:  There are three requirements for bees to build wax comb.  Two are mentioned in this thread, but not the third.

What are the 3 requirements for bees to build wax comb?  I will answer later.

Van

I have no idea, but just off the top of my head I?m going to go with photo period.


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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2020, 10:14:00 pm »
1.  Lots of bees, mention.

2.  Incoming food, a flow or syrup, mentioned.

3.  Queen right hive.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2020, 10:35:20 pm »
A little trivia is fun. Thanks Mr Van.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 10:45:47 pm by Ben Framed »

Offline CapnChkn

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2020, 12:38:19 am »
Ben my Fren, I ended up with embossed foundation, from Kelley in Kentucky.

This feller down the road had a beehive in his backyard, and I took out my glass to see a few bees just, lazily, flying around the entrance.  So when I see him, I discover he's been around bees as a kid, and got this hive.  Being in a suburb...

He lost the bees.  I saw him and asked about them.  Turns out the old lady that lives next to him "was spraying for mosquitoes."  So I bought his equipment, because I am down to housing my bees in 4 story nucs at the moment.

Holy Potata!  This guy had 3 or 4 full hives, frames for about 5 boxes, bottom boards, and the HATED plastic covers.  My Dad had those things, and all they do is warp.  I have to turn them upside down to keep from crushing bees.  I thought he had one little hive...

So I'm trying to keep up with seed sales, and give him what should be fair.  This stuff mostly hasn't been used.  Along with it, is about 50 sheets of embossed and wired foundation.  I have my own stainless wire as well.

I use the plastic foudation when I build a frame that will have a permanent honey area.  Like a drone frame.  Here is what I've been doing.  The Nylon fishing line is NOT WORKING for me, they seem to chew it...

[ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
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Online TheHoneyPump

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2020, 01:22:31 am »
Looking at the original photos.
How often, or rare, has this hive been inspected/managed?  These problems should have been corrected by the beekeeper long before getting that far out of hand.  How many frames are in the box and are they pressed tightly together.  Some initial bridging comb of a box of all foundation is normal.  They will build vertical bridge comb then fan out the whole sheet as normal.  A sheet of comb being made between frames indicates the frame pack was likely not pressed tight together, extra space was left between frames.

There are ways to cut-out, cleanup, and salvage the brood there.  I will leave to others to detail that out.  If this were one of my hives, the wild frames with brood would be put above a queen excluder and left to finish out, emerge.  Then I would pull them and complete scrape all the wax/honey of those frames into a bucket.   Start them over.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2020, 11:42:35 am »
@ CapnChkn

There is a fellow in Ireland (Tim) which has a couple videos of how he makes foundation. Well worth watching. Tim is also the same fellow that of the steam wax melter that I posted about here quite a while back. I  will find the video and PM you when I have a few minutes time to look it up.




.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 11:56:46 am by Ben Framed »

Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2020, 01:32:08 pm »
Thanks for the feedback everyone. 

HP, When I inherited this colony in December, as I mentioned, they were not very strong at that time.  I re-homed them (existing frames and all) into a new hive box I'm experimenting with and placed the included frame spacers (If I'm going to test it, I'm testing it as designed), and yes, it creates about a 1/16th" gap between the frames.  As a green newbie at the time (heck, I still am!), I did not catch this.  I did not use the plastic frames that were designed by the hive manufacturer...perhaps, in hindsight, the spacers were only to be used with those.  I don't know, but I'm suspecting so now.  Either way, I removed those spacers during the last inspection as well as propolis which they were filling the gaps, as well as some of the bridge comb.  Definitely learning my way through this hive.

Van, thanks also for your input and trivia.  ;)
I've wondered about this queen ever since I inherited her.  I don't know her age and although her production has improved quite substantially since December (as to be expected in the spring), I'm on the fence about her.  Would I be in line with your view if I suggested that the worker's aren't feeling the pressure from the queen to develop more comb as she's not wanting to lay more than what space is already available?  Back in early April I did an inspection to determine her viability.  She seemed to be laying much better, so I decided to let her be.  I have no idea of her age.  So far as I am aware, she was from a hive removal, but no clue when from...
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 01:48:59 pm by JurassicApiary »

Online TheHoneyPump

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2020, 02:06:08 pm »
OK, thanks for clarifying. That helps a lot with understanding.
Based on the pictures, that queen is fine - she is doing GREAT!
You just need to correct the combs and fix the beespace violations. The bees will get right in line after some comb maintenance and TLC.
Also, to bee-keep - during spring and early summer you should be inspecting (and correcting) every 5 to 7 days, 10 days max. Your notes indicate quite long between checks.  Do not be afraid to go in much sooner, as little as 3 days between is OK when there is a lot to address.
I know that where you are there is not much climate difference as the seasons roll through the year.  However, the bees do know what month it is ;)   
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 02:27:55 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2020, 02:27:43 pm »
OK, thanks for clarifying. That helps a lot with understanding.
Based on the pictures, that queen is fine - she is doing GREAT!
You just need to correct the combs and fix the beespace violations. The bees will get right in line after some comb maintenance and TLC.
Also, to bee-keep - you should be inspecting (and correcting) every 5 to 7 days, 10 days max. Your notes indicate quite long between checks.  Do not be afraid to go in much sooner, as little as 3 days between is OK when there is a lot to address.

Thanks, HP.  Advice like this is what makes Beemaster so valuable.  I was trying to minimally open the hive...once a month ideally is how I felt.  I was gone all of January and February due to work so they were all on their own From January 2nd until the beginning of March when I was able to do my first inspection of the year.  (I've never had a trip that long and don't expect it again--normally that would have been 2-3 separate trips, but the timing of things grouped 3 things so close together it made sense just to do it as one long trip instead of flying home and back and forth...5-6 hour flights get old).  Anyway, the bridging had already started by then as I can see in photos I took during the inspection. 

When I did an inspection in April, her brood looked terrific, which changed my mind about replacing the queen as of then.  I've just been focusing on the cause of the comb issues as of late.  Obviously some are my fault due to spacing, but I've been puzzled by the comb gaps on the foundation.  Maybe it was due to my foul spacing??? Whatever their reason for not wanting to accept them as-is, I'm swapping out unused frames for ones which I've re-waxed to see if they'll take to them any better.  And I'm going to work on correcting my infractions and resolve the spacing issues over time.  Thanks for the encouragement.

Will likely open them up later today or tomorrow depending on the weather to work on the hives.  I plan to do as suggested and add an excluder and deep on top and move those problematic frames up to allow the brood to emerge and hopefully they're purge the nectar and relocate it.  Thank you for your thoughts and insight.  I'll definitely increase my inspection frequency going forward!

Offline CapnChkn

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2020, 04:49:03 pm »
@Ben Framed

Yep, that would be Tim Rowe, in his YouTube channel "Way out West: a blow-in blog."  It's from his video I decided to use the sheet straight out of the box, so to speak.  You can see his process here:



I actually learned to make strips by watching a guy build bars for his Warre' hive.  I had put clumps of solid wax in a hive, assuming they would use it to make combs, but they just built hexagons on it.  I didn't get the two ideas together until I watched his video.

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Offline JojoBeeBoy

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2020, 05:47:50 pm »
To your original question I have a hive with the same issue. I used some older plastic and placed a 9 frame arrangement (most were drawn) in a deep. I thought they were going great guns but pulled up frames with the same issue you have, brood on one side and wasted effort on the other. This in the middle of brood chamber. I will likely do the same thing you mentioned, move to the outside until the brood emerges, then coat with wax and drop in a little tighter space or keep it toward the outside. 

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2020, 10:40:40 pm »
@Ben Framed

Yep, that would be Tim Rowe, in his YouTube channel "Way out West: a blow-in blog."  It's from his video I decided to use the sheet straight out of the box, so to speak.  You can see his process here:



I actually learned to make strips by watching a guy build bars for his Warre' hive.  I had put clumps of solid wax in a hive, assuming they would use it to make combs, but they just built hexagons on it.  I didn't get the two ideas together until I watched his video.

Yep that is one of them. I think he made two videos of wax foundation. . On one he also shows how he makes strips.  Have you watched his video about the steam wax melter? It is a good one too.


Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2020, 01:58:12 pm »
I caught a break in the weather yesterday and worked on initiating correction measures.  I pulled the worst two frames with capped brood up into a deep super and put in a QE.  I filled the rest of the super with frames/foundation to fill it appropriately.  As the other 2.5 brood frames that remained in the brood box also had built-out comb and/or patchiness, although they are minimally overbuilt compared to the two I pulled up.  I thought best to checkerboard with frames with new foundation instead of pushing together the oversized comb frames as they weren't next to each other originally and so they don't line up at all.  I'm not sure if I should have just pulled all of the offending frames up all at once or put the remaining two next to each other and just expect more bridging/burr in the next inspection while I wait on the others to emerge above..  I pulled every single frame during the inspection and removed all of the propolis they were filling between the frame bars so they now all sit together properly with the checker boarding accommodating the remaining two offending frames on the bottom.

I will followup with another inspection in 3 days in case I need to move anything around as I figure they're likely going to start drawing out the new foundations and I don't want those to be messed up by being next to the slightly oversized ones so I may rearrange them before the queen lays in them.  Is 3 days too long to prevent that?  Should I just pull up the remaining oversized frames now?  Thoughts?  At this point, my plan is to pull up the other offending frames once the first two are vacated and to adjust the new frames as needed in the meantime to prevent complications with them.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2020, 02:20:29 pm »
To help minimize this problem in your hive, and for future housekeeping in this hive, I still would do as I recommended in my reply number one. This gives you a fresh start and hopefully uniform frames to enjoy working with in this hive in the near and far future.  Just my opinnion.

Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2020, 02:29:05 pm »
I'm sorry, I feel like my thread has become actually two issues. One is the excess comb that was built beyond the frame and the pachiness of built comb which your reply #1 addresses BF, however due to the mis-spacing, most of the brood frames are overbuilt too thick to allow for proper frame spacing now.  That is why I've resorted to pulling frames up, so I can work towards replacing them without losing the brood and food.

Should I pull all of the brood frames up to the super above the QE all at once, or is it better that I've done only 1/2 and left 1/2?  I opted to leave the queen something to roam on and will bring them up after the upper two frames are vacated and they've drawn out new comb on the replacements that I checkerboarded.  Thanks in advance, BF and anyone else willing to chime in.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 03:18:50 pm by JurassicApiary »

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2020, 06:36:32 pm »
Considering your unique situation, and your frame of mind as explained, I would think what you are doing is logical and reasonable. However as you may know , any drone brood that may be in this mess will hatch and become trapped above the QE. If there is drone brood, and I think I may see some, what is your plan to work around this?

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2020, 06:40:57 pm »
Let me add, you need to make sure you have the queen located, making sure that she is not hiding between the base foundation and the offset comb that is hanging from the bar edge. You do not want to trap her above the QE either .Even if you shake these frames free of all (seen) bees she may still be attached in that area unseen and unsuspected.

Online TheHoneyPump

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2020, 07:02:09 pm »
Drones trapped above the queen excluder are easy to deal with.  Just pick a nice day and between 1pm and 2pm go take the lid off the hive and leave it off for 15 mins. Drones takeoff. Put the lid back on.  Do this once a week, or more.   Another way is just to prop the lid up on one corner for a few days.
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Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2020, 08:48:35 pm »
Thank you for the additional reply's HP & BF.  It's been a tail-between my legs moment as a beekeeper to admit to myself (and the forum) of this faux-pas, however, I feel that I have to be honest with myself and the forum to benefit and learn.  I appreciate each of you for taking your time to provide thoughts and advice on how to rectify my situation. Truly, thank you.

I re-marked the queen during yesterday's inspection as about 95% of her paint had worn off and we made an explicit point to find her one last time before applying the QE and super.  I am 100% confident she is in the brood box at this time.  BF, I will be sure to thoroughly check for her on the patchy comb, where she could easily hide as you described on my future inspections, that's a very valid point.  With all of the usual maintenance and inspection tasks taken care of yesterday, the next several closely-timed inspections will be mainly to remedy this comb issue and should be relatively quick in comparison to a thorough inspection.  I hate to burst on them so frequently, but it seems necessary to correct this swiftly.

As to the drones, yes, there is a small amount of drone brood on the frames that were pulled up into the deep super.  I figured as I was going to check on them in 3 days that I could brush them down into the lower box during that inspection, if hatched, otherwise during the next inspection a few days later.  However, HP, that idea of removing the top for ~15 min since the QE is installed and I know the queen is below for sure sounds like the way to go as I could do that in between inspections as well.  I couldn't leave it propped open as it rains almost every night here.

Again, many thanks to those who have chimed in and continue to provide insight, knowledge and encouragement.

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2020, 08:58:44 pm »
> However, HP, that idea of removing the top for ~15 min since the QE is installed and I know the queen is below for sure sounds like the way to go as I could do that in between inspections as well. 

Mr HP is a walking, breathing, talking bee encyclopedia along with Van, Iddee, Oldbeaveo, sawdstmakr, AR Beekeeper, and others. I will stop there for the long list of experts we are so very fortunate to have here, is too long.

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2020, 04:32:17 am »
To answer the unanswered question about putting all offending frames above the QE or leave some below.  I believe what you have described as done has struck a reasonable balance. Your goal is to get all wild combs up and out reach of the queen as soon as possible - above QE.  Even if you are working only with new foundation, you could move all of it up at once. Though doing all at once may be a shock to them if they are still quite small in population numbers.  Ideally, the queen will need a bit of drawn comb to start on and to -draw- more bee attentions to it. Soon as she has an area of about 6 inch round on even just one foundation frame, then you can move all of the wild comb up.  So, what you are doing is just fine - perfect actually.
If there is a good nectar flow they are bringing in, or you are feeding plenty - then yes, you will see incremental improvements at 3 days.  Over a 2 week period of TLC and coaxing, this will be all fixed up and you will not recognize the hive - it will look so nice and tidy in there.
 :cool:

Hope that helps!
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Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Inconsistant comb on foundation
« Reply #37 on: Today at 01:00:13 pm »
UPDATE:  Thanks again to all who responded.  I did two followup inspections, in 3-day increments.  The bees weren't happy, giving lots of unwanted attention, and a sting on the first visit.

During the first inspection, I noticed that most of the brood in the two frames I pulled up were still capped, however there were lots of nurse bees keeping check on them.  In the brood box below, the house bees were busy drawing out comb on the frames that I checkerboard in, so I was happy to see.  But, they weren't far enough for the queen to lay in them yet, so I left the other two offending frames in place for her to continue to lay in.

Yesterday, I paid them another visit.  Lots of love from them again (I can't say I blame them, after all, I've ripped the roof off their home and rearranged their furniture several times in the last two weeks.). About 2/3 of the brood in the super had hatched and I found a bunch of drones as expected.  I left the top off for a little bit--some flew off, and a few stayed and were on the QE trying to get down below.  I brushed them in when I removed the QE.  The new frames that they were drawing out look great and the queen has started laying in them.  As such, I pulled the last two offending frames up into the super, replaced them with new frames and voila!, all of the frames in the brood box are now correct and the headache is being relieved.  I verified the queen was in the brood box and put the QE back on and closed everything back up.  Now I'll resume regular inspections (albeit a more aggressive schedule that my monthly visit before)  :wink:  There was a small amount of large larvae, so they were likely eggs when I pulled the frames up.  Should have those ill frames out of the super in a few weeks after all have grown and hatched.  At least now the brood box is back to normal and the way it should bee.

Many thanks again.