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Author Topic: Inconsistant comb on foundation  (Read 507 times)

Offline 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 »

Offline 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 »

Offline 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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Offline 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. 

Online Ben Framed

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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.


Offline 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.

Offline 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.

Offline 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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Offline 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.

Online Ben Framed

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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.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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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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