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bees building in comb in chaotic way  RSS feed

 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 1014
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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We are new beekeepers and because the we had them swarming we own three hives now.

1.) With all hives we have the same problem: the bees don't build their comb within the frames but diagonally glueing sevral frames together.

2.) In one hive we have a queen divider between the first and the second box. The bees do not colononize the upper box. However, there was a crack in the roof and maybe moisture went in. Is it the queen divider or was it the crack?

I am grateful for answers
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Yup its what bees due all the time ; Strangely they think they know how to behave as bees better than we do
Joking aside bees often do not venture up into the super for many reasons it could be because they have not enough pollen and honey to do so this year as the swarm is too small or they dont like the box or even some other reason unknown to either of us .
They often make bridging comb between frames to house drones queen cells or even to change the air flow in the hive. Some beekeepers destroy it others dont depends on your philosophy of keeping bees .
What type of hive have you got ?

David
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1682
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Hi Angelika, I have a few points that might help you.  Given you are talking about a new colony I presume you are somewhere in the southern hemisphere? Or at least somewhere with a warm climate? More information on this would help.

1) You do not need the queen excluder, and it can be safely removed from your hive. These are a piece of kit used extensively by commercial beekeepers that make their operations more efficient, but a small scale beekeeper should have no need for them. Their purpose is to prevent the queen laying in upper boxes, so that whole boxes can be harvested without the need to check for the queen or brood. With a small number of hives it is easy for the beekeeper to do this manually frame by frame.  Queen excluders are renowned for deterring bees from moving up to a new box. Furthermore, if this is a new colony you are unlikely to be removing honey from it this year anyway. They will probably need all their stores to build wax and make it through the winter, without a large surplus for you this year.

2) Do you have foundation in your frames, or are you attempting foundationless beekeeping? Either is valid, but there are some special techniques needed to get them drawing straight combs without foundation. Typically when you get started without foundation you will need to manually straighten a few of the combs. You can remove the whole mess from the boxes (turn them upside down on the grass if needs be and lift the box off), then use a serrated knife cut the combs so that you can bend or place them back in the frames. Use rubber bands to secure all the pieces in place. The bees will rapidly repair the damage and remove the rubber bands a few weeks later. You will have a few nice straight combs. This process is known as a CUT-OUT - there are lots of videos on youtube.

3) Once you have a few straight frames of comb it is MUCH easier to get the next ones straight. What you can do is put an empty frame between straight drawn brood combs. The bees then draw out that empty comb using the brood comb either side as a guide.

4) You can encourage them to start working on a new box by putting up a pair of brood frames to the box above. If there is no nectar flow, however, then they simply won't have the resources to make the wax needed. You may consider feeding them large quantities of sugar syrup for a few weeks to get the building up rapidly, and encourage them to make plenty of wax early on.

5) And finally, bees use gravity to ensure they build straight combs. If you want them to follow the frames make sure that you hives are dead level side to side, and that they have a very slight tilt towards the front so water drains from the floor.

Best of luck

Mike


EDIT - Blue mountains, Australia so going into summer. I don't know about your local nectar flows, but yoru colonies should be building up by now. What type of hives do you have?
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Thanks so much! Yes we are upside down but our climate is cool (Mountains). The "not moving upwards" was with the old hive. We have standard hives, because we are not big at woodworking and that is what you can buy. We will remove the queen divider as the first step.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1682
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Angelika Maier wrote:Thanks so much! Yes we are upside down but our climate is cool (Mountains). The "not moving upwards" was with the old hive. We have standard hives, because we are not big at woodworking and that is what you can buy. We will remove the queen divider as the first step.





There are other videos, but this gives the idea.
 
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