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Author Topic: Natural comb, new beginnings  (Read 3515 times)
Joseph Clemens
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« on: February 28, 2008, 06:04:45 PM »

As I am building up my production hives I have been using an "empty" super above my shim upper entrances in order to provide space for my metal paint can syrup feeders and secondly for pollen substitute that I feed from paper plates filled with the patty and then inverted over the frames in the super below. I begin filling this super with comb, beginning with a comb on opposite sides of the previously empty super, then adding combs on each side until the only space remaining is just enough to comfortably fit the syrup feeder cans. Several hives that are moderately strong have been using the additional combs, but seem more interested in building their own. The image linked below shows several of these combs, each created overnight by these hives (some are very small cell, most are drone size range). The majority have some honey or pollen stored in them and most have the remaining open cells filled with eggs. It seems like this new comb, just being constructed is a queen magnet:

« Last Edit: February 28, 2008, 08:40:16 PM by Joseph Clemens » Logged


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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2008, 08:04:44 PM »

Wow,They can do one of those overnight??? I am glad I went with starter strips!!


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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2008, 08:34:43 PM »

The small cell is reason enough to go without foundation. I hope mine are smart enough to build straight!  Undecided
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2008, 08:35:36 PM »

Oh my goodness, thats amazing!  Annette, I think I'm going your direction, glad you ask all your questions so I don't have to!  Been waffling between med 10 & 8 equipment but not getting any younger, short & already blown out my shoulders once so lighter will be better! Since I'm getting new bees gonna just put em in small cell to start with, they should adapt (I think?? huh)  I can't see starting with one way & changing later.  I might as well learn the way I want to go instead of one way then another...hopefully my bees will cooperate!
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2008, 08:37:19 PM »

It looks like they cheated and used some old beeswax mixed with new. This behavior has inspired me to give several hives more frames with just starter strips. I find that new comb built on plastic or beeswax foundation is of amazing construction and looks lovely, but free-style comb has even more charm.

If you look closely at these examples you can see pollen in the one located upper-left in the photo, and some honey (sugar syrup) is visible near the top of the comb (that is the largest in this group) in the lower-right.
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2008, 10:03:16 PM »

The small cell is reason enough to go without foundation. I hope mine are smart enough to build straight!  Undecided


If the colony contains a good queen they will build straight comb.





....JP
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2008, 11:36:36 PM »

Great photos JP. You can really see what they do in the wild. I am just taking it slow and easy and introducing the starter strips every few weeks into the broodnest. Whatever they do, they do. Meaning whatever size they want to make, they make. Eventually they will start to regress as they make the comb over and over again.

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« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2008, 01:30:34 AM »

JP,
Nice photos. Seeing feral honeybee colonies, in all their amazing glory, is what began my own interest in honeybees back when I was in first grade.

Here is what a medium comb of mesquite honey looks like when the comb is initiated with a small starter strip:
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2008, 05:53:44 AM »

Hey Joseph, what about using foundation as a starter strip? I was thinking, I could just simply cut the foundation and secure it in place but have say a strip that drops down perhaps an inch from the top bar. Don't see why this wouldn't work. Anyone ever try this?

....JP
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« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2008, 06:13:25 AM »

I think it would work okay. If you were going to do this ,perhaps use a small cell starter strip. I think Robo uses coroplast as a starter strip.(Plastic cardboard like they use for political signs)!
 See ya in chat JP!
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« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2008, 06:42:16 AM »

Yeah Ken, think I'll do some experimenting and will see you in chat, that's a roger on that.

....JP
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« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2008, 07:36:43 AM »

The small cell is reason enough to go without foundation. I hope mine are smart enough to build straight!  Undecided

If the colony contains a good queen they will build straight comb.

Not always. The will build comb according to the space they have. And how to best support it.
More ofter if the space is large enough it will have a shape like a sideways S with at least one run that crosses it at an odd angle. That is why sometimes on a cut out the pieces don't always want to fit nicely into the frame.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2008, 07:57:40 AM »

Hey Joseph, what about using foundation as a starter strip? I was thinking, I could just simply cut the foundation and secure it in place but have say a strip that drops down perhaps an inch from the top bar. Don't see why this wouldn't work. Anyone ever try this?

....JP
The comb full of honey in the photo above was started with a 1/2" strip of foundation. I set it into the groove on the top bar, then dribble some molten beeswax, let it cool and it is fastened into position. Being the groove is about 3/8" deep, that leaves about 1/8" exposed as a starter -- it works.
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2008, 09:46:22 AM »

Joseph, you got some pretty cool pictures going on there, yeah!!!  Good for you.

Jody, you are me are twins.  I have had rotator cuff surgery (radical) on my left shoulder, it is the strongest it has ever been.....had it done arthroscopically in 2006 (9 months after I got the bees).  It was severely injured in a fall, slipping on my kitchen floor from wet kids dripping water from the pool, eeeks.....sorry, didn't mean to get off topic with Joseph's thread, sorry, but you know me, bad girl,  shocked  Have a wonderful and beautifully great day, love our great planet we all share, Earth.  Cindi
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« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2008, 10:07:05 AM »

The small cell is reason enough to go without foundation. I hope mine are smart enough to build straight!  Undecided


If the colony contains a good queen they will build straight comb.


Not always. The will build comb according to the space they have. And how to best support it.
More ofter if the space is large enough it will have a shape like a sideways S with at least one run that crosses it at an odd angle. That is why sometimes on a cut out the pieces don't always want to fit nicely into the frame.

Sincerely,
Brendhan


Brendhan, I was primarily referring to what they should do inside a hive body, according to the fatbeeman a sign of a good queen is straight comb at least inside a hive body. Will have to ask him his opinion about straight comb in feral hives, but I see your point and have seen your point. Are you familiar with the once a yr test Don does with shallow frames for determining good queens?





....JP

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« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2008, 10:20:24 AM »

ok, first cup of coffee, but i don't see the problem.  where are they buiding this stuff? in the frames?
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« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2008, 01:14:03 PM »

I am not familiar with Don's test. But I would love to know it.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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JP
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« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2008, 02:01:55 PM »

I am not familiar with Don's test. But I would love to know it.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

Once a yr Don places an empty shallow frame in the broodnest. According to Don, if the bees draw straight comb with worker cells, with no or very little drone cell, good queen, keep. Cross comb or lots of drone cells bad queen, replace.

....JP
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« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2008, 03:07:17 PM »

I am not familiar with Don's test. But I would love to know it.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

Once a yr Don places an empty shallow frame in the broodnest. According to Don, if the bees draw straight comb with worker cells, with no or very little drone cell, good queen, keep. Cross comb or lots of drone cells bad queen, replace.

....JP

Hmm, I wouldn't worry if the hive had drone cells. She might have a reason for it. But if it were nothing but drone cells than I might have to raise an eyebrow. The cross comb as indicative of a bad queen doesn't bother me so much. Because it is the workers who build the comb not the queen. And if they are building cross comb I am not sure I see it as a bad thing.
Just a pain in the butt when I am going into a hive. I don't view all burr comb as a bad thing. I see it sometimes as an oppurtunity for closer examination. Also bees don't build hives because we hand them a set of drawings. They build for strength. Cross members are usually there for reinforcment of a load. And when I have to pry a hive frame apart I can see that it is working as a reinforcement member.


Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2008, 03:41:43 PM »

Yes, the workers build the crosscomb but who makes the workers? What we see as reenforcement Don sees as a pain in the butt. I can appreciate bee's ability to build something livable and usable in what space they have to work with. But, crosscombs can make it difficult to work hives the way most want to.


....JP
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« Reply #20 on: February 29, 2008, 04:06:45 PM »

Bee bud of mine in Florida has tried the starter strips in std. Dadent med. frames in his lang hive and said he loved it.

He could either harvest as cut comb honey and sell at a premium or he has uncapped them, spun in a regular extractor and says they came out in as good as shape as his foundation combs did.
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« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2008, 08:50:23 AM »

I think it would work okay. If you were going to do this ,perhaps use a small cell starter strip. I think Robo uses coroplast as a starter strip.(Plastic cardboard like they use for political signs)!
 See ya in chat JP!


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« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2008, 09:23:22 AM »

Cindi, Jody...it is my right shoulder  Cry

Joseph, awesome photos!

So far the bees I have are drawing straight..yay
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« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2008, 09:29:47 AM »

Cindi, Jody...it is my right shoulder  Cry

Joseph, awesome photos!

So far the bees I have are drawing straight..yay
I wonder if it is Jody's left shoulder too?  Beautiful day in this great life.  Cindi
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« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2008, 09:37:20 AM »

I think it would work okay. If you were going to do this ,perhaps use a small cell starter strip. I think Robo uses coroplast as a starter strip.(Plastic cardboard like they use for political signs)!
 See ya in chat JP!


http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=13296.msg93462#msg93462


Hey Rob, I have been using plasticell to make strips from as I have a bunch of it and the bees are drawing it fine. I also have a bunch of the colorplast signs. Do you secure the strips or do they secure themselves by friction and a good push?

I like the wire idea, almost to the bottom right?


...JP
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« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2008, 10:01:49 AM »

Do you secure the strips or do they secure themselves by friction and a good push?
I use grooved top bars and the coroplast strips slide in nicely, but not tight enough to hold them.  I use my air staple and just put one staple horizontally thru the top bar to hold the strip until they start building.  Works great, the coroplast is stiff enough and strong enough that the staples don't tear thru.  No issues with strips falling out like with foundation
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I like the wire idea, almost to the bottom right?

Ya, it's extra work, but the added strength is worth it.  I hate dealing with comb falling out. 
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« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2008, 10:13:36 AM »

Do you secure the strips or do they secure themselves by friction and a good push?
I use grooved top bars and the coroplast strips slide in nicely, but not tight enough to hold them.  I use my air staple and just put one staple horizontally thru the top bar to hold the strip until they start building.  Works great, the coroplast is stiff enough and strong enough that the staples don't tear thru.  No issues with strips falling out like with foundation
Quote
I like the wire idea, almost to the bottom right?

Ya, it's extra work, but the added strength is worth it.  I hate dealing with comb falling out. 

I've been securing the plasticell in the groove top with my brad gun, so slippage hasn't been an issue. Think I'll start wiring though so I can be more like you! I wanna be more like you Rob! grin Take the compliment, take the compliment! Wink


...JP
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2008, 11:41:08 AM »

You don't need anything more than a popcicle stick or two to get them started, just a center guide of some type.  All of my frames are beveled on the tablesaw before assembly.  Just rip one side on a 45 degree angle and break the wedge out of the other side.  The bees do the rest.  Like the middle frame pictured.  It's much quicker than adding strips...

And you get nice clean wax....


That's all I have done for 5 years now.  Bees are healthy and productive.  The bees draw cells depending on what they need at the moment.  Usually they draw some drone first because they don't have any.  I just slide it to the outside.  After that they draw worker for the brood nest or larger for honey storage.  You can extract it if it's attached on 3 sides.  Soft new comb needs to harden a bit.
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2008, 12:45:21 PM »

I have been doing the starter strips using the small cell foundation from Dadant. I melt them in using beeswax following Linda's website on using the wax tube fastener.

They have drawn them all out straight and strong on all 3 sides. Many ways to work this.

Annette
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2008, 08:46:06 PM »

I followed someones advice. Just broke the wedge loose turned in down (like a popscicle stick) and nailed. Only did a few but they eventually drew them out fine. Was a bad year here last year for drawing comb and I did not feed.
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