Even thought this is my first hive of bees I should have known better. I remember Michael Bush telling someone not to to put the queen cage inside of a foundationless hive or they would be likely to build crossed comb off of it. Well, I did, and they did. I'll listen next time.
If you look you can see the metal strip that the cage is hanging from in the middle of the frame.
After I cut the queen cage out and brushed off the bees you can see that they built in two different directions across the frames.
I rubber banded it to keep it from falling out, and twisted it around as straight as possible.
There was probably about 3 frames worth of beautiful new comb (I hived the package of bees one week ago today) that were running across the frames, and when I opened the hive most of it collapsed. Plus about 3/4 frame total that they had built more or less correct. I hope that I got all of it right side up at least - I doubt it though.
That nice piece there on the right actually grew there - I banded it in to keep it from falling out while I worked on the crooked one that crossed right next to it.
I never spotted the queen - she wasn't in the cage though. Hopefully she's O.K. - I was careful and the bees were really mild so the carnage wasn't too bad despite this being the first time I ever saw the inside of an active bee hive. I did a fair amount of damage to some of the comb, but considering it was only a little bit more firm than biscuit dough I think I did alright for my first time.
At the rate they were going up till now I think that the 8 frame medium they are in would've been full of comb in another week. I'm sure this is a speed bump at least, but I'm thinking I should check back in 4 days or so to make sure, and to try and find the queen. I hope this gets them going more or less straight.
By the way, thanks to everyone for all of the great information that I've been sponging. Even though this isn't what I was hoping to see the first time I opened a hive I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to try to do, and no panic occurred. No stings either. Kudos on the gentle Italian package bees from Rossman apiaries.
BTW - photography by my lovely and fearless wife Shirley who stood 15 feet away without a stitch of protective gear to take these pictures.