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Author Topic: Did I mess up?  (Read 831 times)
Highlandsfreedom
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« on: June 07, 2009, 09:21:57 PM »

I had a call for a squirrel house that has housed a colony of bees for 3 years now and it was PACKED with comb!!  I think I messed up by cutting it to fit into frames with rubberbands and I switched the direction of the comb i.e. put it in sideways.  I didn't find the queen but there were 3 queen cells on differant combs and the colony just swarmed that's why they called....  It was still a really active and FULL colony so I left the queen cells in their just in case their old queen was the one who split.  There was so much comb it completely filled 8 deep frames. shocked  That's alot for me so far no where near the amount of some of you guys but I was excited!!  I was all ready to take pics and the memory card was still plugged into the computer   embarassed  Oh well.  But will putting the comb in a differant way mess up the hive or will they go about business as usual?  There was 3-4 frames of brood.... I felt bad when I had to cut the comb some of the brood got destroyed one of the girls got her cell cut just right and she crawled out and started doing her thing on the come pretty cool!!  The lady I was setting up the have for son was about 8 and I gave him a drone to play with and he was tickled pink it was too cool.  Any way I could ramble on and on and on Ill save that for another time. 

Thanks for the advice before now and in the future!!! grin
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Bill W.
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2009, 09:31:59 PM »

You generally want the combs oriented just as they were when the bees built them.  Combs slant ever so slightly upward and uncapped nectar will leak out when the orientation is changed.  This can result in the bees absconding.

I would go back and fix it, if possible.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2009, 09:48:44 PM »

The Heddon hive was designed to flip all the comb upside down every so many days to prevent swarming.  It was apparently a popular idea and no one noticed any down side.  I wouldn't redo the comb you did.

"REVERSIBLE FRAMES.

"While the reversing of brood combs will produce no ill effects whatever, numerous are the advantages arising from such reversal; some of which aid us materially in accomplishing the desired results which are partially accomplished in the contracting system, above described.

"When using frames even no deeper than the standard Langstroth, you know how the bees (especially Italians) will persist in crowding the queen by storing honey that ought to go into the surplus department, along the upper edge of the brood combs, just under the top bar, and farther down in the upper corners, till by actual measurement we find that nearly one-fourth of each frame, and sometimes more, is occupied with honey.

"Now if we reverse the frame containing a comb so tilled, we place the honey in an unusual position; in a place usually occupied with brood, and when this is done in the breeding season, when the bees are not inclined to decrease their quantity of brood, this honey will be immediately removed to the surplus department, and soon the frame will be one solid sheet of brood, which is a glad sight to the bee-keeper whose experience has taught him the value of a compact brood nest, free from honey."

Success in Beeculture by James Heddon Pg 85



It seemed a pretty common subject:

"REVERSIBLE BROOD FRAMES.

"The engraving represents the reversible brood-frame made by Mr. James Heddon. Many devices have been presented to reverse the frames, but this is as good as any, where reversing is desired."

Bees and honey, or, The management of an apiary for pleasure and profit by Thomas G. Newman pg 44
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Michael Bush
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Bill W.
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2009, 09:52:42 PM »

Interesting.  It is amazing how often "common knowledge" turns out to be mythology.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2009, 10:20:07 PM »

Interesting.  It is amazing how often "common knowledge" turns out to be mythology.

Common Knowledge = Urban Legends
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2009, 11:28:08 PM »

"Now if we reverse the frame containing a comb so tilled, we place the honey in an unusual position; in a place usually occupied with brood, and when this is done in the breeding season, when the bees are not inclined to decrease their quantity of brood, this honey will be immediately removed to the surplus department, and soon the frame will be one solid sheet of brood, which is a glad sight to the bee-keeper whose experience has taught him the value of a compact brood nest, free from honey."


I like to make things as easy on the bees as possible, those that have been removed from a void space by the act of a cut out are imo, going through some level of stress, some more so than others.

When comb sections are moved and secured between frames, the bees have to secure them, clean house (remove damaged larvae, clean spilled honey, fight off possible invaders such as ants, etc...)

My mind tells me securing comb sections directionally as they were oriented in the hive is the least destructive method to a colony that is acclimating itself to its new quarters.

The above quoted paragraph says the bees immediately remove the honey to another area, when comb sections are reversed.

 Why give them extra work to do on top of everything else going on as they acclimate?

When I hear of colonies absconding after being transferred to a new set up one of the first things mentioned as to what may have gone wrong was comb sections were put in any which way, the other is a messy hive from honey drippings.


...JP
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2009, 06:02:40 AM »

I'm not suggesting reversing.  I'm showing that it was a common practice with some effects.  I think it's the same thing that happens when you reverse brood chambers with brood in both boxes.  But what I am suggesting is that I have seen them store honey in upside down comb.  They keep it in by surface tension.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BurrOnGlass.JPG

I'm also not suggesting that I think you shouldn't put the comb in the frames the way you found it.  I think it's a nice idea that often doesn't work because of the way the comb runs in the wall.   But I definitely wouldn't redo what is already done.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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