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Author Topic: Wierd comb formation  (Read 1019 times)
brenda
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« on: June 08, 2005, 07:20:38 AM »

:?:   I have 3 new hives..1 filled with Texas bees, 2 filled with Ohio bees.  The Ohio bees are forming comb all over the place, connecting the frames within the hive, and I cannot find my "unmarked" queens in the hives.  There are a number of either drone or queen cells (protruding cells) in both these Ohio hives, and quite a bit of dark colored comb.  
 :?:  :?: Should I remove the thick comb and let the bees begin again, or should I re-queen the hives?  Or what ??  Thanks
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2005, 09:39:30 AM »

>The Ohio bees are forming comb all over the place, connecting the frames within the hive

What kind of foundation do you have?  Plastic?  None?  Wax?

What kind of combs?  Fins coming out at 90 degrees from the foundation?  Paralell combs between the frames?  Do you have ten frames tightly in the center or are they spaced out?  Are there 9 spaced out?

You'll have the best luck with 10 crowded toegether tightly in the center.  Even better with wax foundation instead of plastic.

>I cannot find my "unmarked" queens in the hives.

You can't find much of anything if it's all cross combed.

> There are a number of either drone or queen cells (protruding cells) in both these Ohio hives, and quite a bit of dark colored comb.

All comb gets darker with brood in it and darker with traffic and time.  If the cells protrude horizontally they are drones.  If they have a point that points down, they are queens.

>smiley smiley Should I remove the thick comb

How thick?  Located where?  Thick comb I'd put on the outside edges.  Paralell combs I'd remove and tie them in empty frames if they are full of brood or leave them out to be robbed if they are full of honey, pollen or just eggs.

>should I re-queen the hives?

It would take a while for requeening to have any effect on the comb drawing aspects.  The queen would have to lay eggs that get raised to beed (21 days) and then go through nursing duties and eventually get to comb building duties.  But it can make a difference.

> Or what ?? Thanks

Treat it like a cut out in a house or a tree.  Any combs that are in the frame, leave them.  If they are cross ways, (90 degrees to the foundation) remove them.  If they are paralell and long and between the frames and have brood, cut them and tie them in frames.  If they are bad comb with honey in them, just remove them.

Once it's messed up you need to get the messed up part out and get something for a pattern for them to follow to fix it.

I've only seen these problems when:

Trying to put bees on small cell plastic.

Spacing 10 frames of foundation evenly in a box, instead of crowding them to the center or, far worse, evenly spacing 9 frames of foundation in a ten frame box, or, even worse than that, spacing them evenly with plastic foundation, or even worse than that, spacing them evenly with UNWAXED plastic foundation.

Try ten frames tightly crowded to the center.  If you have plastic that is not waxed, try melting some wax and brushing it on the plastic.  If you have waxed plastic try spraying with syrup.  If you have foundationless frames or starter strips of some sort, try having a full sheet of WAX foundation in the center frame.
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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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