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Author Topic: Comb age & egg laying  (Read 3790 times)
Hemlock
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« on: February 21, 2011, 03:53:29 PM »

Do queens care about the age of the comb when it comes to laying eggs?

...Meaning do they prefer: old comb, over new comb, or Vice Versa, or neither.
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 05:52:06 PM »

They don't care until it gets so old it is too small for the brood.
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Countryboy
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 07:40:08 PM »

They will often cross several fresh white combs to get to an old black comb to lay in it first.  I've heard that it may be partly due to black holding the heat better for raising brood.  (This may just be a factor in cold northern locations too.)

Their 2nd choice is a comb with empty cells.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 09:49:06 PM »

In my observation, they seem to  like both brand new comb and really old and are less attracted to stuff in between...
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Hemlock
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2011, 09:42:09 AM »

I have 1 queen laying in the oldest comb in the hive.  That's why i asked.

Thanks all.
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greenbtree
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2011, 10:00:07 AM »

Iddee, question - why does old comb get too small to lay in?  Shrinkage?  Build up of crud on walls of cells?  Just rampantly curious...

JC
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2011, 11:07:30 AM »

They don't care until it gets so old it is too small for the brood.

When cells are very old, bees bite them down and make new.  They will be never too small.
They do the same if mould has spoiled cells.
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iddee
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2011, 11:20:34 AM »

Each time a bee emerges, they leave a cocoon in the cell. These cocoons build up to make the cell smaller. Finski may be right about them tearing them down and rebuilding when they get too small. Although, when you render very old comb, very little wax is gotten. I think it is because the cocoons replace the wax as more bees emerge from the cells. When all the wax is gone, the cell becomes too small. At this time, the bees may well rebuild them.
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 11:29:18 AM »

.
If you see on bottom like coffee grains, it is teared old cells.
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Acebird
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2011, 02:59:30 PM »

I saw a frame of brood comb that had foundation in it.  The bees built drone cells in both lower corners of the frame even though the foundation was standard size.  I also thought it was odd that the bees chewed out the sides and the bottom of the foundation for about a 1/2 inch.  At first I thought it was a foundationless frame.  It made an impression on me that the bees are going to do what ever they want no matter what you tell them or show them.
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edward
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2011, 03:51:54 PM »

the bees are going to do what ever they want no matter what you tell them or show them.

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Countryboy
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2011, 09:24:46 PM »

I've seen some really old comb before.  If you cut a cross section of the comb, the bottoms of the cells are much thicker than the cell walls.  Bees may be able to chew out the cell diameter, but I don't think they mess with the bottom of the cell as much.
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Acebird
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2011, 08:40:52 AM »

Speaking of cell walls, the cell walls of the drone cells were 3 or 4 times as thick as the regular cells by eye.
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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2011, 08:50:07 AM »

Bees may be able to chew out the cell diameter, but I don't think they mess with the bottom of the cell as much.

I don't think because I have seen what they do. They for example clean the comb up to foundation.
All what they feel bad, they chew away.

It is useual that bees brake tha comb figure when they want to make drone cells. It happens in cold parts of hive like in foundation which is towards the box wall. That is why I do not put foundation against the box wall at the beginning of summer.
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greenbtree
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2011, 09:51:10 AM »

So, Finsky, are you saying you don't put NEW UNDRAWN foundation next to hive wall at beginning of Summer or drawn frames?  Or neither, just leave the space open at first?

JC
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2011, 09:26:10 PM »

That is why I do not put foundation against the box wall at the beginning of summer.

Here, I will put an undrawn frame in an outside position at the beginning of summer as swarm control for overwintered hives I'm running for honey as singles.  If I am slow checking on hives, giving them a frame to draw out can give me a couple more days before they try to swarm.
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Finski
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2011, 01:39:53 AM »

So, Finsky, are you saying you don't put NEW UNDRAWN foundation next to hive wall at beginning of Summer or drawn frames?  Or neither, just leave the space open at first?

JC

Good heavens!

I say that quite often bees spoil the foundation when they tend to make in cold place their drone cells.

I have my store full of drawn frames in early summer.

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Finski
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2011, 01:42:37 AM »


Here, I will put an undrawn frame in an outside position at the beginning of summer as swarm control for overwintered hives I'm running for honey as singles.  If I am slow checking on hives, giving them a frame to draw out can give me a couple more days before they try to swarm.

That surely not help. One frame do not save yoou from swarming.

When bees have swarming fever they do not draw foundations. They just wait to go.

Bees need weekly a box of  new room when the hive enlarges.  In best cases they need 2 new boxes.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2011, 10:00:18 AM »


Here, I will put an undrawn frame in an outside position at the beginning of summer as swarm control for overwintered hives I'm running for honey as singles.  If I am slow checking on hives, giving them a frame to draw out can give me a couple more days before they try to swarm.

That surely not help. One frame do not save yoou from swarming.

When bees have swarming fever they do not draw foundations. They just wait to go.

Bees need weekly a box of  new room when the hive enlarges.  In best cases they need 2 new boxes.


There should be at least 2 new frames of foundation in each box of the brood chamber for there to be any affect to prevent swarming.  In a ten frame hive there are usually 6-8 frames of brood with the 2 outer brood frames predominately drone comb.  To prevent swarming a 3rd box should be added with frames barrowed from it to displace frames in the brood chamber. set up the two primary brood boxes thusly: CCFCCCCFCC*; then set up the new box this way: FFFCCCCFFF.  A week to 10 days later, set the brood chamber up this way: CCFFCCFFCC followed by CCFFFFFFCC the next week. The third week it is necessary to add a 4th box in order to rotate new frames in.  Then continue until all of the old frames in the brood box are changed out.  This is also a good way to retire old brood comb frames.

* C=frames with comb, F=frames of foundation.

The queen will often go to the new frames and start laying in the cell imprints, forcing the worker bees to kick the building of foundation into high gear.  Also this will expand the hive greatly as the equivalent of at least 3 boxes of brood in the later stages of the rotation/exchange of combs.  Then use queen excluders to isolate the queen, remove that box as a split, taking 2 frames of new eggs for the old hive to make a new queen with.  Super both hives at the time of the split.

You now have 2 strong hives with one a controlled swarm (walk away split).  Of course if you don't want to wait for the hive to rear its own queen you can always use a purchased queen or one you reared yourself.
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Acebird
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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2011, 11:47:46 AM »

Yeah Brian, I have been waiting for a post like this but I have a complication, I think.  I have one hive and I want to grow to two.  The brood chamber is two deeps high and my supers are mediums.  I want to end up with one deep under each hive at the end of the split process so can I use your scheme on the mother hive putting a medium between the two deeps that I have?

As much as I hate to use foam in my hive can I add a piece to my medium frames so when I put them in a deep box the bees cannot continue building something underneath the medium frames?
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