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Author Topic: Can you spare some comb?  (Read 3690 times)
showme714
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« on: March 04, 2011, 11:29:36 PM »

I'm a newb with a freshly made TBH preparing for the arrival of my first package. My biggest fear is that the new bees may abscond. Is there anyone near me in Lithonia, Georgia that can spare some comb to help me prepare my new hive? Your help and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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CAHighwind
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 12:24:45 AM »

Howdy there,
I'm not in your area but I just wanted to say that even without any old comb in there they'll more than likely stay.  My first hive I set up last year was a top bar as well, and I just dumped the bees in, gave them a feeder between the pusher board and entrance, and they were happy as could be and took off at a running start.  As long as you put the hive in a nice spot and have the queen in there with the others, they should be more than happy to stay.  I left my queen in the cage she was in with the package and before she and the bees chewed her out of the cage, the others had already built up some considerable chunks of comb.  They can get to going pretty dang fast.
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 12:36:06 AM »

As CA mentioned if you feed them and keep the queen caged for a day or two, they should stay in the set up.

I routinely cage queens I've caught with swarms and leave them caged for a day or two and feed the heck out of the bees. They will take feed unless there is a good flow on but still offer them feed.

After a day or two I release the queen.

I rarely have them leave after that.

Your queen will be mated so you could in fact leave her caged longer than a few days but if you do, expect them to build a good bit of comb around/on the cage.


...JP
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showme714
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2011, 01:22:59 AM »

Thanks for the responses guys. I feel better already. I built a simple TBH feeder that I will share as soon as I am allowed to post pictures.
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CAHighwind
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2011, 06:17:27 PM »

No problem... I was in the same "Pre-Bee" anxiety phase before I installed my first packages, but it all ended up just fine.  I think everyone has to go through it as some right of passage.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2011, 07:53:11 PM »

Ditto to the others. I've not had mine leave, even the first year when the hives were brand spankin' new Smiley
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tillie
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2011, 08:34:41 PM »

You can also use lemon grass oil or a mixture of lemon grass oil, beeswax and olive oil to smear on the inside of the hive - that seems to help them want to stay even if you don't have old comb.

Linda in Atlanta
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showme714
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2011, 11:32:03 PM »

You can also use lemon grass oil or a mixture of lemon grass oil, beeswax and olive oil to smear on the inside of the hive - that seems to help them want to stay even if you don't have old comb.

Linda in Atlanta

Thanks Linda. My bees came today. I installed my first package and all seems well so far. No problems with installation. I did have lemongrass oil in the hive and I put beeswax on the guides of the top bars. The bees were orienting within about 10-15 minutes after installation. I built an observation window on one side of the hive. As it is nightfall now, the bees are in a nice big ball around the bar where the queen is hanging.

I left the bees to release the queen. So I will check them again on Wednesday. They have a quart and a half of sugar water which I'll check tomorrow. The backyard is full of honeysuckle. I don't know if they like that and my vegetables in the greenhouse are starting to bloom so we will see how that goes. Thanks to everyone who answered questions for me in helping me get started.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2011, 12:09:50 AM »

I wouldn't have put the cage in and I would get the cage out as quickly as you can.  A cage hanging from the bars leads to messed up comb.  One messed up comb leads to more messed up comb...

I wouldn't change it now, but I wouldn't have put the wax on the bars.  You can't attach the wax as well as the bees and it will do nothing to keep them on (nor anything to lead them off) of the guides.  A good guide is just as effective without the wax.

The most important thing to grasp with any natural comb hive is that one good comb leads to another in the same way that one bad comb leads to another.  You cannot afford to not be paying attention to how they start off.  The most common cause of a mess of comb is leaving the queen cage in as they always start the first comb from that and then the mess begins.  I can't believe how many people want to "play it safe" and hang the queen cage.  They obviously can't grasp that it is almost a guarantee of failure to get the first comb started right, which without intervention is guaranteed to mean every comb in the hive will be messed up.  Once you have a mess the most important thing is to make sure the LAST comb is straight as this is always the guide for the NEXT comb.  You can't take a "hopeful" view that the bees will get back on track.  They will not.  You have to put them back on track.
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Michael Bush
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showme714
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2011, 02:02:05 AM »

Well, thanks for beating the newbie up Michael Bush! I can't believe how many people say just the opposite of what you just said. I haven't come across anyone so far that said doing what I did caused all that you say it will. So, I guess personal experience will be the best teacher. I wish you had kept all that to yourself. I was apprehensive enough as it was, especially after reading what Linda wrote about her TBH.

Linda, if you are reading this, did you hang your queen or did the bees just make messed up comb on there own?
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tillie
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2011, 10:39:40 PM »

Those are two different questions. 

1. 
Quote
did you hang your queen

At the beginning last year I did make the mistake of hanging the queen cage and the bees did exactly what Michael said and built comb all around it and went from there. 

However, the brood comb from last year got straight because I took out the bad comb and the queen cage and they built straight comb after that.

2. 
Quote
did the bees just make messed up comb on there own?

My problems now are not with crooked comb - the comb is straight for the most part - it's with adhesion to the sides and my having to learn how to detach the comb from the side before trying to lift the top bar.

The mess I have now is the the honey comb and it is messy also because I made a different mistake - not because of the queen cage, but I put old comb into the hive to keep the bees there - I tied it in with kitchen twine and the bees ate through some of the twine and the old comb fell to the floor of the hive.  I couldn't see it down there through the mass of bees and it stayed there all winter, attached to the screened floor by the bees.

The first messy honey comb that was adhered to the sides and bottom was adhered to the old comb on the bottom so even if I loosened the comb from the hive sides, it still was connected to the old comb on the hive bottom.

BTW, Michael is a wise and caring beekeeper and so far he's never said anything on this forum that I found to be wrong.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2011, 10:39:55 PM »

>Well, thanks for beating the newbie up Michael Bush!

It's not my intention to beat anyone up.  I am sorry if you got that impression as it was certainly not my intention.

> I can't believe how many people say just the opposite of what you just said.

Neither can I.  Which is exactly why I said it.  But then most of the people saying the opposite are not doing top bar hives.  I hate to see a newbee get one bad comb which leads to another which leads to an entire hive full of messed up comb.  I will do my best to try to help people avoid that mess.

>I haven't come across anyone so far that said doing what I did caused all that you say it will.

And most of them don't have top bar hives and the results even on foundation will still be that the first comb will be wasted because it is drawn on the queen cage, but at least with foundation it the wall of wax between that comb and the next gap will "reset" things back on track if the frames are tightly together in the center.

> So, I guess personal experience will be the best teacher.

Yes it will.  You may get lucky or you may get the cage out soon and straighten things soon.  I'm not trying to offer discouragement, I'm trying to offer good advice.

> I wish you had kept all that to yourself.

Why?  You prefer to end up with a messed up hive?  I certainly understand why people do what they do, it's because everyone keeps telling them it's the "right thing" and they have no frame of reference.  But the people telling them are usually not experienced with foundationless and top bar hives and only think they have a frame of reference.

> I was apprehensive enough as it was, especially after reading what Linda wrote about her TBH.

It was not my intention to make anyone apprehensive.  It was my intention to clearly communicate what you need to do and what others should try to do and avoid doing.  I hate to have a frustrated newbee with a hive full of messed up comb and they don't have the experience to handle the issue.  It's not just the queen cage issue, it's the concept that one good comb leads to another good comb and one bad comb leads to another bad comb and that the typical newbee "hopeful" view that the bees will get back on track will not work when it comes to messed up comb.   Most things the bees will sort out on their own.  And form their point of view this isn't even a problem.  I hate to hear people saying how frustrated they are that the hive is all messed up when it's not difficult to avoid.

I wish you all the best.

http://bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
http://bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
http://bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm
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Michael Bush
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kathyp
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2011, 11:12:20 PM »

showme714 this is just a general comment about this board and advice.  if you don't want it, don't ask for it.  people here spend a lot of time trying to help people get started right.  Michael has written huge amounts on all kinds of stuff and shares his knowledge FOR FREE. 

you will find that there are many opinions on how to do things.  when you ask a question, you'll get lots of advice.  it's up to you to figure out what will work for you.  if you only want advice that agrees with what you are doing...
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2011, 12:21:51 AM »

As far as the original question of absconding.  Bees usually like anything that is wood, dark inside and an appropriate volume.  The lemongrass oil could be done as Linda said, and if they were all clustering on the outside I might do it, but it's probably not necessary otherwise.  But it's worth having some lemongrass essential oil around in case such a situation arises.
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Michael Bush
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showme714
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2011, 03:01:01 PM »

To Michael Bush: Don't get me wrong. I did appreciate the advice and it was my intention to put a smiley face after saying I wish you had kept that info to yourself. I think you did understand that and my apprehension. Thanks again for looking out for the newbies. The queen is out but so far no comb is being built. The bees are gentle though and don't seem stressed.

To KathyP: I know what this board is for and everyone understands FREE. Thank you. You always misunderstand what I have to say. Is it you or is it me?  Lips Sealed
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bulldog
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2011, 11:01:18 AM »

thanks for the info michael. i just hived a package into a top bar for the first time this spring also. i'll heed that advice for next time, however, i did exactly what i shouldn't have, but i guess i got lucky. i attached the queen cage with some strips of duct tape, but the bees chewed it loose and it ended up on the bottom of the hive. before or after they released the queen ? i have no clue, but they began drawing some perfectly straight combs.  my top bars are solid pieces milled for a guide with no wax. the bees knew what to do.

showme, i understand your apprehension. not all the advice we newbees get is going to make us feel better, but some of the people here have decades of hands on experience as opposed to reading a book or two like myself. we're going to make mistakes, i've made several already. try not  to take it personally. you might do everything the way you think it's supposed to be done and end up with a mess anyway. you could do everything wrong and the bees are fine in spite of it. in the end, it's all up to the bees.
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showme714
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2011, 03:46:53 PM »

Thanks Bulldog. I know. I hope your hive does well. I have Italians. What type of bees did you get?
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bulldog
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2011, 12:30:16 AM »

the package i just got is italians. the nuc i got last year i have no idea. the queen appears to be darker, possibly carniolan
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2011, 01:43:59 PM »

The queen is out but so far no comb is being built.

In two days time, there still isnt any comb being built?
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showme714
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2011, 08:57:52 PM »

The queen is out but so far no comb is being built.


In two days time, there still isnt any comb being built?


They didn't seem to like the feeder I built. Two days after installation I checked for the queen being released and she had but they weren't interested in the feeder. I changed it out for another I made like this one (http://www.collinsbeefeeder.com/About_the_Feeder.html) and they went to town. Amazing how fast they can build comb. They ate about 1/3 of the sugar water in 24 hours and started 3 bars of comb. I will check the feeder tomorrow and the hive again next Wednesday. All is well.
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