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Author Topic: creative bees  (Read 1303 times)

Offline carver37

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creative bees
« on: June 26, 2011, 11:44:40 AM »
Two top bar hives - one lang - first year.  One top bar hive has creative (and persistent) bees.  Last week, through the window, I saw a comb on the floor and up a inch or two on the side.  It was under a brood comb and two honeycombs.  I went it, unattached it and hung it from a top bar with a hair clip.  They've spent the week attaching it to the top bar and building it out.  Going to be another honeycomb.  This morning, another comb on the floor - not in the same place.  In 24 hours they built a comb - it's about half full of nectar and some of that is capped.  What is going on?  Why are they doing this?  They get pretty protective/upset/downright mad that I don't appreciate their construction - and I'm rather frustrated.
Why are building comb horizontally?



Offline VolunteerK9

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Re: creative bees
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 04:32:58 PM »
I dont know, but after reading several similiar posts, I have decided to not try out topbars for myself. Tillie, a well respected member on here, was at one time about to light a match under hers I think. Ill just continue to intersperse some foundationless frames for my natural comb pleasure. Are you using some type of starter strip on your top bars?

Offline carver37

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Re: creative bees
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2011, 04:43:15 PM »
All the bars have natural wax applied to the center 'drop'.  No problem building combs on them until last week when they found the floor more appealing.

Offline caticind

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Re: creative bees
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2011, 01:34:43 PM »
So wait, are you saying that they are building combs perpendicular to gravity??  Have never heard of that.

Most likely would be that it is very hot there and that the new combs are falling off your bars to the floor.  This can happen in hot weather and especially if bars are coated in wax - when you brush it on it does not adhere as well as the bees can manage and sometimes comes loose under strain.

Two things to check: 
1) Heat & ventilation in the hive
2) Are your combs collapsing?
The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest

Offline G3farms

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Re: creative bees
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2011, 04:28:32 PM »
maybe your hive is actually sitting on its side and the bees are waiting for you sit it up right :evil: :evil: :-D :-D
see my swarms and cut outs at

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!

Offline TwoHoneys

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Re: creative bees
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2011, 07:32:05 AM »
I dont know, but after reading several similiar posts, I have decided to not try out topbars for myself. Tillie, a well respected member on here, was at one time about to light a match under hers I think. Ill just continue to intersperse some foundationless frames for my natural comb pleasure. Are you using some type of starter strip on your top bars?

VolunteerK9, I strongly encourage you to give TBH a try despite what you've heard (Tillie, too! Try it again!). I installed my first TBH with packaged bees in April. Two of my first-year-beekeeping mentees did the same. Each of us also installed packages in several Langstroth hives, and I have to say that all the TBHs are way outperforming those bees in Langs. It surprises me that they're doing so well because I half expected not to like the TBH experience. But I do. Each of us quickly constructed another TBH and plan to increase TBHs in the beeyards in coming years. We're all hooked.

I followed Michael Bush's suggestions for modifying the TBH plans found on his website...this modification not only allows me to exchange top bars (which are 19"...same as Lang frames) with Lang frames when necessary, but the additional width has kept the bees (so far) from attaching comb to the sides.

Suggested-modification thread: http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,30309.msg256048.html#msg256048

I'm a sucker for ugly, so I'm thrilled that I can make my TBHs from inexpensive cedar fencing and used corrugated aluminum from an old barn roof for a lid.



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Offline tillie

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Re: creative bees
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2011, 08:10:23 AM »
I think it sounds like your combs are breaking off and falling to the bottom because of heat and then the bees are making do with them by building up the sides.  

You might consider moving the hive.  I think mine, where the same thing happens, is in a place where it's too hot.  

Right now with my TBH I am a bee-haver rather than a beekeeper.  I'm letting it do whatever it wants until I move in July.  Then my daughter is renting out her house to tenants who don't want the beehive in the back yard so I'm going to move the whole thing like a cut out into a Langstroth (or two) on July 16 and then move the hive to my new house.  

This time I'm planning to situate it in a partially shaded location.  It's way too hot in Atlanta to have a top bar in full sun.  And I'll start over with new bees in it next year.

Linda T in Atlanta
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 08:58:49 AM by tillie »
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Offline luvin honey

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Re: creative bees
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2011, 08:03:15 PM »
So wait, are you saying that they are building combs perpendicular to gravity??  Have never heard of that.

Most likely would be that it is very hot there and that the new combs are falling off your bars to the floor.  This can happen in hot weather and especially if bars are coated in wax - when you brush it on it does not adhere as well as the bees can manage and sometimes comes loose under strain.

Two things to check: 
1) Heat & ventilation in the hive
2) Are your combs collapsing?
That would be my guess, too. I've only had topbars 3 years now, but I've only seen small spots of "domed" comb being built on the floor--never an entire comb. In this heat, especially with the weight of brood, pollen or honey, combs collapse quite easily.
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson