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Author Topic: Will bees add to previously built comb?  (Read 1628 times)
woollybee
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« on: July 19, 2011, 02:06:35 PM »

Hello beekeepers,

Here is the situation: (And, please be tolerant of my need to experiment.) The brood nest of this hive consists of two medium boxes with ten frames in the upper one. I took out the bottom pieces on all ten frames, so they are open at the bottom. The purpose of this was to give the bees a chance  to make large combs, hanging down into the two boxes. Since I am not intending to ever open up the brood nest there should not be a problem with the size of the comb. At this point I see that almost all frames have comb built on them, and I am concerned that the bees don't have enough space. Therefore I was going to add a third box (no frames) underneath the two that are there to enlarge the space. Here is the question: Will the bees actually add to the bottom of the existing brood comb? Or can I at this point only add another box WITH frames?

Any answers to this question or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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sc-bee
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 02:13:57 PM »

You did not have to take off the bottom bars, they would have drawn right off the bar to the empty space below. At least they will on a shallow placed in a deep etc.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 02:16:10 PM »

Hi, woollybee!  I have to ask, why do you never plan on getting into your brood boxes?  

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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 02:37:24 PM »

you have decided to provide a place for the bees, but not to be a beekeeper.  fair enough.  you can add whatever you want.  the bees will adapt and since you are not going to get in there, it doesn't matter if what they build is inaccessible or messy.

?s:  how will you know if they need feeding?  are you ok with them swarming out a few times a year?  how will you know if they have SHB, mite infestation, or other disease?  
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 03:24:31 PM »

Sounds like one heckuva mess about to happen. Good luck
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yockey5
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 03:28:28 PM »

Do we not have to keep our bees in removable frames for inspection purposes? I was thinking it was outlawed to have bees in bee boxes that can not be opened? I see know way of inspecting these as you have described wanting them?
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woollybee
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 04:37:53 PM »

Many thanks for all the replies! I am trying to respond as best as I can.

Bottom bars left on: Definitely would have been easier plus added stability to the comb. Thanks for that info.

Reason for trying it this way: I am not a beekeeper, just want to have a hive in the backyard, to observe, marvel, and maybe eventually get some honey from the boxes that are on top. I trust that they don't need my interference. If they don't make it I'll be sad, of course. But I also read about Warre hives and Oscar Perone's way of beekeeping, and as far as I know neither interfere with their hives.

As far as the inspector is concerned, yes, you are right. But I am considering my situation rather like a hive in a tree or some other place the bees chose as a home. And, by the way, they did just one day move in all on their own.

So, I hope that with the added space at the bottom they will thrive. Three mediums seems like a decent space for a colony to keep doing their thing. Eventually they will swarm, but that's just part of nature.

Thanks again for the responses!

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buzzbee
Ken
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 05:22:21 PM »

And surely without inspection you will be totally unaware of varroa mite or small hive beetle infestations,not to mention wax moths and ants.
it is also irresponsible to let a hive come down with brood disease that may infect a neighbors colony. Are you sure there is none else with bees within a couple miles?
 I just don't think this is a good idea.
 I think it was Robo on this forum that had built a double deep frame to place inside two deep boxes,Large combs and still removable.
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woollybee
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 06:25:22 PM »

Thanks for that info about Robo. I googled and found it. Very interesting thread! And exciting to see that others are experimenting with the idea too. I wish I had woodworking facilities. By the way, ants don't have access to the hive since the legs of the support are placed in cans with oil. And with the screened bottom board I can monitor somewhat what goes on inside. But your concern about infecting other people's hives definitely is a valid one, even though I am pretty sure there is no one keeping bees anywhere close. I wonder how people with Warre hives deal with this question.
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twintrades
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 07:14:16 PM »

I was wondering the same thing about a ware hive. 
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rail
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 08:22:39 PM »

I was wondering the same thing about a ware hive. 

Read about the modified Warre'.
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Sirach
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 08:27:42 PM »

And surely without inspection you will be totally unaware of varroa mite or small hive beetle infestations,not to mention wax moths and ants.
it is also irresponsible to let a hive come down with brood disease that may infect a neighbors colony. Are you sure there is none else with bees within a couple miles?
 I just don't think this is a good idea.
 I think it was Robo on this forum that had built a double deep frame to place inside two deep boxes,Large combs and still removable.

I thought that I wanted a traditional Warre'! While visiting other bee yards and seeing what "wax moths" and "hive beetles" can do, Sad changed my train of thought!
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Sirach
woollybee
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 09:12:20 PM »

"I thought that I wanted a traditional Warre'! While visiting other bee yards and seeing what "wax moths" and "hive beetles" can do,  changed my train of thought!"

One way to reduce the risk of these pests, I heard, is to not let the hive become too big. The colony should be occupying/covering pretty much all of the brood frames at all times. That way they can keep them in check. I think the optimal size of the hive would vary from area to area. Keeping fingers crossed.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2011, 09:31:57 PM »

I took it to be similar to a top bar hive where the frames could be carefully lifted for infrequent (only as needed) inspection.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2011, 11:46:39 PM »

WoollyBee, you might want to download “Dadant System of Beekeeping” from google books (free) to read about his experiments with larger comb.  Look at Chapter 2.  http://books.google.com/books?id=2aNbAAAAMAAJ&dq=Dadant%20System%20of%20beekeeping&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q&f=false

The bees will build down from the bottoms of comb, but if you ever needed to inspect, 12” of heavy extended comb would quickly become cut comb and a huge mess.  I’m doing some experiments with larger comb too, but I’m using plastic foundation for structure, something Dadant didn’t have the luxury to use back in his day.  Can you imagine living without plastic!
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woollybee
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2011, 01:54:38 AM »

"Dadant System of Beekeeping" -
Very interesting. I love reading about the experiments. Thanks for the tip.

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AliciaH
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2011, 11:34:16 AM »

Woolly:  Where are you located?
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