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Author Topic: Replacing old dark colored comb.  (Read 2042 times)
Geoff
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« on: November 17, 2005, 06:07:38 PM »

Have been told to remove old dark colored comb from hives of which in brood sections there are quite a lot. As I am going into one hive today with the likelyhood of taking off some honey could odd dark colored combs be removed from the brood & be replaced by a frame of foundation. If there is brood etc. would it be feasible to place these frames into upper supers to let the bees hatch or whatever and then replace them with new foundation .
Great forum so thanks to all helpfull contributors.
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2005, 06:47:24 PM »

Ok, comb only becomes dark after bees have hatched from the cell. The bee sheds a layer before it hatches and that is what makes it darker. The nurse bees then come in and clean the cell for a new egg or they fill it with honey. The honey from these cells will be a bit darker but still has a great taste and smell. I myself do not want any dark comb in my supers so I use 2 deeps for the queen to lay in and very rarely do I get some brood in my supers. I only replace a few things of foundation a year, What you are saying might work but most likely if you split the brood up they will die becuase the nurse bees cant keep all the hives brood warm in many spots as they can in one spot. I guess it would help if I knew where you lived, bye Smiley
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Ryan Horn
Geoff
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2005, 06:54:23 PM »

Southern Australia Ryan. Climate could be rated as temperate. The forecast for today was 29 degrees Celsius but it has come over full cloud cover at the moment.
Thanks for your reply.
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Jay
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2005, 08:30:39 PM »

Geoff, how old are your "dark" combs? Do you use any chemicals? As Ryan mentions, the reason for the darkness in the comb is the cocoon which is shed in the metamorhpasis of the bee just before final hatching. This in no way imparts a taste or smell to the honey but in the brood chamber, does make for a smaller cell size (not a bad thing). So why change out your drawn comb? Well certain chemicals are retained in the wax so if you use chemicals in your bee management, you may want to routinely rotate out frames of "contaminated" wax. Also older wax does become more brittle and the weight of the brood and honey and pollen in the frame of wax can sometimes make it fall apart during inspections (although I have never experienced this) and this can be somewhat disquieting as a frame of angry bees falls to the ground. All in all it is a judgement call as to when you replace old comb and each beekeeper bases their decision on different factors having to do with their own individual style of beekeeping.  Cheesy
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Apis629
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2005, 08:58:14 PM »

I've heard that the comb darkening is not only due to larval casings but, larval feces and a film-like layer of a propolis like sectreation from the stomach of honeybees after eating pollen grains.
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imabkpr
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2005, 10:02:38 PM »

Quote from: Geoff
Have been told to remove old dark colored comb from hives of which in brood sections there are quite a lot. As I am going into one hive today with the likelyhood of taking off some honey could odd dark colored combs be removed from the brood & be replaced by a frame of foundation. If there is brood etc. would it be feasible to place these frames into upper supers to let the bees hatch or whatever and then replace them with new foundation .
Great forum so thanks to all helpfull contributors.
                                                                                                          "Geoff" If you are pulling honey you must be getting close to the end of your summer.  This is not a good time to do anything to the brood nest. Just because brood comb is dark doesn't mean it should be replaced. Spring is the time to draw foundation.  If you are using deep hive bodies as brood chambers come spring, put 10 frames of foundation in a deep hive body and place it on top of a good strong 2 story colony.  Being sure you have a strong nectar flow.  If no nectar flow you will have to feed sugar or corn syrup.
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2005, 10:18:28 PM »

Let them make old comb frame full of eggs and larvas and then lift it to the super.
--------------------

Often old combs have much pollen. It is valuable material. When you have larvas in a frame, bees eat pollen away and you have mere brood. Lift them upp and after 3 weeks all brood are emerged and cells are filled with honey.

* If you have strong honeyflow, you do not need excluder. They fill cells as soon as bees emerge.
* If you put frame on a side of brood box, or just near brood area, bees will fill free cells  with pollen.

You will learn it.  I use to put dark frames quite high in my hive tower.
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Geoff
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2005, 04:29:51 PM »

imabkpr,   We are just into spring this way. The hive I am about to take honey from was my first hive last year and we took off 3 lots last season.
  There is plenty of nectar around just now, wattle, titree,moonah , some eucalypts, apple, lavender, mint bush.
  As the weather turned a bit cool yesterday I did not go on with robbing as planned but as we are having a problem with ants at the moment I put my 3 hives up on cypress blocks of wood. I had been told that ants do not like cypress timber and on a quick look this morning it seems to have worked well. To lift last years hive I had to use a 6 foot bar to lift one end alone as I could not safely tilt the hive to get the blocks underneath.
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