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Author Topic: two questions about comb  (Read 843 times)
Mouse
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« on: February 28, 2013, 03:44:07 PM »

I have two quick questions about comb as I'm getting geared up to re start my bees this spring, I'm a new beekeeper, started last year, and just found out that my one remaining hive (I started with two) did not overwinter. Discouraging, but there you have it. Moving forward I'm planning on splitting that hive full of comb between my two hives to give the packages something to start on (I have a couple frames of honey too, as a nice bonus.). My question is, that hive re-queened late in the year, and so there are empty queen cells in the comb, should I cut those off so as not to give the bees any ideas??

the second question is, my one hive was continually drawing comb that looked like a sine wave. (I am foundationless) any ideas on how to prevent them from doing this? it makes problems with removing the frames.
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dfizer
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 04:02:21 PM »

Mouse - where are you located - your location just says upstate ny - im near albany, any chance you are up near me? 

As far as the frames of comb goes - my limited experience is that the bees will build comb in the space they have = perhaps there is too much / too little space? 

And as far as the empty queen cells - I remove them but don't really know if that's the best practice or not - I just did it so that should another queen cell come I'd recognize it as a new one.

Best of luck with the bees this year - any idea why they didn't winter over?  My first two years of beekeeping were years where my bees didn't make it - I changed nothing therefore the bees continued not to make it - the following year I changed one practice which was to check / treat for mites in the early fall.  Ya know what - all three of my hives made it the following year as well as the late split we did that resulted in a single deep hive at my girlfriends house. 

David
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Mouse
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 06:35:39 PM »

I am actually right in esperance, so probably not too far. that's a really good thought about the queen cells though, it's always good to know if they're thinking about throwing out a swarm or requeening or something else dreadful and dire.

I'm pretty sure that it was a combo of factors for not overwintering, I lost my queen in late august, and I don't think the colony had the proper time to ramp up for winter, I also checked brood for mite feces, and found some, so I'm going to start treating/trapping for mites next year. It was also a little bit of a late start from a small swarm, which can't have helped either. hoping with packages getting a good start that will make a LOT of difference.
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brushwoodnursery
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 07:20:51 PM »

Best of luck, Mouse!
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 12:52:09 AM »

I would not worry about removing the q cells, when you put a new hive in the box the bees will remove them and use the wax for cappings. For your second question, remember bee space. If it is more than 3/8" they will fill it with wax, less than a 1/4" they seal it with propolis. Of course they don't always follow these rules.
Jim
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 10:51:16 AM »

I would think that you wouldn't want to use the wavy comb.  When the bees start building comb adjacent to it they will follow the contour so as to keep bee space.  A single crooked comb can cause the entire box to be crooked.  If you have a straight frame of comb I'd put it in the center and see what happens.  You might even want to try a frame with foundation to give them started.

As Jim mentioned, pay attention to bee space...the bees most likely will if you don't.

Best wishes,
Ed
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mikecva
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 11:55:28 AM »

Welcome to the forum.   cheer

First, you did not say if the q cells were used or not (if used late, the first emerging queen will kill her sisters and the workers remove the body, The new queen may not have mated thus leading to the demise of the colony.) Either way I would remove the queen cells, if the bees want to re queen they can rebuild new queen cells fast enough.

As for the sign wave, you did not say what frequency it was  butt kick (a little electronic humor.)

My uncle had this problem. He would either melt it down (if there was to much of it) or he would press it (gently) between his hands to straighten it out then wire it in place for the bees. It worked for him. I use frames with foundation, so I have not had to do it myself. Good luck   -Mike
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Bush_84
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 12:53:46 PM »

I would use the combs if the wave wasn't too bad.  Just don't use them as a guide comb for undrawn frames. 
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T Beek
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 02:56:19 PM »

With a foundationless system simply 'alternate' the wavy ones with straight ones and keep working at it.  Working a foundationless system made me a more aware and involved beek because of a few extra steps.  I do use foundation very infrequently as a temporary fix if I have no comb but mark it and remove it as soon as it has served its purpose of keeping things straight.

Yeah I wouldn't worry too much about those Q cells right now.  They are likely from last year and empty or dead.  Its too early for your bees to be thinking about swarming even in your neck of the world.

That said; I'm a firm believer in NOT removing Q cells unless I'm using them to make up a split or NUC.  Removing Q cells can leave a good colony queenless.  It happens all the time.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 03:06:01 PM »

>My question is, that hive re-queened late in the year, and so there are empty queen cells in the comb, should I cut those off so as not to give the bees any ideas??

It doesn't matter.  If it makes you feel better, you can, but it will make no difference.

>the second question is, my one hive was continually drawing comb that looked like a sine wave. (I am foundationless) any ideas on how to prevent them from doing this? it makes problems with removing the frames.

Bees build parallel combs.  One bad comb leads to another.  One good comb leads to another.  If you put an empty comb between two perfect brood combs you get another perfect brood comb...
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Michael Bush
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