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Author Topic: Leaving wire with starter strips?  (Read 3061 times)
Serapax
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« on: December 21, 2005, 05:06:54 AM »

Hi again!

Time to put some honey supers on  Cheesy
I really want to do cut comb rather than extraction, so I was planning to just use a 1 - 1.5 inch foundation starter strip rather than a full sheet of foundation.  Before I decided to do this, I spent the best part of a day wiring up all my frames beautifully.  Now I'm not sure whether it matters if I leave this wire in and hope the bees will build the comb over it (the wire also helps setting the starter strip) or if I should unwire the frame first.

I'm hoping if I leave the wire, it will add extra support to the natural comb, plus when it comes to harvesting, I can run an electrical current through the wire and use it to cut sections off, just leaving the top.

Any thoughts?

Cheers!

Mike
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2005, 06:41:42 AM »

>I really want to do cut comb rather than extraction

If you want to do cut comb you do NOT want wires in the comb.  It will get in the way of cutting the comb.

> so I was planning to just use a 1 - 1.5 inch foundation starter strip rather than a full sheet of foundation.

That works fine.

> Before I decided to do this, I spent the best part of a day wiring up all my frames beautifully. Now I'm not sure whether it matters if I leave this wire in and hope the bees will build the comb over it (the wire also helps setting the starter strip) or if I should unwire the frame first.

The bees will incorporate the wire into the comb.  Whether it's in the center or not will depend on how level the hives are.  The comb will be perfectly perpendicular to the earth and not necesarrily perpendicular to your frames or your hive.  The wires won't hurt if you plan to extract.  They will be in the way if you want to do cut comb.

>I'm hoping if I leave the wire, it will add extra support to the natural comb, plus when it comes to harvesting, I can run an electrical current through the wire and use it to cut sections off, just leaving the top.

So the wires are on the grid you plan to cut?  I've never triedit, but in real life the bees often don't finish the frame out to the corners like you expact and you cut around their work to get nice combs.  I doubt you can predict where those cuts will actually be.

Do you have an extractor?  Now that you went to all that work, maybe you should just extract them?

Are the wires vertical or horizontal?  Are the frames mediums or shallows?  What's the spacing on the wires?
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Serapax
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2005, 05:33:00 PM »

Hey there!

There are four horizontal wires, a bit more than 5-6cm (2 inches) apart.


I was thinking I could use the top wire as a guide to run a knife along underneath, and then run a current through the bottom three (the whole wire is one continuous piece) so the whole lot falls into a tray. This would leave the top part as the starter again.

I only have one hive, and the honey will be for personal use only, so I'm not that concerned about appearance.  Even if it turns out more like chunk comb floating in honey, that would be great!  

I don't have an extractor, and really good extracted honey is easily available here - whereas comb honey is quite hard to find and usually expensive.

If the wire will be a bad problem, perhaps I could just fix the top wire and cut out the rest?

Cheers!

Mike
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2005, 11:23:05 PM »

It is really good idea to distinguish from mass production, endeed!

But is it purpose to produce comb honey in small special frames.?
It is quite a dirty job to cut honey from a big frame.

Here is alternatives   http://images.google.fi/images?q=comb+honey&hl=fi&btnG=Etsi+kuvia

look lower






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Jack Parr
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2005, 06:08:31 AM »

it would be interesting to know how you would power the frame wires with electricity to generate the heat to cut/melt the comb???
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Serapax
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2005, 06:18:20 AM »

Hi,

I just use an el-cheapo $15 car battery charger from k-mart.  It works beautifully for embedding foundation.  A couple of seconds for embedding, and a fraction longer to get a nice clean cut right through like in the photo.  Let me know if you'd like more details or pics.

Cheers!

Mike
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2005, 06:59:19 AM »

Quote from: Jack Parr
it would be interesting to know how you would power the frame wires with electricity to generate the heat to cut/melt the comb???


If you put between circuit 1000 W electrict machine, it gives just good temperature to the wire.  I use heaters.

circuit out from wall socket - into machine - out machine - pointer in hand  - frame wire - pointer in hand - from pointer into wall socket.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2005, 07:26:11 AM »

Quote from: Serapax
Hi,

I just use an el-cheapo $15 car battery charger from k-mart.  It works beautifully for embedding foundation.  A couple of seconds for embedding, and a fraction longer to get a nice clean cut right through like in the photo.  Let me know if you'd like more details or pics.

Cheers!

Mike


Cheers to you to.   I got it.   I actually thought that you would use some type of resistance switch/rheostat but the battery charger is OK.  Seems like a non starter though since the pics that Finsky posted make a very attractive presentation and does not make a mess???

K-mart in OZ?   How bout Walmart?   shocked  Sad

I think I understand Finsky method also???
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Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2005, 07:59:59 AM »

I used also car accu  charger  as my friend do but  when tips of pointer touch, it get a short circuit an it blows a fuse.

With 1000 W system pointers just sparkle when you put them together. Nothing blows.

When you embed those foundations, room temperature should be +25C.  If it is cooler was  does not lay on wires evenly.

2 wires are better to embed than 3 or 4. Two works well.
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Serapax
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2006, 11:09:16 PM »

Hi again!

I opened the hive yesterday to check out progress on the starter strips.  One week ago, the bees had just started on the edges - they seemed to be cementing the strip in and anchoring it to the sides.  No new comb.

Now after one week, their progress is amazing!

 

Okay, you guys were probably right about not leaving the wires in and it may be a hassle come harvest time.  However they have incorporated them perfectly in the middle.  I still hope to be able to run a heated knife underneath the top wire and any anchor points around the edges, then run a current through the wires, allowing the whole comb to drop neatly into a tray (yeah right!)
And another:



Out of seven frames done this way, they are yet to make much of a start on only two of them.  Perhaps I should shuffle them around a bit.

And the obligatory first ever full frame of capped honey - this one was done on a frame with foundation, so I'll have to do the crush and strain on this one.  Pity...



By the way, I hope people don't mind me posting so many pics.  If they are annoying or too large, please let me know and I will desist in future.

Cheers!

Mike
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2006, 05:17:49 AM »

What type of foundation are you using?
 As long as the honey flows last, the bees need the comb and they will build it. No need to shuffle the frames around.

If the bees run out of room in the box,  they will continue building comb outside to store the honey.

It's not like they would say " well girls we have enough honey, now so lets take a few days off"
 shocked
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Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2006, 01:18:31 PM »

Quote from: Serapax
And the obligatory first ever full frame of capped honey - this one was done on a frame with foundation, so I'll have to do the crush and strain on this one.  Pity...



No sence to do that. This way to build combs is really expencive.  When bees make  whole langtroth boxes  wax they need  16 kg (32 lbs) honey for job.  If you put foundations, they save one half.

Awfull ideas in modern civilazation Tongue
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Serapax
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2006, 06:10:43 PM »

Yes, it does seem a waste to destroy all their hard work and resources.

This is the only honey frame that I'm using with foundation (all my brood frames are using foundation). Unfortunately I don't have access to an extractor, so I couldn't think of a non-destructive way to get the honey from this one, and I don't want to eat the foundation!  

I plan to do cut comb for all future honey harvests, which is looking promising given the speed at which they've built comb on the starter strips.....

Cheers!
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Finsky
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2006, 01:27:23 AM »

Quote from: Serapax
Unfortunately I don't have access to an extractor,


I don't know what you are going to do with bees. Why you keep them. To keep one hive is not wise. It is pain, always afraid what is going to happen that poor hive.  It may happen what ever with that individual. It is hard work to learn keep bees. It takes many years. With one it is difficult to  learn .  I woud say that 3-5 hives are minumum.

And still I wonder why beginners are fond of all kind of fool tricks. If you do not get honey beekeeping is expencive hobby.

When you get 200 lbs honey from your one hive, are you going to eat them all with combs?
.
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Serapax
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2006, 01:46:22 AM »

Cheesy

Well, I'm mainly doing it for fun and also to increase pollination of my fruit trees.  I would like to expand in the future to perhaps up to 20 hives, but will keep it to one or two this first season and three or more next one.

When it comes to selling honey, there is an unmet niche market for comb honey here.  Whereas we are awash with boutique extracted honey, and it sells for not much more than the supermarket stuff - perhaps $7-10 per kg.   A 350g block of cut comb goes for anywhere up to $12, especially if you can sell it to a regional tourist trade as I hope to do.

I'd certainly appreciate the opinions of Victorian beekeepers on this one.

As for the 200lb (is that about 60kg?) of cut comb, I already have a line of friends and family waiting for the stuff!

Cheers!

Mike
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Finsky
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2006, 03:11:07 AM »

AAA! You are in Australia. 200 lbs is 100 kg.  In Australia it is a small yield. In Finland when honey flow is good it comes from fireweed or from canola during 2 weeks.   You should try 300 kg per hive.

But lets calculate. Full Langtroth box have 25 kg honey. Without foundation it needs  2 kg wax to build combs. 2 kg wax needs 16 kg honey + pollen

So 40% from honey bees consume for wax production and pollen too.

Your yield will drop about 50% with comb honey system

You may see from Australian researches that under continuous honey flow bees will be stressed because they handle honey and exrecete wax. Wax bees are in the age of foraging.

But he will see who lives!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2006, 07:14:16 AM »

>Your yield will drop about 50% with comb honey system

Richard Taylor says it won't be much different at all on a heavy flow.  I'd have to say I think it's somewhere in between.  It makes SOME difference not having drawn comb for them to store it in.  But it doesn't really make a lot.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Finsky
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« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2006, 07:59:46 AM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
But it doesn't really make a lot.


Lets have a look:

What are heavy flows? They are rare.

In Australia you are able to take 300 kg (600 lbs) per hive. It means that when you have 6 box hive you shall extract during a year  20 box honey. With comb system bees ought to build equivalent for 20 box waxes - is that so?

With conventional system bees build  4-5 box from foundations. The foundation has half of wax bees need to combs.  Compared with foundation system bees may build upp 40 boxes wax per year!  

Something is wrong with that mathematics. ÖH!
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Finsky
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« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2006, 08:12:32 AM »

One example, how you calculate:

Last summer I had hives in the middle of splended fire weed.  Bees need to fly under 500 m to get full load. There was 15 hectares fireweed and 3 hives.  In best time they brought over 100 kg in two weeks capped honey and they each build 3 shallow boxes foundations. The total yield was bigger.  Our summer is  3 month long but heavy flow is usually 1-2 weeks.

5 kilometers away I had hives on canola field. It was too hot for canola. Hives made about 30 kg honey per hive and they were not build even one box of foundations.  There were 5 hives beside 30 hectares canola.

So here you may draw calculation that to build upp combs means nothing.
But the old fact is that 1 wax kg needs 8 honey kg.
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