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159Re: [TopHive] help,comb melting

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  • Scot Mc Pherson
    Aug 1, 2004
      On Sunday 01 August 2004 06:40 pm, frogkailo wrote:
      > Hello,people I was today , after a rainy week , in my small 4 hives
      > appiary,what I have seen in my strongest hive vas a tragedy,almost all
      > combs have fallen down.Some tb have been prepared with a litle piece of
      > cardboard that was diped in wax.The problem in my case is that I am really
      > new with bees and I wanted to start right away with tbh.RIght from the
      > start the bees tended to attach one side of the comb to side wall of the
      > hive,they have made all the combs on the right side of the hive,the combs
      > have been almost so high from the bottom of the hive to the top bare but
      > only half of the tb (the right half) was with drawed comb.

      This is common, the bees will start the nest on the warm side of the hive, or
      rather that side which faces the sun normally.

      > My mistake was
      > that I had allowed the bees to do that.

      The best way to prevent this from happening is to use a follower board. A
      follower board allows you to restrict the available space of the bee hive.
      Restrict the space so the bees are forced to draw completely across the top
      bar before you move the follower board back in the hive and add more topbars
      to it. The bees do not have to draw comb all the way down to the bottom of
      the hive, but you do want them to draw the comb all the way across the top

      If the bees manage to build half combs like you have described, then you can
      stagger the top bar by changing the direction of every other bar. So that
      1,3,5,7,9... remain in the same orientation, and bars 2,4,6,8,10.... are now
      facing the opposite direction. This forces the bees to fill in some spaces,
      because they do not like the staggered comb. Unfortunately comb that is draw
      this way can often become 2 lobe comb. Meaning the 2nd half of the comb may
      be drawn independently and start as its own tear drop of comb instead of
      being extended from the existing comb. This is OK, because the bees will
      attach the comb, but it means that you will always have half of your comb
      will be built as if facing the wrong direction and will be funnily attached
      together. Again this is ok, just cull the comb early next spring during brood
      rearing season. Place an empty bar between two of your best existing combs.
      They will fill it within a day or two if they have enough honey. Keep doing
      this until you have replaced all of your funny comb. Remember to always place
      only one bar between your two best combs, and if you want to place more than
      1 bar at a time in each hive, make sure there is at least 2 combs of solid
      brood between each empty bar, otherwise you create pockets of brood which may
      lack attendence and die.

      > I had cut during my last checking
      > of the hive, the part of the comb that was attached to the right side of
      > the hive,and because of that I think my combs have fallen,the other factor
      > was probably heat.

      I am not convinced is is entirely heat. I live in Florida USA at latitude 28
      Degrees North, and this is a tropical area (sub-tropical by definition). Comb
      dimensions are usually the issue. Combs that are too large, or too tall and
      narrow are bound to break. Because the comb was only half comb, there was a
      narrow strip of comb attachment at the top and so I don't think it could
      support the weight of the full comb on its own, which is why the bees
      attached it to the side to help with weight distribution.

      I have put together a public forum where documentation can be contributed by
      the public and refined by the public as it grows. the URL is


      Click on the TopBarHive link to find good dimensions. I did not see what the
      dimensions of your hive are so I can't really know what y conditions your
      bees must build their combs in. Basically A trapziod shape, with a 40 cm top
      attachment, and being 25 cm in height is a good rough design. It distributed
      the weight of the comb well. I have some honey combs that the bees built the
      comb 5-6cm in thickness (this makes it VERY heavy), and I can still handle
      the comb when full of honey without problems.

      > I have seen that the waxed cardboard have fallen from the
      > top bare.I know that some people on the list are in tropic regions,how do
      > you resolve such a issue? What is the problem?

      I prefer not to use strips of foundation, I cut a triangle shape into the
      bottom of the top bar so it points down into the hive. The angle of the cut
      is 30 Degrees, amking a 60 Degree point in the center of the top bar along
      its length. The bees stay on this point very well.

      > Heat,not properly made top
      > bar starter strip,the mistake of not reacting in time - taking the sllopy
      > tb starter strips out of the hive?How to prevent such things?Can I use the
      > fallen combs ,reattach them?Many thanks for any advice.

      You can take the fallen comb and reattach it if you like, though if it were
      honey stores, I would move it into the back and mangle it a little so the
      bees refuse to use it any mroe. They will clean it and put it into proper
      comb. If the comb is brood comb, keep it together pretty well then again
      leave it in the back of the hive. The bees will not attend to it very well,
      and you will loose a lot of brood, but much of it will survive. When 90% of
      the comb is empty I would remove it from the hive and render it into wax so
      you aren't creating a breeding place for wax moths and hive beatles and other

      > Regards,
      > Sasha from Serbia

      Scot Mc Pherson
      Sarasota, Florida, USA
      MSN: behomet@... AIM: scotlfs ICQ: 342349
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