Bees have already drawn comb: How to hive?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by stormranch, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. stormranch

    stormranch New Member

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    This evening I answered a call to get a swarm. It looked like a normal, good-sized swarm hanging on a low tree branch. I positioned the box underneath them and gave the branch a good shake as usual, but they stayed put! To make the story shorter, they had already drawn out comb on the tree branch, out in the open! I thought that bees wouldnt set up shop unless they found an enclosed space.. I guess I learned something! Im thinking that the scouts couldnt find anything suitable, and the bees were a bit desperate being late summer and all. Perhaps this was the best that the scouts could find. Why would they do this?
    And the main question, how do I hive them? I have a deep super ready to receive them. They are still in the cardboard box in my truck, and will be overnight. It was late when I got home with them, and I figured they would be ok in the box outside, where it is nice and cool, and I could deal with them in the morning. Do you put the comb on top of the frames, forget about the comb and just insert the bees, or? (I did try the search feature btw, but couldnt find any matching results.) Thanks for your help,

    Mark
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Hello Mark,

    About 1% of swarms will end up making an open air colony. Many times it is due to not finding suitable housing, and after being there awhile, they just start calling it home.

    If the comb is easily taken apart, you can string the comb into frames just like you would in a cutout (wall extraction).

    If the comb is intertwined in too many branches and twigs, you may decide to just place the whole cluster in a hive and position them so you can place a box of comb above them, so eventually they move up. I have done this in the past by given them a full super of feed to get them through winter.

    I have one like you just mentioned in my backyard brought back from a swarm call. It was in some type of hedge and I just cut all the many branches down to a point where the whole ball of comb would just go into a deep. (It was a small cluster) After they secure in the comb, I'll be placing a super above them.

    I'll take a picture this morning and get it posted in the next couple hours.

    Take a couple pictures. It will not be your last open air colony, but they are unique and many have never seen such a thing.
     

  3. stormranch

    stormranch New Member

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    Thank you for your reply, Bjorn.

    Im sorry everyone but I didnt get pictures of the open air colony, it was late and the location was quite a ways from my ranch.
    The comb was in large pancake sized chunks, which I think could have been wired into frames. However,I still need to learn how to do this, so..... I just popped the foundation out of a couple of frames, and placed the comb chunks upright in them without wiring, and used adjacent frames with foundation to keep them semi- upright. Of course they flopped over some, and I realize that the result will be that they will be tied in with those other frames (and each other) which will hinder inspection of those frames. Not the best solution, but hopefully ok. I definitely didnt want to pitch all of the comb that they had built. BTW, I did a keyword seach for "wiring honeycomb into frames", and couldnt get results. Could someone suggest a thread, or an article, that explains how to do it? I know the concept but not the technique.
    Also, I put the smaller chunks of comb on the front porch, figuring that they would hopefully chew off pieces and use them inside? Was this a good move?

    Thanks for your help,

    Mark
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Go back in the new hive you have set up and cut the "wild" combs apart if you haven't already.
    Hopefully you kept the comb oriented in the upright direction, even if you have to cut it to fit into the frames that's fine. Fit them into the frame and use rubber bands to hold the comb in place.

    Easy as pie.

    As for finding some old post, go to the swarms, cut outs and trap outs section, we have a few pics in there. I have some of a cut out I did earlier this year but do not have them posted, I will put them up tommorow night.

    aw what the heck, here is a pic of some comb that was rubber banded into the frame and then later the honey was used up and i removed it from the hive, this will give you and idea of what to do.

    [attachment=0:1vp71eo2]georges pics 048.jpg[/attachment:1vp71eo2]

    Good luck with it and ask as many questions as needed, and keep us posted.

    G3
     

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  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Forgot to say that the bees will attach the comb to the frame and will chew the rubber bands apart and drag out of the hive in a couple of weeks.
    Try to put the brood frames next to each other in the box with any honey to the outsides.
    If you put the honey combs upside down the honey will run out of it and the brood may slide out of the comb as well.

    Now feed feed feed and feed some more. Not sure about the winters you have or flows in your area but around here it is getting to the point of making stores for the winter, even if it is in the middle of the summer.

    As before good luck and keep us posted and ask plenty of questions, we are happy to answer all.

    now its way past my bed time, only four hours to get some sleep.

    G3
     
  6. stormranch

    stormranch New Member

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    Thank you for the help, G3. I will go back in and do this today. I appreciate how helpful everbody is on this forum, and willing to share their expertise! :) BTW, am joining a beekeeping club to expand my knowledge, especially about conditions and techniques particular to our area. Im looking forward to the point where it feels like I have enough solid knowledge to answer questions from other beekeepers.

    Best regards,

    Mark
     
  7. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Here is the picture I forgot to take a couple days ago. I just clicked this.

    I will post another thread detailing what I am attempting to do so others may look up "open air colony" in the furure by the saved threads.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. stormranch

    stormranch New Member

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    G3,

    Your rubber band method for securing comb into the frame was easy and worked great. I did wonder how I was going to do it with gloves on. Then I thought, why not brush the bees off, pop the comb into a box, and insert into the frames away from the hives with the gloves off. Now that I write this is seems like a "duh" (obvious) solution. Thanks for your help,

    Mark
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Glad to be of some help, now wheres those pics at :D

    hope things go as planned for you.

    G3