bees not building comb on frames

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by gerretw, May 30, 2016.

  1. gerretw

    gerretw New Member

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    Quick up date - I was given a swarm, they drank a lot of sugar syrup, built some comb hanging off the bottom of the lid, and filled it with the syrup. The queen however had left, so there was no brood. only a drone or two, and a bunch of workers. I bought a queen - removed the comb with the sugar water, set it near the hive so they could salvage the syrup, put in the queen - waited two weeks.

    Today we opened up the hive - again they built a comb but not on the frame, but hanging off it. Kinda lump looking thing between the frames, that were kept apart by the wooden queen isolated box thingie she came in. The queen was accepted by the hive, we saw her, and saw some brood in the comb they built. we removed the wooden queen transporter, and got rid of some comb hanging off the bottom of a frame. I left the comb with the brood intact.

    These are the plastic frames. Why are they not building comb on the frames? Or do they need more time?

    G
     
  2. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

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    How long ago did you put the swarm in? Did you have any brood before your queen went missing? If you have a low population, they won't build out more then they can handle.
    I haven't had much luck with plastic frames, when I tried them the bees would do the same thing, building out comb between frames. Are your frames waxed? If you didn't personally wax the frames, I would suggest trying that. Make sure you remove all remnants of the 'free comb' or they will keep building it back in the same place.

    Good luck! Someone who regularly uses plastic frames may be able to shed some more light on the subject.
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    1. Wax the frames if they are not waxed. I use the all in one plasticell type (dadant brand whatever it is called), and it comes pre-waxed. However the wax layer is thin.
    2. It takes bees of the right age to draw comb. Your best wax workers are usually less than 10 days old, it may be that the bees are older, and until a little brood hatches don't expect too much super comb.
    3. I use a few wooden frames between the plasticell, to give them a choice. Wedge type with a starter strip and if I have time I coat the starter strip with wax. If deep frames run some 20 lb test fishing line or wire across the frame to support any comb they may build.
    4. Feed Feed Feed. I think it takes 7 teaspoons of sugar (or the equivalent in nectar) to make a teaspoon of wax.
    5. Remove wild burr comb and leave the good stuff. If you have foundationless wooden frames you can rubberband that wild comb in sections straight in a frame and drop them a hint.

    Good luck
     
  4. gerretw

    gerretw New Member

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    supposedly they were pre waxed. I wish I had thought of putting the comb in a wooden frame - I would have put the big comb they made in it, instead of leaving it outside. I may do that with the new comb they built. I bet you are right, about the age of the bees. Thanks G
     
  5. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    Agree with gypsi... would definitively wax the plastic frames and band the wild comb in an empty.

    I do use some plastic one piece frames. They work best for me in a flow and when I don't offer a choice. Once they lay some comb on, I have no trouble.
     
  6. gerretw

    gerretw New Member

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    My daughter-in-law sent me some pictures she took today which I am including. Seeing the pictures, I am realizing, I have a pretty small swarm which is why there's not so much comb. I think there were a lot more when the bee guy gave me the swarm, and about half left with the former queen. Take a look at the pictures and see. it shows the comb they built. G
     

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  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    some comb is better than no comb. I would leave it or trim and mount in wooden frame, the queen must have something to lay in. Do you have a queen?
     
  8. gerretw

    gerretw New Member

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    The original one that came with the swarm left ( was it something I said?) so I bought a new queen - we looked for her yesterday, and she was there. I think I am going to leave well enough alone and check up next week. meanwhile, they are drinking a lot of sugar water, so I presume that's a good sign. G
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That is a good sign
     
  10. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

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    Gypsi, have you, or have you considered cutting holes into the plastic foundation to encourage them to build? I have some plastic frames the bees will not touch. I've re-waxed them with no luck.
    I apologize to Gerretw, I don't want to steal your post :wink:.
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't BUT I don't have a problem getting them to build on them either. If you were going to I would drill a hole in each corner maybe 3/8 inch diameter and just do one or 2 frames. I didn't understand all the fuss about plastic because if I fed sugar water my bees filled those frames right up. Temperature might be the issue? Plastic would tend to be cooler than wax foundation, non-issue in Texas, issue in Maine?
     
  12. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    No issue with plastic foundation here in MA... I use it exclusively in all my hives now.