Fixing foundationless comb?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Duck1968, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Duck1968

    Duck1968 New Member

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    I started this hive with no drawn comb on frames I made with the top bars cut to a point. The bees seem to do fine until they get within a few inches of the outside and then they want to curve the comb off the frame. Can I cut the curved part loose from the from the top bar and heat the comb and push it straight?
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    Thanks Brian
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    not certain of your temperature but the snow in the ditch doesn't look so good.... :confused:

    when temperature approaches 50 or so (ie wax is not brittle cold) place the frame on a flat surface and push the bowed out wax toward the center line of the frame. after once or twice you can likely do this by eye. this doesn't happen so often to me.... but it does happen. I typically undertake readjustments on the spot.

    ps... one of the differences in regards to european vs africanized bees is that almost invariable with natural comb the european bees build comb that's bottom edge tends to be wavy while the africanized bees the bottom edge of the comb is almost perfectly straight. I suspect (guessing for sure) the size of hives and comb induces the european bees to build comb in this manner for structural purposes.
     

  3. Duck1968

    Duck1968 New Member

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    It was around 60 when I took that picture. The frames are in a plastic tote in the house now. I am going to try and straighten them tonight. I think I will put a few frames with foundation in my medium supers and see if that will help get the foundationless frames drawn straighter.
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Have all your frames been tightly pushed right snug against each other in the centers of the brood boxes? (as opposed to spacing them out evenly with a frame spacer, or putting 9 undrawn frames in a 10 frame box)
     
  5. Duck1968

    Duck1968 New Member

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    Yes they were all tight. The bees curved the first frame and then followed the curve as they drew more combs.
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Oh, i see.
    Some people like to put in a foundation frame or a drawn frame every few frames to encourage them to draw straighter. Perhaps will help if you are having trouble.

    Also, is your hive perfectly level from side to side? The bees will usually draw foundationless straight down and if the hive is tilted they won't follow it but will just follow gravity telling them what's straight down. Just another thing to check on.
     
  7. Duck1968

    Duck1968 New Member

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    I set the hive with a level and they seem to do ok top to bottom.
     
  8. Double D

    Double D New Member

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    I don't use foundation and had a similar problem when I first started. (mine was caused by not giving them a guide the whole length of the frame) The fix for me was to loosen the comb from the top of the frame about an inch before it started to curve. I then used a couple of rubber bands to hold the comb in place between the frame and the bees did the rest. Of course my wax was at hive temp.
     
  9. Duck1968

    Duck1968 New Member

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    Thanks Double D,
    I have a comb guide all the way across the frames. I kept trying to fix them last summer. I would push them back but I did not cut them loose from the top bar or tie them into the frame in any way.

    I will try cutting the curved part of the comb loosen from the top bar, warm it with a hairdryer, push it in to place, and rubber band it to hold it in place. I don't think I have much to lose trying.