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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two of my double deep hives were ready four weeks ago for supers. I placed one medium super on each hive using a queen excluder on both. After two weeks I noticed no drawing activity. So, I removed the excluders and to my delight, the bees starting working like gangbusters. In less than two weeks, today, I found both mediums with uncapped honey. One medium is 40% drawn with uncapped honey and the second is 60% drawn with uncapped honey. The second one is the one I placed empty frames every other frame location. I glued a ripped piece of pine to the top of the frames and brushed melted beeswax on them. The bees seem to be doing a great job drawing off of them. I have a couple of questions:

1. Will bees build larger cells when drawing void of wax foundation or are they drawing drone cells? The wax foundations all seem to be smaller.
2. I did not see any eggs, larva, pollen or brood on any of the frames with drawn comb in either super, just uncapped honey. I am anxious about the queen laying on the mediums and wanted to put an excluder on; But, would it be more prudent to leave the excluders off since they seem to be doing fine so far? I figured I would check back in 5-7 days and make sure she has not ventured upward. I am pretty excited to be able to add a second medium soon to these two hives.

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Your bees are drawing beautiful comb and making honey for you. Be happy. Your plan to check again in a week sounds good. Once you know the honey is blocking the queen from going upwards, don't bother them too often... give them a chance to pack that honey in nicely.
Good job!
 

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Cell size question is a tough one, natural comb can come in different sizes and depths. I have seen some that looks even bigger than drone cells. Some of the wax foundation you buy, I do know that Kelley's sells a foundation that has an odd size cell on it to prevent the queen from laying eggs in it. It is called 7/11 milled and only comes in medium and shallow for honey production.

The queen excluder is just one of those things you will have to decide for yourself on, but since they have started pulling comb and have stores in the super they will now cross the excluder to continue to store honey above it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Omie, that is encouraging...I am very excited! I was really hoping to have some comb honey also and it looks like they are taking to those frames. I have Riverbee to thank for that idea.

Thanks G...I did not know that about walter kelley's foundation. That is what I use. I figured once they started to draw comb they would continue going up there with the excluder but I have never done this before so wanted to check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I decided to check the supers a day earlier than expected. I couldn't help myself. I did not see any signs that the queen had ventured up. So, I am going to try my luck for now and trust she won't go up there and keep the queen excluders in my shed for now. I added a second super (top supered) to a couple of the hives since they are both at or over 70% drawn. I placed 50/50 foundation/foundationless in both mediums since they are drawing the foundationless frames out so well.

I have not seen the beginning of cappings. Do you all think that is what they are working on at the top center? I have a couple pics showing that below. Also, point of interest, check out the rubberbands they have managed to chew off and pull down to the entrance from the second brood nest. They were holding comb in from a cutout.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Greg! I think what I am most excited about is having a good supply of comb honey. Taking a spoon full of comb honey for a snack every once in a while is a great delight. I have bought comb honey in the past but only a couple boxes due to the expense. And, comb honey sells out quickly.
 

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real nice Blue, doing great:thumbsup: so are you planning on doing comb honey and jar? that why you doing every other frame with foundation?
 

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Will bees build larger cells when drawing void of wax foundation or are they drawing drone cells? The wax foundations all seem to be smaller.
From my experience, when building for storage without foundation to guide the size of the cells, the bees will build larger cells. They are more economical when it comes to the amount of beeswax required for the same amount of storage space. Later on, when recycled, you face the risk of having the queen use these cells for brood--drones only. This can be an advantage if you want to have drone brood to attract varroa and, before the drones (and varroa) emerge, destroy them. Otherwise, keep such frames in supers where the queen won't lay and only honey will be stored.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
real nice Blue, doing great:thumbsup: so are you planning on doing comb honey and jar? that why you doing every other frame with foundation?
Yeap, extracting the foundation frames and cutting the comb out of the foundation-less frames like riverbee does http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/7208-Cut-Comb-Honey?highlight=comb+honey

I think I am going to place some chunks of comb in some wide mouth mason jars with honey also for fun and for premium marketing as well....
 

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Looking great!
Resist the temptation to harvest the honey before it's almost completely capped...otherwise it will have too much moisture and will crystallize on you too soon. That would be a bummer considering how pretty your comb is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Omie.....I will be a good boy, ha! I may be able to add a third super to those two productive hives if all continues on this pace...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Checked on my honey supers today. I have a few supers which have half capped frames. One of them was half filled with fully capped frames. I couldn't help myself from taking one of the frames. It is absolutely everything I thought it would be. It's beautiful. The first thing I did was feel the cappings...very cool texture! I shook the bees off and then brushed the rest off. It's true, they don't like to be brushed but only one of them protested. No stings though. I will be using the bee escape next week.

My youngest daughter helped me take some photos and then off to the kitchen where I gently removed the cappings and placed the frame on a wire rack and let gravity take its course. I found out how important the wire rack is because the comb likes to droop. It drips better on the wire rack too. It is painfully slow but I will benefit from putting the comb right back in the super. The entire frame weighed 8 pounds out of the box. I will weigh the honey after it is extracted and weigh it and report back to this thread.

How does it taste you might ask? EXCEPTIONALLY DELICIOUS!! I was eating/chewing the capping like candy. Light, handsomely thick, mild and very sweet. I like it very much and for any of you newer keeps, this is what makes it very worth it in the end, after all your hard work, resources and paying attention to the old salts here. I will post a pic of the finished product as soon as it stops dripping.

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