Perplexed about a piece of comb in a nuc

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Slowmodem, May 9, 2013.

  1. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    The nucs I got Saturday had three frames but they were in a five-frame box. One of the nucs had large pieces of comb built in the box not on the frames. (Note: It was pouring rain when I installed the nucs, so I didn't spend much time looking at what was going into the hives.) I set the pieces of comb under the hive thinking that the bees on the comb would go into the hive. But there was a great big piece of comb that was covered with bees. I didn't see a queen on it, but that doesn't mean she wasn't on there. So instead of the 8th frame, I just put that big piece of comb in the hive next to the 7th frame.

    I looked at it yesterday, and it still had bees all over it, plus they had started building weird looking burr comb in the space for the extra hive. I got some tongs and pulled out all the comb and put it in front of the hive to see if they would go in (it was sunny and in the 70s). After a while, the comb was still covered in bees. So I assume there is brood in that big piece of comb.

    So, I put an inner cover on the hive and put the piece of comb on top of the inner cover, but under the top feeder, hoping that the bees would realize they need to be down in the combs, and just in case the queen was there, maybe she'd go down into the hive.

    I've really been trying to not disturb the hive until their settled in a bit. I was planning on doing a complete inspection on all four hives on Monday.

    I'm really perplexed about this piece of comb. I didn't see any eggs or brood in it, but it was covered in bees and it was so soft, I was afraid if I tried to shake off the bees, the comb would break. I'm also very paranoid about killing or losing the queen.

    Will the bees go from the inner cover into the hive? should I have tried something else?
     
  2. Bees In Miami

    Bees In Miami New Member

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    How about putting a couple rubber bands around an empty frame, then carefully slide the comb in so a band holds each end of the comb, then slide it in next to where the bees are working? That's what I would do. They'll build that into a regular frame.
     

  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    You can leave that piece of comb on top of the inner roof. Have patience and within a few weeks the bees will have abandoned it. They'll probably stick it onto the roof with wierd construction, but after they'e realized what's good for them (=down below), you will be able to scrape it off and get it out of your way. Most likely, if the cells were open when put up, they won't store any honey in it and will empty out any honey that might have been there. If any honey is left there, enjoy chewing it as comb honey. But don't expect the bees to totally abandon it. They like to wander around and will enjoy walking on it. Just be brave and scrape it from the roof, shake off the bees and take it out.
    Re-reading what I wrote, it looks like I'm contradicting myself--abandon--won't abandon---what I mean is that they won't stay crowded there.
    I hope I'm understood,:confused:
     
  4. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I had thought about putting it into an empty frame, but I use all plastic frames. I guess I need some empty frames to keep around for instances like this.

    I get your point, Ef. :)
     
  5. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    I would just gently brush all the bees off that piece of comb into the hive (you can use a handful of soft grass like a gentle brush), make sure the hive has the correct number of frames in it, and just take the extra piece of comb and do what you want with it.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    quite typically when I look inside a nuc which I have made up with frames of bees and a queen cell the extra tongue of wax is pretty good indication that you have an active queen on board. it is quite common for me to make up nucs in 5 frame nuc box with just 4 frames and invariable you do get a bit of extra wax built in the ones that successfully get a mated queen on board. when I transfer these to a larger box I simply cut away the extra wax and toss it on the ground.

    I see that BWeaver is telling folks that are trying to do top bar hives that placing a bit of this kind of extra wax in a tbh will give it a smell that may encourage a hive to stay put and not abscond at the first opportunity <sounds reasonable but what does this crowd think of that idea?
     
  7. hankdog1

    hankdog1 New Member

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    Just a suggestion if it has brood and your rubber band it in an empty frame flip the comb upside down from it's original position. That way the brood can hatch out the queen won't lay in it and you can replace it with your own foundation just as soon as they get all the brood out.
     
  8. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    That's good thinking!
     
  9. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Anytime you are installing a new colony into an empty hive, it helps to have some sort of drawn in there, especially old brood comb- even a piece or just one frame is better than nothing. Bees love the aroma of used comb, that's why people put it into swarm lure boxes.
     
  10. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I went into the hives today. The packages are doing well and drawing out comb (of course, all four hives had some comb from last year to help get them going). That odd piece of comb that had been built in the nuc box that I ended up putting on top of an inner cover......well, it has a lot of brood in it now. I had thought they'd go down into the hive, but I guess they didn't. The queen is getting around, because there's brood down in the hive, too.

    2013-05-13_12-56-08_5.jpg

    So I carefully hive-tooled it up and pressed it onto a bare frame and stuck it in the hive at the end where there was a little extra room (position 8). Hopefully they will be happy there.

    As an aside, I tried out my big magnet in my suit pocket and it holds the hive tool in the "always ready" position. It's kind of hard to get off sometimes, but it's a strong magnet.

    2013-05-13_13-15-45_391.jpg 2013-05-13_13-16-01_407.jpg
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Thanks for the idea. As comfortable as one may get holding the hive tool in the hand, having the hand free with the tool available for a fast "draw" can be very adantageous. Great idea.
     
  12. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    double post :-/
     
  13. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    I know an experienced beekeeper doing cut outs who hangs the comb upside down....It works just fine. If the queen isn't on the comb, shake the bees off (or brush them as Omie suggests) and remove the comb. :)

    I'll trythat magnet trick as well!