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Should I rescue dropped comb?

 
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PermaHeretic
New Bee


Joined: 25 Jul 2015
Posts: 1
Location: Totnes

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:23 pm    Post subject: Should I rescue dropped comb? Reply with quote

I have not previously inspected the far end of my (1 year old) hive, because the follower board was stuck to the adjacent top bar with comb. The near end of the hive is now full (of top bars), and I was a bit worried that the bees would overheat etc, or maybe swarm. I also thought I 'ought to' have a look inside, and also unstick the stuck top bar. I planned to insert some extra top bars at the 'stuck end' - and possibly also take a bit of honey if there was any.
It didn't come out at all text-book. The comb was stuck to the follower board, and also to the top bar on the other side - and the two lots of comb had stuck together a bit, didn't come away cleanly. The comb had a bit of partly capped honey (at the top) but was mostly empty and brown with propolis. After discussions with Phil I decided to put it back (if I was more experienced, I might have done this straight away).
The problem was, when I went to put it back (under strained circumstances of bees arriving home, silly hat falling over my face, fig tree branches hanging in the way etc), I found that the next comb up (or some of it?) had collapsed off its top bar onto the floor of the hive. I didn't have any more spare hands, there were loads of bees (fretting a bit by now, sweet as they are) and I just put the bar of comb back in.
But that means there is still a comb, or part of a comb, broken on the floor of the hive. The problem is, I couldn't see it well enough to know what sort of comb it is - although at a glance I reckon it looked similar - honey near the top. But I can't 100% rule out it being brood - especially as I don't know where anything is in the hive.
I have looked online and there is too much information to be of much instant use. I watched a video about repairing comb, but I'm not sure how practical this is for the stuff lying (and somewhat scrunched) on the floor.
I am wondering if it is safe to leave it to the bees to sort out, or whether i should open the hive up again tomorrow morning and either see if I can repair it, see what sort of comb it is, or whether I should be checking the other bars and looking for the queen. The problem is both combs seemed rather thick (or maybe as my top bars are Phil's 1st edition measurements they are still too narrow, even with spacers) and if they are all like that I might make even more mess.
So... if anyone has any suggestions I would be most grateful.
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colobeekeep
Scout Bee


Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 286
Location: USA, Colorado, Denver

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi PermaHeretic.
I had a similar issue when I hived my original bees (after removing them from the wall of my house). You will need to remove the comb from the floor of the hive. If you don't, the bees will attach it to the floor and do all kinds of fun stuff with it. Mine were in a Warré hive, and there was an empty box between the floor and the box where the bees and normal comb were, so the fallen comb wasn't near the main group of bees and normal comb. But they had it anchored to the floor in a couple of days and started building burr comb to it an another few days. (I waited a little over a week before cleaning up my mess because I was afraid of terrorizing them and causing them to leave.)
I don't know what they could do if the fallen comb is close to the hanging combs. I can imagine them "bridging the gap" and attaching the hanging comb to the comb on the floor and anchoring the fallen comb to the floor.
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Smorning
Foraging Bee


Joined: 20 Aug 2013
Posts: 150
Location: Faversham Kent UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend recovering fallen comb as the bees will start to use it and once in operation will be far more disruptive to remove, also the hive can become a real mess, no problem if it's a conservation hive but if you want to inspect it it can in short measure become really difficult.
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BridgetB
Scout Bee


Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 355
Location: UK Cornwall, Falmouth

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably by now that comb has been cleared of honey and it should be relatively easy to remove. Open that end of the hive, remove the comb, close the hive, and then decide what to do with the damaged comb. If you have previously made up a wire hanger rescue bar you can attach the comb and replace it back into the hive. (Perhaps someone can provide a link to this - I have found them easy to use and useful)
I have a cloth which I put over the open part of the hive so the bees feel a bit more comfortable while it is open.
All the best with sorting it.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BridgetB wrote:
Probably by now that comb has been cleared of honey and it should be relatively easy to remove. Open that end of the hive, remove the comb, close the hive, and then decide what to do with the damaged comb. If you have previously made up a wire hanger rescue bar you can attach the comb and replace it back into the hive. (Perhaps someone can provide a link to this - I have found them easy to use and useful)
I have a cloth which I put over the open part of the hive so the bees feel a bit more comfortable while it is open.
All the best with sorting it.

http://www.thegardenacademy.com/BK_-_Rescue_Frames.html
About half-way down the page.
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ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Trekmate, excellent article with fotos. It will no doubt help a lot of newbies like me and I have sent link on to some beek friends with TBHs.
Best wishes, Ingo.
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