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New swarm advice UPDATE

 
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Anna Patrick
House Bee


Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 14
Location: Leamington Spa

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:05 am    Post subject: New swarm advice UPDATE Reply with quote

Two weeks on and I can see through the observation window that the bees have started to build two or three combs where the swarm was situated. In spite of having a beautifully straight old comb as a guide, they have decided to build their new combs at right angles to the guide. I am not looking forward to sorting that out!!!
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Sorry to hear they are not building along the bars as you would wish. What type of comb guides did you use. Also it is best if the space in the hive is wider than it is long.... so not giving them too many bars to start out with and putting the starter comb, if you have one, near the centre of that space will help to get them building in the right direction.

Unfortunately you may have to leave those combs for now and sort them out next spring. For the time being you can use a straightener board, which is a follower board with a large 4-6 inch hole cut in the middle. Place it right next to the cluster and then leave a couple of bars space beyond it and the real follower. You also need really good comb guides on those bars. I use a strip of foundation melted into the groove so that 1/4 - 1/2 inch protrudes. Many people have success with triangular profile wood strips rubbed with wax.... whatever you used to start with, try something different as it is clearly not working. If you can move the existing bars with the cross comb on, right up to the entrance so they are limited for space to build it bigger, that will force them to build on the bars between the straightener board and follower board sooner and restrict the size and number of those cross comb bars.

It is helpful to know what sort of guides you used that didn't work so that we can collate information and ensure we are promoting the most successful model in the future.

Regards

Barbara
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Anna Patrick
House Bee


Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 14
Location: Leamington Spa

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Barbara,

Thank you for your advice which I will certainly follow. I used wax melted along a central groove but not protruding to the depth you suggest so I'll adjust the remainder of the bars and together with a straightener board hope for the best!

Thanks again...Anna
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To make the straightener board easier to construct, you can use the side of a large cardboard box instead of wood. It doesn't have to be a perfect fit or go right to the bottom and it's much easier to cut a large hole through than a wood board. It's best to give the surfaces a brush with melted wax just to stop the bees from chewing it up though and then just nip it between two shims (1/4 inch top bars) and screw through to hold them sandwiched together and hang it in the hive. Just make sure to keep it as straight and vertical as you can when you place it in the hive. It is just a temporary measure to hopefully fix the problem, so it doesn't have to be solidly made.

Good luck
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