6/30/10

Max finds wavy gravy comb


Los Angeles Backwards Beekeeper Max writes:

Wow, look at the gorgeous natural comb the Lincoln Log bees create. It's so pretty.

And such a pain in the ass to inspect.

Erik came over on Saturday to get some open brood from me for his Hollywood Hills trap out. Since he was already in his bee gear, he was nice enough to help me with my problem hive. The Lincoln Log bees swarmed from the Log Hive that we got from Kirk back in January. I captured them in a nuc box and they proceeded to swarm out of their nuc box 3 weeks later to parts unknown. I put the skeleton crew of bees that were left behind after the swarm into a a two-story lang. When I inspected the hive two weeks ago, the bees had built the ridiculous comb in the top super, and the lower super had tons of swarms cells on the bottom of the brood frames. Those bees are getting ready to swarm again. Jerks.

At any rate, I thought I'd try to kill two birds with one stone by checkerboarding. (Go here for the full explanation.)

I used the escape board that I borrowed from Sue to empty out the top super which is mainly honey.

With Erik's help I complete ripped out the crazy comb in the top super, which was gross because there was brood mixed in with the uncapped honey. I threw the brood (which had gone unattended for 48 hours) in the compost bin and saved the uncapped comb to re-feed the "donor" hives.

Then I removed the escape board.

I removed donor honeycomb (capped and uncapped) from our Malibu bees and our Hot Tub bees.

In the top super of the Lincoln Log hive I checkerboarded the honeycomb with empty frames--which means I alternated honeycomb, empty frame, honeycomb, empty frame.

I'm hoping that the addition of all the new honeycomb will trick the bees into staying in the hive by making them believe it's not time to swarm. I'm also hoping that the straight honeycomb will act as an example comb to the bees so they maybe consider the features and benefits of making straight, easy-to-inspect comb, instead of all this wavy gravey business.

Usually checkerboarding doesn't disturb the brood nest because it's all about adding honey upstairs, so allegedly it's less stressful on the bees than putting a queen excluder between the bottom board and the first super to keep the bees from swarming.

—Max

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