7/31/10

Viewer mail

Margaret writes:

I am a beginner beekeeper (two hives in March, one swarmed in June, now three hives) located in Tacoma, Washington.

When I added a Langstroth honey super to my strongest hive, Demeter, I did not include the plastic foundation, wanting the bees to make their own comb a la Backwards Beekeepers. The bees have been having a great time, making lots of beautiful comb and filling the cells up with honey. The problem is that the comb goes every which way, sticking frames together and making it impossible to pull a frame without ruining the adjacent frames.


Do I leave this as is and give all the honey to the bees (which I wouldn't mind doing at all)? Do I rip it all out and start again (I think that would be a sin!)? Do I add another honey super with plastic (or wax) foundation above or below the "which way" super? Do I add another honey super with frames and no foundation and hope that the bees have time to fill that super before autumn?


I have to admit that I would like to get a tiny bit of honey from my hives this year but my main goal is to have the bees overwinter well. My other Langstroth hive, Artemis, is the one that swarmed. I may get a frame (with foundation) of honey from that one. The third hive, a top bar hive named Minerva, is doing well and I might get a bit of honey from that one as well.

Please help me! I want to do right by the bees!

—Margaret

Backwards Beekeepers, please weigh in on this.

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