Cross combing continued!

We had a surprisingly warm and sunny afternoon yesterday so I was able to take a peek at the two new swarms. The one which had to be removed from a National to a new Horizontal is perfectly straight with brood and honey, but the swarm which went onto the newly cleared out Horizontal is cross combing like crazy – 4 – 5 beautiful new combs built in the last 2 weeks, but at 45 degrees to the bars – but the bees are happy! I did try to realign the hive when I noticed the first comb going crooked when I last looked but I must have got it wrong. Perhaps I should have put a small piece of foundation along a bar or two before they were introduced into the hive? There was bee-waxed string running along the bars but it was pre used by the previous inhabitants. 

The ‘boy next door’ took a comb from his ‘swarm machine’ TBH 3 weeks ago and got 5 jars of honey from it. It must have rape in it as it set quickly but is not pure white like other rape honey I have seen. Kept at room temperature it is pale golden and tastes very delicate. Our first honey from the valley. So exciting- but if Summer continues like this I won’t expect any honey from my bees this year!

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2 Responses to Cross combing continued!

  1. hunneybun says:

    I am interested in the cross-combing issue. This weekend I opened my tbh to see how things are going (I got my swarm in May and have been feeding, as they were not expanding much during the rain) – I have looked once before, in mid-July, when the bees had built halfway across about five combs. This time I found that the central top bars were built on right across the hive (I have two entrance holes open, in the middle of the long sloping side as per Phil Chandler’s pattern, with follower boards either side of the colony cluster), but cross combing of honey stores was a problem (for me), on the side of each comb/bar opposite the entrance holes, ie they had built sections of wide honeycomb which spread wider than the top bars, but the areas of the comb nearer the entrance were OK as they mostly had brood. Is this pattern because they prefer to put honey further away from the entrance? If so, should I shift the whole cluster up a bit, so that the entrance holes are no longer central? It’s complicated to describe, but I’d like some advice!

  2. simplebees says:

    hunneybun says:

    Is this pattern because they prefer to put honey further away from the entrance?

    Yes.

    If so, should I shift the whole cluster up a bit, so that the entrance holes are no longer central?

    I would not advise interfering unless there is a problem for the bees, which doesn’t sound to be the case. When I kept bees in horizontals (which I no longer do) I used end entrances. This was one of the reasons.

    Gareth, West Oxfordshire

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