Update and more advice needed please

Many thanks to those who offered advice on homing my swarm. The bees are happily settled, busy, forraging and, I discovered through the observation window, building comb. BUT the comb is a running at right angles to the bars of my horizontal tbh. So the question is – is there anything I could or might do about that? I am not interested in collecting honey and trust the bees to do what is needed without me ‘checking’ on them but this orientation of the comb does seem to mean that no opening up of the hive will be possible. So, once again, I need the  wise council of more knowledgable keepers.


About walthambees

I am a complete novice to bee keeping - eager to learn, willing to try, happy to acknowledge that I know little and prepared to write about that in the hope that others will share their wisdom and experiences!
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3 Responses to Update and more advice needed please

  1. simplebees says:

    It is thought that swarms build comb in the same relation to the earth’s magnetic field as the parent hive. Try rotating the hive so that the line of the top bars runs in the same direction as the combs. Obviously this will not change the situation with respect to the existing comb but it might help going forward. Let us know if it works.

  2. Paul says:

    You can use a divider board to at least stop them building too far into the body of the hive. Damage limitation.
    Normally if you give them a narrow space between two parallel flat plates they build parallel to those surfaces. The assumption, of course, is that they start off in the orientation you wish – there are some ways to encourage this such as ribs under the top bars which they tend to hang off. Some people use flat bottomed top bars, which I think is asking for trouble, but so many things about TBH’s are at the unwritten oral lore stage right now.
    Do you use side or end entrances? I suspect side ones contribute to problems, though not this exact problem; I detail that here.

    • ruth talbot says:

      Hi Paul. thanks for your comments. I read your piece and recognised a number of issues. The underside of my bars is ridged and there are dowels coming vertically down at about 1/3 and then 2/3 along which are intended to support the comb. the entrance is, as you guessed, at the side rather than the end. I have been uncertain what to do, generally, about the size of the space. I had an idea that if the space was too small the new swarm might decide not to stay on the basis that it wasn’t big enough to accommodate the colony as it grows. having left about 2/3 of the chamber available to them, using the follower-board, the bees have used the space by building thier comb at right angles to the bars and I don’t think my 90 degree rotation of the hive has changed that. An old (conventional) bee keeper from the village suggested that I should have left an old comb in there to direct the swarm about the direction to build in – might that work another year, with another swarm? I guess my real dilemma is whether I should be attempting to direct the bees anyway. Presumably in the wild bees find a space and then make the best of it whatever shape it is. I feel a long way behind them in understanding why they make particular choices but am also mindful of the idea that bees may need more help because their environment is no longer as favourable. so, for now, the bees are getting on with it and i watch and try to learn

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