Hive Maintenance

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IMG_20150623_173832So one of my hives had a few issues I needed to deal with today. When I got it as a nucleus colony the frames were not properly spaced. Bees are very industrious and OCD type creatures. They have this obsessive urge to fill all available space with comb. Beekeepers calls this “brace comb” or “burr comb”. You tend to see this on top and bottom of frames, here and there in little spurts. This was different. They had built entire sections of comb between the frame bodies, and it had to be removed. I had intended to remove the comb on the last inspection, but the bees were quite perturbed and basically told me to back off for another day. Today was the day.

An intervention like this always has a chance to hurt the bees or even worse, the queen. But long term, I am told that the bees will continue to expand the comb till it gets to the point that you cannot remove and reinsert frames without rolling (crushing) the bees.

So, it seemed simple enough. Remove the frames, use the hive tool to cut the bits out and keep them to make candles. No problem.

Well, as is all things beekeeping related, the devil is in the details.

First you have to cut into the comb, which is crawling with bees, then you have to take it out with your hands, then before putting it into a container you have to remove the 100 or so bees all over it whilst they are drowning in the honey that is leaking out. Oh my, what a mess. In the end it got done, but I wasn’t happy about it. I shall vow to keep a closer eye on this burr and get rid of it before it comes to this.

The good news is that we got a little bit of honey to taste and some wax to put away for candle making.

 

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