Beatrix Hives wrote:Thanks for the design.
I went ahead and built one of these hives and I've had bees in it for just over a month. I opened up the hive today and while the bees have been very productive, I have a bit of a problem on my hands. All of their combs are crooked and about five of the bars are stuck together with one big old comby, heavy, honey filled mass. I was only able to remove and inspect one of the newer combs because all of the other bars are stuck together so badly. Any ideas about what to do with this mess and how to prevent it happening on the rest of the bars? The comb guide that I used on the bars was miniature dowel (approximately 20 inches long) stapled to the underside of each bar.
Any suggestions on how to remedy this dilemma would be very much appreciated
There is a reason for everything that bees do. Here are some of my observations.
Only been a month? Ouch. I'd say leave them alone for at least 5 months or so and let them work. Natural inclination is to check them to see if they are doing their job. Uh, they have their own natural inclination, which is to be left alone. Which is why we get stung, lol. They know what they are doing.
However, if you set them up with the bars too close together, they'll paste the combs together. If they are too far apart, they'll start fastening the combs together for stability. Check the size of your bees, there are plenty of size charts online to see what size your's are. Size the bars to the bees.
Make sure the ends of the dowels that you installed on the bars are far enough away from the ends. This keeps the bees from building comb against the sides of the hive body.
Make sure the dowels are STRAIGHT and not too large. Crooked or large foundation strips will, of course, make the combs touch in certain areas. Bee space is critical. They need to be able to get between the combs to keep the honey cool in summer by fanning their wings.
All that to say, I suspect that the bars are too narrow for your bees, or the dowels may be a tiny bit crooked. I've had good luck with cutting a groove in the top bar and melting some beeswax into the groove. Cheap ol junk wax works just fine, no need to use top quality stuff for this.
Don't give up!!! Keep at it and soon you'll be a proud beekeeper. Got Pics of your setup?