Bees fill voids greater than 3/8″ (1cm) with comb. When not given a guide to work with they build it according to their own liking. Hence the marvel of Hoffman frames and hive designs that encourage them to build within the design guidelines.
I made this mistake last year, discovered it, and left it until this year. Somehow I placed six shallow frames in a medium hive body located in the center brood box position. On inspection last year I realized my error when I tried to remove the frames. Oops! Since last summer I have spent many sleepless nights tossing and turning anxiously awaiting spring inspections when I hoped the box would be vacated and I could remove it. Yesterday was the day and last night I finally had a good night’s sleep. 🙂 BTW: These bees get an F for maintaining proper bee space.
Toni Blackbird | Mindful Blossom said:
Oh wow! How strange that they built across frames. You’d think bees with such OCD could make a straight line 😉 cool post, thank you for sharing. You’ve made me wonder about how to measure the frames.
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I “inherited” a hive a couple years ago that had standard Langstroth frames inside a standard Langstroth box. But, and here’s the oops, NO FOUNDATION. They did exactly what you see in the post except it was a full Langstroth deep worth of cross comb mess. I did the same thing then and took it off the next spring. I showed it to the beginner’s class that spring and everyone got a laugh. 🙂
We caught one of our own swarms last summer. We noticed the swarm just as we were leaving for a social event. So we grabbed some empty frames and boxes and put together a quick hive. We collected them by cutting the branch they were on. The bees were adamant about staying on that branch! We shook, we scraped–they just went back to that branch.
Finally, with our eyes on the clock, we cut the branch to fit into a deep box, and threw the whole mess on top of the hive. When we came back, late the next day, the damn busy bees had built comb from the branch all over the insides of that deep box. Quick, before it got any worse, we had to cut out all that creative comb and force them down into the frames below. Those frames were ready, clean and had ample comb. I guess the bees didn’t like the idea of a furnished space. From this I learned the lesson that, while there’s plenty of room for creativity in beekeeping, don’t leave extra space in the hive.
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Right you are! Those swarms can be comb building maniacs! Nothing like one to draw out some comb fast. 🙂