Sunday, November 6, 2016

Top Bar Cross Combing And A Better Experience Repairing

You may remember my previous post about my experience with broken top bar combs and repair using string to tie the comb up for the bees to reattach. It was successful even if somewhat difficult and tedious for one person. So when I found cross combing after a growth spurt I scoured the internet for other options.

Thank goodness for people that share information! I found The Garden Academy's instructions about rescue frames here Talk about a great idea!

There were four bars that had been cross combed together on one end. A couple inches of curve at the end that moved over to the next bar. Plus another bar with double comb attached. When trying to remove one bar two other would either move with it or comb would break off of two in chunks.

Comb built to the side of the bar, and breaking off where 
it attached to the bar next to it.

I had to improvise based on the hardware mesh I could find locally, and used 1/2"x1/2". For the hooks that slid in I cut out the last row of cross wire so it would be 1" long to insert into the comb.

Since most know patience isn't one of my virtues, there was a slight modification of the above referenced rescue frames. Mainly I didn't score the edges of my bars. Not only because of lack of time/patience/tools, I also planned to not leave the metal pieces in the hive. The result was a slight gap between bars. Not wanting other critters to use that as an entrance I sealed it up with duct tape. Ripping duct tape in beekeeping gloves........don't do it if you don't have too. The up side was anything that did try to enter was stuck to the tape. I won't embarrass myself by sharing a picture of what it looked like after it was taped shut.

A few bars in place after attaching the mesh.

Fast forward two weeks and I have SUCCESS. Beautiful straight comb attached firmly to bars. I removed most of the wire. One was still in progress and another was too embedded to remove without additional tools. I returned for both the following week. You can see in the first picture how some wax came out with the wire. The second picture is a new bar with straight comb that was started after the rescue frames were used.

Removing the wire after a few weeks. Some wax and honey came with it but the girls made repairs quickly.

Straight comb built on the middle of the bar!

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