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Perpendicular Combs

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Adam Rose
Silver Bee

Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 589
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:08 am    Post subject: Perpendicular Combs Reply with quote

You can see some spectacular perpendicular combing in these pictures : !

This is a relatively small swarm that was put into an 8 bar space in a normal sized hive. The bees decided to build comb starting on the follower board, working at 90 degrees to the comb guides ! In retrospect, it would probably have been better to use a much smaller space, say 5 or 6 bars, but of course the bees may have decided to build perpendicularly anyway.

The combs have only extended across five bars. So after some discussion we decided to remove the unused three bars, replace the current follower with a follower that has a hole in it, and use some spare comb from the other end of the hive on the other side of that follower to encourage them to build new comb "correctly". There is a follower without a hole on the far side of that. This will result in five bars of semi-permanent perpendicular combs but we're hoping that the rest will be along the combs.

The beekeepers may drill more than one hole in the internal follower, or may replace it completely with a 1/2 or 2/3 length follower.

We should be able to update with progress towards the end of the year, or perhaps next spring, depending on how quickly the colony expands.

The other hive in the apiary is much better behaved ! Again a small colony, but all the combs are beautifully straight. We did a quick inspection and I managed to spot the queen, which is pretty rare event for me. She was fat and quite orange coloured.

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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

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