Saturday, April 28, 2012

Artiste Apis Mellifera = Crazy Comb Patterns!

One thing that new beekeepers should learn is to expect the unexpected. And while I'm not a new beekeeper anymore, there are still things that I discover inside the hive that baffles me from time to time. One is the crazy comb patterns that bees will create on frames. Like this frame for example. As you can tell by the color, this is a drone frame that I use for varroa mite control. But the ladies decided to use it for another purpose. It has become their artiste's palette.

This frame is in a one year old colony. I believe in being proactive to eliminate pest problems, so weeks ago, I placed the drone frame in the hive so the bees could draw it out. Then after the frame is drawn and the eggs are capped, you take it out and freeze it, then put it back into the hive. The hygienic bees remove the dead brood and the varroa mites too by throwing them outside the hive. But when I checked to make sure they were doing what they are supposed to be doing, this is what I found. I also found a similar pattern on the end of another frame. As you can see, the ladies even started making honey in the comb. And when I pulled the frame out and broke the wax bridge going to the next frame, the ladies took advantage of the situation and had a tasty lunch.

While I really don't want to quash their artistic side, I really wish they would use the frame for its intended purpose. Oh well. I'll just add the wax to my waste wax collection and use it later.


  1. I know it's hard to quash anyone's artistic endeavor ;), but I too am baffled by the sculptures the girls build. I chalk it up to them being bees, being wild, and not catering to my human whims.

    For now, I let them do their own thing with the cut wax cappings that I put into their Serge-style hive top feeder.

  2. Hey Mark,
    I want to put your link on my blog roll. I will be moving my site to another host over the next month and plan on doing so when that's finished. I will be visiting your blog weekly, though.

  3. Mine have done that as well but only on the plastic foundation. They made a column of drone brood, very odd.

  4. Mil: Thanks for adding me to your new blog roll! I do appreciate it! The wax won't go to waste. I just bought a new mini crock pot warmer, so I'll be able to coat my frames with my bees own wax. Thanks again!

    SuburbanRancher: I know what you mean about plastic foundation. I'm not satisfied with Pierco one-piece plastic frames whatsoever. I honestly don't think the bees like it, and that makes me unhappy too. I'm going to eventually phase out my plastics for good old wooden frames.

  5. Are you coating the frames because they are new? If so, that is a good idea to ease them into taking in a new frame. Look forward to more posts!

  6. Yes, brand new and fresh out of the box. I had to put them together myself. I am putting wax on them to draw the bees. Hopefully that will get the ladies interested!



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