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Old 03-30-2013, 10:21 PM   #21
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So do the bees construct the combs alternating between brood and honey combs, or do they build brood combs in one area and honey comb in the other? How much of the colony is typically honey comb vs brood comb?

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Old 03-30-2013, 10:54 PM   #22
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So do the bees construct the combs alternating between brood and honey combs, or do they build brood combs in one area and honey comb in the other? How much of the colony is typically honey comb vs brood comb?
Brood comb is always in the bottom of the colony, a strong colony will fill out three or sometimes four of those deep hive bodies which are the deeper boxes in a Langstroth hive, which are 9 5/8" tall and contain either 8 or 10 frames in each hive body. The brood boxes, or hive bodies, are on the bottom of the stack. The top 9 5/8" hive body will have a band of honeycomb across the top of each frame, this keeps the queen down in the brood chambers where she belongs. Sometimes they will cross this line and you will find brood up in the honey supers (which are shallower) on the top of the stack. Even then it is all pretty well organized the same way. You can stack as many honey supers on top as you want to and they will continue to pack away the honey as long as they have the space for it.

A 9 5/8" brood box will weigh some 30-50 pounds when full of brood. If you find a 9 5/8" deep full of honey it will weigh 100 lbs!. The typical medium honey supers which are 6 5/8 " tall will weigh upwards of 50 lbs full of honey.

Honey consistently weighs 12 lbs per gallon.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:57 PM   #23
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What happens to hives that are occupied by a colony but cease to be maintained by a beekeeper?

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Old 03-30-2013, 11:25 PM   #24
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What happens to hives that are occupied by a colony but cease to be maintained by a beekeeper?
They just keep living in the hive as long as they are not disturbed. If they outgrow the space they have, then they swarm, half the colony splits off and finds another place to live.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:26 PM   #25
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I have removed abandoned beehives before. It usually works out quite well for both me and the bees. The manage either way though.

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Old 03-31-2013, 01:41 AM   #26
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The picture is inside a top-bar hive (the same type as I put the swarm into).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top-bar_hive

What you are calling a "conventional" hive is probably the Langstroth design- this is the most common design used in the US.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langstroth_hive

Keep in mind that the term "hive" is only used for a "kept" colony, and describes only the equipment a beekeeper keeps their bees inside of. Think if an apartment building for bees. Among many Beeks (beekeepers) the hive/colony terminology is like the clip/magazine terminology in the gun culture.
A colony is an active family of bees working together collectively with a queen, thousands of workers (all females) and some drones (males). The colony also has comb built in it, some is brood comb which also has some pollen and honey stored in "pantry" cells, and some is honeycomb which is strictly used to make and store honey in.

Here are two pictures of combs from a top-bar hive. The top one is brown and is brood comb, full of capped brood cells with larvae inside that will emerge as adult bees, the comb on the left is upside-down, the one on the right is as they built it inside the hive. Notice the gaps all around the sides and bottom. The comb is only attached to the top bar itself. The other one is honeycomb, also only attached at the top bar.
My father and I do a little beekeeping, he does the majority of it. Thats why I was curious. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:56 AM   #27
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My father and I do a little beekeeping, he does the majority of it. Thats why I was curious. Thanks for the clarification.
Oh, OK. The top-bar hive is more common in third world countries, probably due to a significantly lower cost (you can build them from scraps of just about anything.) You also don't need special extraction equipment to get the honey out so that they can re-use the comb. Some Beeks say that it does not reduce the yield and that is what I am trying to fgure out, especially with the comb honey.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:13 AM   #28
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We had a swarm that took up housekeeping in my back yard in Colorado. We found a beek (Mr. Moon) who came out with a cardboard box, held it under the tree branch, whacked the branch gently with his cane, and they fell into the box- closed the top, put it in his car (and gave us a qt of honey to say thanx for the bees!)

There were about 100 or so that were orphaned- they stayed on the tree, tried a little comb making, and we had a TREMENDOUS garden that year! Mowed grass within 3 ft of them with no trouble.

BTW, kill all the honeybees, you starve. Honeybees (aided by bumblebees) do the majority of all non-wind borne plant pollination. Used to know commercial fruit orchards that HIRED beeks to set up hives to see that the apple trees got pollinated.

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Old 03-31-2013, 02:20 AM   #29
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We had a swarm that took up housekeeping in my back yard in Colorado. We found a beek (Mr. Moon) who came out with a cardboard box, held it under the tree branch, whacked the branch gently with his cane, and they fell into the box- closed the top, put it in his car (and gave us a qt of honey to say thanx for the bees!)

There were about 100 or so that were orphaned- they stayed on the tree, tried a little comb making, and we had a TREMENDOUS garden that year! Mowed grass within 3 ft of them with no trouble.
I do that quite often. Sometimes on difficult swarm collections I have to charge, or for commercial buildings. But generally I just do it for the bees.

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BTW, kill all the honeybees, you starve. Honeybees (aided by bumblebees) do the majority of all non-wind borne plant pollination. Used to know commercial fruit orchards that HIRED beeks to set up hives to see that the apple trees got pollinated.
The almond bloom in the Central Valley of California is the largest beekeeping event in the world every year. Literally millions of beehives come to California for it, this year farmers were paying about $200 for every good hive for a few weeks time. I have thought about doing that myself for some spending money, but it is a real hassle for the number of hives I have. They send hives from all over the world for this one event, which sucks for us because those hives coming in from other continents have introduced many pathogens we have never seen before.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:44 AM   #30
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They send hives from all over the world for this one event, which sucks for us because those hives coming in from other continents have introduced many pathogens we have never seen before.
Doesn't the USDA or the state regulate that?
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