This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Cut Comb Honey

A standard medium frame. Note wooded wedge I have broken off the top bar.

After the foundation is inserted the wedge is positioned to anchor the foundation.
Notice the thin strip of foundation I trimmed off so the foundation would fit proper.

A stapler is one method to attach the wedge strip. 5/8" nails work as well.

The cut comb frames are put in the box closest to the queen excluder. I have marked the frames with a marker. When the combs are all capped they all look the same. Obviously these are new and can easily be spotted. But as time goes by the frames will darken then the marking will be important.

I have a nectar flow going at my place in Stillwater. When I know I have a flow going and the bees are putting up nectar into the supers, it is time for cut comb honey.
Cut comb honey is probably the easiest comb honey there is to make. Nothing special except a few frames and thin surplus foundation.
I use a medium super on my strongest colonies to make cut comb honey. Starting with medium frames with wedge top bars. Assembly for the frames are the same as any frame, nails and glue.
The wedge is a cut piece of wood on the top bar. There are two types of top bars, grooved and wedge.
I break the narrow wedge off the top bars before assembly. After I glue and nail the the frame together I run my pocket knife across the top bar to take off any extra wood left by the wedge. This makes for a smooth top bar and nothing can get hung up on it.
The next step is to insert the thin surplus foundation. This foundation is 100% beeswax and is edible.
Insert the beeswax foundation into the groove of the bottom bar and gently push it against the edge of the top bar. If the foundation fits too tight slight trimming may be necessary. The foundation should hang straight with no bulges or waves.
Take the wedge and push it tight against the top bar, pinching the foundation. This will hold the foundation in the frame while the bees are drawing it out.
Nail or staple the wedge in place. When the bees have finished the frame of comb honey the wedge can be removed and new foundation can be reinserted repeating the process.
I always use the strongest colonies to make comb honey. Taking the supers off I put the frames about in the center of the super right above the queen excluder. Using weak colonies or putting the frames on to early sometimes leads to the bees chewing holes in the foundation instead.
I will recheck it in a week to see if it is finished.
When checking the comb honey, always stick green grass in the end of the smoker spout. This will act as a filter to prevent bits of black charcoal from getting all over the new white comb.