Burr Comb

Today’s the day I removed all the feeders from my hives.

I placed a hive top feeder over a rim on one of my hives about a month ago. I removed the feeder today and found burr comb built up over the top bars, the bees filling in the space I created with the rim.

Burr comb built up over the top bars. (Oct. 23, 2016.)

Burr comb built up over the top bars. (Oct. 23, 2016.)

My best guess is the bees ran out of room for the syrup, so they began building comb above the top bars so they could fill it with syrup.

Burr comb. (Oct. 23, 2016.)

Burr comb. (Oct. 23, 2016.)


I had two other hives set up with hive top feeders in the same way, and I didn’t find any burr comb in either of those, probably because they still had empty comb beneath the top bars.

Burr comb built up over the top bars. (Oct. 23, 2016.)

Burr comb built up over the top bars. (Oct. 23, 2016.)

But it just goes to show you, if you give the bees the extra space, they’ll eventually fill it.

I’m not worried about these bees starving over the winter. Hopefully they didn’t fill every cell with syrup, though. As much as I don’t want them to starve during the winter, they still need empty cells in the cluster to hold heat and keep them warm. It’s another one of those beekeeping balancing acts (an apt description for everything in beekeeping). You want to feed them, but you don’t want to feed them too much. Oy yoy yoy…

2 thoughts on “Burr Comb

  1. Busy girls you have there, and lots of them! Will you remove this burr comb or leave it for the season? I noticed today that my bees have moved to one side of the hive. I’m not sure if this is normal but I figure they are rearranging their house for the winter and they know best. (Although so many empty frames on one side of the hive worries me a bit.)

  2. Judging from what I saw in my hives today after I removed the feeders, the top deeps seem full of honey and the clusters are big, so yeah, lots of bees, lots of honey. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it look so good going into winter. The dry summer gave me a lousy honey harvest, but not taking any honey from all my hives but one, it left them all with lots of honey. I lifted the top deep off one hive a couple weeks ago and nearly broke my back from the weight of it.

    I’ll leave the burr comb in the hive until it gets cold and the bees head down below the top bars. Then I’ll scrape it off and probably put sugar cakes on top at the same time, though I don’t think they’ll need it.

    The bees in one of my hives have moved to one side of the hive as well, but as far as I can tell, the entire top deep is full of honey, no empty frames. I think the bees are just moving to the warmest side of the hive where the sun hits the hive first thing in the morning.

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