I took a brief peek at one of my monster hives with honey supers on it yesterday and found several frames well on their way to being filled with honey. I know some experienced beekeepers discourage new beekeepers from going foundationless in their honey supers because the chances of the bees making a solid crop of comb honey aren’t great, but I can’t help myself. I love it when the bees build natural comb like this:
My honey supers have a combination of foundationless frames, frames of drawn comb from last year (with and without foundation), and frames with untouched foundation.
Apparently the bees are attracted to the smell of drawn comb. That gets them to work in the honey supers more eagerly. I put foundationless frames between the frames of drawn comb because the bees are generally compelled to fill in empty space. My methods may not maximize honey production, but the maximizing approach can take the fun out of beekeeping. That’s not my game. And it’s hard to argue with results like this:
Notes for my records: I started the year with four hives and now I have four more — three splits and one caught swarm. The caught swarm and the first split are doing well. The other two splits are only a day old, one with a newly mated queen, another with its original queen, so I don’t know how they’re doing. Each hive has its own crazy history. I hope all the craziness is over and done with. I’ve been in survival mode for the past seven weeks since I had to quickly move my bees from my backyard in the city. It’s been a slog.
Your pictures are a tease. I’m still starting out and haven’t seen new comb as beautiful as that. I plan on going foundationless in my supers as well and then doing a bit of cut-comb for my friends and family later this season (fingers-crossed).
I put a few empty frames in between drawn frames as well this year. Hoping for a few lovely frames of comb honey, too. Yours looks soooo yummy!
I’d like to do this myself – probably next year now, the weather this year has been so rubbish we haven’t got a super on yet, and probably won’t do before the season’s over. The honey comb looks spectacular.
Love that new comb. And I love how they build on foundationless frames.
Damn. My comb honey has mould on it. Or at least I think it does. I had about 8 packages of comb honey from last year that I was saving for friends and people who help me with my bees. But I just noticed what appears to be white mould on the comb. It’s not fuzzy and fungi-like, so perhaps it’s only crystallizing honey, but I can’t take tell and I can’t risk giving bad honey to anyone. Shoot. Damn.
For now on I’ll have to make sure to keep all my stored comb honey in the freezer.