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Author Topic: Foundation pros and cons  (Read 16407 times)
Hopeful
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« on: November 06, 2007, 07:48:22 AM »

Hi,
I recetly bega in the beebiz. I have 12 hives, most on large bottom boxes, and about 45 shallow supers. I hope to add ten or so more hives next season and am  wanting to know how to go about it. The idea of meium for everything sounds appealing. But I am very confuizzled in regard to frames/foundations. it seems there are many choices and different reasons for desiring each one. I recently bought some foundation called "Duragilt", but have been told that this is the worst of the worst. I liked how easy the Duragilt was to install when putting together my new frames. But if it does not work, then what?

Which should a Newbee choose, and why? What are pros and cons?
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 09:11:10 AM »

Hopeful, I can't help you with your queery.  But all I want to say to you is that I take my hat off to you to start beekeeping with 10 hives, you are going to have your hands full and that is a wonderful thing!!!  I began beekeeping with 2 of my own hives and kept 2 of my old bee pal's hives too.  That was so much work for me, I have a farm and it was so intimidating (hee, hee).  I now have 9 and it is still a lot of work.  But I find that with knowledge gained more and more, that next year I think that I could handle a few more.  These 9 colonies will be second year bees and are strong and very healthy, so I know that I will be able to split each one at least once (maybe more, hee, hee,  Smiley).  And I am thinking now, maybe I could handle 20 plus hives, hee, hee.  Have a wonderful day, and good luck with your new venture, you know you are gonna love the world  of our bees.  Have a beautiful and wonderful day, Cindi 

P.S.  I am very excited about learning and learning and putting all the learning and hands on experience into keeping bees, what an interesting field -- apiculture.  C.
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 08:25:00 PM »

>The idea of meium for everything sounds appealing.

Eight frame mediums are my choice.

> But I am very confuizzled in regard to frames/foundations. it seems there are many choices and different reasons for desiring each one. I recently bought some foundation called "Duragilt", but have been told that this is the worst of the worst.

I disagree.  I've used a lot of Duragilt.  It's usually well accepted since it's wax and you don't have to wire it.  It has two downsides.  It's not the cell size I want and if the bees every chew the wax off the plastic they never rebuild it.

>I liked how easy the Duragilt was to install when putting together my new frames.

Exactly.

> But if it does not work, then what?

It will work.  In the long run you may not like it, but by the time they chewed it up you probably should swap out the comb anyway.  Smiley

>Which should a Newbee choose, and why?

Any plastic is an acceptance problem (in theory).  Cell size is one issue to me.  Cost is another.  Mann Lake's PF100s and PF120s (depending on what size you need) are well accepted one piece plastic frames and foundation and they are 4.95mm cell size.  I bought 3000 in the last year.

> What are pros and cons?

The best acceptance is foundationless (with some kind of comb guide).  Bees love to build their own comb.  The down sides are that if they mess up a comb they will continue the mistake across the hive.  Of course if you ever did a cut out this doesn't seem so insumountable.  The other downside is you have to be more gentle with the comb.

Next is wax.  You can buy it in 4.9mm (small cell) 5.1mm (medium cell).  You can also buy it in standard 5.4mm.  I'd buy the 4.9mm.  Bees will draw this the next best as it's wax and they like to work wax.  What they don't like is that it's already laid out and they had a different plan.  Wax is hard to keep in the frame without it sagging.  So usually it's wired.  Wiring and embedding the wires are a lot more work and more things to learn and more equipment to buy.  To do it well you need a form board, an embedder and a crimper.

Fully drawn plastic.  This is expensive and heavy but it's also permanent.  PermaComb is available in medium depth and it's about 5.0mm equivalent which is not a bad size (I prefer 4.9mm).  The bees don't have to draw it and once they start using it it's permanent drawn comb.  Acceptance issues are about the same as plastic foundation, but the advantage is that they already have the comb done once they decide to use it.  Honey Super Cell is 4.9mm and only comes in deeps.

Plastic foundation.  The issue is acceptance.  Once they start drawing on it, they will use it just like any comb.

Plastic one piece frame/foundation.  These are frames and foundation all in one.  The PF100 and PF120 at Mann Lake are cheap and small cell and I've had good acceptance.  Pierco and others are out there as well.  Mann Lake has some more expensive ones but they are large cell.  Acceptance is the main issue.  The other issue is that while you get more cells because of thin top and end bars, you also get more burr comb between the boxes because of it.


http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#foundation
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 08:36:11 PM »

Michael , How long should I expect a duragilt foundation to last? When I bought my hives, some of the frames in the hives were 40 years old! That is not to say that he foundation is that old, but some of the foundation/comb was very dark, almost black. The bees seemed to store in them, but sparingly.They were the ones with the least honey in them. The heaviest supers were fairly new frames (2-5 years old) and foundations. Then there were some frames that looked practically new, and had an eliptical comb pattern in the middle, but not out to the edge. Some of the two year old to five year old frames were completely filled in, and weighed a ton. I really think 2/3 of my honey came from 1/3 of the supers.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2007, 12:15:33 AM »

Combs
When I bought my hives, some of the frames in the hives were 40 years old! That is not to say that he foundation is that old, but some of the foundation/comb was very dark, almost black. The bees seemed to store in them, but sparingly.They were the ones with the least honey in them. The heaviest supers were fairly new frames (2-5 years old) and foundations. Then there were some frames that looked practically new, and had an eliptical comb pattern in the middle, but not out to the edge. Some of the two year old to five year old frames were completely filled in, and weighed a ton. I really think 2/3 of my honey came from 1/3 of the supers.

Bees will often move off of old comb and go to new comb.  In a feral hive, if exposed, one can see the creep of the hive from one side of a cavity to the other as the old comb is abandoned and new comb added.  Your description of the honey deposit within your hive describes this tendency fairly well.  Pull the oldest combs in the spring and let them build new combs.  If you do a couple of frames per year your will a lot for the health of your hive, discourage swarming and absconding, and keep the brood chamber where you want it (after a few years the bees will abandon the box with the oldest combs and your brood area climbs in the hive.)
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2007, 07:05:07 AM »

>Michael , How long should I expect a duragilt foundation to last?

Until they decide to move the wax somewhere else or the wax moths tear it up and they clean it out.  That could be three months or thirty years.
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2007, 08:40:06 AM »

I recently bought some foundation called "Duragilt", but have been told that this is the worst of the worst.


I agree with that, it is the worst foundation I ever tried to use, this is what I seen with it, they drew out correctly maybe 10 sheets out of 60 that they even worked on and wouldn't even draw out some ( just like they do on pierco) just dont work it like they do wax foundation, every sheet except for that 10 will be replaced with wax foundation, the thing about removing wax from the sheet is also true, had a couple sheet that one side was drawn out right and the other side was plastic, they removed the wax, this was the first year I tried it, worst stuff I ever used and will never try it again.....
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007, 09:39:03 AM »

I recently bought some foundation called "Duragilt", but have been told that this is the worst of the worst.


I agree with that, it is the worst foundation I ever tried to use, this is what I seen with it, they drew out correctly maybe 10 sheets out of 60 that they even worked on and wouldn't even draw out some ( just like they do on pierco) just dont work it like they do wax foundation, every sheet except for that 10 will be replaced with wax foundation, the thing about removing wax from the sheet is also true, had a couple sheet that one side was drawn out right and the other side was plastic, they removed the wax, this was the first year I tried it, worst stuff I ever used and will never try it again.....

I came to that conclusion back in the 60's right after the stuff 1st hit the market.  Once bitten, twice shy.  I have vowed to stay away from anything plastic in my hives.
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Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2007, 11:26:08 PM »


The best acceptance is foundationless (with some kind of comb guide).  Bees love to build their own comb. 


That is surely not true. Need good imagination to think that way.

When you play with bees, you cannot think what is their opinion.

When you have 10 hives, they need langstroth 500 foundations.


* It is 50 kg wax.
* if bees exrecete foundation wax, the 50 kg wax needs  400 kg honey.

During next 10 years, you need to renew about 10-15 foundations every year per hive and it is

10 x 10 x 15 = 1500 foundations = needed  0,8 kg honey *1500 = 1200 kg honey!

You get almost foundation wax from honey cappings when you extract your yield.



If you open the inner cover,  you surely not ask bees opinion. Why to ask when offering foundations.

If you want to play 200 years old beekeeping, and you do not care honey yield, I am wrong person to say anything about you hobby.  You need only good imagination and not so much bees.  I hate natural beekeeping methods.

But beekeeping is that bee is a wild creature. You need to know how it acts as animal. Then you try to take your own from system and it is honey. Wax you get from China if you need.

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May Good bless American beekeeping!



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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2007, 06:40:15 AM »

>That is surely not true. Need good imagination to think that way.

It's quite easy to prove.  Give them a box with foundationless, wax, plastic etc. and see what they do first.  They will build their own comb on the foundationless first virtually every time.

Ask the bees.

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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2007, 07:35:09 AM »

It's quite easy to prove.  Give them a box with foundationless, wax, plastic etc. and see what they do first.  They will build their own comb on the foundationless first virtually every time.

That is not question at all. I do not ask what they like my face. They don't.
The question is how big honey yield I get from hive. When you give wax foundation you save 8 kg honey for every langstroth box foundations.
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 08:03:48 AM »

Finsky,
Do we then get more yield if we use the predrawn comb,like Permacomb, or does the time it takes for them to accept it offset the gain in yield?
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2007, 08:58:56 AM »

What is being said here is that if using foundationless frames and the bees have to draw natural comb, they consume more honey for making wax than if you use wax foundation in the frames.  It takes honey to produce comb.  Simply said.  Have a wonderful and great day, beautiful life.  Cindi
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2007, 01:54:27 PM »

 understand, Cindi, thank you. I guess it also takes both honey and time to make actua comb then. In other words, if it takes honey, which takes time, to produce a foundation for comb, how uch more would it save both time and honey having the combs permanently drawn?

Finsky, Does this make sense?

(BTW, I like that you show much personality on the boards. It makes it more fun.Smiley )
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2007, 05:50:36 PM »

My take is this. All the foundation offers is the bottom of the cell. The bees have to build the walls. So the bottom of the cell is the only extra the bees have to build if there is no foundation.

With foundation the workers are separated by the foundation and so basically they are working one side at a time.
Without foundation the bees all work together and communicate better and get it done faster.
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2007, 09:35:15 PM »

To Finsky the bottom line is the amount of harvestable honey, anything that won't assist directly with maximum production is abhorrent.  Everything he advocates is predicated on that concept.  In Europe a beekeeper can be considered a professional with a lot fewer hives than what is considered such in America--I have a daugther-in-law and granddaughter who were both born and raised in Germany (they still live there while my son is in Iraq).  In China, and many 3rd world countries, a person with 10 hives is often considered a full time beekeeper as he makes most of his living from the bees.

I've run the experiment more than once on foundationless verses starter strips, wired foundation, un-wired foundation, and plastic foundation with the results being that the bees will build out foundationless or starter strips faster than any other comb option. It may not be the most economical from a business viewpoint but it is the best for speed or drawing comb. 

Finsky: Here in the USA we have a saying: "Don't knock it until you've tried it."
To call something into question just because it doesn't fit your operation or methods does not make them invalid.  Success/Failure to verify through replication is the proof/lie of the matter.
When I read Finsky's post I always keep his perpective in mind as to the answer he gives.  He's been known to call question some things I've proved to myself over and over because it doesn't fix his concepts.

FYI:  I'm not trying to pick a fight just explain something from my perspective.
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2007, 07:38:13 AM »

I use plasticell from Dadant for honey supers and most of my deeps have them as well. I have used some small cell in brood chambers as well for acceptance. In a good flow I find they will draw out like mad, bees are great at building excess stores, in fact too much a lot of times. that's why we can take honey from them. In a good flow I like the plasticell, they draw it out fast! Only drawback, its not good for cut comb. Thought I'd experiment with some Ross Rounds in the spring. Hopeful, just have fun and experiment. You see we all have our favorites here, play around, sip some wine, roll around in the honey, hug your bees and have a great day. grin
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2007, 08:24:29 AM »

>That is not question at all. I do not ask what they like my face. They don't.
The question is how big honey yield I get from hive. When you give wax foundation you save 8 kg honey for every langstroth box foundations.

The more quickly the draw combs the more quickly they fill them.  The question is how quickly will they build and fill them.  It's the enthusiasm and direction with which they undertake their own combs as opposed to the hesitation and lack of purpose with which they draw foundation that makes a difference in your harvest.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm

PermaComb or Honey Super Cell may break even the first time you use them just because of hesitation to use them, but you'll have drawn comb from then on that has no acceptance problems.  And actually once you get them in the habit of using new PermaComb the rest of that flow they will take it pretty well, so it depends on the length of the flow how that pays out.  If you have a long flow and they hesitate at first to use the PermaComb but then start using it (typical) then it will pay off a lot at the back end of the long flow because now they are just using it.

It's the same for having to start with foundation (or foundationelss).  In a short flow it costs you a LOT to not have drawn comb because there is no where to put the nectar and they are not into comb drawing yet.  But in a long flow, once they are into comb drawing mode, they draw it quite quickly and stay ahead of the foragers and then I don't see a lot of difference.

I'm not the only one who thinks this:

Richard Taylor on the expense of making wax:

    "The opinion of experts once was that the production of beeswax in a colony required great quantities of nectar which, since it was turned into wax, would never be turned into honey. Until quite recently it was thought that bees could store seven pounds of honey for every pound of beeswax that they needed to manufacture for the construction of their combs--a figure which seems never to have been given any scientific basis, and which is in any case quite certainly wrong. The widespread view that if the combs were used over and over, through the use of the honey extractor, then the bees would be saved the trouble of building them and could convert the nectar thus saved into honey, was only minimally correct. A strong colony of bees will make almost as much comb honey as extracted honey on a strong honey flow. The advantage of the extractor, in increasing harvests, is that honey stored from minor flows, or gathered by the bees over many weeks of the summer, can easily be extracted, but comb honey cannot be easily produced under those conditions."
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2007, 08:36:05 AM »

I use a extractor and don't care about crush and strain, the problem I see with using foundation less or starter strips is that they don't always attach comb to the sides or bottom of the frames so these frames cant be extracted, even on brood chambers, when you inspect the comb bends and could fall out of the frame when not attached (some are attached but most aren't), like I said in another post I will only use starter strips for comb honey if I don't have comb honey foundation and I don't care about going foundation less.
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« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2007, 11:31:57 AM »

JP
Quote
You see we all have our favorites here, play around, sip some wine, roll around in the honey, hug your bees and have a great day.

I like that!!!!  I think that is going to be a motto of mine, for life!!!!!  Have a beautiful and greatest of this day, the great health to go along with that.  Cindi
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