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Author Topic: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"  (Read 7257 times)

Offline Carriage House Farm

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Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« on: November 15, 2007, 07:14:55 PM »
So, I have all these frames that I have started putting together and some wax foundation...I ordered some random stuff to see what it was like to get a better hands on feel for it.  COuld I use these "samples" of pure beeswax foundation (thin surplus for example) and use it as a starter strip in a wedge and groove frame?  I accidentally ordered a pound of deep and I am using mediums only.  So, I was wondering if I could simply tack them in staple/nail the wedge with about 1/8" of the foundation showing and will this be enough for them to go to town on.

I just hate wasting stuff, but the more I read the more I want to start natural and attain small cell.

Anyone?

I have yet to find anyone local who is doing this, they are either doing large cell no treat (or light treat - SBB and powder sugar) or completely chemical.

Thanks in advance!
Richard Stewart
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North Bend, Ohio

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Offline kathyp

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2007, 07:23:58 PM »
the wax foundation works great for starter strips.  i'll share what i found this year.  1st, you only need a very thin strip.  my first were to wide.  the best i did were about 3 rows of cells wide.  2nd, the wedge is not enough to hold the strip.  they will build and maybe even start to fill before they have fully attached the comb, and it may sag in the heat.  melt some wax and poor it along the wedge after you have it reattached with the strips in.  i used a glass syringe, but there is a device that is designed just for this.

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2007, 11:45:49 PM »
I cut them about 3/4" of an inch and that leaves a row or two of cells showing.  Anything will work for a starter strip.  Plain wax, whatever.  You're on the right track but I'd leave a 1/4" to 1/2" showing, not 1/8".
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Offline Scadsobees

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 09:35:45 AM »
Yeah, it works great.  It isn't an easy way to small/natural cell, however.

Be aware and read about it a little before dropping them into your hive.  If you just put a couple of frames w/ starters into the existing brood nest, they will draw all drone comb, which isn't necessarily bad.  It just takes a little bit different type of management.

It works fine in the supers, but since they will draw really large cell up there, the  queen will get up there quicker.

If you have a box of starters and put a swarm on it, they will draw it out pretty nice.

Rick
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Offline Carriage House Farm

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2007, 09:55:24 AM »
Thanks for the answers so far guys. 

I would be doing this on package bees in brand new boxes and frames.

So, ok, here is the next question.  Will they run it around wires if I string them across the frame and leave a starter strip?

Man, I was already to start 4 new boxes then I got started on this and now its like everything I was planning on doing has simply sent me on a new course of questions that I cannot find answers to in the books I have Nd everyone locally has done it the traditional route.

So I am asking a whole lot of simple questions here...or maybe not.

I'll do a couple test runs and then post them after I get enough ideas crammed into my head.
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Offline randydrivesabus

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2007, 10:36:40 AM »
I don't think you need wires in a brood box....they are mostly to hold things together in an extractor.
I installed 3 packages last spring into boxes with starter strip frames only and they drew them out nicely, for the most part. I had to correct them in a few spots but they caught on after a while.

Offline Robo

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2007, 01:43:47 PM »
Will they run it around wires if I string them across the frame and leave a starter strip?
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Offline Scadsobees

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2007, 02:41:39 PM »
Quote
Man, I was already to start 4 new boxes then I got started on this and now its like everything I was planning on doing has simply sent me on a new course of questions that I cannot find answers to in the books I have Nd everyone locally has done it the traditional route.

Yeah, welcome to my life....most of the answers are already here, somewhere buried in the past.  It is fun, rewarding, and often frustrating when experimenting with non-traditional stuff.

If they have a good flow, they will draw the wax mostly with the wires in the wax.  During slow times, they will sometime recycle some of the wax by the wire so there will be a little dip where the wires are.  But for the most part it is fine.

And you don't NEED wires, although they are nice.  Even if you just wire a big X it will hold the comb in.  Mostly the wires are needed during the hot days when you do inspections, in the brood box.  They won't always attach the bottoms and sides and that will make the comb rather delicate.

Rick
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Offline Carriage House Farm

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2007, 08:58:51 PM »
Thanks everyone for the input.

One worry out of the way.
Richard Stewart
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North Bend, Ohio

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Offline LocustHoney

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2007, 02:56:21 PM »
I am REALLY wanting to go small cell. Can I ask what might be stupid question???? I will probably find the answer as I keep reading, but can I not use a sheet of small cell wax with wire in it??? Or do they not make it?

Offline Carriage House Farm

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2007, 03:13:58 PM »
I am REALLY wanting to go small cell. Can I ask what might be stupid question???? I will probably find the answer as I keep reading, but can I not use a sheet of small cell wax with wire in it??? Or do they not make it?

Yes, they make it. Crimped wire small cell.  Its rather expensive, though not nearly as expensive as HSC.
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Offline LocustHoney

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2007, 03:23:38 PM »
I will probably go with a new hive when I do it. Al the other switching over things I have read may be too confusing for me now. I started with two hives 9 months ago and have 8 now. Never thought I would enjoy it this much. I am no match for my two boys' love though. They want to go in the hives everyday, no jole! I wish I would have know about THIS forum before I started. I would have went small cell from the beginning. Better late than never!!!

Offline LocustHoney

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2007, 03:24:54 PM »
By the way...would it be easier to start with: 1)swarm 2)split 3)just dump the bees in a new box and let them go!!!

Offline Carriage House Farm

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2007, 03:35:26 PM »
I am no match for my two boys' love though. They want to go in the hives everyday, no jole! I wish I would have know about THIS forum before I started.

Sounds like you should get an observation hive.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Offline Cindi

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2007, 10:07:22 AM »
LocustHoney.  You said something in a prior post about "a stupid question".  Nope, there is no such thing as a stupid question on this forum. Always remember....ask any question that you want, no matter if in your own mind you think it dumb.  No so.

Look what you have done, yea!!!  You have now 8 hives, you have instilled a love of the bees with your two children, that is so wonderful.  They will be your helpers, they will be your extra eyes.  They will spot any swarms (hopefully there won't be any, hee, hee) that may issue from your colonies.  It is amazing what 4 extra eyes can do around a place, hee, hee,  :) :)

Good, now you have these little farmhands that will carry on with this love of the bees that has become a part of your life, yea!!!  Have a great and wonderful day, Cindi. 

I love that song "Teach your children well."  (I don't like the second sentence in it though,  :roll: ;) :)  Remember that one?  By Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
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Offline LocustHoney

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2007, 11:55:03 PM »
Cindi you are so right!! My son has figured out a way to stop the robbers without reading any books. He uses his imagination and he thinks like a bee no matter how crazy it is!!! He has come up with simple solutions that only a child who knows no limits to the mind can do. Child like faith. This thing called beekeeping is a world in itself. An eternity in the middle of eternity. We get lost in it and somedays never want to find our way out of it. The other most valuable thing that I have gotten from beekeeping is this forum and meeting other beeks. They are some of the most fascinating people from ALL walks of life. We feel truly blessed by what we have been given.

Offline steveouk

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2007, 04:40:50 PM »
I sort of stumbled into bee keeping 2 months ago when i tried to rescue a wild hive that was in a tree that had been cut down and was due to be removed. Unfortunately the bee's didn't survive. However I've got bitten by the bug big style. I was given a Langston hive that had had wax moth damage in the brood box. I've been thinking about ordering some small cell foundation and replacing all the foundation in the frames with a strip of this. I have heard from a few bee keepers that this would not be wise in my first year of bee keeping. In fact Dadant don't recommend this when you buy it.

I guess my question is do not do this, or should i 1.Add a small strip of NC or  2. Replace the whole sheet of foundation in the frame with NC Foundation ???

From what I've read moving to NC Foundation seems the way to go, I've looked at the Man Lake frames but I'm hesitant to use plastic and would prefer to use sustainable wood in my hives. I am hoping to have 2 hives in the spring.

 

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2007, 06:08:26 PM »
>I have heard from a few bee keepers that this would not be wise in my first year of bee keeping. In fact Dadant don't recommend this when you buy it.

Dadant is just being cautious.  They don't want you to just put in small cell foundation and assume you'll have no problems with mites without understanding that it may take another step to get them down to 4.9mm.  Use the SC or starter strips right off and you'll be one full step ahead on getting to small cell.  So what is NC?
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Offline steveouk

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2007, 06:45:43 PM »
NC = Natural Cell ... i think.....

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2007, 08:13:17 PM »
>NC = Natural Cell

That would make sense.  I just haven't seen it abreviated by anyone before.  But then there is no "Natural Cell" foundation.  There is only large cell and small cell.  The bees build natural comb, but there is no natural foundation.

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Offline steveouk

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2007, 10:09:16 PM »
yeah sorry still trying to come to terms different people also seem to call different things differently. Gets a bit confusing.

also gets confusing when you type in Natural cell in google and it comes up with different links. From what i have read people feel that 4.9-5.1 mm is "Natural Cell" size.

Offline Cindi

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2007, 10:17:26 AM »
Steve, you are new to our forum, I don't think that you have been officially welcomed.  Well, here it is, one of the official welcomes, hee, hee  :) :) :)

Nice to have you come to visit us here, great people, lots of wonderful information, you will learn and learn, lots of seasoned beekeepers and new learners, safe, happy, wonderful, place.  Anyways welcome, ask any question, no matter how insignificant you may feel it may be to people, it is not so.  Every question is great and deserves a great answer, and to that, you will get many different answers.  Enjoy our forum.  Have a great and wonderful day.  Cindi
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Offline steveouk

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2007, 11:30:32 AM »
Thanks Cindi.

Yes i am learning lots and the more i learn the more i realize i know nothing.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2007, 12:04:09 PM »
>From what i have read people feel that 4.9-5.1 mm is "Natural Cell" size.

The term "natural cell" is usually reserved for natural drawn comb without foundation.  The term "small cell" is usually reserved for 4.9mm.

Natural cell varies from 4.4mm to 5.2mm or so.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesglossary.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesterms.htm
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Offline steveouk

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2007, 12:11:33 PM »
Thanks for clearing that up.

I was watching the video from the ( Cant post link as site wont allow me) Hass website and the speaker was saying that they found more mites in Small Cell.

Has anyone else backed this up yet. or is mite tolerance down to breeding rather than cell size ???
 

Offline Paraplegic Racehorse

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2007, 03:17:07 PM »
I was watching the video from the ( Cant post link as site wont allow me) Hass website and the speaker was saying that they found more mites in Small Cell.

HAS 2007 - Small / Large cell comparison

Here's my take on their finding that small cell has:
  • More mites - statistically significant: NO
  • More bees - statistically significant: YES

This indicates, to me, that mite problems are lower in small-cell hive because the RATIO of mites-to-bees is lower and more tolerable to the bees.

Still, I would like to see this study extended AND replicated.
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Offline Kirk-o

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2007, 03:18:07 PM »
Hey Steveouk
check out biologicalbeekeeping.com go to the library and read about small cell and the Lusby's you will be glad you did
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Offline steveouk

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2007, 05:08:26 PM »
hi thanks but your links does not work, i read about them on beesource but they also do allot of culling o0f hives in their breed management.

I'm used to selective breeding from breeding pedigree dogs in the past. All that seems to do is introduce more problems into the gene stock. However re introducing feral Queens back into the gene pool that seem to be resistant to mites does seem interesting....

 

Offline misfyredOhio

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2008, 08:06:51 PM »
(from second year beekeeper) If I start a new hive this year on small cell, is it ok to start it on the 4.9 mm cells immediately? I have been reading about transitioning down but I'm assuming that's for existing hives? Also, do you know if anyone sells frames with the small cell foundation already installed? Is it hard to install foundation on empty frames?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2008, 08:33:47 PM »
>If I start a new hive this year on small cell, is it ok to start it on the 4.9 mm cells immediately?

Yes.

> I have been reading about transitioning down but I'm assuming that's for existing hives?

It may take a couple of "regressions" but if you start with a package you've already done one.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#HowToRegress

> Also, do you know if anyone sells frames with the small cell foundation already installed?

Mann Lake's PF120s (medium depth) and PF100s (deep) are one piece plastic frames that are 4.95mm.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#foundationtoday

> Is it hard to install foundation on empty frames?

Not hard.  But it is a skill to learn.  Wiring is helpful with wax foundation.  You can buy it wired, but those are vertical wires and it's more expensive.

http://www.beesource.com/eob/wire_embedder/

I'm fond of just starter strips or comb guides and natural comb.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
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Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #31 on: January 01, 2008, 11:10:16 PM »
Then there is the honey super cell

http://www.honeysupercell.com/sblog/
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Offline Kirk-o

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2008, 10:34:03 AM »
I thought I read that honey super cell dosen't sell small lots.Only large lots like a hundred maybe more is this true
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Offline Robo

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Re: Starter Strips and converting to "natural"
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2008, 11:04:56 AM »
I thought I read that honey super cell dosen't sell small lots.Only large lots like a hundred maybe more is this true
kirko
Permacomb stopped small quantity orders.  You can buy HSC in quantities of 20.
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