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Author Topic: foundationless beekeeping  (Read 5669 times)
marliah
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« on: April 30, 2008, 01:17:45 PM »

So I have been reading up on foundationless and small cell beekeeping and I am 99% sure I want to go foundationless. The problem I have is I ordered a 10 frame hive, so I am thinking I will reorder an 8 frame one, but what I am wondering is if I can just throw my 5 frame nucs I am picking up next Sat. Right into a hive like that? Will they know what to do if they have already be used to having foundation? or would it be better for me to just get small cell foundation and use that until I have more experience?

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Tara
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Paraplegic Racehorse
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2008, 01:33:36 PM »

Of course you can just toss your nucs straight into the hive boxes! You'll have better luck getting the bees to draw straight comb if you a) give them a guide of some sort (starter strips, popsicle sticks, whatever) and b) place empty frames between drawn frames. However, since your nucs are still not super-populous, leave the three central brood combs together. Go ahead and separate the outer two combs with a single empty frame and the bees will draw those out really fast!
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marliah
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2008, 01:42:25 PM »

ok I think I messed up in my phrasing of that question lol. I am buying 5 frame nucs from someone (and now thinking about it I am wondering if that means they will be boxed up like I had been assuming they would.....when somoen buys "5 frame nucs" do they come with frames too?)

So I have a 10 frame hive, which I still need to assemble and everything, I either want to go foundationless or small cell. If I am just dumping them into an empty hive, should I have some small cell foundation in there on a few frames and then leave some open (well with popsicle stick guides) mixed in? or is it better to just go foundationless throughout?

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Tara
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Barbara
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2008, 01:50:47 PM »

Our 5 frame medium nucs came on 5 medium frames. We got them from a local beek, and he asked us what size we wanted.  We took the 5 frames from the nuc and placed them in the middle of our built boxes, with foundationless frames on each side.  Our temps have been down in the mid 30's at night so we didn't want to break up the cluster, but as soon as the weather warms up we are going to move one empty frames in one space and move the drawn frames out, so hopefully they will build reasonably straight comb on the empty frames.
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Barbara
marliah
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2008, 02:23:05 PM »

ok thank you barbara, that makes ALOT of sense! for some reason I hadn't clued into the fact that a 5 frame nuc setup would come with frames  LOL

So you are going to do five foundationless? so like 1 nuc frame, 1 foundationless, 1 nuc frame, 1 foundationless, the whole way through?

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Tara
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2008, 02:32:54 PM »

So you are going to do five foundationless? so like 1 nuc frame, 1 foundationless, 1 nuc frame, 1 foundationless, the whole way through?
you would be better off keeping at least the center 3 nuc frames together to start,  if you break up the nest by alternating frames, the bees will have a hard time keeping the brood warm.   Once they get stronger, then you can slowly add foundationless frames one or two at a time in the center.
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marliah
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2008, 02:41:39 PM »

ok so is it better to put in a few large cell (since thats what I already bought) in there and 2 foundationless like one on each side of the 3 in the center?? or can I have 5 foundationless in there with the 5 they come on? 

 Like  foundationless frame, nuc frame,  foundationless frame, nuc frame, nuc frame, nuch frame, foundationless frame, nuc frame , foundationless frame, foundationless frame (or should that last one be one with a foundation so I don't end up with 2 frames all meshed together?

and I looked at your post about using corrugated plastic for your foundationless frames, do you use anything to hold that in the frame or just push it in there and it stays put? I was thinking about using popsicle sticks on the top and bottom of mine. I have a 10 frame setup....should I also add a few rows of wire for strength?
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Tara
beekeeper in central Maine
Finally getting bees again! 6/12/13
jsmob
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2008, 10:02:44 PM »

Hi Marliah
The pattern you wrote out sounds fine. The bees will draw the last two frames out just fine, (most of the time). As far as the popsicle sticks go, just use a wood glue to secure them in the top groove. You don't need the sticks in the bottom groove.
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marliah
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2008, 08:04:59 AM »

ok thanks Smiley now about assembling the foundationless frames. Since I have a 10 frame deep should I put one wire rod through the center for stability in addition to the popsicle sticks?

and how do I set the sticks in? should I set them sideways and glue in to make a 1/2/-3/4 inch lip? or legthwise for a few inches of lip? or maybe one lengthwise in each corner and sideways across the top to make something like this?


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and one more question (I ordered a beginner kit that lacks instructions :/) how do I secure the frames together? should they be glued or nailed or stapled? there are no predilled holes or anything, the frame peices fit together well but I have no idea where on the frame I should be securing them or how.

Thanks in advance! Smiley
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Tara
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Finally getting bees again! 6/12/13
deantn
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2008, 08:29:21 AM »

Wow sounds like you really need a mentor to help you along. Find a bee club near you and join it. They are always willing to help newbies out.
Now as far as putting frames together you can glue them together plus nailing them also. Depending on the type of frames you have you need to put a nail in at the bottom corner of each side if split bottom boards, which means 4 nails in the bottom. The top bar needs a nail through the top to each side bar, as a security measure  add a nail through the side of the side bar to the top bar. Can also use a nailer to do the job if you have one, use 1 1/2" brads on top and side but use 1" on th bottom, use glue when using a brad nailer as it gives it a better holding power. grin
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marliah
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2008, 08:35:32 AM »

yeah I really do need to join a club or something Wink I already have a call in to the maine beekeepers person to try to find a local club, but no one has called me back yet.

Thanks for the help Smiley I'm learning alot here.

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Tara
beekeeper in central Maine
Finally getting bees again! 6/12/13
deantn
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2008, 09:00:33 AM »

Just thought of something else. When nailing the top bar to the side bars watch where you nail as you don't want to put the nail where the removable strip  is located. Hope you know what  I'm talking about.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2008, 11:34:15 AM »

>ok so is it better to put in a few large cell (since thats what I already bought) in there and 2 foundationless like one on each side of the 3 in the center?? or can I have 5 foundationless in there with the 5 they come on?

If what you want is natural cell size, I would never put large cell foundation in the hive.  It will serve no purpose and only create the problem of how to get it out without depriving them of resources.  If you have large cell COMB with resources on it (from the nuc), then I might use that and deal with how to remove it later.

> Like  foundationless frame, nuc frame,  foundationless frame, nuc frame, nuc frame, nuch frame, foundationless frame, nuc frame , foundationless frame, foundationless frame (or should that last one be one with a foundation so I don't end up with 2 frames all meshed together?

That will spread the brood too thin and stress the bees greatly.  I would put all the nuc frames in the center and the foundationless on the outside.  After about a week, if they are doing well, I might put one of the foundationless in the center of the drawn comb.  After that is drawn and layed full of brood, I would add another.  Repeat until the foundationless are either drawn where they are or have been moved to the center.

>and I looked at your post about using corrugated plastic for your foundationless frames, do you use anything to hold that in the frame or just push it in there and it stays put?

If you're cutting plastic foundation, you will have to either nail it in or glue it in or wax it in.

> I was thinking about using popsicle sticks on the top and bottom of mine.

You can.  The bottom isn't worth the work, IMO.

> I have a 10 frame setup....should I also add a few rows of wire for strength?

How many frames is irelevant.  The dept of the frame might be.  Some people put wires in.  I don't, but I also don't use deeps.

>now about assembling the foundationless frames. Since I have a 10 frame deep should I put one wire rod through the center for stability in addition to the popsicle sticks?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#dowire

>and how do I set the sticks in? should I set them sideways and glue in to make a 1/2/-3/4 inch lip?

Yes.

> or legthwise for a few inches of lip?

No.  You're making a starter strip that happens to be made of wood.  Here's one made of wax with a small comb started on it:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/PrimaryCombOnBlankStarterStrip.JPG

>and one more question (I ordered a beginner kit that lacks instructions :/)

They all lack instructions.

> how do I secure the frames together? should they be glued or nailed or stapled?

If you have a pnumatic 1/4" crown stapler with 1" staples in it that works wonderful.  But you can use the nails that came with it.  I glue mine before nailing.

> there are no predilled holes or anything, the frame peices fit together well but I have no idea where on the frame I should be securing them or how.

I rely more on the glue than the nails.  You should nail down from the top into the end bars.  Flip it and nail the bottom bar into the end bars.  Then nail from the ends into the ends of the top bar.  A nailing jig helps a lot.  Walter T. Kelley sells them or there have been many plans on here.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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