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Author Topic: Thumbs up for foundationless!  (Read 4802 times)
Ross
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« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2008, 01:49:04 PM »

You can get just as wavy a comb with foundation.  If it's plastic it can be much worse.  Along with maybe straighter comb, you contamination from the pesticides in the wax foundation.  There numerous reports that document that.  Bees will also chew down foundation to make room for drone if they need it.  They will also chew out drawn drone comb and rework it to worker size if they need it.  If you try running a hive all foundationless for a year, you will end up with a balanced hive, not all drone, and they will be healthier. The bees don't try to meet your expectations, but they will meet their own one way or another.  How many wild hives have you seen that are all drone?  By the way, starter strips (imprinted wax) are not foundationless in my book.  They still force the bees to start with an unnatural cell size. 
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« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2008, 02:20:04 PM »

as always, we exchange ideas and go with what works for us.  there are probably many things that go into how bees draw frames.  perhaps my cutouts were sloppy because the orientation of their hive was so dramatically changed.  perhaps the frames were not drawn out well in some hive because the flow here has been less than wonderful.  perhaps i have some lazy bees smiley.  my results with all foundationless were not what i wanted, so in the future i will either use foundation or use some foundation as a guide.

it is good to share ideas....with the understanding that we all need to find our own management style.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2008, 04:07:24 PM »

Here's what I did.

When I did the cutouts I banded in the brood comb to the frames. I then placed frames with starter strips around those. There was some that messed it up. Some turned out good. Then I started taking the wedge from the frames off and melting wax onto them. I would then staple them onto the frame, turned so the edge hung down a bit. This would be whole boxes of these. Nothing else. And they have so far drawn them out great. They have taken care of their drone comb needs in the brood area with all the starter strips and empty space. 
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marliah
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« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2008, 04:40:33 PM »

I love being foundationless.

I started beekeeping this year and have never used foundation so no transitioning for me Wink but from what I can see:

1) foundationless is way easier on a beekeeper. Its cake to just  throw popsicle sticks in the groove and assemble and throw the super together. No messing with foundation or cutting it to size

2) the bees figure it out real fast. I threw a 5 frame nuc into a deep with 5 foundationless frames and they filled them all in under two weeks. Its taken them about a month to almost fill the second deep with was all foundationless frames (I did pull one filled frame from the bottom deep to put in there so they had something to climb). I'm putting on a super tommorrow cause they need more to do Wink

3) there is research saying natural comb may help keep mites and moths and all that away. I figure why not try it, even if it helps just a little, its worth it.

4) its beautiful, natural comb is really, really beautiful. When compared to the 5 frames my bees came on, the natural comb just looks so much prettier. Smiley

5) I haven't had a honey harvest yet, but I would assume its easier to harvest comb honey when there is no foundation. I can just cut it out and replace empties and my girls will rebuild Wink

6) its getting away from mans modifications on beehives and letting bees do their thing the way God intended

so yeah I'm right there with ya, foundationless rocks!

something I was told when I started and don't see posted here though, is that you really want to make sure your hive is level if you go foundationless.

Ok I'm out Wink
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derrick1p1
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« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2008, 04:51:51 PM »

Started with plastic foundation last year.  Had trouble last year and this year too.  2 weeks ago, decided to go foundationless (or start at least).  I alternated frames of foundationless with undrawn foundation and drawn comb both (as guides, in addition to popcicle sticks on top).  Already have drawn out almost all of the frames.  And we're not in much of a flow here.  Seems as though I can't get them to draw on foundation (plastic anyhow) unless the population is exploding and we are at the height of a flow.

Best of luck,
Derrick
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« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2008, 09:36:07 PM »

I've also noticed that what they draw out as storage comb for honey is drone comb sized(less wax needed?).  Then the queen will get up there given half a chance.

The hives that I started out as swarms on empty frames drew that out nicely.  But I don't get that opportunity all that often.  Most of the time it is replacing combs, and then it doesn't work very well.

-r

Storage comb is actually larger than drone comb.  The way to work foundationless is to pull the odd sized frames to the outside (drone & storage) so they build worker brood comb in the center of the hive.  In a brood box the size of naturally drawn comb in my 8 frame hives will be S D W W W W D S for a 10 frame configuration just add 2 more worker frames.
You should notice that foundationless comb built in honey supers are usually larger than either the drone or worker cells. 
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« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2008, 11:02:44 PM »

You can get just as wavy a comb with foundation.  If it's plastic it can be much worse.  Along with maybe straighter comb, you contamination from the pesticides in the wax foundation.  There numerous reports that document that.  Bees will also chew down foundation to make room for drone if they need it.  They will also chew out drawn drone comb and rework it to worker size if they need it.  If you try running a hive all foundationless for a year, you will end up with a balanced hive, not all drone, and they will be healthier. The bees don't try to meet your expectations, but they will meet their own one way or another.  How many wild hives have you seen that are all drone?  By the way, starter strips (imprinted wax) are not foundationless in my book.  They still force the bees to start with an unnatural cell size. 

The starter strips I use are small cell size because I do want them to draw out smaller cells.
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wtiger
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« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2008, 12:53:15 AM »

I found a good use for my black plastic foundation.  I removed all of my plastic and used a band saw to cut it into 1/2 inch starter strips.  They press fit into the top groves of my wooden frames and require no glue or fasteners.  They only require a little tapping from a rubber mallet.  It doesn't get much easier than that.  With just 2 medium frames of the plastic I can make strips for 10 frames.  Now I'm just wondering what I'm going to do with the other 60 or so sheets of plastic.

The only real problem with foundation less I've seen is that when the flow peters out and they've only got a honey super half drawn out they need to be checked so they don't make wonky thick comb on the outer most drawn frame.  They don't do this every time.  Just occasionally.
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« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2008, 12:56:23 AM »

Why cut it up for all the hives you WILL have of course!! rolleyes  Jody
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« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2008, 10:29:37 AM »

As I continue to move towards foundationless, seems as though the bees will determine what size cells they need.
Most of my hives are in deeps with plastic foundation.  How do I convert to foundationless without disturbing current stores and brood.  Should I wait until they move up during the winter, and then replace the current frames when there aren't any stores or brood in the brood chamber (hives moved up/out of deeps when I inspected early spring/late winter this year.  I'd like to also convert to all mediums too, but not sure what plan of action I should take.

Thanks,
Derrick
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Robo
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« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2008, 10:43:50 AM »

The starter strips I use are small cell size because I do want them to draw out smaller cells.

This is the biggest misconception there is with starter strips.  The strip have no effect on the size the bees build once they have passed the strip.  If this where the case, you would have no drone cells and those not using foundation for starter strips would have no cells.   Don't waste your money paying a premium for small cell foundation to use as starter strips.  Actually don't waste your money on buy foundation for starter strips.


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annette
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« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2008, 10:49:15 PM »

Yes Robo, you are correct about this. I have noticed that they draw out whatever they want. I can use any strip of wax or none at all, but I think it works better if they have a guide.
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« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2008, 10:54:43 PM »

ok. I'm new. I'm confused.  Want to go with 8 frame mediums in the spring.  Foundationless sounds good to me.  What are these frames people are talking about putting in to help guide the bees build straight comb. Are they frames of built out comb on foundation?  If so, won't they be laying in them, and then how do you remove them after the fact?
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« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2008, 10:55:53 PM »

As I continue to move towards foundationless, seems as though the bees will determine what size cells they need.
Most of my hives are in deeps with plastic foundation.  How do I convert to foundationless without disturbing current stores and brood.  Should I wait until they move up during the winter, and then replace the current frames when there aren't any stores or brood in the brood chamber (hives moved up/out of deeps when I inspected early spring/late winter this year.  I'd like to also convert to all mediums too, but not sure what plan of action I should take.

Thanks,
Derrick

I also started with plastic foundation and what I have been doing is adding in foundationless frames between frames of brood. I mostly did this in the Spring time when they were making brood like crazy and I was sure they had enough bees to fill in the space. Slowly, slowly the plastic is being replaced with natural wax combs. Even now I still place a few frames of foundationless here and there in the brood area, but it gets drawn out slower now, due to the flow being over.

On my new package which I started May 17, I placed them on all foundationless.

Good Luck
Annette
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« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2008, 11:09:40 PM »

Did you use popsicle sticks, or a wedge on the bottom of the top bar, or another method?  Does one use foundationless just in the brood box or also in the honey supers?  Seems to me foundation in honey supers would be no big deal, or do the chemicals in the waxed foundation get in the honey? 

Barb
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« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2008, 11:25:20 PM »

Did you use popsicle sticks, or a wedge on the bottom of the top bar, or another method?  Does one use foundationless just in the brood box or also in the honey supers?  Seems to me foundation in honey supers would be no big deal, or do the chemicals in the waxed foundation get in the honey? 

Barb



Barb

I use empty frames and melt in a strip of beeswax about 1 inch width in to the frames to use as starter strips. The bees use this strip as a guide to start drawing out the wax combs and it helps them to make the combs nice and straight. I am using foundationless now for every thing. Brood supers and honey supers. I am just letting the bees be bees and do whatever they want to draw out.
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GJP
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« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2008, 10:03:14 AM »

Pesky,

I'm a new beek in South Central Wisconsin (Westfield).  I installed my first two packages this April.  I started with 5.4 wired wax foundation and no drawn comb.  After getting Conrads book on Organic Beekeeping and reading a bunch of stuff on Michael Bush's web site, I decided to try the 5.1 starter strips.  I went ahead and replaced about half of my original 5.4 foundation with the 5.1 starter stips in the first hive body and the bees did a great job of drawing it out.  In the second hive body the 5.1 starte strips (1 to 2 inches) is all I used and they have done a great job with that too.  I then tried to go completely foundationless in my honey supers only to have the bees draw comb pretty much where they wanted.  I have been exchanging emails with Michael Bush on a regular basis and he told me to use one sheet of foundation in the cetner of the super to get them started.  So in my second honey super I added a full sheet at frame #5 and put starters of aboubt 1' in the rest. 

I also had a swarm from one of my hives som I'm letting it requeen itself (organic, etc) and have added a frame of brood from my strong hive.  The weak one seems to have plenty of stores  and bees so far but that could change in the next week or two.  Never did find the swarm!

GJP
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2008, 04:52:13 PM »

I then tried to go completely foundationless in my honey supers only to have the bees draw comb pretty much where they wanted. 

Did you have any kind of guide at all?
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« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2008, 10:27:57 PM »

As I continue to move towards foundationless, seems as though the bees will determine what size cells they need.

Yes they do.

Quote
Most of my hives are in deeps with plastic foundation.  How do I convert to foundationless without disturbing current stores and brood.  Should I wait until they move up during the winter, and then replace the current frames when there aren't any stores or brood in the brood chamber (hives moved up/out of deeps when I inspected early spring/late winter this year. 

That's as good of way as any.

Quote
I'd like to also convert to all mediums too, but not sure what plan of action I should take.

Thanks,
Derrick

Several ways to do this.  One is to reverse the box order on the hive and pull the deeps when empty, cut them down and replace.  The frames can also be cut down with the comb in place if desired.  Another is to wait until spring and remove the empty deeps, put any partial full of bees or stores atop the mediums and then move them up as you super, taking them off as harvest.  Then cut them down over winter.
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« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2008, 03:50:33 PM »

I used the wedges from my frames as a guide but the bees built most ot the comb from the bottom up.  That's why the suggestion to add on frame of foundation in slot 5 or six to give them a clue, I guess.  In my second honey super with the one full frame and starter strips, the bees are drawing out just fine (checked on them about an hour ago!).  I plan to crush and strain the first super in the next week or so. 

GJP
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