>Is going foundationless as simple as installing a package of bees into a new hive with 10 starter-strip style frames?
> I like the idea of less expense and more natural comb. Plus there's the opportunity for smaller cells (though it's not clear to me if package bees are capable of building small cells--it seems not?).
I've had many packages draw as small as 4.7mm on the first try. Others won't and draw only as small as 5.0mm on the first try.
> But that seems way too easy; just throw 'em in and let 'em build comb.
>Frame placement, guides, weather/flow, bee tendencies, etc all play a part in how the comb turns out.
As do bees and how much they like your foundation (if you use it).
> Foundation was invented to give the bees a footprint to build upon to get consistent results.
It was designed to get consistent worker cells and no drones.
> Give then free range and results will vary.
Give them foundation and results will vary just as much.
>You can get just as wavy a comb with foundation. If it's plastic it can be much worse.
>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
Lazy beekeeping at it's best.
>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.
I doubt the moths will care, but my experience is it works on the Varroa.
>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.
It is amazing isn't it. And it's not contaminated.
>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
Works great for comb honey or for crush and strain. Works fine for extracting if the wax isn't brand new.
>6) its getting away from mans modifications on beehives and letting bees do their thing the way God intended
>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.
The bees need some kind of guide. Many things work pretty well. The traditional method was a beveled top bar (since Langstroth's time). Starter strips got popular when they quit making the beveled top bars (which used to be standard equipment). Popscicle sticks or paint sticks make a nice wooden starter strip.
> 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?
I don't understand the question. They are frames with nothing in them but a guide at the top.
>Does one use foundationless just in the brood box or also in the honey supers?
I use them everywhere.
> Seems to me foundation in honey supers would be no big deal, or do the chemicals in the waxed foundation get in the honey?
Chemicals get into everything, but most of what you find contaminating the foundation is lipophillic (loves fat) so it stays in the wax rather than moving into the honey.