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Poll
Question: I've tried foundationless frames and:
I'm glad I did - 39 (79.6%)
I regret I did - 10 (20.4%)
Total Voters: 47


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Author Topic: Satisfaction poll: foundationless frames  (Read 8162 times)
Michael Bush
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« on: October 12, 2008, 11:41:26 AM »

There has been much discussion on such subjects.  I'm trying to get a feel for how people who have tried it feel about it.  I'm not asking if it's the greatest thing ever or if you decided not to do it.  Just whether or not you're glad you tried it, or you regret trying it.  Although you can feel free to discuss those other details.  Consider it a simple "customer" satisfaction survey.
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 05:56:23 PM »

I'm glad I tried it, but I think I will be using starter strips in the future. Almost invariably, the combs were not built straight. Of course, it may have helped to place them between frames of drawn comb, but since I didn't have any, that would have proved very difficult. ::smirk::
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 08:09:02 PM »

I haven't done a lot ,but they have drawn these as straight as foundation frames on average.
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2008, 01:26:57 AM »

I consider the starter strips as foundationless frames. I just have perhaps 1" starter strip.  Anyway it is working for me.
The bees have done a wonderful job of drawing out the comb nice and straight.
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2008, 01:30:32 AM »

Am glad I do it, allows bees to regress and draw what they want to.


...JP
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2008, 06:36:48 AM »

I would consider anything other than full sheets of foundation, foundationless.  The bees are building their own comb.  Starter strips are just one variation of comb guides.
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2008, 01:06:18 PM »

I've tried it all, and glad I did, it is educational and fun.  But it is just one option I use among many.  It isn't ever going to be a primary option for me, but I'll probably always have a few boxes and frames of foundationless frames/comb around.  Mostly for honey supers.

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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2008, 04:27:34 PM »

Michael, you forgot an option on your poll: those considering it. grin  I'm giving it a try in the spring.
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2008, 08:57:21 PM »

Will foundationless come apart in an extractor?
your friend,
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2008, 10:13:30 PM »

Will foundationless come apart in an extractor?
your friend,
john

Only if the wax is still green (new & soft).  Once it's a month or more old there shouldn't be any problems....as long as your extractor doesn't walk.
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2008, 10:41:11 PM »

I love using the starter strip frames.  I do usually have one frame full or mostly full of foundation (I have shallow foundation in medium frames)

The bees build it happily.  I haven't found it to be a problem for them except when there is a problem in the hive in some other way such as a failing or bad queen.  Usually the cross built comb means I didn't put in a sheet of foundation in the center somewhere to help guide them or they have some other problem of which the cross comb is only one (rather blatant) symptom.

I don't think I'll ever buy foundation again except with the plan of cutting it up for starter strips.  I must say that popsicle sticks don't work for me - I must not understand how to install them as comb guides.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2008, 11:41:29 AM »

I choose "I regret I did" because for me it was a disaster in the honey supers. This was my second year of trying it and I will go back to wireless foundation next year for my honey crop, I'm not fond of the crush and strain method.  Smiley

I did have good results using starter strips in the brood chambers and will continue to use it there. I cut out every other frame of old black wax in the bottom deep after and let them rebuild it. Since the bottom deeps have been mostly empty in the spring I reversed them which if kept up should find me replacing all the brood nest frames every four years. So far I have not had a problem with crooked or fat frames, just nicely built natural wax.
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2008, 08:25:25 AM »

I tried it this year with the fat craft sticks. Other than one or two frames, they came out great.  I glue the sticks into the frame.  I've tried it previously with starter strips.  Sometimes during the summer the starter strips will warp and sometimes even fall out of the frame.  I've had more garbage comb built with starter strips too.  I am planning on converting the remainder of my brood boxes to the foundationless frames until I can get enough cash together to go to the small cell permacomb.  I still plan on using small cell foundation in the supers.
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2008, 08:51:54 AM »

Quote
I'm not asking if it's the greatest thing ever or if you decided not to do it.  Just whether or not you're glad you tried it, or you regret trying it.

I didn't vote because I don't see the point of this survey.  The way it is stated is really irrelevant to foundationless frames, but more of are you glad you try things for yourself.   I've tried many of things that where complete failures and would never do them again, but did I regret doing them?  Absolutely not.  Even when things are failures,  you learn and it adds to your experience.

This is perhaps a good example of how misleading surveys can be.   WOW, 99% of people are glad they tried _________ (fill in the blank).  Is that any indication they where happy with the results?
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2008, 09:15:38 AM »

Quote
I'm not asking if it's the greatest thing ever or if you decided not to do it.  Just whether or not you're glad you tried it, or you regret trying it.

I didn't vote because I don't see the point of this survey.  The way it is stated is really irrelevant to foundationless frames, but more of are you glad you try things for yourself.   I've tried many of things that where complete failures and would never do them again, but did I regret doing them?  Absolutely not.  Even when things are failures,  you learn and it adds to your experience.

This is perhaps a good example of how misleading surveys can be.   WOW, 99% of people are glad they tried _________ (fill in the blank).  Is that any indication they where happy with the results?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2008, 12:46:33 PM »

I am really pleased with foundationless in most cases and empty frames with popsicle stick guides are now my default choice.

However, I have a couple hives of "special" bees that just will not draw straight comb on foundationless frames.  They will draw about four inches straight and then curve off to alternate sides, every time.  So, I keep giving them plastic, which they still screw up, but not as badly as foundationless.

I like it for aesthetic reasons, as well as practical:

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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2008, 12:51:19 PM »

Quote
I'm not asking if it's the greatest thing ever or if you decided not to do it.  Just whether or not you're glad you tried it, or you regret trying it.

I didn't vote because I don't see the point of this survey.  The way it is stated is really irrelevant to foundationless frames, but more of are you glad you try things for yourself.   I've tried many of things that where complete failures and would never do them again, but did I regret doing them?  Absolutely not.  Even when things are failures,  you learn and it adds to your experience.

This is perhaps a good example of how misleading surveys can be.   WOW, 99% of people are glad they tried _________ (fill in the blank).  Is that any indication they where happy with the results?


I didn't vote for the same reason.  If this is to be a customer satisfaction survey, what was the product/service and who was the seller?  Please rephrase the question.  
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2008, 08:35:28 PM »

There is no "product" just a method that I like.  But I have heard some criticism for suggesting "non standard" practices.  I was curious how many people were actually unhappy about choosing to use them.  Seems like all the people who voted that they regretted it, were using them in the brood nest or using starter strips, which I would consider foundationless.  Just checking to see if the people trying it were having the same success as I am.
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« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2008, 11:29:15 PM »

Please define "success" and how you can attribute such success to a foundationless system.  I can say that I do not discriminate based upon whether a practice is standard or non-standard- to do so would be foolish, prohibitive of growth.  I am always experimenting with one thing or another, and choose to implement into my regular management techniques that work for me (or more appropriately, things that work for bees under my management).  I encourage others to do the same.  On the issue of foundationless frames, certainly they can serve a purpose but at the same time I don't use them exclusively.  The primary reason I find for going "foundationless" is to cut upfront costs.  When I cut a sheet of foundation diagonally and use the resulting two pieces as starter strips in frames I have effectively cut the cost of foundation in half, while at the same time ensuring that at least half of the frame will be drawn out in the cell size that I would like.  Unfortunately, as I mentioned it only helps with upfront costs.  There are times when the bees will draw bad comb which must be culled- excessive drone or storage comb.  That's an opportunity cost as their efforts could have been better focused on other tasks.  I feel that those who have tried experimentation and have not achieved the results they had hoped for simply need to accept the fact that sometimes things don't work out and chalk it up to another learning experience, not necessarily a loss.  Am I glad I have tried it (foundationless)?  Yes.  Will I continue to experiment with it?  Yes.  Is it the "be-all end-all?  No.  Am I satisfied?  I don't know how to answer that.  You wrote "consider it a customer satisfaction survey" so I must respond...  If you are asking whether or not you should continue to attempt to inspire methods of innovative thinking among beekeepers, I would have to say Please Do, I enjoy reading your posts.  If you are asking whether you should continue to promote awareness of the possibility of a foundation-free hive- please do, it inspires the "non-standard" experimentation that may result in innovation.  I'm still not going to vote in your poll, so take this post for whatever you make of it.

Ben
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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2008, 05:47:32 AM »

its not really a big deal, this is the way it use to be done, its nothing new, it might be to new beekeepers and good for people to try just in case they end up with less foundation than they need and can use strips for that reason, other than that I dont care to use them in brood chamber unless I have to or I will use them if no cut-comb-foundation for cut-comb honey. people in these rooms have said the bee's draw out strips or foundation less frames faster than frames with foundation, I tried this a few times last few years and have yet to see this, I have seen when mixed up in a hive (strips and foundation) the bee's will pass over the strips to draw the full foundation, I seen this a few times. guest I just see foundation as the best thing for me.   
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2008, 06:48:06 AM »

>Please define "success" and how you can attribute such success to a foundationless system.

In the case of this poll, it's just whether you're glad or sorry you did.  That leaves the definition up to you.
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2008, 10:31:49 PM »

I'm completely foundationless for over 5 years now.  Nothing enters my hives but wood and bees.  I have healthy bees and seldom if ever lose a hive.  I use beveled top bars as my guides.
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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2008, 11:39:11 PM »

I just started this year and have wood frames with foundation, plastic frames, wood frames with plastic foundation and frames with starter strips.  I also tried a brief stint with HSC.  Perhaps I ahve too many options, but I wanted to watch them all.  I like the plastic  Mann Lake frames  (PF-100) and the starter strips the best.  I have had some bad comb on the plastic, but not much.  I have really been pleased with the foundationless.  I plan next year to use it almost exclusively in a few of my starter hives ( I will put a pf-120 or two in the box as a ladder). 
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« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2008, 02:02:40 PM »

Could someone please point me to a site where foundationless frames or frames with starter strips are explained (pictures would help a lot!)  This sounds very interesting, and Bill W's picture is very helpful -- will the comb ultimately expand to fill the entire frame?  Are the wires necessary?

Thanks,

Pat
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« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2008, 02:13:10 PM »

Could someone please point me to a site where foundationless frames or frames with starter strips are explained (pictures would help a lot!)  This sounds very interesting, and Bill W's picture is very helpful -- will the comb ultimately expand to fill the entire frame?  Are the wires necessary?

Thanks,

Pat


Pat,



Here is a link to one of our members blog. she explains very well about the starter strips with photos
and she has a video on how to place them in the frames. The bees will draw out the combs and attach them on both sides and top. Sometimes they do not attach right down to the bottom, but they are strong anyway. Wires are not necessary with this technique.

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/03/small-cell-foundation-starter-strips.html

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-to-use-wax-tube-fastener_26.html

And Michael Bush's web site has great info

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

I hope this helps some
Keep asking if you want more direction.
annette

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« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2008, 02:16:30 PM »

I have trench style TBH's that use starter strips. I also have foundationless frames in standard equipment. I think they are great.

I have never tried extracting foundationless frames. Not sure if I ever will try.  Smiley

I think TBH's, foundationless frames, and any other type comb adventures you try is well worth it and is a learning experience. That's what its all about....having fun and trying new things.

BTW...Hello MB.
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« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2008, 04:06:51 PM »

Annette:  Thanks so much!.  Those are great sites! 
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« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2008, 06:56:16 PM »

>BTW...Hello MB.

Hello BjornBee.
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« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2008, 09:57:01 AM »

I tried it. Can seem to get the bees to draw it enough to convert a whole colony. Sure this is probably my learning curve. I tried it during our flow --- guess I needed to feed also. When I do feed they fill what has been drawn w/feed and crowd out the queen.

I would like to go in that direction but no luck so far.
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« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2008, 11:26:34 AM »

Quote
When I do feed they fill what has been drawn w/feed and crowd out the queen.
So do mine.   Undecided
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« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2008, 08:03:48 PM »

Starting my 2nd year as a beek. I have used a few starter strips in brood and supers with nice straight comb. My question is if you use starter strips and have horizontal wires will they  build offset around the wires or would they build around the wires like the wires are normally embedded in the wax ?  BTW I do not care for the wax tube fastener and used a soldering iron to melt the wax for a while, but now I use a votive candle mold for a ladle and it works great to pour wax down the starter strip seam. You can easily tilt the frames to control the speed and amount of the wax that fills the voids.
Thanks
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Mike
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« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2008, 10:05:51 PM »

Starting my 2nd year as a beek. I have used a few starter strips in brood and supers with nice straight comb. My question is if you use starter strips and have horizontal wires will they  build offset around the wires or would they build around the wires like the wires are normally embedded in the wax ?  BTW I do not care for the wax tube fastener and used a soldering iron to melt the wax for a while, but now I use a votive candle mold for a ladle and it works great to pour wax down the starter strip seam. You can easily tilt the frames to control the speed and amount of the wax that fills the voids.
Thanks
Regards
Mike

I've seen them build down to the wire and stop and I've seen them build all the way down to the bottom bar.  Depends on the bees, whether there is a flow or not, and a few indistict points.  Eventually those that stopped at the wire went back and finished drawing out the frame.

I don't use any wires to remove impediments and once the comb is seasoned or attached on 3 sides it is as strong as with wires anyway.
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« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2008, 08:11:27 AM »

My question is if you use starter strips and have horizontal wires will they  build offset around the wires or would they build around the wires like the wires are normally embedded in the wax ? 



If the hive is level, they will build the comb right around the wire without issue.  If the hive is not level, they will still build the comb perfectly vertical (or pretty close to it) and the wire may be offset in the comb.
 
I use wire in all my foundationless frames.  Once they get to the first wire,  you no longer have to worry about the comb breaking off from handling.  It has been my experience that it takes them forever (or at least quite a long time) to sufficiently attack comb to the sides and bottom of a frame.



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« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2008, 09:03:01 AM »

Well  I only tried it once, on a single frame, of course the result was a frame of drone comb. Which I expect they must have felt they needed. I havn't looked at it lately. I think this year I will use starter strips. if it can be extracted after the fact. I don't want to do any crush and strain, I want the old comb for later use. As far as sorry I tried it , not at all. First year try anything, what works for you is what matters, an experienced beek told me "there is 100 ways to do it and there all correct."
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« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2008, 08:57:30 PM »

I have trench style TBH's that use starter strips.

I have some standard 19&7/8 by 16&1/4 boxes with only top bars, and I've heard of Tanzanian and Kenyan top bar hives.  What are "trench style" TBH's?
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« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2008, 12:35:32 PM »

Ben,
You know this but let me state for other readers...

Traditional Kenyan are those TBH with sloped sides and Tanzanian are those with straight sides. Beyond that easy and quick definition, which I think leaves about a thousand other styles undefined, and mislabeled as such.

Throwing in other designs and trying to define what you have is almost certain to be incorrect. Some see beyond Kenyan as more than just sloped sides, and many see tanzanian more than anything with straight sides. Some have suggested that Tanzanains design calls for medium length comb, while some argue what the sloped sides should be defined for the Kenyan.

I have seen a few "trench style" TBH utilizing standard deep boxes either cut and joined or made with one piece of wood. I call my TBH that is made from standard deeps as a trench style design. It does not fit with some of the definitions of what a Tanzanian TBH is called, although it is made with straight sides.

I personally think there are many designs and for a simple classification of sloped or straight, Kenyan or Tanzanian can define that.

Here is a pic of my trench TBH, which I'm sure looks nothing like anything they are building in Tanzania...  Smiley

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« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2008, 03:20:47 AM »

I did most of my chunk comb honey last year with popsicle stick guides in foundationless frames. It worked real well. I used 4 frames of comb foundation in the center of the super, with 3 of the foundationless frames on each side. As the frames were capped, I removed alternate frames and replaced with more foundationless frames. They were filled and capped quickly.
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« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2008, 02:48:14 PM »

should have had "not sure yet" as a choice.  some of my results were good.  some were not.  some was my fault.  some the bees.  jury is still out for me, but i'm not done with it yet.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2008, 08:36:19 AM »

I'm still in my first year of setting up here in Maryland. Resistance to foundationless here in major due to a very limited nectur flow. AFB and mites are affecting many big operations and I'm going to focus on being different. I will continue to keep an open mind. I WILL be using foundationless in my feral hives and will let you all know. The short time I have had I have found they prefer it over plastic hands.
I am alittle concerned about our short flow, the cost to feed outweighs foundation cost.
1 other note, Marrec has found that commercial foundation may contain some very nasty residual chemicals. Anyone else hear that? The levels were low but ANYTHING which could harm my girls is NOT WELCOME.

My question to MB is...can the Bees bring more harmful chemicals in BECAUSE they are making their own wax? Beeing a rookie I needed to ask that. PM me if you want to.
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« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2008, 12:35:04 PM »

>My question to MB is...can the Bees bring more harmful chemicals in BECAUSE they are making their own wax? Beeing a rookie I needed to ask that. PM me if you want to.

Making their own wax is irrelevant to them bringing in anything.  But yes, there are pesticides out in the world outside the bee hive and they can bring them in.  But they are very minute compared to what beekeepers put in their beehives.
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« Reply #40 on: November 20, 2008, 07:58:37 PM »

Tried it due to not planning ahead. I ran out of frames with foundation and threw several frames without in to fill out the super. They built them out just fine. I was able to extract at a slower speed as well. What I should have done was to mark which frames they were and used them for comb honey. They did a wonderful job of filling the frames out.
This year I will do it as part of my plan.

Dennis
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« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2009, 09:07:59 PM »

Hi!  I am curious if the bees draw out the comb more quickly with the foundationless frames versus the plastic foundation frames? 
(My bees do not seem to like the plastic frames and imo they almost appear to avoid drawing comb.)

Also, do you need to put in a starter strip if you are using a grooved top bar frame? 
...or...
Would they see the groove as a starting point/line?

I was just curious as to what others have noticed in their experience.

Thanks! Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2009, 10:31:32 AM »

>Hi!  I am curious if the bees draw out the comb more quickly with the foundationless frames versus the plastic foundation frames?

Yes. In fact they draw it faster than wax foundation.

>(My bees do not seem to like the plastic frames and imo they almost appear to avoid drawing comb.)

That's normal.  But once they do they will use it fine.

>Also, do you need to put in a starter strip if you are using a grooved top bar frame?

Some kind of guide is necessary unless it's between two drawn brood combs.  This can be a wooden strip, a wax strip (usually foundation) a beveled piece, a broken out wedge turned sideways or one row of cells from the last time the frames had a comb in it.

>Would they see the groove as a starting point/line?

No.  They will not.  Not unless you put something in the groove.
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« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2009, 11:11:37 AM »


>Would they see the groove as a starting point/line?

No.  They will not.  Not unless you put something in the groove.


I would imagine that SHB and other bee-pests would see this open groove as a nice hiding place as well
As MB said, fill it with some type of starter strip...... I'm using wax foundation cut to 1" strips in my long hive.
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