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Author Topic: So I wanna start off foundationless and heres my story (short version)  (Read 4505 times)
Billybee
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« on: September 29, 2009, 10:27:58 PM »

Sorry if this is a little long but I want folks to know how I got to where I am. Please excuse my lack of bee terminology as I am working on it.

I started beekeeping because they were in our house and we didn't want to kill them. I joined the local beekeepers association and started reading my butt off. I did have help (guidance) with the removal from a pro. Things went badly and the bees were gone. I wanted more bees and removed a feral hive from a school on my own queen and all. No stings at all from the school and 15 on the first one at the house.
 
So it was a small hive and I put the comb in 4 frames with rubber bands. I left that in the box with the rest of the frames foundation filled. Then I got a glimpse of Michael Bush's site and decide I wanted to go foundationless because I am new and already can handle doctoring up the frames if needed. I really cant imagine any other way for so many reasons.

The 4 frames were all half full of comb or less that I got from the school. about a week went by and I notice moths and shb on the empty foundation frames except 1 that the bees were working on.  So I yanked the foundation frames and replaced them with empties with a starter strip. Now the bees have the original frames they were in almost filled out with one small area that was kind stuck together. I pulled it apart. The one foundation frame they started is filling up and they have a perfectly straight beautiful comb started on one of the empty frames. I am assuming they will fill out the others the same way. I also have the entrance closed up but for about 2 inches because I have read this makes for less to guard against pests and such. we also have lizards that try to eat these things so I am gonna work on a painful deterrent for them.

So now I get my 1st state inspection and could not be there. The guy recommended to get a new queen because my bees were a little fiesty and they have a pretty strict re-queening policy according to my state paperwork. (agree from what I read).

He is also being very persistant about adding wax foundation frames in place of the natural method according to my cousin who he did talk to after the inspection. He told him I was gonna have a mess in there because the bees were gonna build all over the place. From what I can tell things are looking nice to me. the comb beeing  built is straight and beautiful. Not to mention I have seen 1 shb and it was being chased until I killed it, I solved my ant problem long ago, I have seen no moths and I still don't know enough about mites to spot the whole droppings thing. Nothing on his paperwork about pests or disease though.

he also said we have an excellent environment for bees and nobody else near us keeps them but I should be feeding them and will. Although I do see them bringing in tons of pollen all day long anytime I go out and look.

So my questions are:
1: Do I say with all due respect I would like to keep bees the foundationless way until I prove I cant?
2: Do as he says because he is the inspector? Especially since this hive is just getting under way.

 I did have all of my beekeeping eggs in 1 basket prior to the 2nd hive and I paid for it by losing a huge beautiful hive. I would like to not have that experience again.

Any thought on my little bee world would bee much appreciated and now I have to get to everything else I put on the backburner for the bees. I think I am getting obsessed.

Thanks,

Billy




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Can somebody tell me where I can find a foundation tree?
David LaFerney
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 09:30:09 AM »

I think you should stay with foundationless if that is what you want to do.  Maybe he's never done it - as we can all see here people have very strong opinions about what does and doesn't work.   If you just throw on boxes of empty frames they probably will build all over the place, but if you keep an eye on them they probably won't.

Be nice about it though.  It just doesn't pay to make enemies with inspectors.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2009, 10:55:51 AM »

I think you should keep bees the way you feel best. It surely looks like your hive has improved its problems since going foundationless. If you inspector (we don't have them here, so I don't understand the dynamics) wants more "proof" of the safety of this, could you refer him to Michael Bush's website? He has excellent inspection records online that might reassure your inspector. Good luck! Isn't this a wonderful hobby?!?
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melliphile
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2009, 11:06:54 AM »

We're all obsessed here grin

  I, too, would stay your course.  Good to take in what others think(especially inspectors), but in the end, you've got to do what YOU believe to be right.  Apply your methods conscientiously and be flexible.  Best of luck.
               Joshua

P.S.  When will you have to see this inspector again?  I don't know about Fla.'s bee laws, but I can't imagine an inspector "ordering" you to use foundation especially if your bees are doing fine in that respect. 
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2009, 11:57:29 AM »

You can do what you want to (depending on the law of course, but I doubt that the inspector has that type of authority to force you to).

He is correct in that it will make it a little more difficult for you and there can be problems, but you are correct in that there isn't a huge problem with it.

Stay the course if you wish.  My thought is for the first hive to go with foundation, and then hives 2 through 50 go foundationless  grin

But I'm a beekeeping libertarian... Wink
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2009, 12:42:39 AM »

Quote
He is also being very persistant about adding wax foundation frames in place of the natural method according to my cousin who he did talk to after the inspection. He told him I was gonna have a mess in there because the bees were gonna build all over the place. From what I can tell things are looking nice to me. the comb beeing  built is straight and beautiful. Not to mention I have seen 1 shb and it was being chased until I killed it, I solved my ant problem long ago, I have seen no moths and I still don't know enough about mites to spot the whole droppings thing. Nothing on his paperwork about pests or disease though.

What he said is true, to some extent, when the bees get to building foundationless combs in the honey supers.  It is best to pull a few storage frames (those on the outsides of the brood boxes) to add to the supers if possible (1 of the nice things about all mediums).  With foundationless if you want uniform combs the frames either need to be drawn out in the brood chamber or with a 50/50 (8 frame) or 60/40 (10 frame) split between drawn and undrawn frames in the honey supers.  Going foundationless can require a bit more manipulation at the beginning but it also increases the learning curve.
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Billybee
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2009, 11:46:43 AM »

Thanks for the responses. I did put on foundation frame in when I posted this. That brought the count to 3. Dont you know they built comb right next to the foundation on the same frame. I was able to cut it off and mounted it in an empty frame with rubber bands and put the foundation in storage. I am going for it.(foundationless)

I will take some pics soon. I only have the one deep so far and aside from some doctoring up a few frames to keep separated I think its looking great in there. Then again I am not sure what that really is yet.
I saw 1 shb. To me that rules here in Florida. The other (what I believe is) good news is there is one frame in there that is all honeycomb a little more than half full.That is a beautiful site Half of that is capped. one of the 2 foundation frames has a ton of honey in it also. It seems to me there is far more honey than I would think this amount of bees would be making. Not complaining though. Not taking it either.

I still see bees flying in with their back legs packed so I am leaving well enough alone and will pay a visit with the camera next weekend once some new headgear gets to the house. I had to give the landscaper some stuff because he got  himself in a little trouble the other day with the girls. Seems they didnt care for the lawnmower Wink

Thanks,





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Can somebody tell me where I can find a foundation tree?
annette
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 12:19:29 PM »

I only do foundationless after I got rid of all the plastic foundation in my hive.

the bee always draw out the comb perfectly straight and I have never had any problems except once when I gave them an entire super full of starter strips.  They really seem to need that one drawn out frame in the middle to get them going in the right direction.

Stick with this, the bees will be happier.
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2009, 12:59:00 PM »

Quote
I still see bees flying in with their back legs packed so I am leaving well enough alone


you had mentioned feeding earlier.  do not assume that because bees are bringing pollen that they are also bringing in nectar.  make sure they have adequate stores and check with others in your area so that you know when you can expect nectar flows, etc.
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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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2009, 05:55:06 PM »

I would go foundationless.  He is entitled to his opinion.  You are entitled to yours.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2009, 08:52:01 PM »

I did a good bit of foundationless on the first try  - I gave them about a 3/4"  starter strip as a guide and alternated full foundation on some of them. (I marked the frames on top F for foundation, and XF for no foundation) those bees took the hint perfectly from the starter strips and built some really nice honeycomb. I only had a couple little problems where they went up with burr comb, but removed that, and they handled it.
he may be a little right  I suppose that they could get runaway on you, but not after a correction or 2 (sounds like that's what you did anyway)
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2009, 06:30:47 AM »

The thing to keep in mind with foundationless is one bad comb leads to another.  If you get a bad one, you need to cut it and tie it within the bounds of the frame so the next one won't be a repeat of the last.  The good side is that one good comb leads to another also.  You get messed up comb with foundation as well, but each frame is a clean slate as the foundation of the next frame is back in line again.
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Michael Bush
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Bigeddie
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2009, 06:50:01 PM »

I would like to start about a dozen foundationless hives from 3# packages. I have never started one foundationless but have put bare frames in my hives and have been well pleased with the results. I turned the wedge on edge and nailed them in for a starter strip. I am a bit nervous about this undertaking and excited at the same time. I am running 9 frame deeps for brood and 9 frame mediums supers just because I have them and I don't have to buy woodenware.
Any advice from any voice of experence would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping I can just dump them in,feed and let them build up and do their thing.

Thanks,
Eddie
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kathyp
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« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2009, 06:54:37 PM »

if you have started them this way and they are doing fine, don't worry about it.  the only potential problem that i can see is in doing 9 frame brood boxes and what they might do with that extra spacing.  i personally see no point in 9 frame brood boxes, but many do it.  i would probably put one sheet  in each box to give them a good guideline to get started. 

9 frames in honey supers makes more sense as they tend to build the honey comb fatter.
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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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2009, 07:25:17 PM »

I never started any this way but I'm going to give it a go in spring, My old beekeeper friend (God rest his soul) started me out 30 years ago with 9 frame spacers and I never changed tho it would be no big deal to take the spacers out.

Eddie
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kathyp
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« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2009, 07:50:26 PM »

don't change what works for you.  just watch that extra space until you have some comb drawn out.  once they get a frames of two, you should be ok.
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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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2010, 09:36:58 AM »

 I have some that a foundationless and some that are not. While it is true they will build straight comb better with the empty frames between drawn ones you can use full boxes of empty frames. A starter strip across the top helps but is not always neccessary this strip can be foundation,wood,plastic what ever works for you. They will have to be watched closely or they can and will make a mess. Some comb will be able to be twisted into place when turned wrong but some will have to be cut out. The important thing is to keep a close eye on them so as to catch things early. in the beginning it can be more work but once they draw it out its no different from any other frame of comb give it a little time to harden and you can even extract in a machine. If you want to go foundationless don't let any body tell you you can't do that cause nobody else does because doing what every one else does has caused a lot of problems ccd the spread of varroa and many other diseases so be different maybe you will teach them something also. grin
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