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Author Topic: My foundationless frames ( w pics!)  (Read 3288 times)
Yarra_Valley
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« on: January 10, 2010, 08:59:19 AM »

Hi there,

Unsure if I should post this in the natural beekeeping methods forum or here, maybe both Smiley. I didn't realize how easy it was to cut wedges with the neighbour's table saw until last week. So I've made a few variants of wedge frames.



An explanation of the pic:

Bottom left is a simple frame with a wedge along the top bar.

Top left: Similar to what some commercial beekeepers in Austalia are using in their honey supers. They call it a stick frame. They usually run a strip along the bottom as well as the top. a square section of timber rotated 45 degrees adds strength.

Top right: I've replaced wax starter with a wedge.

Bottom right: I've used a wedge along the bottom as well to see what happens. This frame is also wired.

I've done this as an experiment to see what the bees will do with the different frames. I put them in last week and I'll have a peak later this week or maybe next week. Nectar seems to be flowing in steadily at the moment. Meltdown is a real possibility at the moment though as temps are getting high. Hopefully the middle bar will help minimise that.

If anyone has any thoughts, ideas or advice on the different frames it would be most welcome.

Few more pics:


James




 
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 05:15:36 PM by Yarra_Valley » Logged

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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2010, 08:25:43 AM »

I had a look in earlier in the week, seven days after I first put the new frames in. Forgot to take pictures though. All going well. They're attaching to the middle bar which is good. I'll check again in about a week, they should be fully drawn by then. I'll be interested to see if they attach the one with the wedge on the bottom any better than those without.

James.
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2010, 11:23:55 AM »

thanks for the pics.  it's always fun to see what the bees will do.  it's also nice when someone is willing to experiment and share smiley
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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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Mardak
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 10:49:47 PM »

Hi there, Will there be any issues with uncapping and extracting or are you making honeycomb?
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 10:29:18 PM »

Hi there, Will there be any issues with uncapping and extracting or are you making honeycomb?

Thanks for stopping by Mardak.
I don't know, but I will know in about a month.

James.
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SlickMick
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 02:24:05 AM »

Hi there, Will there be any issues with uncapping and extracting or are you making honeycomb?

I would be surprised if there was using either a centrifuge or crush and strain, as long at the strip in the middle does not go out to the width edge of the end bars

Mick
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
Mardak
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 03:26:06 AM »

When you are looking at the frames for brood or honey are they more fragile than wax or plastic foundation? Do they wobble or break off or anything like that huh
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2010, 06:14:05 AM »

When you are looking at the frames for brood or honey are they more fragile than wax or plastic foundation? Do they wobble or break off or anything like that huh

If you look at Robo's site, he talks about how yes, they are mor fragile when being extracted if not attached on all sides, as some of mine aren't. I've added the middle bar to provide more strength. If means there is less brood area in the frame, but if it makes the bees happy I don't care about that. I could do with for honey and without for brood if I wanted I guess.
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2010, 06:37:16 AM »

Ok, here are the restults. These are pics of the frames 20 days after they were put in the hive.

This first one is partially comptleted drone comb on outside of broodnest:


Next we have brood frame with middle bar.

Of note in this one is they didn't connect it along the bottom.

Here's is the the wedge on the bottom too:


So you'd think that the wedge along the bottom helps them attach, however:

Here's on with only the top wedge....

And they've started to connect it along the bottom.

So I'm unsure of they bottom wedge is making any difference. Perhaps I'll do a box of 8 frams, 4 with bottom wedge 4 without. perhaps I won't bother with it.

Here's a cute puppy Tongue



And another pic:

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deknow
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2010, 10:13:14 AM »

I'm working on a new website, and just did a short thing on foundationless frames (with popsicle stick guides).

http://thecompleteidiotsguidetobeekeeping.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88:foundationless-frames-how-to&catid=73:beekeeping&Itemid=92

deknow
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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2010, 02:58:53 PM »

very nice.  thanks for sharing!

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 Alexis de Tocqueville
Greg watkevich
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2010, 06:03:10 PM »

Are these frames deeps or mediums?  Are all your frames foundationless in the hive body? or do you alternate with foundations everyother frame.
Greg Watkevich
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deknow
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 06:15:40 PM »

all of our frames are deeps.  we did use a little foundation this past season, but for the most part, none.  we generally don't start out a new hive with nothing but foundationless...but that's how the bees do it Smiley

no, we do not alternate with foundation.  foundation just keeps the bees from clustering proplerly in such a situation.

deknow
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 01:28:18 AM »

I'm assuming this question was directed at me:

Are these frames deeps or mediums?  Are all your frames foundationless in the hive body? or do you alternate with foundations everyother frame.
Greg Watkevich

Hi Greg,
All the frames are deeps, that's what people use by default in Australia. No not all are foundationless. In this case I alternated some with already drawn comb on foundation, whilst others were put straight in next to each other empty. On the frame with just the top wedge - no middle bar or bottom wedge - they attached the comb to the framed next to it a little and I had to sort it out.

Hi Deknow,
I'll have a go with new frames and posickle sticks this weekend maybe. With the old frames I really like the wedges as they add more strength. More work too though. In regards to the pic of the brood frame, have you had any luck getting them to attach it to the sides or bottom of the frames?

James.
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deknow
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 08:19:46 AM »

at some pont, every beekeeper should see what bees do without foundation at all.  once you see this, the idea of alternating drawn frames and foundationless frames makes less sense.

the bees work on more than one comb at a time, forming a cluster that spans the workspace.  the festooning we are used to seeing when bees are drawing foundation is (as my wife puts it), "in sheets".  but without foundation (or alternating combs), the cluster looks much more like a swarm cluster.

ideally (at least for us) most comb is drawn in the broodnest, and we've had much better luck with a cluster of drawn comb and letting the bees build comb outside of that.  when we add a box to the broodnest, we generally move the middle 3 frames from the old (occupied) box up to the middle of the new box, with the rest being foundationless (and we put the 3 foundationless frames that came out of the top box between the brood and the honey stores in the old box).  this allows the bees to cluster around the brood, and to expand the broodnest as necessary.  spreading out the brood is a huge waste of energy for the bees.

i've never had a problem with the strength of the popsicle sticks, and we recycle them (we use them for honey tastings at the market, and then they end up as comb guides).

some combs get well attached, others do not.  according to jurgen tautz ("the buzz about bees", this is (at least in part) to allow the comb to expand and contract and still vibrate properly (remember, the dances happen in the dark, it's the vibration carried through the comb that is what the bees "hear").

if your goal is to get attachment on all sides (i don't have any trouble extracting unwired deeps that are not fully attached in a tangential extractor), one of the "old ways" is to turn the frames (or the whole box) upside down.  the bottom becomes the top, and must be attached by the bees.  you can read about such things in old copies of "abc of bee culture"..which btw, i found the other day as a downloadable pdf on google books!
http://thecompleteidiotsguidetobeekeeping.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93:free-old-books&catid=73:beekeeping&Itemid=92

deknow
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Mardak
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2010, 12:56:43 AM »

Those photos are great. The frames don't look yjay much different from the ones I have seen with foundation. I am going to build some of them for my full frames next season. I will also try the icy pole models on frames. We do not have much pollen up this way at the moment. Iam letting the brood build up as this my fist season donig it on my own.
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deknow
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2010, 11:11:42 AM »

it's also worth mentioning:

if your hive currently isn't "drone right" (meaning, the bees don't have the 15% or so drone comb that they want in order to raise drones as they see fit)...and this is pretty much any colony of bees using all (or almost all) worker comb built from foundation, your first foundationless frame WILL be all drone comb.

the bees will build what they percieve they are lacking.  if there is lots of nectar coming in and nowhere to store it, they will build honeycomb (large, like drone cells), if they feel deprived of space to raise drones, they will build drone comb.  If they are trying to expand the broodnest and increase their worker population, they will build worker comb (where in the hive you place the empty frame will also have influence).

the best use for foundation (imho) is in trying to expand the broodnest during a flow.  foundationless comb can be built and filled with nectar _before_ the queen has a chance to lay in it.  the queen, however, can lay in foundation that isn't drawn out enough to hold nectar...once there is an egg in there, the bees are compelled to finish the comb and care for the brood.

deknow
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