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Author Topic: Transition to 8-frame mediums and foundationless frames  (Read 1004 times)
TwoHoneys
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« on: July 05, 2010, 07:43:37 AM »

Today I plan to begin a transition---from 10-frame deeps and shallows to all 8-frame mediums...and from pre-formed foundation to foundationless frames.

I'll add my first medium boxes to my stack of deeps in a few hours. I've currently placed 8 frames with starter strips in the mediums. I have NOT yet added a frame of full foundation in each box to use as a guide...should I? The only foundation I have on hand is large cell, and though I guess I could insert a large-cell frame in there, my goal is to move away from that.

And because I haven't yet used medium frames, I have no drawn comb to use as a guide.

I guess my question is this: how important is it to give the bees a guide? Or should I just deal with any rogue comb if it/as it occurs?

And, based on the conversation occurring on another thread here, shall I add a 9th frame to take up the slack in the medium boxes? I've noticed that there's a noticeable amount of extra room in those boxes with only 8 frames.

Okay. Transition to all mediums AND foundationless frames will soon be underway around here. I'm eager to begin it.
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"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin
lisascenic
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2010, 12:38:18 PM »

Well, I'm no expert, but we found that our bees built less eccentric comb when we gave them a vertical starter strip that ran from the top to the bottom of the frame. We cut up small cell foundation, and glued it in with melted wax. The girls seemed very happy to work with this.

 When we gave them a horizontal strip at the top of the frame, they built in all directions.

Coincidence?  Maybe. But this worked for us.
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winginit
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2010, 12:45:58 PM »

Good luck. Let me know if you want any help with this operation (but please not during the next few days of mid-Ninties, high humidity, Special Weather Statement, air-conditioner-can't-keep-up weather). Sorry I never responded to your email but I went out of town for 10 days and was swamped before and after the trip.

My foundationless is going well, but it started out as a mess. That apparently only happens occasionally, so I hope and expect that you will be luckier than that. Lots of people told me that it wasn't because my hives weren't leveled, but Michael Bush says to level them. So now I'm a fanatic about leveling, just in case.

I blogged about the problems, the fixes I tried, and the apparent improvements. For what it's worth...

http://hilltopbee.blogspot.com/ (see July 2 and June 10 blogs)

Regards,
Winginit (Christy)
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 01:34:25 PM »

It's done. Three hives are now in transition. I decided not to include a full frame of foundation; and, yes, I'm anticipating some creative comb, so my next purchase is a box of rubber bands...although I have a feeling they won't be drawing any comb anywhere anytime soon.

Thank goodness my hives are in the shade. It was hotttttt out there today. I'm drenched.

Winginit, I'll be out of town until Saturday, but sometime after that I'd like to come check out your set up, okay?

Liz

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winginit
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2010, 04:14:23 PM »

Sounds great Liz. Have a safe trip.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 04:35:35 AM »

>Today I plan to begin a transition---from 10-frame deeps and shallows to all 8-frame mediums...and from pre-formed foundation to foundationless frames.

Great.

>I'll add my first medium boxes to my stack of deeps in a few hours. I've currently placed 8 frames with starter strips in the mediums.

Are they eight frame boxes or are you just putting 8 frames in them?  If they are eight frame boxes you will need to fill the gap:

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TenFrameToEight.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

> I have NOT yet added a frame of full foundation in each box to use as a guide...should I? The only foundation I have on hand is large cell, and though I guess I could insert a large-cell frame in there, my goal is to move away from that.

I would not put it in.

>And because I haven't yet used medium frames, I have no drawn comb to use as a guide.

But you have starter strips as a guide...

>I guess my question is this: how important is it to give the bees a guide?

Essential.  And you have them.  Starter strips.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#combguide

But I think this is your question:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#wholebox

> Or should I just deal with any rogue comb if it/as it occurs?

You should always do that.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#whatif

>And, based on the conversation occurring on another thread here, shall I add a 9th frame to take up the slack in the medium boxes? I've noticed that there's a noticeable amount of extra room in those boxes with only 8 frames.

An eight frame box is 13 3/4" wide (give or take depending on who made it).  A ten frame box is 16 1/4" wide.  You should put as many frames in the box as it will hold and put them tightly together in the center.  If you are more motivated, then plane them down and put an extra one in.  11 in a ten frame box or 9 in an 8 frame box.

>Okay. Transition to all mediums AND foundationless frames will soon be underway around here. I'm eager to begin it.

I'm still unclear if you have ten frame medium boxes that you intend to put eight frames in or eight frame medium boxes you are adding to your ten frame hives... but make sure you fill the boxes with frames.
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Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
TwoHoneys
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 06:34:33 AM »


Are they eight frame boxes or are you just putting 8 frames in them?  



I put 8 frames in a box built for 8 frames. There wasn't enough room for a 9th frame, so I went with 8, though there's more wiggle room than there was when I had 10 frames in a box built for 10.

BUT NOW I HAVE a NEW CHALLENGE:  While I was adding its first 8-frame medium, I discovered a number of swarm cells on the bottom of one 10-frame deep. Shall I split it? I don't want to lose half these bees; however, I don't necessarily want to increase my 10-frame colonies...my goal is to move to 8 medium. Everything I need for a split...frames of honey, brood, larvae...are all in deep frames. Although I have a lot of spare woodenware, I have no nucs of any kind or size (yes, yes, I'm ordering some. I'm thinking of buying a nice saw and constructing some of this stuff. Who knew?).

I even thought about cutting some of the deep comb (containing the honey, brood, etc) out and then trimming it to fit the medium frames, but I previously used wired foundation and I have a feeling I would do more harm than good cutting all of that apart. I'm willing to do it, though, if experienced people tell me it's worth it.

(To further complicate things...I DO plan to move the old 10-frame deep equipment [enough for two colonies...with bees] to another location, so a deep split may be worth doing.)  

 
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"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin
Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2010, 02:59:46 AM »

>BUT NOW I HAVE a NEW CHALLENGE:  While I was adding its first 8-frame medium, I discovered a number of swarm cells on the bottom of one 10-frame deep. Shall I split it?

IMO.  Yes.

> I don't want to lose half these bees; however, I don't necessarily want to increase my 10-frame colonies...

You can recombine later...

>my goal is to move to 8 medium. Everything I need for a split...frames of honey, brood, larvae...are all in deep frames. Although I have a lot of spare woodenware, I have no nucs of any kind or size (yes, yes, I'm ordering some. I'm thinking of buying a nice saw and constructing some of this stuff. Who knew?).

Put the deeps in two mediums stacked up and intersperce some mediums in between the deeps (both top and bottom).  They will build some excess comb on the bottom of the deeps, but you can cut it off later and tie into frames.

>I even thought about cutting some of the deep comb (containing the honey, brood, etc) out and then trimming it to fit the medium frames

That is another option, but I would ONLY do brood.  Not honey.

> but I previously used wired foundation and I have a feeling I would do more harm than good cutting all of that apart. I'm willing to do it, though, if experienced people tell me it's worth it.

You need a sharp knive (which will quickly get dull) to cut the wires, but it can be done, yes.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
TwoHoneys
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2010, 06:02:20 AM »

Michael Bush, you are a creative guy! Thanks for your input...I think your suggestions will work great. I never considered the possibility of combining again later OR of putting deep frames in a stack of 2 medium boxes. I'm not thinking great on my feet with these things.

But the timing for all of this stinks for me...I head out of town this morning, so there's no time to put your ideas into practice with this colony. I think they may already have swarmed...it's quieter than usual at that hive. However, when I return, I may have an opportunity to try this solution on another hive which is bursting with bees and not terribly interested in heading up to its new medium box. They'll probably swarm when I'm out of town. I swear, you'd think these three little hives was practically a full-time job for me.

There was a big blob of white in the uncapped swarm cell I found on Sunday. I couldn't exactly distinguish it as a larva...and I'm not sure what a cell full of royal jelly looks like. Was that the queen waiting to be capped? If so, I'll bet they're already gone.

Yes, I'm looking for a local mentor...I need to watch someone as they work and think their bees.
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"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin
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