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Author Topic: Homemade foundation  (Read 8316 times)
melliphile
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« on: August 26, 2010, 10:48:51 PM »

I read Dee Lusby's paper on homemade foundation. Has anyone here experimented with this? What if you made a foundation with no embossing on it so the bees could make whatever size they wanted? I imagine that they'd be compelled to draw straight comb without me having to keep the combs on the guides in my foundationless frames.
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2010, 04:54:50 PM »

I haven't yet experimented with this, but it's something I've been wondering about recently.

Could you point me to a link to Dee's paper please?
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melliphile
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2010, 09:11:03 PM »

Here you go:

http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/ed-dee-lusby/making-foundation-by-hand-2/
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2010, 09:25:56 PM »

i have extensive video and stills of both dee and kirk webster making foundation (slightly different techniques).  i have a huge amount of video that i have to deal with, but this is on the list to get done.

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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2010, 10:59:26 AM »

>I read Dee Lusby's paper on homemade foundation. Has anyone here experimented with this?

I have no press bu have made blank sheets.  I've since decided it's much easier to not use foundation.  The bees do great without it.

> What if you made a foundation with no embossing on it so the bees could make whatever size they wanted?

They will build it slower than no foundation, and they will not do it with much enthusiasm.

> I imagine that they'd be compelled to draw straight comb without me having to keep the combs on the guides in my foundationless frames.

A guide is all you need.
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2010, 07:33:10 AM »

I have guides (popsicle sticks) but some colonies aren't too good at following them. I've had to cull and rearrange quite a bit of comb. They seem to like to jump frames so that each frame gets connected to the one next to it.  I thought that the sheets would keep them on track better.
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2010, 11:49:03 AM »

They seem to like to jump frames so that each frame gets connected to the one next to it. 

are you absolutely certain that the hives are level side to side?  i mean, have you checked it with a level?  the bees build "down" based on gravity.  comb can get crosswise, and it can get connected...but a comb that is attached to one frame at the top and another at the bottom is not very likely level.

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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2010, 03:10:52 PM »

No, deknow, I haven't.  I will next time I see that hive, tho.
Thank you all for your input.
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2010, 01:33:15 PM »

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I have no press bu have made blank sheets.  I've since decided it's much easier to not use foundation.  The bees do great without it.

Could it be said that the advantage for using foundation is it survives the extraction process better?  Are there any other advantages for foundation if the bees do great without it?
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2010, 09:21:21 PM »

>Could it be said that the advantage for using foundation is it survives the extraction process better? 

You can say it.  I won't make it true.

>Are there any other advantages for foundation if the bees do great without it?

There are several myths about advantages, the biggest are that you will get less drones iwth foundation and that a pound of wax takes between 8 and 16 pounds of honey... but I see no advantages.
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 09:31:06 AM »

Interesting views ...

When I made my extractor (not tested yet) I was told to turn the top bars out.  1, because of the angle of the cells and 2, because of strength of the comb (having support wires).  It doesn't make sense to me that so many people would be using foundation if there was no advantage.
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 09:53:50 AM »

I'm just finishing my first year of going all foundationless and so far I've had few issues. I found (as stated by MB) that if the frames are fully drawn and you start the extractor (radial) on a very low speed and slowly increase the speed the comb holds up well. It's the frames that are not fully drawn that are the problem. In my experience the bees will leave a "bee space" between the bottom of the comb and the bottom bar of the frame until the extra comb is needed which can take some time. I extract these frames in a tangential hand crank extractor that has a screen to support the comb. Care must be taken when uncapping as undue lateral force to the comb can break it.

Scott
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 11:19:44 AM »

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You can say it.  I won't make it true.

One response is not scientific proof but this implies it is true:

Quote
Care must be taken when uncapping as undue lateral force to the comb can break it.

From what I have seen of foundationless comb it is more delicate than comb drawn from a foundation especially with wire supports.
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2010, 11:31:51 AM »

I don't believe that foundationless is any weaker than using wax foundation. Once you start adding support (wires) it of course strengthens it. Wired foundation is not as strong as plastic...plastic in wood frames is not as strong as solid plastic frames. It all depends on how you wish to do it and how much $/labor you are willing to invest.

I decided to start using foundationless frames during a growth period to save money and labor and it has worked well for me so far. The older the comb and the more brood that has been raised in it the tougher it gets. By this time next year I expect most if not all of my frames to be fully drawn and quite rigid.

Of course, I'm in a growth stage again Smiley

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2010, 11:43:25 AM »

Aren't you always in a growth stage?  Isn't it common practice to crush the comb every few years and let them build new to eliminate contaminated wax?  So the delicate stage doesn't last forever but initially there is a structural advantage to foundation.
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2010, 12:16:05 PM »

foundation predates wires.  the reason that wire was deemed necessary was not for extraction (combs from foundation were being extracted by commercial beekeepers before wiring was introduced), but to keep the foundation from sagging as it was drawn out.

no doubt wires make the comb a bit easier to handle and extract from, but by no means are the wires necessary for handling or extraction.  some wire their foundationless frames as well....we don't (and we use all deeps).

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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2010, 08:17:09 PM »

>It doesn't make sense to me that so many people would be using foundation if there was no advantage.

People often do things as a group for which there is no advantage.  Good salesmanship is the key.  All of the bee culture books written during the last century and a half were written and published by the bee supply houses who were trying to sell foundation.
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2010, 08:58:50 PM »

Interesting views ...

When I made my extractor (not tested yet) I was told to turn the top bars out.  1, because of the angle of the cells and 2, because of strength of the comb (having support wires).  It doesn't make sense to me that so many people would be using foundation if there was no advantage.
  I would be afraid to test it -could have SHOCKING results-- cheesy  cool RDY-B
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2010, 09:04:31 PM »

I don't believe that foundationless is any weaker than using wax foundation. Once you start adding support (wires) it of course strengthens it. Wired foundation is not as strong as plastic...plastic in wood frames is not as strong as solid plastic frames. It all depends on how you wish to do it and how much $/labor you are willing to invest.

I decided to start using foundationless frames during a growth period to save money and labor and it has worked well for me so far. The older the comb and the more brood that has been raised in it the tougher it gets. By this time next year I expect most if not all of my frames to be fully drawn and quite rigid.

Of course, I'm in a growth stage again Smiley

Scott
  may i ask if you plan on running these frames through a power uncapper-at any time or is it a broodnest only aproach-RDY-B
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2010, 09:23:12 PM »

rdy-b, I'm running both brood and honey frames this way and, as long as they're full drawn I haven't had problems with mechanical uncapping (chain in my case) but when it comes down to scratching the low spots you have to be careful not to push the comb out of the frame.

I'm not totally convinced if this would be the right way (for me anyway) to run a large honey yard as it does take a little getting used to but you can't beat the savings.

I'm picking up another 250 deeps at Dadant tomorrow and plan on going foundationless with those.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2010, 09:42:12 PM »

 whats your aproach -are you using blak frame-or are you makeing your frame- cool RDY-B
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« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2010, 07:19:14 AM »

I'm using the basic wedge top frames ($.43 ea) with the wedge turned as described by MB and paint the edge with wax.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
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« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2010, 02:02:14 PM »

  there is alot of discussion on bee-source about shaving the frames -i think 1/16 off each side
so total 1/8 off the end bars-makes them 1 1/4 on center-instead of 1 3/8 with 1 inch top bar
 and run 11 frames in ten frame box--this is suppose to give true bee space and true dimension for natural
 comb and eliminates many problems getting straight comb-this would be piece of cake for you to try in a
 couple boxes and let us know if theres a difference-probably get the details from MB this is one of his strategies
 if it helps with the process why not- cool RDY-
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« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2010, 08:59:28 PM »

Thanks for that...might just have to try it even if I haven't been having problems with ten frames. I'll run a couple of boxes with 11 this spring and see how it works.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2011, 09:42:22 PM »

lots of opinions here foundation embossed or flat. done lot of experimenting with it I have a wax mill and still tried flat sheets well bees do work them but not very good lot of bur comb and drone comb. now for embossed foundation compared to no foundation. bees seem to build faster on no comb but do make some irregular cells.advantage with foundation bees on good flow or feed will draw out perfect cells better. now I don't make my hives level maost have a 1 and 1/2 in fall to them for moisture to run out id you get hard rains.
Don
hope this helps without stepping on any ones toes rolleyes grin
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« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2011, 10:30:30 PM »

Don,

One of our favorite beekeeping books is "Advanced Bee Culture" by W.Z. Hutchenson.  Written in the early 1900's, he covers both foundation and natural comb...one thing he points out is that on a flow, the bees will fill natural comb with honey as fast as they can draw it (or any empty comb you place in there)...but with foundation in the broodnest, the queen can fill the cells with eggs before the walls are drawn out enough to deposit nectar, and then the colony draws the walls out around the eggs/larvae.

deknow
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« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2011, 01:15:02 PM »

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but with foundation in the broodnest, the queen can fill the cells with eggs before the walls are drawn out enough to deposit nectar, and then the colony draws the walls out around the eggs/larvae.

So is that a good thing or bad thing?
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« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2011, 03:31:04 PM »

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but with foundation in the broodnest, the queen can fill the cells with eggs before the walls are drawn out enough to deposit nectar, and then the colony draws the walls out around the eggs/larvae.

So is that a good thing or bad thing?


Re-read everything.
You may answer your own questions.

One of the benifits of keeping bees is they teach you patience.
And if a hobby beek time to actually sit and think.

Goodluck

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« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2011, 03:54:30 PM »

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Reread everything.
You may answer your own questions.

OK, I read it again but still didn't see where my question was answered.  Someone else want to take a shot?
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« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2011, 11:06:10 PM »

you can read the book yourself for free to find out!
http://BeeUntoOthers.com/Advanced_bee_culture.pdf

deknow
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« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2011, 08:50:42 AM »

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“No space is devoted to the natural history, anatomy, and physiology of the bee, because my experience has been along commercial instead of scientific lines.”

Thank you, not interested in anything commercial...
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« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2011, 02:43:34 PM »

where do you think virtually every beekeeping techniques used by everyone on this forum came from?  researchers?

no.

commercial beekeepers...with almost no exceptions.


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« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2011, 03:12:50 PM »

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commercial beekeepers...with almost no exceptions.

I don't see it that way.  I thought you aligned yourself with the hobbiest, now you are commercial? huh

What is it going to be tomorrow?
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« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2011, 08:46:48 PM »

Thank you, not interested in anything commercial...

Then you need to turn off your computer, burn your books, don't talk to anyone that knows about bees so you won't become contaminated any further.

I'm a second generation hobby beekeeper.
I have learned an immense amount from researchers, old books, a few larger and large scale beekeepers. I hope to continue to do so.

Hobbiests don't have enough hives to decipher trends or true effects.

Researchers seldom work with 100's of hives to do their tests, but they do keep great records and can extrapolate their data to cover the industry.
 kinda

Commercial beeks work with 1000's and ten's of thousands.
When they try something, the percentages are easier to figure out.
If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn't work, quit it, or go out of business.

Think about it for a bit.


Years as a successful commercial beek.
With a scientists mind.
Read everything printed on the subject at the time.
Knew and discussed bees with other notable beeks of the time.
Kept records and then tells us everything he learned.

Priceless.

And you are just going to dismiss it as something beneath you?

As you have argued with and dismissed others here that were trying to help you.

I have no further interest in your cobbled up extractor and hope I'm never exposed to any hive products produced in a similiar manor.


Sorry about the rant folks, I haven't been stung lately.
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« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2011, 09:25:36 PM »

I have learned an immense amount from...old books,

If those old books were written by langstroth, root, dadant, doolittle, they were written by commercial beekeepers.  This is something we see less of today (looking forward to Michael Palmer's book).  Remember that commercial beekeeping was not always migratory pollination.

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« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2011, 06:59:58 AM »

If those old books were written by langstroth, root, dadant, doolittle, they were written by commercial beekeepers. 

deknow

Yes, that is what I was attempting to point out to acebird.

I delve into those regularly, and don't forget Snelgrove, Pellett, Maeterlinck, Quinby, and a few others I don't see at the moment.

I will gladly add Palmer's to my library too.
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« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2011, 10:03:26 AM »

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Hobbiests don't have enough hives to decipher trends or true effects.

If you have two hives and you loose both of them because you don’t have a 1000 hives in your apiary, (which statistically would show normal losses instead of 100% losses) does that mean you should now start treating your next hives the way the commercial beeks do?

Quote
Years as a successful commercial beek.

This has more to do with running a business than beekeeping.  Those that think otherwise fail.

The hobbyist is not afraid of competition like many commercial beeks are.  If you ask them a question they will willingly tell you what they know and think on the subject.  Some commercial beeks will too because they are not afraid of competition, they know how to run a business successfully, be it beekeeping or extermination.

At least 90% of all hobbyist (doesn’t matter what it is) that go into business to support their hobby fail.  Their expectations don’t get realized and they loose all the fun that they attained when they got into the hobby.  They were not businessmen and women they were hobbyists.  One should not mix the other.


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« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2011, 02:22:05 PM »

does that mean you should now start treating your next hives the way the commercial beeks do?


No one knows.

Which commercial beeks?

100% loss? wow!
What do you think you did wrong?

Do you have any idea?

Maybe you do need to do what a particular commercial beek might do in your situation.

Sure many commercial beeks have known nothing else for generations.
Others started as a hobbiest, grew to large commercial in one branch of it, then as they grew older cut back to hobby level again.

Both know the bees.
Successful beekeeping is different than simply knowing how to be a successful business person.

I don't think any beekeeper would suggest a hobby beekeeper sell out their profitable, long term, franchise business and jump into large commercial scale beekeeping.

Just because someone has a MBA, knows how to manage people, deal with the public, meet payroll, pay taxes, vendors, balance the books and has a great bank account and has had some bees for awhile can they do only bees successfully. 

It is like family farming - no time clocks.


What are your goals with the bees?
What benefits do you hope to gain from them?
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« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2011, 02:44:59 PM »

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Successful beekeeping is different than simply knowing how to be a successful business person.

Ah, but successful comercial beekeeping requires a successful business minded person.  You can always hire the skills required to run any business.  That is the easy part.
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« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2011, 03:48:00 PM »

  You can always hire the skills required to run any business.  That is the easy part.

Goodluck with that.

You must have much deeper pockets than the rest of us little beeks.

Life is so much simpler when the horse blinders are firmly attached.

I think you might be gaining on MB's posts.
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« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2011, 07:08:28 PM »

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You must have much deeper pockets than the rest of us little beeks.

Quite the contrarary I have no pockets.  I am a doer not a director or manager.  The days of a doer succeeding on the merits of his skills are gone these days.  If you think you can make it based on your beekeeping techniques or skills I am not going to burst your bubble.  Show us how it is done.
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organicfarmer
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« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2011, 05:16:03 PM »

Sorry to change the topic without changing the header, but to get back onto homemade foundations grin, i have made blank sheets, cut them in strips and used as starts in frames. Some are pretty soft, easy to handle; others -same room temperature, same wax batch actually- are more brittle, shatter some when cut so i have to be gentle (which i do not know how to be). i read to add a little propolis to strengthen the wax. Does one need to grind it or leave it in chunks?

Any input on why it became brittle (cooling to slow? to fast? temp of melted wax to high? What's the prognosis doctor?) or how to solve the problem?
Merci,
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deknow
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« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2011, 12:39:16 AM »

I don't really see the point of making/using wax strips for this purpose.  A wooden comb guide seems to work for us near 100% of the time, and we simply reuse the wide popsicle sticks we use for honey tasting.  The bees don't seem to need the wood waxed, and they attach quite nicely.

http://thecompleteidiotsguidetobeekeeping.com/index.php/beekeeping/articles/88-foundationless-frames-how-to

Let me know if you want some for guides, we have thousands.

deknow
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Acebird
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« Reply #43 on: March 12, 2011, 09:31:25 AM »

Looking at your last photo is it necessary to use the wide stick?  My thought is if the stick did not come down so far the bees would make the Honey comb attach better to the top bar.  That makes the drawn comb structurally stiffer seeing as how the bees don't seem to want to attach the comb to the sides and the bottom of the frame.  Have you tried a shorter guide?
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organicfarmer
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« Reply #44 on: March 12, 2011, 06:32:28 PM »

Thank Dean, i have plenty in the greenhouse (we use them for seedling labels). i make wax strips because i have nice clean wax from my hives; i know it has not been treated and i think it is the best use for it. i also use popsicle sticks.

I don't really see the point of making/using wax strips for this purpose.  A wooden comb guide seems to work for us near 100% of the time, and we simply reuse the wide popsicle sticks we use for honey tasting.  The bees don't seem to need the wood waxed, and they attach quite nicely.

http://thecompleteidiotsguidetobeekeeping.com/index.php/beekeeping/articles/88-foundationless-frames-how-to

Let me know if you want some for guides, we have thousands.

deknow
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