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Author Topic: Upcoming talk I'm giving - would like suggestions  (Read 3515 times)
tillie
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« on: March 28, 2011, 11:53:31 PM »

I'm taking the risk of talking about foundationless beekeeping at a NW Ga beekeepers meeting in April.  Don't know a thing about the club - don't know if they will be open to it or if they will all walk out in protest! 

What would you want to cover in such a talk if you were me?  I'm open to suggestions, support, ideas, whatever you might want to throw my way.

Thanks,

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 12:15:13 AM »

Tillie, I would start with the "why go foundationless" question first and ask for audience participation. That will give you a heads up on their mind set. List off some of the benefits: It's a lot cheaper; it may help with IPM/varroa control; it doesn't introduce toxins from plastic or commercially obtained wax that may be full of amatraz or who-knows-what other chems that have been used; the bees can draw drone comb anywhere they wish cutting down a bit on bridge comb between top bars and bottom bars of an upper box etc.

I'm sure this will lead to plenty of discussion before you own up to the down sides: needing to level the hive; straightening out "wonky" comb in the beginning; careful technique when handling etc.

I've only been fortunate to see you speak once and thought that you were great at it! Just do your thing and all will walk away better for it!

Scott
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 12:19:22 AM »

i always appreciate getting a different idea from someone as long as i don't feel like they are pushing it as the only way to do a thing.  you could explain why you have found it to be the best way for you.
pictures of different stages of comb building, etc. would be fun if you have some.

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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 01:46:08 AM »

I'd start by asking how many have forgotten to replace a frame...and what did the bees do?  Invariably, someone(s) will have done this, found they drew only drone comb.  Why did they do this? What does this say about bees on worker foundation?  Do they get lots of drones between boxes?  How can you get bees to draw foundationless worker comb?

We coined the term, "drone right"...similar to "queen right":
The state of a hive being allowed to rear enough drones so that they don’t feel compelled to raise them in odd places (between boxes, in honey supers).

deknow
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 06:22:05 AM »

I have an outline here:
http://bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm#comb
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tillie
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 08:01:47 AM »

I love this forum - you all are always such a resource and so, so helpful. 

I spent last night going through my TONS of pictures and I have pictures of bees in all stages of festooning and wax building.  I have pictures of all stages of the frame - I even found a good picture of a frame with the much smaller brood comb in the center and the much larger honey comb at the upper edges.

Scott, thanks for the kind words about Florida - I always like to speak so that part I'm not worried about and I usually get good reviews.  Didn't know we had been in the same room before!!!

The points about drone comb and why go foundationless - my first slide is "Let the bees go wild" and my second slide is "Why let your frames go naked?"  so I'm going to try to do it all in good humor.

and Michael, as always your site is full of wisdom in this area as it is in all others.  I'll give you credit and quote you in the process.  Every talk I've given in the last year or so includes, "As my beekeeping hero, Michael Bush, says........."

Great support and ideas!  Keep 'em coming!

Linda T in Atlanta

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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 09:04:09 AM »

Tillie,
You will be talking to a number of skeptical, experienced, and knowledgeable beekeepers.

So any point you make, be prepared to back up what you say.

Take for instance, the notion that foundationless is better because of some notion that chemicals in beeswax foundation is harmful by the fact that chemicals are present. (which has not been shown to be the case in any study I am aware of). 

You have to remember, anyone doing "foundationless comb" probably can not even market that very comb as chemical free, due to the nature to which bees bring in chemicals from the surrounding countryside (without testing). Add in the fact that 60-95 of the wax of any comb (foundationless or not...and dependant on the foundation used), is made from nectar being brought into the hive.

While most chemicals in foundation wax is somewhat encapsulated, I have found out in my own testing that bees on wax foundation are clean of chemical tainting. However, not true about what they are bringing into the hive

I'm not saying you should not be talking about foundationless comb systems. I use, promote, and love foundationless.

But it will only take one person to ask a question like "So, are there any studies, or is there any proof that tainted foundation is harming bees from commercial foundation?", and if you don't have more than casual comments and vague information, your talk will be trashed and seen as some type beekeeping promoted by agenda driven folks who have no clue of what they speak.

Yes, wax foundation has been found to have chemicals. But how many foundationless comb samples have been tested? And if asked, what proof will you present to show that beekeepers should take action based on known proof and data of actual harm?

And are you prepared to have any comments to a question such as "Are there any downside issues using foundationless systems?". Of course, there certainly are. So just keep in mind, if you don't have an honest answer for this question, you will be seen as a "promoter" of a beekeeping style and agenda, and far less than that of a beekeeper offering an unbiased and truthful presentation.

Good luck on your talk.
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tillie
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 11:50:44 AM »

The only study I know of is one by Jennifer Berry - and I'll check with her before finishing this all up.  At GBA in the spring meeting of 2010, she presented a study in which she was looking at the effect of coumaphos, fluvalinate, and something else on the health of the bees.  She needed a control group of hives with no chemicals in the wax and got wax from Bill Owens (uses no chemicals/treatments) and Don in Lula and others.  She could not find any wax without traces of coumaphos and fluvalinate.  So she had her control hive draw wax on popsicle sticks.  

I'll check with her because the study was about the health of the bees, but I don't have the results and BjornBee, you are right, I will need them.  They did find that there were more supercedure cells in the treated hives and the hive that did the best - more foragers returned to the hive, less supercedure - were the control hives  (http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-i-learned-at-gba.html)  I've written Jennifer for the reference.

I don't plan to present this in a proselytizing way but rather as an option to consider that some beekeepers are trying in the effort to have less chemicals in the hive.  I also find foundationless to be quite fascinating, seeing what the bees choose to build and where.  I am prepared and will talk about the downsides - the need for level hives, cross comb issues (you should see my pictures!) and whatever else comes up.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2011, 01:01:48 PM »

When and where is 'talk' going to take place? Shoot, I'd come listen to ya
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tillie
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2011, 01:17:25 PM »

It's on April 11th at 7 at Walker County Civic Center Ag Building in Rock Spring, GA.  I don't know where that is, but I hope my GPS does!!!

I can also talk about my ongoing saga of a relationship with the wax tube fastener!

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2011, 05:40:40 PM »

Linda,
This is just my take on it, but if I were to be in the audience, I would rather hear the "how to go foundationless" part instead of the why.  I'm not saying don't talk about why one should, just merely suggesting maybe talk more about how to do it and/or how one could" convert" over to foundationless since they probably have no clue about how to or are maybe too intimidated to do it.  Maybe covering how to do starter strips, how to straighten comb when it starts to get crazy,  how/when to rotate out foundationed frames if needed.
 
Good luck with however you decide to do your presentation.

James
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tillie
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2011, 08:13:15 PM »

James,  I in no way plan to talk science about why to do it....not a scientist. 

I'm planning on showing what to do (ie, the wax tube fastener, popsicle sticks) and how it looks in process.  But I'm worrying about fielding questions on the why to do it angle.

My first six slides are on "why" and the rest are all about how - I'm with you - I'd rather learn "how" from a speaker's presentation.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2011, 03:59:32 AM »

Angled top bars are the traditional method for building frames.  It predates foundation, and was used by Langstroth, A.I. Root and others.  The reason for it is that it works.

    "HOW TO SECURE STRAIGHT COMBS. "The full advantages of the movable comb principle is only secured by getting all the combs built true within the frames. Upon the first introduction of movable frames, bee-keepers frequently failed in this although much care and attention were given. Mr. Langstroth, for a time, used for guides strips of comb attached to the under side of the top bar of the frame. This is a very good practice when the comb can be had, as it usually secures the object besides giving the bees a start with worker comb. Next followed the triangular comb guide consisting of a triangular piece of wood tacked to the under side of the top bar, leaving a sharp corner projecting downwards. This is a valuable aid and is now universally adopted." --FACTS IN BEE KEEPING by N.H. and H.A. King 1864, pg. 97

    "Improved Comb Bar.--Mr. Woodbury says that this little contrivance has proved very effectual in securing straight combs when guide combs are not obtainable. The lower angles are rounded off whilst a central rib is added of about 1/8 of an inch in breadth and depth. This central rib extends to within 1/2 an inch of each end, where it is removed in order to admit of the bar fitting into the usual notch. All that is necessary to insure the regular formation of combs is, to coat the underneath surface of the central rib with melted wax. Mr. Woodbury further says, "my practice is to use plain bars, whenever guide-combs are attainable, as these can be attached with much greater facility to a plain than to a ribbed bar; but whenever I put in a bar without comb, I always use one of the improved ones. By this method , crooked and irregular combs are altogether unknown in my apiary." Most of our bars are made with the ridge; but should any of our customers prefer the flat ones, we keep a few to supply their requirements"--Alfred Neighbour, The apiary, or, Bees, bee hives, and bee culture pg 39

    "Top bars have been made by some hive manufacturers from one-fourth-inch to three-eights-inch strips, strengthened somewhat by a very thin strip placed edgewise on the underside as a comb guide; but such bars are much too light and will sag when filled with honey or with brood and honey..."--Frank Benton, The honey bee: a manual of instruction in apiculture pg 42

    "Comb Guide.--Generally a wooden edge, or a strip of comb or fdn., in the top of a frame or box, on which comb is to be built...As the comb guide is 9-16, and the cut in the end bar 3/4, we have 3-16 left for whole wood in the top bar, as at A, and the table should be set, as to leave just this amount of wood uncut. Even if the fdn. is fastened in the frames with melted wax as many do, I would have such a comb guide, because it adds so much to the strength of the frame, and obviates the necessity of having a very heavy top bar. The bees will, in time, build their combs right over such a comb guide, and use the cells above the brood for honey."-- A.I. Root, ABC of Bee Culture 1879 edition pg 251

    "A comb guide proper is a sharp edge or corner in the frame, from which the comb is to depend, the bees usually choosing to follow this edge, rather than diverge to an even surface; portions of comb are sometimes used for the same purpose."--J.S. Harbison, The bee-keeper's directory, footnote at the bottom of page 280 and 281
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tillie
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2011, 09:59:20 PM »

Again, Michael, thanks tons - I do hope you and I meet in person some day.  I'd like to thank you in person for being my mentor from afar and through this forum!

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 07:55:38 PM »

Hi Tillie--Good luck in your talk! I just have a generic suggestion, which is to acknowledge or be ready to address any possible negatives. Personally, when I hear someone speak, I trust them more if they are not completely biased.
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2011, 08:54:50 PM »

...another thing worth mentioning (and I'd suggest looking at the old abc's of bee culture on google books for free), is the function of wires.  Certainly they add strength for extracting, but their main purpose has been to keep the foundation from sagging while it is being drawn out.

If you look in Advanced Bee Culture (a pdf is hosted on our website): http://beeuntoothers.com/Advanced_bee_culture.pdf , you will read situations in which it is better to use foundation and situations where it is better to use foundationless.

deknow
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tillie
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2011, 10:38:42 PM »

Quote
to acknowledge or be ready to address any possible negatives

I've titled the talk: Foundationless Frames:  The Upsides, the Downsides, and the How-tos

And thanks, deknow, for the helpful reference...

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2011, 10:46:58 PM »

...well, if you are calling your talk "upsides and downsides", you can probably find in the old books (online) the frames with removable ears (and other methods of inverting frames).  There are several reasons I've heard for turning the frames upside down, but one of the most basic is to get foundationless comb attached all the way around.

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tillie
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2011, 09:39:31 AM »

Interesting - my bees rarely attach it at the bottom - only if it lasts through two seasons - then they sometimes do and always with holes for passage.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2011, 10:15:05 PM »

Jay Smith suggested that you nail the bottom bar on and pull it back out 3/8".  Then when they are down to 3/8" from the bottom, you push it back in.
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Michael Bush
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