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Author Topic: Foundationless? The experiment is over....for good!  (Read 4664 times)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2011, 11:52:46 PM »

>Why do you use only mediums?

http://bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize

Only because I want all the same size frames.

http://bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#lighterboxes

Mediums because I want lighter boxes.

http://bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

Eight frame because I want lighter boxes and I want a hive that is closer to the size of a winter cluster so they winter better.

Another reason for mediums is with foundationless there is less weight to support before it runs into a bottom bar and another top bar.
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Michael Bush
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Stone
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« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2011, 12:12:28 PM »

VERY useful.  Thanks.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2011, 08:08:02 PM »

Fascinating conversation!! I'd like to try Langs next year. My girlfriend with Langs is getting a LOT of honey, and I'm limping along with beautiful comb honey, but not much of it.

However, I really enjoy foundationless and the purity of my girls' wax. My question is (and posted in another thread), can you extract with foundationless frames? Would I need to wire them, or string with fishing line, or something along that line? I imagine used-to-be-broodnest wax would be strong, but virgin wax in the honey supers? That seems like a difficulty.

I realize I could crush and strain it all, but I also love the idea of saving the girls some energy and time and hopefully getting more honey instead. I'd love to hear opinions and comments and hope this can add to the original thread topic. If not, OP please let me know and I'll start a new one Smiley
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The pedigree of honey
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2011, 08:17:16 PM »

My girlfriend with Langs is getting a LOT of honey, and I'm limping along with beautiful comb honey, but not much of it.

I don't think she is getting more honey because she uses langs.  (Are you using TBH, long hives?)  It's true that langs require a bit less attention but as long as you are paying attention to your long hive..... removing frames of honey when the hive is full.... you should not be getting less.

There are lots of other variables.  Maybe she has a more energetic queen or maybe your bees swarmed and hers did not.  Just having a lang does not guarantee you honey.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #44 on: August 01, 2011, 08:20:00 PM »

Well, I've definitely been learning on these bees, sometimes to their detriment. Last year I lost them to a bear, but they were dwindling anyway. The year before they both swarmed, but I believe they did this year also.

This year I will be able to pull quite a bit more honey, but still probably only the equivalent of one medium super each (if comparing to a Lang). We get our queens and packages from the same place... We have a pretty good location, and she's mainly in a subdivision...

My first 2 years, the bees nearly filled the 48" topbar hives, producing mega brood and very little honey. Anyway, I have a lot to learn and would love to hear suggestions!
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
FRAMEshift
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« Reply #45 on: August 01, 2011, 08:45:56 PM »

My first 2 years, the bees nearly filled the 48" topbar hives, producing mega brood and very little honey. Anyway, I have a lot to learn and would love to hear suggestions!

You might want to have a long talk with Tbeek.  He has long hives in Wisconsin and has had a lot of success.  I don't know much about raising bees in hard winters, but I will say that if you are filling 48" hives you are doing something right. 

The only question would be "When are your bees building up?"  If they are built up to 20 frames before the flow, you should have tons of honey.  If they are building up later in the year, you might not get much because your bees are eating it.  And if you have 48 frames of bees there is no room for honey.  You might want to split the hives and add empty frames so they have a place to put the honey.

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deknow
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« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2011, 09:16:06 PM »

How do you address the pyramiding technique that so many on this thread have found so successful?

Remember, in nature, once the bees move into a cavity and start building comb from the top of the cavity down, it is rare that there will all of a sudden be extra space added to the cavity above the already established comb.  Adding space (drawn comb, foundation, foundationless) _above_ the established colony is trick....exploiting their natural behavior by introducing an unnatural circumstance...room above. 

From the bee's perspective, the cavity should be filled from the top down, so room up top requires filling in with comb, stores, and brood.  The bees are likely to not abandon the cluster to build this comb, so bottoms up....it starts to flop over, so the bees build brace comb at 90degrees...and you have a mess.

I'm not a fan of alternating the foundationless with foundation or drawn comb....I think the bees work best when they can make a contiguous cluster and work on several parallel combs at once.

The bees really like to be _between_ combs, not on them...so I try to take the middle 3 frames from the box below and move them up to the center of the new box.  I push the remaining brood combs together and put the 3 foundationless frames in the lower box, on the outside.

deknow
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2011, 11:31:17 PM »

The bees are likely to not abandon the cluster to build this comb, so bottoms up....it starts to flop over, so the bees build brace comb at 90degrees...and you have a mess.
You are right if you are just putting empty frames in.  But if you put in a ladder.... one frame of drawn comb, the bees will generally move up and draw the surrounding comb from the top down.  And moving up three frames is even better... as you say.
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I'm not a fan of alternating the foundationless with foundation or drawn comb....I think the bees work best when they can make a contiguous cluster and work on several parallel combs at once.

But this can get you into trouble with cross comb.  We alternate our foundationless with drawn comb and the bees draw it very quickly.  A row of foundationless is more likely to have messy comb.
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« Reply #48 on: August 02, 2011, 09:55:29 AM »

But this can get you into trouble with cross comb.  We alternate our foundationless with drawn comb and the bees draw it very quickly.  A row of foundationless is more likely to have messy comb.


I agree. I dont place them outside the broodnest anymore. They are typically filled out and used as honey storage and the frames are really thick and usually extend well into the next frame. I place mine in between two capped brood frames that makes for neater, more uniform drawn comb.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #49 on: August 02, 2011, 10:05:11 AM »

I agree. I dont place them outside the broodnest anymore. They are typically filled out and used as honey storage and the frames are really thick and usually extend well into the next frame. I place mine in between two capped brood frames that makes for neater, more uniform drawn comb.

I don't really mind the overdrawn honey frames because I am using long hives so everything fits.  In a Langstroth it's more of a problem.  And empty foundationless frames in a row are still better than empty hive space.  But as long as you keep you boxes full of frames, your method sounds good.
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Stone
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« Reply #50 on: August 02, 2011, 01:31:23 PM »

After trying alternating foundationless with foundation OR with a drawn comb of honey, I found it works great!  All my colonies are on track and it solved my past mess. 

Unless there is something better, this is the way I will go in the future.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #51 on: August 02, 2011, 11:54:52 PM »

>can you extract with foundationless frames?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#extract

>Would I need to wire them, or string with fishing line, or something along that line?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#dowire

>After trying alternating foundationless with foundation OR with a drawn comb of honey, I found it works great!  All my colonies are on track and it solved my past mess. 

Keep in mind this works great in the brood nest.  Results in the honey area may vary.  With drawn comb they tend to draw it out really fat and ignore the empty bars.  With foundation they tend to  ignore the foundation and draw the foundationless out really fat.  Either way, if they do this the combs are too fat to pull out.  If that happens, flip the box upside down on something and pull the box off the top so you can get the frames apart without squishing comb.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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T Beek
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« Reply #52 on: August 03, 2011, 09:47:32 AM »

"Flip the box upside down"  Now there's a video I'd like to see Smiley.  Guess I'm not that confident w/ my bees yet, I use a long bread knife to cut apart, not the best solution perhaps but it works.

thomas
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« Reply #53 on: August 03, 2011, 10:19:12 AM »

"Flip the box upside down." Now that's a great idea I have to try!  I always carry a piece of plywood into the bee yard to place my boxes on.  Automatic flat surface, the bees don't get lost in the grass, and there is little chance of me stepping on them. When I'd done, I just give it a couple of raps and shake the bees back into the hive. I'll use this to do my "flipping".  Smiley 
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deknow
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« Reply #54 on: August 03, 2011, 12:06:05 PM »

...that's turning over the broodnest...right? bee

deknow
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #55 on: August 03, 2011, 12:33:02 PM »

I read the first 1/3 of this thread and then scanned the rest looking for what my second hive had when I received it from my mentor, Mike.
It had waxed plastic foundation that was cut length wise into thirds. They were attached at the top so this left 2/3rds for the bees to build but by the time they start working on the bottom 2/3rds they are all lined up. When I pulled the frames to extract the honey I had forgotten that this had been done. It wasn't until I held them to the light, to figure why the top half was so dark, that I realized that I had 3 frames of perfect comb honey on the lower 2/3rds. Mike had tried this just as an experiment and it worked perfectly. If you want, try making 4 or five slices from each foundation.
Good luck, Jim
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« Reply #56 on: August 03, 2011, 02:03:50 PM »

you don't even need a 3rd.  i use a pizza cutter on warm foundation and cut about 1 inch strips.  works great.  i "glue" them into the top with melted bees wax.  got an old glass syringe from ebay and it's perfect for the melted wax.  was also cheaper than the tube thing they sell in the bee catalog.
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