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Author Topic: foundation-less and honey supers (big mess)  (Read 2499 times)
mushmushi
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« on: August 27, 2011, 10:41:45 PM »

Hey fellow beekeepers,

How do you manage your foundation-less honey supers ?

Sorry for the following rant.

I had 2-3 build frames (they were build very nicely) in the middle of the super and the rest were foundation-less.

I just checked my hives after 1-2 weeks of goldenrod flow and the mess inside the some of the supers is more than annoying.

Comb being attached on one end of the frame and the other end is on another frame...
Some have 2 thin layers of combs attached to them.

I can't start checking all hives every week.

There are at least 2 hives where I'm going to have to pretty much scrap all the frames wax and start over again.

I can't just re-attach the comb... I won't be able to extract it.

When the foundation-less frame is inside the brood-nest, they build amazing comb. It seems like I just can't get them to build it for the honey supers.

There was a frame with comb thick 3 1/2 inches wide. huh

I'm seriously considering going with plastic foundation for the honey supers... the nectar flows we got here are very short lived and if the hives are unchecked, cacastrophic mess seems to be produced.

How do you manage your foundation-less honey supers ?

How do you re-adjust them ?
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 10:52:01 PM »

Wow, 3.5 inch wide comb?  That is impressive….in a bad way!  I’ve had some 2.5 inch wide comb.  What a huge mess. 

Plastic is my solution.  I have enough problems; no need to add to add more to the list.
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2011, 11:12:49 PM »

in my honey supers i use 9 rather than 10 frames. unlike brood boxes, these are evenly spaced apart.  i start them with one (or more if i have them) frames of foundation or drawn comb.  sometimes they will get a bit messy, but most of the time they draw nice comb.  you want the honey comb fat so that it's easy to uncap. 

even when the comb is messy, you can cut it apart with a knife, scrape the low spots, and extract.  when you are done cutting and extracting, you have pretty nice frames for next year.
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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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 11:19:48 PM »

With or without foundation, some bees draw them great and some don't.  With plastic they are often fins between the frames or a comb between the frames or they build one really fat and ignore the next one.  They seem to like their honey combs fatter and sometimes very fat.  Spacing further may help (like about 1 1/2").  If you have a mess, turn the  box upside down to get all of the frames out at once.  Pull the box just before dark and most of the bees will fly home by dark.  Flip it over and cut anything loose you need to and lift eh box off of the frames.  Cut whatever you need to harvest it (a clean bucket and a sharp knife will help).  As always, with or without foundation, once you have drawn comb in the frames you have something to work with for the future.  The easiest place to get combs drawn perfectly (with or without foundation) is the brood nest because the combs tend to be of consistent thickness.  Once they are drawn you can move them up and once the bees push the queen back down you have combs of honey that can be extracted.
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Michael Bush
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annette
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2011, 02:19:49 AM »

Confession here!! I have never had a problem with the bees drawing out the comb straight in the honey supers until this year. The only thing I did different was introduce some new frames from Walter Kelley. All 5 hives drew out crazy comb and I have been in the process of going through each hive and cutting out the crazy combs and straightening them with a knife. It has been a mess and very discouraging for me since this is the first year I actually got a nice amount of honey.

I always place a nice straight frame with drawn comb right in the middle of the super to bait them to go up. I have never had any problems with the bees making nice straight comb, except this time.

It has been suggested that the drawn comb used for baiting should definitely be capped and not open cells as they can keep going if open cells.

Does this make sense to  you?
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BlevinsBees
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2011, 02:58:09 AM »

I tried foundationless supers on my hives that had plastic in the brood boxes. All I got was drone brood. A whole super full of drone brood.  shocked
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2011, 04:20:46 AM »

>A whole super full of drone brood.

They couldn't build it easily on the plastic, so they built it where they could.  Plus they often build drone cells for honey storage as it takes less wax.
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Michael Bush
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BlevinsBees
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2011, 12:07:14 PM »

Michael,

I cut all the drone brood out. Should I have not done that and they would have stored honey after the drones emerged?
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2011, 12:46:48 PM »

i think that's one major advantage of going foundationless all the way through.  you end up with drone comb in the brood boxes and not the honey supers.  also seems i have less burr comb.  they don't need to build it for drones.  i'm sure that varies from hive to hives.

Annette, i use open, drawn comb in the honey supers starting them.  i have not had a problem.  in fact, this year giving them more room, i had less problem with them bridging frames, etc.  it's not perfect...and i don't expect it to be, but it's better than last year.  bad thing is i just didn't get much honey overall.......
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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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
mushmushi
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2011, 04:21:41 PM »

Thanks all for the replies.

I can't build the honey medium frames inside the brood nest since the brood nest frames are deep.

The frames I put in the middle of the supers were nicely drawn (extracted last year).

I will stick with foundation-less for honey comb and but slowly start buying some plastic pierco frames as well.

Pricewise, the plastic pierco costs 19$ (10 frames) vs 15$ (10 frames) for wood. Not that bad.

kathyp, I noticed that since I went foundationless, I very rarely see drone comb attached to the bottom of the frames. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2011, 10:57:31 PM »

>I cut all the drone brood out. Should I have not done that

I wouldn't.  Usually they will just build more.

> and they would have stored honey after the drones emerged?

Yes.
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Michael Bush
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T Beek
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2011, 07:14:50 AM »

Crazy comb, a fact of life in beekeeping.  No one can avoid it forever.  Keeping frames tight can help, but not always.

That said, I'll never go back to using foundation, I like being able to eat honey right from the frame using little more than fingers if neccesary.

thomas
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11nick
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2011, 07:46:16 AM »

>I cut all the drone brood out. Should I have not done that

I wouldn't.  Usually they will just build more.

> and they would have stored honey after the drones emerged?

Yes.


Sometimes I have questions that I'm afraid are going to sound so elementary and dumb.  I have to preface this question by saying that I am not a beek yet.  I am reading everything I can get my hands on, and following several different forums every day just absorbing the info that I find.  So if this is dumb... I'm sorry to disrupt the flow of the thread....

Where did the drone brood in the super come from?  Especially if there was an excluder (which mushmushi may not even use).  I understand that worker bees can lay eggs that develop into drones.  But I (apparently incorrectly) believed that if there was a flow and the supers were on, the workers would be solely concerned with storing as much nectar as possible for honey production.  Almost a one-track mind on honey storage.  My question isn't "how dare they lay eggs in 'MY' super?" as much as it is "why would they be producing drone brood in the super if there is a flow on?"  It just surprised me that they would be concerned with laying drone brood in the super when they had a nectar flow.

Again, sorry if that is a dumb question.
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2011, 08:05:49 AM »

Don't be sorry for asking a question.  The only 'dumb' question is the one NOT asked.

Drone making is funny business, I just leave it up to my bees, I think they Know better than I do.

thomas
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2011, 08:55:26 AM »

>I cut all the drone brood out. Should I have not done that

I wouldn't.  Usually they will just build more.

> and they would have stored honey after the drones emerged?

Yes.


Sometimes I have questions that I'm afraid are going to sound so elementary and dumb.  I have to preface this question by saying that I am not a beek yet.  I am reading everything I can get my hands on, and following several different forums every day just absorbing the info that I find.  So if this is dumb... I'm sorry to disrupt the flow of the thread....

Where did the drone brood in the super come from?  Especially if there was an excluder (which mushmushi may not even use).  I understand that worker bees can lay eggs that develop into drones.  But I (apparently incorrectly) believed that if there was a flow and the supers were on, the workers would be solely concerned with storing as much nectar as possible for honey production.  Almost a one-track mind on honey storage.  My question isn't "how dare they lay eggs in 'MY' super?" as much as it is "why would they be producing drone brood in the super if there is a flow on?"  It just surprised me that they would be concerned with laying drone brood in the super when they had a nectar flow.

Again, sorry if that is a dumb question.
11nick, you and I are about in the same position...I have no bees here (though I have a couple of hives at my mentor's place).  Like you I read, read, read.  One thing we're different in is that I know a lot of my questions can be elementary and possibly dumb but I don't hesitate to ask them!  Wink

Workers 99.99999% of the time if they become queenless and start laying will lay drone eggs.  There is a rare occurrence of females laying worker eggs...it is called "thelytoky"...at least I think that's how it's spelled. Smiley

Drone brood in the super came from the queen. Smiley  Seriously, either there is no queen excluder or there is one but the queen got through a bad spot in the grid or the queen is a little smaller than normal.  Plus....queen excluders are not infallible.

My scattered brained understanding is...  If the colony is "queenright", meaning there is a queen and she is doing her job, then the workers are not laying those eggs.  The queen's pheromone "controls" the colony somewhat by letting the workers know that all is well in the hive and nothing exceptional needs doing other than their day-to-day work.  The pheromone spreads throughout the colony by the many workers that come in contact with the queen as they feed her or groom her or simply walk over where she has been.  The scent naturally spreads by air, also, but the bees help move it from point to point from which it permeates the air.

Some beeks promote open brood chambers in which they use no queen excluder.  This lets the colony attain it's own natural balance between brood and honey areas.  It is looked at also as a swarm prevention measure by some beeks being as the queen isn't strictly confined to a given area and if she becomes honey/pollen/brood bound she has the option to "move up".  I have pretty well decided to go this route myself.  There can be problems with brood in the honey, but that is what knives are made for...the bees will repair the comb asap once the extracted comb is put back in the hive.

Best wishes,
Ed

PS...remember this info came from a rank newbee. Wink
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BlevinsBees
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2011, 12:29:07 PM »

The super in question was added with an excluder. The bees for some reason would not draw comb past the excluder. I removed it temporarily so they would start drawing comb and then the plan was to place it back on once they invested in comb in the super. That way they would cross the excluder to continue their comb building. It was about two weeks or so before I could come back and put the excluder on when I discovered all the drone cells. I have to be quicker in checking their progress.
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kathyp
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2011, 12:44:31 PM »

wouldn't have mattered if you'd caught it earlier.  they'd still be there.  the drones will hatch out and the bees will backfill with honey.  it's all good.
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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.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
11nick
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2011, 01:09:11 PM »

Okay.... fast forward....
You have a super with drone brood.  The brood hatch out and the workers fill those same cells with honey.  Is the honey from that cell okay?  The larva that lived in that cell molted.  There will be "debris" in that cell from that molting.  I'm imagining that the workers will clean the cell before depositing nectar in there?  When you go to harvest honey from the frames in your supers, the "once-upon-a-time" brood cells don't give off bad honey?
Thanks! and I'm sorry for hi-jacking the thread.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2011, 02:11:17 AM »

>You have a super with drone brood.  The brood hatch out and the workers fill those same cells with honey.  Is the honey from that cell okay?

Yes.

>  The larva that lived in that cell molted.

Yes.

>  There will be "debris" in that cell from that molting.  I'm imagining that the workers will clean the cell before depositing nectar in there?

Yes, they clean it and polish it with propolis.

>  When you go to harvest honey from the frames in your supers, the "once-upon-a-time" brood cells don't give off bad honey?

No.
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Michael Bush
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11nick
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2011, 06:18:50 AM »

Thanks MB

Is it a frequent occurrence to have drone brood in the supers at some point of the spring/summer?  If you are into harvest time and have drone comb and don't want to cut it out, what are your options?  ...  just leave that super on for a few more days until those drone hatch out?
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