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Author Topic: Any reason why I shouldn't start out foudationless?  (Read 5155 times)
cinch123
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« on: October 17, 2011, 11:20:51 AM »

I won't be starting my first hives until next spring, but I'm starting to build most of my equipment now and buy what I can through the winter. I would really like to take the natural route with my beekeeping (I have with my gardening and housecleaning so why not?).

Question is, are there reasons why a beginning beekeeper should not start out foundationless? I will have the support of my local beekeeping club, as most of them lean natural in their practice, but I wonder how the community here feels about it?
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 11:42:44 AM »

no reason at all.  the only downside for a beginner is that the bees don't always cooperate in building straight comb in a new box.  if you have one sheet of foundation or one frame of drawn comb in there, it seems to help.  that said, i dump swarms on empty frames all the time.  by the end of swarm season, that's all i have left  smiley

just watch them and correct any mess they make right away.

do some reading on foundationless here.  lots of good ideas for starter strips made from all kinds of stuff.
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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.....

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caticind
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 03:05:16 PM »

I strongly second kathyp.  It's a great idea, but you will need to keep a very close eye on them to start - as you should anyway since you are just getting started.

One more bit of advice:
Before you get the bees, take some time to be sure your hive is absolutely level side to side.  A poorly leveled hive will lead to persistent issues with crooked and attached comb that no amount of cutting and rubber-banding will fix.
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
Francus
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 09:30:31 AM »

I started foundationless this year and love it. That said, I never used foundation and wouldn't know if I would love that, too. I did put one frame of foundation in the box to help the bees make the other frames straight.
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Country Heart
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 03:31:17 AM »

I started foundationless this year and love it. That said, I never used foundation and wouldn't know if I would love that, too. I did put one frame of foundation in the box to help the bees make the other frames straight.

I like the idea of including one frame with foundation to help encourage proper building technique.  Thanks for the tip!   Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2011, 08:02:44 AM »

I highly recommend it.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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jmblakeney
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2011, 10:47:11 AM »

Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto.

I started foundationless this year too.  Its fun to watch them do what they do naturally.  As has been said b4 no reason you should do it, just keep an I on them.  If you catch crooked comb early and fix it its a lot easier than finding it later.  The long its let go the more wonky each succeeding comb will be.

James
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wadehump
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 05:20:04 PM »

make sure your hive is level side to side back to front can be high to shed water but side to side is the key Wink
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AliciaH
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 01:39:41 PM »

I am starting the process of going foundationless in my brood boxes.  I find wiring frames to be time consuming and Duragilt (which I've been using all along) is a time saver, but definitely has its cons.

I cut the Duragilt I have left into lengthwise strips to use as starter strips and it worked really, really, well!  I only tried it in one hive as an experiment but the frames are beautiful!  I'm going to rotate as many of my old frames out next year as I can (I want to try to keep the pesticide load down in my wax).

Bees build wonky comb on foundation, too, and its seems harder to fix if you're working around a plastic centers or wires.  I love the fact that if a section gets built out funny you can just cut it out! 
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T Beek
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2011, 06:46:43 AM »

And virtually 'everything' within your frames is edible with a foundationless system. 

I just love taking a big chunk of honey-filled wax while its still warm during a flow and seeing it fully repaired w/in a few days.  I also regularly dip a finger or two into honey-filled wax throughout the season for fresh taste testing Wink.  Mmmm-mmmm goood.

thomas
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sterling
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2011, 04:35:17 PM »

And virtually 'everything' within your frames is edible with a foundationless system.  

I just love taking a big chunk of honey-filled wax while its still warm during a flow and seeing it fully repaired w/in a few days.  I also regularly dip a finger or two into honey-filled wax throughout the season for fresh taste testing Wink.  Mmmm-mmmm goood.

thomas
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jataylor
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2012, 01:12:43 PM »

To cinch123 - - -  Interested to know how you have done with no foundation in starting your bees this year as planned. 
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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2012, 08:44:12 PM »

I ran out of deep foundation this spring, so I used up the rest of my medium foundation (wax) in deep frames. Saves money by not buying the foundation, and is "half natural" grin. I use two long bobby pins on each side through the holes in the frame to keep them straight. I do like using foundation in my honey supers, though.
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Nature Coast Beek
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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2012, 06:19:21 AM »

OP

I'm new to this whole bee thing (since last Saturday) and I decided to try to let the bee do as much for themselves as possible. Going foundationless is certainly the first step in that direction. The first thing you have to realize is that in order for this to happen, your hive should be perfectly level. Second thing, as many have already stated, having some already drawn out comb flanking the empty frame that is being drawn is certainly a best practice. The easiest way to do this is through purchasing a nuc, not a package to start with. The little added advantage to this is that you'll most likely have to pick up a nuc and this will ensure you get more localized bee stock (and also meet a local beek vender, a good resource to know). Also, make sure you have a good guide along your empty top bars. I chose to use a grooved top bar on my frames with wood contractor shims cut and fitted to size. I wanted a good, concrete guide for the bees to hang from and draw comb along.

I did my first real inspection on the hive, a full 6 days of build, and the frames that are flanked by the purchased, fully drawn nuc frames are being drawn evenly and straight. I am trimming all the burr comb and cross comb as I go (not really that much). I'm also making sure that my frames are tight together and everything is going according to plan right now. Last thing, I have also chosen not to provide any supports in the frame. No guide wires or fishing line. This means that when handling the frames the responsibility is on me to manipulate them so that the comb is not held parallel (horizontal) to the ground at all times. So far so good. I live in Florida and right now the temps are mid 90's daily and all the comb looked good and was rigid (thought is would be more floppy in the heat). So your desire to start out foundationless is viable and a decision only for you to make, just realize the handling responsibilities that go with it from the start. Also, the easiest way is to go with a nuc instead of a package (some drawn frames will be provided) or get some already drawn comb frames from a TRUSTED source. Going with a nuc also gives your bees a little head start since they're probably a more cohesive unit with brood coming online and the comb drawing task won't be as much as a hardship.

Just my .02 from one week of experience as a newbie beek. Developing the desired habit--always easiest from the start...now that comes from years of experience.   grin
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Beregondo
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2012, 01:51:40 AM »

I started right out foundationless, and have never regretted it.

If you get your bees from a cut out, as I did, you'd be wise not to put a "wavy" comb next to an empty frame, though, as the bees will draw the empty parallel to its neighbor and be a bit wavy too.

The other key is to be sure the five is level side to side as the bees tend to draw comb straight down, and if your frame leans to the side because the hive is tilted, the bees will draw comb perfectly straight down...and your frame will be attached at a tilt in relation to it.

The key to nice straight combs is a straight starter strip, frames tightly together, hive level, and only straight comb next to the frame.
Puttin an empty frame btw two straight combs will prevent crooked comb as well.
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