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Author Topic: Why do we use foundation?  (Read 3210 times)
deknow
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2012, 08:42:45 AM »

from my 1888 copy of the abc of bee culture by a.i. root: ...note that this isn't an after the fact analysis of what was done...this is an account of what the plans _are_ in 1888 WRT enlarging the bee via larger foundation.

Quote
Several times it has been suggested that we enlarge the race of honey - bees, by giving them larger cells; and some circumstances seem to indicate that something may be done in this direction, although I have little hope of any permanent enlargement in size, unless we combined with the idea of selecting the largest bees to propagate from, as given a few figures back.  By making the cells smaller than ordinarily, we can get small bees with very little trouble; and I have seen a whole nucleus of bees so small is to be really laughable, just because the comb they were hatched from, was set at an angle so that one side was concave and the other convex.  The small bees came from the concave side.  Their light, active movements, as they sported in front of the hive, made them a pretty and amusing site for those fond of curiosities.  Worker bees reared in drone cells are, if I'm correct, sometimes extra-large in size; but as to whether we can make them permanently larger by such a course, I'm inclined to doubt.  The difficulty, at present seems to be the tendency to rearing a greater quantity of useless drones.  By having the hive furnished entirely with worker comb, we can so nearly prevent the production of drones that is safe enough to call it a complete remedy.



it's worth nothing that root observed worker cells to be 5 cells within an inch (5.08mm) or smaller...since we are now seeing a standard cell size in foundation at 5.4mm, it seems as if root was reporting on what was afoot in his day.

there is also this article from beeworld in 1933 that talks directly of enlarging the bees by enlarging the comb.
http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/ed-dee-lusby/historical-data-on-the-influence-of-cell-size/the-influence-of-cell-size-part-1/

every beekeeping book pre1900 pretty much agrees...worker cells are 5.08mm or smaller.  even a fairly recent publication by the a.i. root company (observation hives...i think 1999) mentions that the bees huber used were likely smaller than our modern bees.

regardless of what effect one thinks 5.4mm foundation has or doesn't have on bees, the historical record is quite clear.  bees have been made bigger....both through enlarging foundation and likely also via selection.

deknow
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Finski
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2012, 08:54:10 AM »

.
In Russian Siberia official cell size is 5.6 mm. It was 2 years ago decided.

That cell size is another odd debate. Why we use big and small cars.
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Irina
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2012, 11:29:07 AM »

Thanks Javin,

The winter was unusually warm this year, and I lost 2 hives; I had 4. I think, I insulated them too much for this warm winter... it is my fault.
One hive died in the bottom hive body, the cluster did not even go to the top box, plenty of food storage was left inside. I found that the water got inside the insulation and they might froze to dead during the cold days. Some bees were died inside the cells. I am not sure if they died because of the frozen water or starvation (they could not move to the honey storage); may be both conditions.
I would love to find the answer; just to learn from my mistake. Last winter I insulated the same way and all hives went through the winter very well.

Second hive died later, end of April or beginning of May. And, I only blamed myself. The queen was in the hive on April 21, some eggs, a lot of food storage and small population of bees. I should probably add one frame of capped brood to this hive from the stronger hive, but, I thought they would survive.
This was totally my fault.

Now about the existing hives:
I did not find the queens; I did not even look for them. And I don't think I have a laying worker.
The eggs pattern is very good and consistent, and only one egg in each cell.

I will follow your advice and add one frame w/capped brood from one hive to another (w/eggs only) hive to boost the population.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2012, 02:18:35 AM »

>So in comb honey production you yield is half that of ready combs.

This has nothing do with using foundation or not.  It is a known fact that you will get more honey with drawn comb than when the bees have to draw the comb.  This is all about having a place to put the nectar.  But they draw the comb faster with foundationless which then gives them somewhere to store the nectar sooner.
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Michael Bush
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tillie
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2012, 11:22:54 AM »

Thanks for the references, deknow - and I am so looking forward to the conference in July!  (that's you, right?)

Linda T in Atlanta
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sterling
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« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2012, 11:38:26 AM »

and the idea that a pound of foundation would save you several pounds of honey because the bees don't have to secrete it. 




A langstroth box has 1 kg foundations. It is needed 6-8 kg honey to make it.
3 boxes foundations is  20 kg honey.

So you get waste wax in beekeeping.How to recycle it?  Do you burn it as candles or do you make new foundations. To me new foundation is 4 US dollar/kg when I give waste wax to the foundation maker.


If you crush the combs and sieve the honey, or make comb honey, you loose 2 kg wax against 25 kg honey.

So in comb honey production you yield is half that of ready combs.

It has been shown in researches even if folks do not mind it.

I see this 8# of honey to make a pound wax thrown out there alot. Can it be documented? Has there been a scientific study or is it just a number someone threw out at a talk once upon a time?
I'm not disagreeing just would like some facts on the study.  Thanks
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Finski
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« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2012, 04:17:26 PM »

-
I has been documented in professional beekeepers test. It took 3 years.

idea was to find out, how much the colony makes honey when it has
1# drawn  combs
2# foundations
3# trips of wax

Colonies were bee packages.
It is somewhere in internet. I have linked it here few times.

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Joe D
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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2012, 10:00:46 PM »

Hi Greenbtree,

I have a hornet nest you can poke, no hornets in it.  I don't use foundation, just frames.  In the langstroth I have a started strip, paint stirring stick cut in half glued in.  In my TBh I built them with a frame, top bar has a wedge pointing down.  You can extrude the langstroth with no foundation when the comb gets attached all around the frame.  The bees can build it pretty fast, and you dont have to buy foundation, install it, etc.  But to each his own way, or what you think is best for you.  As far as loss this past winter I started with 3, this spring still had 3, last month they swarmed now I have 6.  Extracted some honey last week, more in july or august.  That was my first winter.  Good luck to you all.

Joe
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kingbee
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2012, 11:23:36 PM »

I’ve never seen a little steam whistle or time clock in a bee hive that’s used to tell the workers when to clock in, or when to knock off. 

The way things get done in a hive is a bee comes along, sees something is started, and then she works on that thing for awhile, then another bee comes along, takes over from the first bee, and she moves on to something else.  IMHO this is how foundation works by mimicking the start or the foundation for each individual cell.  The cell walls are erected upward and outward  from these cell beginnings or cell foundations.  This is likely why wax coated plastic foundation works better than non wax coated plastic foundation, the wax coated foundation just looks or feels more like the start of real homey comb cells.  Maybe we should change the name from sheets of foundation to a sheet of foundationS
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2012, 02:02:23 AM »

>I see this 8# of honey to make a pound wax thrown out there alot. Can it be documented? Has there been a scientific study or is it just a number someone threw out at a talk once upon a time?

As I've pointed out, I think its irrelevant.  What is relevant is that they need somewhere to put the nectar.  It's not a math problem, it's a timing problem.

There are two studies that I have been able to find that are specific about the proportion of conversion.  The first was by Huber in Volume II, Chapter II of his "New Observations Upon Bees".

"Amounts of wax produced from various sugars
"A pound (453 grams) of white sugar, reduced to syrup, and clarified with the white of an egg, produced 10 gros 52 grains (1.5 ounces or 42 grams) of beeswax darker than that which bees extract from honey.  An equal weight of dark brown sugar yielded 22 gros (3 ounces or 84 grams) of very white wax; a similar amount was obtained from maple sugar.
We repeated these experiments seven times in succession, with the same bees and we always obtained wax in nearly the same proportions as above.  It therefore appears demonstrated that sugar and the saccharine part of honey enable the bees that feed upon it to produce wax, a property entirely denied to the fecundating dust."--Francis Huber

http://www.bushfarms.com/xstar.htm#Huber

The next was by Whitcomb, referenced in "Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products by Coggshall and Morse (pg 35)

"Their degree of efficiency in wax production, that is how many pounds of honey or sugar syrup are required to produce one pound of wax, is not clear. It is difficult to demonstrate this experimentally because so many variables exist. The experiment most frequently cited is that by Whitcomb (1946). He fed four colonies a thin, dark, strong honey that he called unmarketable. The only fault that might be found with the test was that the bees had free flight, which was probably necessary so they could void fecal matter; it was stated that no honey flow was in progress. The production of a pound of beeswax required a mean of 8.4 pounds of honey (range 6.66 to 8.80). Whitcomb found a tendency for wax production to become more efficient as time progressed. This also emphasizes that a project intended to determine the ratio of sugar to wax, or one designed to produce wax from a cheap source of sugar, requires time for wax glands to develop and perhaps for bees to fall into the routine of both wax secretion and comb production."

Of the two Huber's was confined which insures there was no outside source of nectar.  But the conclusions of Whitcomb were that efficiency changes over time and other studies I've seen show that a young bee who becomes a wax worker at the appropriate age and who has done it while is more efficient than an older bee who has reverted to wax making or a younger one who hasn't gotten into the "swing of things".  So the actual number would be hard to come by.  I agree with Taylor who says:

"The opinion of experts once was that the production of beeswax in a colony required great quantities of nectar which, since it was turned into wax, would never be turned into honey. Until quite recently it was thought that bees could store seven pounds of honey for every pound of beeswax that they needed to manufacture for the construction of their combs--a figure which seems never to have been given any scientific basis, and which is in any case quite certainly wrong."--Richard Taylor, The Comb Honey Book
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jredburn
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« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2012, 07:56:56 PM »

The original question was why do we use foundation.  In my not so humble opinion,  #1 because it is tradition and people don't like to change and #2  because it make machine extraction possible.
If you think about it, the bees did without foundation for thousands of years, so THEY don't need it.  We do.
Also, a standard frame only has so many square inches of surface in it.  The bigger the cell size, the smaller the number of cells.  So you can have bigger bees but you have to have less of them or you can have smaller cells and more bees.  Either way the amount of honey gathered is not going to change very much.
As the English used to say "The whole debate is a tempest in a Teapot"
Regards
Joe
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AndrewT
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« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2012, 08:21:23 PM »

And, for those of us who keep bees as a welcome diversion from life's stresses, and who either only sell a little honey, or none at all, the only real difference in using foundation or not, is the money you don't have spend on it and the little extra attention it takes to get straight comb without it.
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scdw43
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« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2012, 10:41:41 PM »

I use foundation because I don't have to be so careful with it during an inspection or split, or when I sell a nuc I don't have to say be careful with these frames the brood  might fall out on the ground with your 100.00 worth of bees. The foundationless frames are all right, I just am not convinced that there is any advantage other than the expense. I don't put chemicals in my hives. I don't shake sugar all over my bees every 10 days and use Kelley regular wired foundation and I don't lose bees anymore than people that treat or use small cell. I haven't bought bees since 2008 and that was three queens. I winter bees in single, double, triple, deeps and in 4 and 5 frame deep nucs. I raise my own queens from my stock. I don't think it has anything to do with the equipment. It is all about the bees genetics and the keeper's timely manipulations. Just my opinion.
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« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2012, 01:15:33 AM »

>I don't put chemicals in my hives.

But you put foundation in them and that is contaminated with chemicals...

>#2  because it make machine extraction possible.

I extract foundationless all the time.  Historically they were using extractors long before they were using foundation.
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Michael Bush
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tillie
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« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2012, 01:39:08 PM »

I never have understood the argument about how using foundation allows you to use an extractor.  I have yet to take a frame of honey out of the beehive that wasn't attached on all four sides - a honey frame like that should do fine in an extractor, if you choose to use one.  If you blow out the frame (foundationless) in an extractor, I'll bet you are turning too fast and would also blow out a frame on foundation.

It's true that the bees often don't attach brood comb at the bottom and sometimes only attach it on the top bar of the frame.  But I wouldn't put a brood frame in an extractor.

I still worry about putting a starter strip of foundation into my hives in foundationless frames because I know the research shows that all the foundation the bee companies sell is laced with coumaphos and fluvalinate and I don't want to expose my bees to that, but a small starter strip is at least way less than a full sheet of foundation.

Linda T in Atlanta.
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Finski
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« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2012, 02:11:31 PM »

all the foundation the bee companies sell is laced with coumaphos and fluvalinate and I don't want to expose my bees to that, but a small starter strip is at least way less that a full sheet of foundation.

Linda T in Atlanta.

Wow! Have you considered to change medication-----
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deknow
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« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2012, 09:01:01 AM »

...everything that tillie.wrote in her last post is.true and well documented.  If anyone is showing signs of being on the wrong meds, too many meds, or not enough meds, it ain't her...as.Archie Bunker used to say, "ill just look at the guilty party and whistle."  ...can anyone guess in shoes.direction I am whistling?
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Finski
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« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2012, 01:21:54 PM »

...everything that tillie.wrote in her last post is.true and well documented. 

I have nursed bees 50 years. I documented my opinion just now and well.

But I admit that no one can win one hive owners experiences.
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« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2012, 09:44:06 PM »

...and at least as far sas those of us in the U.S. are concerned, the documentation from Penn State (Maryann Frazier, Jim Frazier, Chris Mullen, et al) is that all 5 sources of foundation available had high levels of coumaphos and fluvalinate.  This has been talked about since 2008, and I don't know of anyone selling foundation claiming that they have anything different....a test is about $300, and anyone offering foundation that they could document was free of fluvalinate and coumaphos could sell all they had at a premium price.  I've thought about getting a foundation production line (I know of one available), but without a supply of clean wax, I don't see the point.  If you are self contained (if your wax is coming back to you as foundation) and you are not using these substances, then you are doing well...but buying foundation?  Any tests on foundation available in your country?

deknow
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« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2012, 07:22:24 AM »

As far as foundation,that only accounts for the chemicals dumped directly in the hive .The rest of the chemicals are drug in by the bees and absorbed into the wax. Foundationless does not eliminate chemicals completely. It just gives a clean start. Wghatever is in the bees environment eventually ends up in the wax. have you ever seen the staining from foot traffic on wax? Bees are not very good about wiping their collective feet before crossing the combs.
  Bees wax is a sponge for anything that contaminates it.

Oops,edited to add link:
http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/personnel/documents/Berry109.pdf
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