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Author Topic: Foundation or foundationless  (Read 2227 times)
Georgia Boy
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« on: February 19, 2013, 09:53:53 PM »

Just starting out. Hive will be here end of month. 

I will be getting 2 nucs for Don the fat bee man in Lula, GA. sometime in April.  I plan on putting one hive on Mann Lakes PF120's and am thinking of putting the other on foundationless frames from Walter Kelly. I ordered the ones with the guide bar on top. I want to watch and see which the bee build out fastest and I really like the idea of no foundation.

My hives will be 8 frame and all medium supers.

Just wondering what y'all's thoughts are on the subject.

Also, if you start with foundation in the first brood box and then switch to no foundation in the next, does it confuse the bees and slow them down?

And can you do the brood boxes with foundation and then do the supers foundationless? Does it matter?  Which is better?

Thanks in advance for y'all's help.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 10:03:22 PM »

I am cheap so I don't use foundation.  I have not had any troubles thus far.  I build my own equipment so avoiding foundation signifantly cuts costs.  I don't think you will have any troubles going from one way to another.  As far as which is better...that depends on who you ask. 
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 10:07:11 PM »

When you got your bees, were they nucs or packages?
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jmblakeney
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 10:53:09 PM »

This is my third year of beekeeping and I have never used a sheet of foundation.  All my bees are from swarm catches and cutouts, minus two packages I have purchased before (neither of which survived winters here).  I have never had any problems with foundationless.  As long as you keep a check on them and correct any wonky/swaying comb as soon as you find it.  I am like bush_84, i build all my stuff and try to take the cheap route when possible. 

Switching will not bother them IMO. 

You could switch to foundationless in the supers if you like.  As far as which is better, I'm not sure.  You will find arguments for both.  I am full foundationless and can do everything you can do with foundation.  If you are gonna do comb or chunk honey I would definitely go foundationless, just because of the chemicals known to be in foundations nowadays.

Hope that helps,

James
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10framer
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 11:02:21 PM »

jm how are your combs standing up to extracting?  i'm considering moving to foundationless and i'm planning on wiring all my frames (just a couple of wires in the deep frames so i can handle them while they're being built if i need to go through the brood chamber). 
back around 2000 i caught a lot of swarms and came up short on foundation and cut around 2 inch strips out of what i had and used them in deep frames and the bees built it out just fine but i have to think that to stand up to extracting the combs would need wire for a little more support.  nothing worse than hearing thank sudden clunk while your extracting and knowing that the comb that turned loose may have beat up the next four or five beside it.
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2013, 11:03:02 PM »

Thanks James really appreciate it.
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 11:07:13 PM »

Hey James,

Don't suppose you have a picture of one of your frames? Wouldn't mind seeing one. I to am looking to make my own equipment. Can you recommend a good table saw?

How much does it cost to make your own super? If you don't mind.

Thanks
David
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jmblakeney
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 11:52:54 PM »

10framer,
No problems with extracting, thus far.   Just take it easy when cranking and make sure the comb is connected on the bottom and sides in a few places.  I would go spinning them at a extremely high rpm. I am sure wiring a deep wouldn't hurt anything.  However, I don't use deeps, only run mediums, so I can't speak for extracting a deep.  I sometimes cut into the comb for various reasons, so I don't do any wiring.

Seag,
I guess I should rephrase my statement that I build "all" my equipment.  Frames are the only woodenware that I don't build.  To me it seems to tedious of work to fool with.  I can pay 80 cents a frame locally.  Thats way cheaper than a visit to the ER with a missing finger from all those cuts you have to do so close to the blade to build a frame.
There used to be a man on Youtube that showed step by step directions on how to build all the parts of a hive.  He has now changed them to private vids only.  I asked him to change them back to public because I really liked them.  We'll see if he does or not.  As far as table saws.  I use a cheap Ryobi.  The gears that adjust the angle of the blade has stripped out because they are plastic.  So I wouldn't recommend that brand. 

I can get 5 medium supers out of 3 - 1x8x10' boards using a rabbeted edge.  I can't remember how much those boards are a piece, but I believe that were around $25 for all 3.  So thats $25 for 5 medium supers plus your labor invested.  I love wood working so I don't factor in the labor. 

James

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10framer
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2013, 12:12:53 AM »

thanks, i wouldn't be extracting deep frames i was just considering the support when the comb is new and not attached to the bottom bar yet. 
price on the lumber depends on the grade, the species and the market.  lumber goes up and down daily like the stock market.
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2013, 01:05:45 AM »

Hey James,

Thanks for all the information. We will see how it goes. 

As far as wood there in a man in Cartersville, GA.  That has lumber and he says he is way cheaper than Home Depot. Haven't talked to him yet but well will see.

Really looking forward to getting my bees and learning to make my own woodenware.

May hit you up from time to time for advice if thats ok?

thanks again

David
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Moots
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2013, 05:36:09 AM »

2425,
Buying my lumber at Home Depot for my medium Boxes, 8 frame equipment, I want to say I figured that they cost me around 6.50 per box for the lumber. Since then, per advice from this forum, when I wanted to build some Nucs, I decided to check prices at my local lumber company...they were literally less than half the price of Hone Depot.

I want to say Home Depot was $8.47 for 1x8x8's which they describe as kiln dried whiteboard, #2 or better. My LLY was $3.88 for #2 pine 1x8x8's and I was pleased with the quality of the boards.

Like James, I enjoy the wood working, I actually briefly considered attempting to build my own frames...for the reasons he mentioned, and many others, I just didn't see it as practical.

Beginners advice coming from a guy doing this on the side while working a full time job.  Building and painting my own hive bodies, Nucs, Bottom boards (Solid and SBB), inner covers (vented and regular), Telescoping top covers...As well as assembling frames and wiring them.  Not to mention building a wax embedded and extractor...
My time investment has been significant and much more than expected.

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed every second of it, but be aware, it does take time. I want to say throwing building frames on top of all that would have been too much, I'm glad I didn't attempt it. It's always something you can consider further down the road once you're a little more settled as a Beek. At least that's my plan.  Smiley

Good luck.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 07:27:18 AM »

Michael Bush has a good website on foundationless beekeeping.  I suggest you read it.  I also buy my frames.  Tried making my own, but it is dangerous and time consuming.  Not worth it.  Just make sure they have some sort of guide.  My hives were started as nucs which helps.  When you start with a straight comb, the bees will build straight comb from that.  You get one messed up comb and everything after that will be messed up, which can sometimes happen with a package.
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JackM
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2013, 07:52:55 AM »

Hi, I started out last year with package and nuc.  The only problem with foundationless is sometimes they like to build 90 degrees to the way we want them to build comb.  Don't waste the money on foundation, I wish someone had notified me to save the money....want some?
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2013, 08:24:10 AM »

IMHO I believe a 'foundationless' system forces you into a more observant beek and keeps 'who knows what' out of your hives.  No 'permanent' foundation in my yard since 2007.  I keep some around mainly for guides and inside swarms traps.

Agreed; MB's website is very informative and is why I advise any beek to buy his book, despite it being freely offered on his site.  A "thanks" I suppose  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2013, 09:20:47 AM »

The only problem with foundationless is sometimes they like to build 90 degrees to the way we want them to build comb.  Don't waste the money on foundation, I wish someone had notified me to save the money....want some?

You can get them to build mostly straight comb by always adding the new frames between two straight ones.

One of the beauties of foundationless is, that you can put your new frames right into the middle of the broodnest (one at a time!). That's because they don't represent a barrier for the queen. It's just as if a comb had broken off and the bees will try to fill the gap asap, giving you very fast comb building.
 
Only one caution: don't do this towards autumn, as you don't want unbred comb in the center of your hive, the bees might not cross it in winter, leading to isolation starvation.


Wiring:

I use strong nylon fishing line, strung horizontally.
If you drill 4 holes into each sidebar, you can pull the line through, wrap it around a nail on one end, hammer in the nail, stretch the line and secure it with another nail at the other end.
You should be able to play it like a harp.
As a starter I wrap a narrow strip of foundation around the top line, but this might not always be necessary.
The bees will incorporate the fishing line in their comb, which makes the comb safe to handle and extract.

Fishing line won't conduct heat the same as wire, so the bees don't mind it so much. It's also nicer to handle.
Mine says 32.3 kg/65lb on the package. 

If you get too much drone comb you can just use that for a full size honey super after the drones have hatched.

Best of luck with it!
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2013, 09:39:11 AM »

Thanks Moots.

I work around 60hrs a week so I will start by buying 6 hives and will eventually start making my own stuff.

I need the THERAPY. LOL  Smiley

There is a man in Cartersville who cuts lumber and I going to check with him on prices.

I need to find a good plan for an 8 frame medium super. I plan to use finger joints if that makes a difference.  If anyone knows the dimensions or where I can fine a plan that would be most helpful.

Thanks again Moots.

David
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2013, 09:55:05 AM »

As for the rest,  I am following Michael Bush down this garden path. I like his common sense approach to bee keeping. Don't know if that is a mistake or not but that is the path I have chosen.  I have read most of his stuff.  Right or wrong I do believe you need to choose only one or maybe two people and focus on their direction that way it not too confusing. Throw out the stuff that doesn't work for you and keep what does but you have to start somewhere.

That is the reason for the small cell foundation and to try foundationless.

I will be using foundationless frames from Walter Kelley as they have the starter strip built into them and cost is the same.

Since I use all medium supers I haven't decided if I will cross wire them or not. If I do I will use fishing line to do so. The frames come pre drilled  with holes on the side of the frames. 

I do need to know if the metal inserts are worth the cost or will the fishing line not really hurt the frame?

 I thank everyone for their input.  I can never get enough information and I do know what works for one person well may not work for anyone else.

Thanks

David

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Moots
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2013, 09:58:13 AM »

Thanks Moots.

I work around 60hrs a week so I will start by buying 6 hives and will eventually start making my own stuff.

I need the THERAPY. LOL  Smiley

There is a man in Cartersville who cuts lumber and I going to check with him on prices.

I need to find a good plan for an 8 frame medium super. I plan to use finger joints if that makes a difference.  If anyone knows the dimensions or where I can fine a plan that would be most helpful.

Thanks again Moots.

David

2425,
I have medium, 8 frame equipment, however, I went with the single rabbet joint.  I toyed with the idea of finger joints but quickly realized it was beyond both the capabilities of me and my equipment.  Smiley

You will see some slight variation in people's measurements, what I decided on matches Kelley's Inner dimensions for 8 frame equipment, if I'm not mistaken.  I use 1x8's ripped to 6 5/8".  My short boards are 13 3/4" and my long boards are 19 1/8".  If you do finger joints, the only change would be to make your long boards 19 7/8".  Come to think about it, that was a bonus plus for the Rabbet joints, you can squeeze a little more out of your lumber.  Anyway, I cut my frame rest on my short boards 5/8" down and 3/8" deep....and that's pretty much it.

I also made a little excel spreadsheet to help calculate how much lumber I need to build X number of boxes along with what lumber lengths gave me the least amount of waste.  Let me know if you want me to run some numbers for you, or if you're interested, I can clean it up a little and send it to you.

8 frames fit in this size comfortably, it'll give you a little play area on each side of your outside frames, this should help when trying to work the hive.

Good Luck!
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2013, 10:02:26 AM »

Thanks again Moots.



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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2013, 10:47:28 AM »


I do need to know if the metal inserts are worth the cost or will the fishing line not really hurt the frame?


I don't use the metal inserts, they don't seem to be necessary.
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