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Author Topic: Foundationless frames  (Read 1038 times)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2014, 10:23:38 PM »

You need comb guides, not just empty frames.  You need to keep an eye on them at first.  One good comb leads to another.  One bad comb leads to another.  Some bees mess up anything you give them: wax foundation, plastic foundation, foundationless.  Some draw everything perfectly even when you don't do things right.  Most will stay fairly straight if you keep an eye on them.  The need to fix bad comb is not limited to foundationless beekeeping.  I've seen a lot of crumpled wax foundation that was made into a mess by the bees.  I've seen many a plastic foundation totally messed up.  If you want to do foundationless, then do it.
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Michael Bush
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BeeDog
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2014, 07:58:31 AM »

Going foundationless saves you a lot of money. I use wax beads or strips as guides for my bees to build on and in two to three weeks they already filled the whole frame with comb. Once you go foundationless you'll never go back to those wax/plastic foundations.  cool
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It is highly recommend that split be done with only strong healthy hives that have at least two Brood Chambers with Brood in all stages of development. Frames with capped Brood should be split evenly between the two hives.
Steel Tiger
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2014, 08:31:04 AM »

 In the brood box, they'll fill out an entire frame in less than a week. When I picked my bees up last year, they had one frame nearly 1/4 done by 10 am the next morning.

on a side note, when turning a foundationless frame, rotate it instead of flipping it. Until the bees attach the comb to at least 3 sides of the frame, it's very easy for the comb to break and fall out of the frame. I rotate all frames as it they're newly drawn comb just to be on the safe side.
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chux
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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2014, 09:09:01 AM »

Yea, steel tiger. I agree on the frame manipulation. My first hive was a Top Bar Hive. I started out having to carefully rotate the bars around, never ever flipping. When I got into the langs with foundationless, or even some frames with foundation, it felt natural to rotate and turn, instead of flip. Rotating is probably a good habit to have.
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Duane
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2014, 06:07:16 PM »

I forgot where or how I came across the link, but for trying to keep the frames straight, what do people think about using "dummy boards" or dividers?  You'd have to be on top of it and check often.
http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/nest_integrity.html

I'm wondering that if a frame gets out of whack and it's difficult to straighten, and especially if it's honey, if putting a divider board next to it, and then followed with the rest of the frames would get them on track.  A divider in a super that the bees can go under and over, shouldn't cause any problems for the rest of the frames?

What about this "nest integrity"?  Anyone think it's highly important, or not important for the effort involved?
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2014, 02:16:47 PM »

Well, this thread is kind of old, but I've been working various methods of foundationless for 5 years now.  I generally make my own frames with solid top bars, no wedges.  I know everybody has their favorites, but I find:

  • Wedges turned sideways are the worst.  I have never gotten them to work, pulling the frames with finned and cross comb creates more work.
  • Cardboard strips just get chewed up and thrown out.
  • Wax strips work well, but most of the wax gets thrown out or, I guess, used someplace else.
  • A strip of drawn comb about 2 inches (5 cm) wide and tied in the same orientation (top of cut strip facing up the same as it was cut off.) with strips of plastic bag works, but sometimes the enthusiastic bees chew the plastic away before they fasten the strip to the top bar.  I haven't found an easy way to attach the comb to the top bar without melting the comb.
  • Waxed strings have given me the best results.  My experience is they take forever to install.  The string has to be waxed, stuck down, and fastened by melting wax.
  • I have not tried wedge shaped bars.  My experience is they will place comb on the side of the frame's top bar no matter what's there.  Yes, all the frames were in the box and pushed together.
  • I haven't tried plastic sign strips because it makes it hard to work the comb.  I don't have a way to remove it all with a big piece of plastic there.

When bees work their wax, they don't melt it in place, so the melted wax can become a rock as far as they're concerned.  In the early years I put blocks of wax in vacant areas of the hive, thinking they would reuse the wax, and they did not.  Instead they stuck the blocks of wax down and made beginning cells on it's surface.  Foundation is run through a mill, so has a little kneading to help soften it up.

My latest experiment is to soften rendered brood comb by warming in front of a space heater.  I take the pieces and work them into long strings 1/4 to 1/8 inches (6 to 3 mm).  I can stick them in place easily, then running a soldering iron on either side, "glue" them there.

So far it's fast, doesn't require any special equipment, incorporates the wax strip and string methods, and adds the element of softening so the wax becomes more attractive.  But I will probably report back that they just did what they want anyway...
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2014, 04:16:26 PM »

I bought 100 of the Kelly's Bees foundationless frames. I got them to open the brood nest. The only thing I'm adding to them is wire. Hopefully they will work. I'm adding them between already drawn frames.
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2014, 01:51:01 PM »

I bought 100 of the Kelly's Bees foundationless frames. I got them to open the brood nest. The only thing I'm adding to them is wire. Hopefully they will work. I'm adding them between already drawn frames.

What do those look like? I can't seem to find them listed in their Frame section, only regular ones.

...DOUG
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RHBee
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« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2014, 02:21:09 PM »

I bought 100 of the Kelly's Bees foundationless frames. I got them to open the brood nest. The only thing I'm adding to them is wire. Hopefully they will work. I'm adding them between already drawn frames.

What do those look like? I can't seem to find them listed in their Frame section, only regular ones.

...DOUG
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They are listed as Foundationless Comb Guide top bars. It's an option drop down. They have a wedge down the center.
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Later,
Ray
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« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2014, 11:00:55 PM »

Their listed as F style
I've never used them but I have put a 3/4 chamfer strip on the bottom of the top rail. This worked as well as anything else I've tried. Which has been about everything I've read about. I've had pretty good luck with all of them.

Anymore I just do the wedge on edge thing. It's the easiest for me and I have no problems with it.

As has been said already, some bees will draw good comb no matter what you give them. Some bees will mess up everything you give them.
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