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Author Topic: Foundation vs Foundationless frames  (Read 3077 times)
Yarra_Valley
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« on: December 02, 2005, 01:36:17 PM »

Going thorugh a few of the posts, I'Ve noticed there a a few ideas and methods on adding frames without foundation, letting the bees produce the own comb. There was some mention of wasx starter strips, some kind of wedge device, and I think Michael Bush wrote a little about his method in a post in the construction forum.

Can you guys please fill me in on how exactly these methods work. Can you only apply them to one empty frame at a time or an entire box of 8 or 10. If its cheaper, less work and better results I'm all for it.

Sorry if its not very clear what I'm on about here, but this is one topic I've never researched.

Cheers,
James.
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Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2005, 03:30:59 PM »

Quote from: Yarra_Valley
Can you only apply them to one empty frame at a time or an entire box of 8 or 10. If its cheaper, less work and better results I'm all for it.


I do not use that trick but I suppose that it is very expencive.

1) When I melt my capping wax  it cost one 2 euro per kilo to make new foudations.

One box = 10 foundation is  1 kg wax and bees need 8 kg honey to make that wax.
Here honey is  about 5 €/kg and that 1 kg wax is price 8 kg honey x 5 €  =  40 € .  So it is really expensive.

If I just buy 1 kg foundations, it is 10 € and I let bees make that wax it is 40 € as honey.

Now  common method  2 euros against  wax strip 40 euros  per wax kg.

When I melt capping wax it is about the measure I need to new foundations to my hives.
.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2005, 07:58:44 PM »

The concept has been around since Huber and Langstroth.  Huber just used pegs to put one comb in and spaced the frames 1 1/4" so the bees would build their combs on them.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Huber.1.jpg

Langstroth put a beveled guide on the top and sides and a center beveled piece to support the middle.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/LangstrothFrame.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeveledTopBarFrame.JPG

Charles Martin Simon added the bevel to the bottom and sold these:

http://charlesmartinsimon.com/frameinstructions.htm
http://charlesmartinsimon.com/pictures.htm

Here's one of mine:

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/FoundationlessFrame2.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/FoundationlessFrame1.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/FoundationlessDrawn.JPG

The REASONS for doing it are:

Clean wax with no residue becaue the bees made it from scratch.  All foundation from commercial sources has fluvalinate and cumaphos in it.

Natural cell size to control Varroa.

Less work.

Less cost.

The principles.  The bees need a guide or they will do this:

http://www.beesource.com/pov/simon/comb.jpg

We want the bees to build the comb in the frames.  The incentives, before the invention of foundation, were to put a strip of wax in the frame, or a beveled piece of wood, or a strip of wood. Some people cut foundation into strips and make starter strips and some make sheets and cut them into strips.  Here's a comb from a blank starter strip:

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/PrimaryCombOnBlankStarterStrip.JPG

If the bees have a guide they will USUALLY make the comb along that guide.  They are much more likely to follow the guide if the combs are spaced correctly.  Combs between 1 3/8" and 1 1/4" seem to work well for brood and 1 1/2" seems to work well for honey.  That's what the bees space it if you let them and with foundationless you ARE letting them.  You are only encouraging them to do what you want.  If you put a frame between two capped straight combs or two brood combs the bees will draw a very nice straight comb without any other guidance.

It is important, if you do foundationless, to have the hive level.  The combs will be plumb even if the hive is not and if the hive is off too much a comb may start on one frame and end on the bottom of the one next to it.

But what you save is all the work of putting in foundation, wiring foundation, buying foundation etc.

AND you get natural sized cells, which is the main reason I do it.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2005, 07:44:02 AM »

Thanks finsky, will keep that in mind. I guess a solution would be to make my own blank foundation so the bees have to spend less time prodcing the stuff, and get on with honey production. However, I'd rather learn a bit more about bee culture and have a little less honey; I will always have enough honey for my needs. That's my primary concern, to learn more about the bees, and then hoeny production.  I'd get the benefits of small cell then too.

Michael, after going though the links you posted I found out everthing I was wanting to know and more. That reply could just about be made 'the resourse' for anyone wanting to know about small cell, tbh, or foundationless frames. So thanks!  Cheesy

When I get home I'm going to find some of that feral coolony comb I have lying around in a box somewhere and measure the cell diameter. Should be interesting. Don't know when I will be going back to Australia though.
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2005, 08:34:04 AM »

Quote from: Yarra_Valley
However, I'd rather learn a bit more about bee culture and have a little less honey; .


Quite odd to me. Learn much but don't n kow why.  Tongue  Just keeping bees as pet. Most beekeepers are such one in Finland.

I noticed that you live in Australia. You have any varroa yet, but you have enormous measure feral bee hives.
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2005, 08:44:51 AM »

Quote from: finsky
Quite odd to me. Learn much but don't n kow why.  Just keeping bees as pet.


Put it another the way, the greater my knowlegde of bee culture, the more potetial I have to create more productive colonies. If I want to expand my number and production in a few years, such knowledge would be invaluable. Not sure if that makes perfect sense but I hope so!

Quote from: finsky
I noticed that you live in Australia. You have any varroa yet, but you have enormous measure feral bee hives.


Varroa has the means to spread very quickly if it was to become established in Australia, due to the migratory nature of beekeeping in this country (keeping in mind above comments). Yes lots of feral bees.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2005, 09:19:33 AM »

>I guess a solution would be to make my own blank foundation so the bees have to spend less time prodcing the stuff, and get on with honey production.

I haven't heard of anyone who was pleased with the results of blank sheets.  Face it.  The bees draw comb from festooning and measure it by their bodies.  The bees build on plastic most reluctantly.  Then on wax coated plastic, then on wax and they build the fastest and with the most enthusiasm, when you have nothing there at all.  You can talk all you want about how much honey it takes to make how much wax and they will still draw more comb more quickly without any foundation.

I thinkn the bees forgot to read the books.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2005, 09:31:57 AM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
You can talk all you want about how much honey it takes to make how much wax and they will still draw more comb more quickly without any foundation.

I thinkn the bees forgot to read the books.


I don't think they forgot, just think they are too busy. Thanks for clearing that up and clearing my mind of silly half measures.
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Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2005, 09:33:05 AM »

Quote from: Yarra_Valley

Put it another the way, the greater my knowlegde of bee culture, the more potetial I have to create more productive colonies.


I am afraid that I can't do that. I started beekeeping as age of 15. Now I am 58. I have studied biology and genetics in University.  

They key to keep bees is to know what happens in the hive during the year and you just direct the development of hive if it goes unwanted direction. Knowlegde of bee culture  -- difficult to say what it means and what to look and why?

My menthor said 40 years ago that Germans know erything, how bee flyes, how bees  see colors and how they dance. They get very little honey. Americans just study how to get  honey.  I like that american style.

I have found that productiveness of colonies is not a key.  It is good pastures and flowers full of nectar.  Again this summer I had hives in 8 points.  Some points produced honey 5 times per honey  than another one.  You get a good queen when you buy it, but pastures you need to select with your experience.

But after my experience when I have changed my line of work 4 times in my civil work I may say that learning without goal is very unefficient.  wink

To me bees are only hobby.
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2005, 09:46:25 AM »

Quote from: finsky
I am afraid that I can't do that. I started beekeeping as age of 15. Now I am 58. I have studied biology and genetics in University


I don't have decades of experience in beekeeping behind me. I'm still very, very green. But by being here I can learn from beekeepers who do have decades of experience behind them. Some may be German, some may be American. They may have different ideas, and I like to ask what these ideas are so I can try them, learn from them and draw my own conclusions. I can see if they suit me, my situation and what I want to achive. Hopefully then I won't have to make as many silly mistakes as my teacher did.

I can understand what you mean by German's and American's having a different approach. I'm staying with some German relatives at the moment. Its interesting the little cultural differences that pop up wink. I don't think you can stereotype too widely though. For example, why I ask so many questions in this forum. Finsky, you and Michael both do things differently to beekeepers in Australia, but that's not to say all Australian beekeepers do things the same. My first impression of beekeeping was completely different to it is now. The main difference is bee handling i.e. being relaxed and having relaxed bees. Now I'm getting introduced to ideas like tbh and small cell, wow. Don't think that would have happened if I wasn't involved with this forum.

Quote from: finsky
But after my experience when I have changed my line of work 4 times in my civil work I may say that learning without goal is very unefficient.


In regards to learning without a goal: my goal is to be a good beekeeper, and enjoy it. When I say knowledge of bee culture, I just mean I want to kave knowledge of bees and beekeeping. If I was just to go about beekeeping without using any of the knowledge I've lerned from the guys in this forum and from the books I've read, I might as well do it wearing a blindfold I think.

I'm in the chatroom if any of you guys want to have a conversation right now. I'd like that. I'm not quite sure what you are tryin to say so I don't know if I've resonded to your post accurately. That's probably the best place for this as the subject tends to have drifted from "Foundation vs Foundationless", to "beekeeping philosophy".

Anyone else out there tried both of these methods and have some information on their experiences they would like to put forward?
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Finsky
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2005, 11:15:30 AM »

Quote from: Yarra_Valley

In regards to learning without a goal: my goal is to be a good beekeeper, and enjoy it.


When I was young and I drived with bicycle to beepeekers home yard and talked with them, they had so awfully differnet explanation to all things. So I dedided that I follow such a techer who has the biggest yild per hive.

After these decades  I started to read internet raports and I may say that I have had really bad knowledge for long time.   I have got most valuable reports from MAAREC.   Also reports from Australia have been usefull to me.

Most usefull areas to have been
* speed of spring development
* nutrition of bees
* substitution of pollen protein
* swarming prevention

What I have done recent years:
- changed Carniola back to Italian. (away from swarming)
- Electrict heating at spring (terrarium heater)
- substitution 80% of pollen with yeast and soya (pollen is expencive)
- Less hives in one point ( 2-4, before 10 )

My average yield rised 80% with these new methods 3 years ago and it has kept the level..but my goal is rise that 80% to 100%.  How to that is what I am interested. There are tens of details what I am not interested.

Varroa is not a problem.
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