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Author Topic: Question on foundations.  (Read 2279 times)
OldMech
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« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2013, 11:12:42 PM »

woo, hope thats all over with..
   I have a hard time getting my bees to draw on plastic. I have tried spraying the frames with sugar water, relocating them etc...   If I take out a frame with plastic foundation and drop in a foundationless frame they often have it started and well underway by next inspection..
   To be honest, I like foundation because its easier to deal with, but my bees dont seem to like it as MUCH as making their own, and yes, it can be a pain to deal with at times. The truth is, it doesnt matter if you start with ritecell, or foundationless.. if you use rite cell, and eventually try foundationless, the learning process is much the same. you still have to learn how to straighten crooked comb no matter when you decide to drop an empty frame in. However, i will agree, that it may be easier not to have to deal with that the first year or two while you figure everything else out.
   Personally.. I WISH I had started that way, and started with all mediums, some of you may be perfectly happy with how you started out and continue.. I wasnt.
   I like the money savings of making my own foundationless frames. I like being able to pull honey from a super and drop it into the brood box, I like the weight difference, etc etc...   That doesnt mean anyone else has to like it, or do it.
   I like natural beekeeping, but I still use hopguard. I am not an advocate that professes any SINGLE method.. I still have some plastic foundation (4.9 mm ) in all my hives. I use it to help guide the foundationless frames, so I am not a purist there either.
   The one thing I DO believe, is that if we keep treating, we will never have better bees.... but sometimes you KNOW, if you dont help them you will lose them.

   It is hard to judge TONE when reading... I tend to say things I find humerus, only to find out my wife has no sense of humor. Living with her helps me a lot when TYPING....

   I originally melted my wax, and painted the melted wax onto my foundationless frames..   a local beek told me to STOP wasting wax. Take the block of beeswax, and RUB it on the frame. He told me if I wanted my bees to attach the comb on all sides, to RUB it onto all four sides, not just the top...      In most cases it seems to work, I still have a few frames that are only partially attached, but rotating them inward seems to help...  something about the frame being "primary" in the hive as it was explained to me.....

    The methods of each beekeeper are as many and varied as the stars in the night sky. PLEASE post your methods, and your advice, and let everyone else do the same!!
   I will reiterate that I WISH, I had started with foundationless. I would have saved several hundred dollars, and I would have learned how to deal with the problems much sooner.
   I am no woodworker, but I have found building hives, and frames to be well within my capability. It gives me MORE to do with my bees, fills me with satisfaction when my bees accept my work, and it saves me money...
  It is hard to disagree with success. If what you are doing WORKS for you, then THAT is what you post about, and how "I" learn different methods or new ways of managing my bees. I dont intend to make anyone angry. EVER!! But I post about what is working for me, what I LIKE, and what I wish I had done to start out with, HOPING to save someone else the trouble.
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« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2013, 12:47:17 AM »

OldMech,
All good points, especially your point about the multitude of different techniques that Beeks utilize and the importance of each Beek finding "what works for them".

I'm early in the game of being a Beek (first year) with plenty left to learn, but what I stated with and seems to be working for me is all mediums with wax foundation.  Following this thread has made me realize, I think that puts me in a bit of a minority and has got me wondering...How many folks use WAX foundation?  Thinking I might throw up a poll with that question...

At least from this thread, I get the impression that folks either opt for plastic foundation because of the convenience and durability and aren't discouraged by the cost.
OR
They like the significant cost savings of going foundationless and think the time and effort to keep the comb straight are worth the necessary efforts.
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T Beek
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« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2013, 05:14:19 AM »

I'd be willing to bet that wax foundation tops the list with the majority of U.S Beeks due to price and availability ( and its inclusion in most any beginners kit).  The various plastics are likely next, followed by foundationless.  

All Beeks used to be foundationless (it wasn't that long ago).  Adding foundation (heck, adding all kinds of stuff) is what is relatively new in the world of beekeeping.

OldMech;  You are one of my new heroes  cheer
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« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2013, 05:42:01 AM »

I'm gonna try foundationless in the future. However, right now with the lack of experience I have I'm taking the easy road.
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T Beek
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« Reply #44 on: November 01, 2013, 06:45:59 AM »

I'm gonna try foundationless in the future. However, right now with the lack of experience I have I'm taking the easy road.

I'm not sure there is any such thing as an 'easy' road  Undecided  The process is relatively simple.  As Spring build up occurs start manipulating frames by placing an 'empty' between two drawn ones...and on and on until all that;s remaining is foundationless frames.  Use those manipulated (removed) frames to make up NUCs or expand the colony broodnest.  The choice is always the beekeepers  Smiley

As Was stated above, it took me about two seasons for the complete conversion.  Can it be done quicker?  Much depends on the availability of drawn comb to keep things straight.  However, there is nothing wrong with using the odd foundationed frame for the same purpose of keeping things straight.  I still do  Wink.
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« Reply #45 on: November 01, 2013, 10:02:09 AM »

As much as this thread has wandered, it has been chock full of information (along with strong opinions  grin).

New Beek here as well. First season. It has been an interesting ride thus far as I have been learning on the fly. I AM very happy I chose to go all medium 8 frame boxes as I am not getting any younger and my OCD likes the modular ability. I have a mix of frames, some wood with wax, some wood with plastic, some all plastic. And now I am considering going foundationless .....sorta. I plan to use a starter strip of the 4.9 foundation.

My observations: 2 captured swarms. Swarm one is classic Italians. They were captured late May, started on wood framed plastic and drew it out without argument. Swarm 2, captured late July, started on the all plastic frames.....They hate them. I swapped a couple that they refused to work with some wax foundation plus added a couple frames of brood to kick start the numbers. They did better. But I noticed that these bees are visibly smaller (for the most part - remember there were some additions from the other hive) then Swarm one. I suspect a feral hive that have already returned to smaller size bees. IF it makes it through the winter, this will be the hive I have hopes that will regress to the Small cell quickly and naturally. As there are some drawn frames, the every other frame additions in the spring should allow them to build half foundationless....and keep it straight.

Another observation is these smaller bees do tend to fly during more inclement weather then hive one. Both are still hauling in the pollen. 
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« Reply #46 on: November 01, 2013, 10:21:32 AM »

I plan to use a starter strip of the 4.9 foundation.

No need to use 4.9 for starter strips.   They won't use it as a guide.   If that is what you already have then no harm, just don't want you to spend a premium for 4.9 just to make starter strips.
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« Reply #47 on: November 01, 2013, 10:35:54 AM »

In the past I got regular frames to get drawn foundationless with just a guide bar, I did find out that they need to be wired.
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« Reply #48 on: November 01, 2013, 10:46:33 AM »

In the past I got regular frames to get drawn foundationless with just a guide bar, I did find out that they need to be wired.

Would a horizontal wire ......or two on a medium frame offer that extra bit of support??? Will they build around it incorporating it in the comb? Can I use SS safety wire? I have a wad of it here already.

I bought 10 sheets of the 4.9 foundation this last fall to try next spring. I thought that using it as strips might encourage the smaller bees to stay small. Allowing the larger Italians to regress on their own by allowing them natural comb was my secondary plan.

Still learning and I tend to be one to ask "why?", "how come?" and "I wonder.....?" Drove my folks crazy.  evil
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« Reply #49 on: November 01, 2013, 10:56:04 AM »

Would a horizontal wire ......or two on a medium frame offer that extra bit of support???


My experience has been one horizontal wire on medium (or deep) makes a huge difference.  More than one is just a marginal improvement.

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Will they build around it incorporating it in the comb?


Yes.



Quote
Can I use SS safety wire?


I don't see why not,  a little overkill, but heck,  I've done cutouts where they built the comb over romex.
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« Reply #50 on: November 01, 2013, 12:25:00 PM »

As much as this thread has wandered, it has been chock full of information (along with strong opinions  grin).

New Beek here as well. First season. It has been an interesting ride thus far as I have been learning on the fly. I AM very happy I chose to go all medium 8 frame boxes as I am not getting any younger and my OCD likes the modular ability. I have a mix of frames, some wood with wax, some wood with plastic, some all plastic. And now I am considering going foundationless .....sorta. I plan to use a starter strip of the 4.9 foundation.

My observations: 2 captured swarms. Swarm one is classic Italians. They were captured late May, started on wood framed plastic and drew it out without argument. Swarm 2, captured late July, started on the all plastic frames.....They hate them. I swapped a couple that they refused to work with some wax foundation plus added a couple frames of brood to kick start the numbers. They did better. But I noticed that these bees are visibly smaller (for the most part - remember there were some additions from the other hive) then Swarm one. I suspect a feral hive that have already returned to smaller size bees. IF it makes it through the winter, this will be the hive I have hopes that will regress to the Small cell quickly and naturally. As there are some drawn frames, the every other frame additions in the spring should allow them to build half foundationless....and keep it straight.

Another observation is these smaller bees do tend to fly during more inclement weather then hive one. Both are still hauling in the pollen.  
You are comparing apples to oranges with your swarms and comb drawing. A swarm hived in May is a lot more likely to draw comb on anything then a swarm hived in July because of the availability of nectar at that point of the season and they need nectar to draw comb. Don't get me wrong I'm not defending using plastic because I don't use it. But that comparison is unfair to plastic.
And to disagree with Robo they will use 4.9 strips as a starter and will draw what they need from there down. You may get different size cells. worker cells, drone cells, honey cells and even a bonus queen cell on that frame with the 4.9 starter.
And while I'm here talking about it I don't use wire as some say is absolute. The frame Robo showed that is not attached is a brood frame. it's is not unusual for my bees to not attach the comb to the sides of a brood frame and I don't see a problem with that. They will build honey frames different and will most of the time attach the comb to the sides and bottom and you can put them in an extractor and extract the honey.
And one more observation from my Tn. bees. putting empty frames between drawn frames to get them drawn works good in the brood nest. But doing that in a honey super will sometimes get you two fat combs on each side of the empty frame. I have had better luck putting the drawn frames in the middle of the super and adding the empties on each side. When they fill the middle and need more comb they will spread and build comb one or two frames at a time with less problems.
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« Reply #51 on: November 01, 2013, 12:58:47 PM »

And to disagree with Robo they will use 4.9 strips as a starter and will draw what they need from there down. You may get different size cells. worker cells, drone cells, honey cells and even a bonus queen cell on that frame with the 4.9 starter.
Not sure we disagree.   If you want to get picky,  then yes the couple of rows of cells on the starter MAY be drawn out at 4.9.   My point was that giving them 4.9 starter strips will not persuade them to draw smaller cells on comb they draw from scratch.

Quote
And while I'm here talking about it I don't use wire as some say is absolute. The frame Robo showed that is not attached is a brood frame. it's is not unusual for my bees to not attach the comb to the sides of a brood frame and I don't see a problem with that. They will build honey frames different and will most of the time attach the comb to the sides and bottom and you can put them in an extractor and extract the honey.
It is a personal choice, but most find it worth the added protection.  The first time you flip up a frame and the comb fall out you will regret not wiring.  This may be more of an issue for experienced beekeepers who have years of experience with flipping a frame to inspect the other side.   If you don't have this habit, then the exposure may be reduced.  With that said,  I have had comb failures just pulling the frame out (new soft comb and lots of honey)

Quote
And one more observation from my Tn. bees. putting empty frames between drawn frames to get them drawn works good in the brood nest. But doing that in a honey super will sometimes get you two fat combs on each side of the empty frame. I have had better luck putting the drawn frames in the middle of the super and adding the empties on each side. When they fill the middle and need more comb they will spread and build comb one or two frames at a time with less problems.

This is my biggest issue with foundationless and why I don't do it for the most part.   
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« Reply #52 on: November 01, 2013, 02:36:12 PM »

MsCarol,
Robo has seen them build around Romex, house wire. I've seen them build around twigs and branches. If you have the safety wire I'm sure that it would work. The frame wire is much less expensive and thinner. I've also read that some folks have used fishing line. The trick is to get it tight.
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« Reply #53 on: November 01, 2013, 11:20:19 PM »


OldMech;  You are one of my new heroes  cheer

   Ohhhh no.. no hero stuff... heros tend to fall hard when they fall.. I'm not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of the landing!!!!!



   My experience has been one horizontal wire on medium (or deep) makes a huge difference.  More than one is just a marginal improvement.
   
   Robo, I may try that. I havent had much trouble, but adding a single wire would be like having insurance..... without the arguments from the insurance agent.
   
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« Reply #54 on: November 02, 2013, 12:18:31 PM »

I'm amazed at what I've read so far. I do think I'm going to stay with the plastic that my Beek has started me with for awhile. He keeps saying "use Platicell" and I'm leaning towards Rite cell, primarily due to shipping. What is the difference between plasticell and Rite cell?
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« Reply #55 on: November 03, 2013, 09:25:38 PM »

I'm amazed at what I've read so far. I do think I'm going to stay with the plastic that my Beek has started me with for awhile. He keeps saying "use Platicell" and I'm leaning towards Rite cell, primarily due to shipping. What is the difference between plasticell and Rite cell?

Royall,
Take this advice with a grain of salt because I've never used either...Or any plastic foundation for that matter.  But I'd be willing to bet that the difference between those two are similar to the differences between a Ford and a Chevy pickup.  Each has a passionate following that will swear that their choice is far superior.  When in reality, both are darn fine trucks, with very little "real" differences, either of which will get the job done.

Good Luck!
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« Reply #56 on: November 04, 2013, 04:40:56 AM »

Moots;  again I applaud your very rational advise.  Polite and to the point  applause applause

I'm gonna buy a NISSAN next time  Wink  (would that be like going foundationless?)  grin
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« Reply #57 on: November 04, 2013, 07:23:18 AM »

   laugh    agreed!
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« Reply #58 on: November 04, 2013, 07:41:39 AM »

wow!  threads like this don't usually get by me.  looks like all the guys up north are getting cabin fever already. 
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« Reply #59 on: November 04, 2013, 08:06:41 AM »

I'm amazed at what I've read so far. I do think I'm going to stay with the plastic that my Beek has started me with for awhile. He keeps saying "use Platicell" and I'm leaning towards Rite cell, primarily due to shipping. What is the difference between plasticell and Rite cell?
The only really difference is the amount of wax sprayed on the sheets.   I have bought plasticel and had to roll bee's wax on in  I have never had to do that with rite-cel
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