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Author Topic: Drawing foundationless honey frames  (Read 1493 times)

Offline Culley

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Drawing foundationless honey frames
« on: November 05, 2014, 08:15:00 PM »
Hi,

I have been using all foundationless frames for a few years now. It has been a steep learning curve. I started by taking over dad's hives when he couldn't lift the supers. Small Hive Beetles had just arrived in our area and decimated the hives. Around the same time I did a cutout from a swarm that had landed in our equipment stack, rubber banded the comb into frames and started foundationless from there. I made a lot of mistakes as I was learning.

I'm interested in what people who are using foundationless do in the honey boxes (no queen excluder). How do you position the frames so that the foundationless frames get drawn nicely? I have been adding foundationless frames and empty frames into the brood area as the hive can take it, and moving frames up. This means quite a few visits just to get the frames in one super sorted out. I have tried checkerboarding the honey frames but the bees draw the honey frames wider and left the empty foundationless ones alone  :shock: Should I put the honey frames all together on one side and the empty foundationless frames together on the other side? Or should I put a whole box of foundationless on for a super, so they draw it all down and not sideways? Am I missing something?  :)

Culley

Offline OldMech

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 08:53:05 PM »

   Your not missing anything Culley. If you put ALL foundation in your super, the bees will STILL draw some frames wider.
   Putting new frames in between drawn frames can help, but sometimes the bees will just expand the drawn frames further. The best I have found to do is to shave the comb back where it belongs before they fill it. If they ARE filling it I wait until I harvest and the hot knife fixes it.  I'd be interested in hearing others methods as well here.
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline Joe D

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 09:00:53 PM »
When I started with foundationless frames, I took half of the frames with foundation out and replaced every other one with foundationless frames.  When those were drawn, I replaced the other foundation frames with foundationless.  Maybe this and what old mech has said will help.  Good luck to you and your bees.




Joe

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2014, 04:08:09 PM »
The best way to get foundationless drawn is between two brood combs.  Next would be in a box with at least one drawn comb.
Michael Bush
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Offline Culley

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2014, 09:25:16 PM »
Thanks for the replies. It sounds like I am on the right track.

Putting the frames in the brood box and moving frames from the brood boxes up seems like the best way. This is working great at home but I'm trying to work out how to manage colonies I can't visit so often - and the flipside of that - how often I have to visit them to manage them well.

I don't mind if some honey frames are wider than others - just if they go wonky.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2014, 08:46:11 AM »
As already pointed out, they will draw some fatter even when you use foundation.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline sterling

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 07:44:42 PM »
I use foundationless medium frames in my honey supers. the way I do it is. I move a couple frames that they are working on up to the middle of the super and put the empty frames on each side. as they finish the middle frames they usually will move to  the next one work it then to the next one. The frames you move up will be a guide so make sure they are almost complete and good and straight. And just put one undrawn box at a time. If they get a little bit off you can straighten them after you extract.

Offline Duane

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2015, 07:47:20 PM »
A older thread, but still a question I always had, and even though I lost my only hive, is what do you do if you had 100 hives and you are putting on supers?  I can't imagine fiddling with 100 hives moving frames up and around.  Even if you have several hives, that can become quite tedious.  One hive is fun, but that can get old, especially if you had several hives start doing things odd.  Would this mean foundationless does not work well for larger operations?  Or is this when you must extract and keep the old combs for putting on for the honey flow?

Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2015, 09:49:17 PM »
Perhaps I am just lucky. The only comb I have had messed up was honey frames that were drawn out to far and joined a couple together. I just had to cut them apart with a hive tool. I don't use foundation. I think foundation is more work. With foundation less I can build frames cheap out of rough cut lumber and when I get done with my stapler the frame is done. I don't have to waste time putting in foundation. I also don't have to pay for foundation. If I calculated correctly it costs about $0.15/frame using hemlock from the local saw mill.

Offline OldMech

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2015, 10:28:52 PM »
A older thread, but still a question I always had, and even though I lost my only hive, is what do you do if you had 100 hives and you are putting on supers?  I can't imagine fiddling with 100 hives moving frames up and around.  Even if you have several hives, that can become quite tedious.  One hive is fun, but that can get old, especially if you had several hives start doing things odd.  Would this mean foundationless does not work well for larger operations?  Or is this when you must extract and keep the old combs for putting on for the honey flow?

   Why would you not save the old comb anyhow?
  If you WANT honey, then you do not want your bees drawing any more comb than they must.
   ONCE those supers are drawn, you want to keep them in as nice of a shape as you possibly can to re use them every year.
   After that first year of getting them drawn... the next year all you do is drive up, pop the tops and drop two supers on each hive, put the top on and go to the next hive.
   If you have some frames that are undrawn, drop them into multiple supers and spread them out. they will get drawn out faster and each hive will have to work a little less than if you put them all onto one hive.. There is also a better chance that the bees wont start doing things a little odd if they only get a couple supers in each hive to draw out.
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2015, 03:38:36 PM »

   Why would you not save the old comb anyhow?

Comb honey perhaps...

Offline OldMech

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2015, 06:41:37 PM »

   Why would you not save the old comb anyhow?

Comb honey perhaps...

   Good point!
   I get caught up in what "I" do too often..  thanks!
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline Duane

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Re: Drawing foundationless honey frames
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2015, 06:33:23 PM »
And when you only have one or two hives, and don't want to buy an extractor.

 

anything