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Thread: Foundation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Logan Ut, USA
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    60

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    I would love to get an opinion (or 10) on what is the best foundation to use. I am a second year beekeeper and have only used Plasticell (beeswax coated). My bees take FOREVER to fill out a frame with comb. I feed them continually to get them going. I added a new deep with 9 frames 3 weeks ago and my strongest hive has not yet filled 3 frames out.
    We have had a wetter than normal spring here (Northern Utah), but it was the same thing last year...whew that was a lot of info. just to get everyone's input!
    Anyway, I could use some input. Where also is the best place to get the foundation?
    A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    kankakee, IL
    Posts
    24

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    I am also a second year beekeeper who uses plastic beeswax coated foundation. i have the same problem. i have switched to wood frames w/pbcf with a little more success in the 3,5,7 positions. problem is where do i get comb for 1,2,4,6,8,9,10. cant wait to see your replies

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Logan Ut, USA
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    60

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    My frames are wooden just the plasticell foundation. I have read so many negative comments about all-in-one plastic and foundation, that I never bothered to try it.
    I would sure love to see what responces come my way too!
    A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
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    4,072

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    As MB would tell you, the bees only draw foundation when it is needed. Your wet spring might be adding to the slower draw-out rate, also temps need to be 60+ degrees for them to draw wax. But then again, it could be the plastic frames and foundation. I have always used wooden frames and my new swarms are drawing foundation like mad, but we have had a dry, hot spring so far. 9 of the last ten days have been 90 or higher. It also helps if you have a flow on, or are feeding them. I use only small cell wax foundation.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Logan Ut, USA
    Posts
    60

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    So Peggy what is small cell wax foundation and where do I purchase it? I have read about it from the forum but am a bit confused as to what it is. (I only use wooden frames)
    Vickie
    A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
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    4,397

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    I don't use foundation at all anymore. Do a search for foundationless frames. I just bevel the top bar to create a center guide. In general, the bees seem to draw an empty frame about twice as fast as a wax foundation, and 4 to 5 times as fast as a plastic foundation for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

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    I think I'll try some foundationless too. I have finally finished off a bulk order of 100 plastic foundations. I like how they are durable, you can scrape them when they get messed up and throw them back in the hive, but it seemed like they didn't draw it very well. I got some Russians during that time and that may have been part of it. Sometimes they would draw a comb down between two plastic frames without using the foundation at all. I guess I'm already doing natural comb! Other times they would draw it perpindicular to the foundation. Tell me again, why am I using foundation? I'm going to try the Housel positioning on what foundation I use in the future, its easy so its worth a try.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    716

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    Well finances pushed me into making my own frames as I get free lumber from a cousin who builds houses. Since I was making them I made them foundatoiless and fell in love with how fast they draw the comb and I was getting small cell in a short amount of time. I still like to checker board in the new frames to get them drawn perfectly straight. But I have had descent luck just rubbing wax on the pointed top bar of the frame. Once a frame has been drawn straight never cut it all the way to the wood. Leave a couple rows of cells and you do not have to worry about the bees misdrawing it. I had a bad experience with ritecell. I took some of it and "painted" wax on it and the bees drew it out properly, so I thing the wax is to thinnly sprayed on and some spot might have not been hit. Wax foundation is the next best thing and I would use small cell in the brood chamber as it really helps fight the mites.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
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    I am also trying some foundationless frames, and the bees are doing ok with them, as long as you have a full sheet of foundation for them to use as a starting point. I make my own small cell foundation, and would be willing to make it for others if you send me your clean, rendered beeswax.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,316

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    >As MB would tell you, the bees only draw foundation when it is needed.

    That's my theory. If they needed it they would make it. But then they do build on wax with more enthusiasm than on plastic and they build their own comb (foundationless) with even more than that.

    > what is small cell wax foundation

    "Stadard" foundation is 5.4mm diameter cells:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Dadant54mmMeasured.JPG

    As is Rite Cell:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Rite...Measurment.jpg

    Natural worker brood cells run from about 4.6mm to about 5.1mm generally:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/47mmCombMeasurement.jpg

    So the idea of 4.9mm foundation is to have natural sized worker cells, instead of oversized ones:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Dadant49mmMeasured.JPG

    I and others have observed shorter capping and post capping times with smaller cells and this results in a dramitic reduction in the Varroa's ability to reproduce.

    > and where do I purchase it?

    http://www.dadant.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?osCsid=44556a8de0d142ad 932cca708d04fcf1&search_in_description=1&keywords= small+cell&osCsid=44556a8de0d142ad932cca708d04fcf1

    http://www.beeequipment.com/products...foundation&t=a
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
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    2,068

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    I have used plastic frames with no problem getting it drawn out. I did run into a problem this year with a case (72frames) that I didn't open until a few months after it arrived(in winter)the foundation area had a warp in it which has caused the bees to reject that area for brood rearing. I put them up into the honey supers spaced 9 to a box. The bees use them fine for honey storage. I really like the plastic frames. You take them out of the box and put them in the box. [img]smile.gif[/img] I am going to order some wood frames and plastic foundation in addition this year and try them out again (I had used wood/wax before).

    Comb building is done mostly by a certain age of bees. If you don't have many comb building aged bees yet it will progress slower. As your hive builds the bees will need the space obviously but you will also have more comb builders to help speed the process.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Logan Ut, USA
    Posts
    60

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    Thank you all for your input. Sounds like I should try a frame or two of foundationlee inbetween some drawn foundation.
    Vickie
    A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,316

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    The easy way to try foundationless is to put just an empty frame between two nicely drawn combs. If you want to do a lot of them in the same box, you'll need to use some kind of comb guide.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    74

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    Peggyjam; do you need special equipment to make your own foundation or can it be done with ordinary tools etc.?
    Jack

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,316

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    To make foundation you either need a press or a mold. I don't know of anyone selling the molds in the US, but several of the bee suppliers are now stocking 4.9mm mills and some other sizes.

    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/catalog/page12.htm

    Hawley is probably the manufactuer and you can buy from them (last I heard. They are listed in the suppliers on this site). I'd get the 4.9mm Or maybe even a 4.8mm (but Mr. Hawley will try to talk you out of it)
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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