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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    2,838

    Question

    NEED EVERYONE's HELP!

    Planning to assemble frames and install foundation. Here's a FEW of my questions:

    1. Is horizonal wiring necessary for 9" frames? How many wires? What wire works best? Do the bees chew at the wires?

    2. Pros & cons of different (type, size, etc) foundations - Please go easy on this one, I get the idea that everyone has a favorite!

    3. Metal Frame Rests - How necessary? Do they reduce propolis build-up? Why not cover the inside of the rabbit at the END of the top bar, not just where the top bar rests on the rabbit.

    4. Split or Grooved bottom Bars - Please offer sugestions and explain why.

    Thanks,
    -------------

    Dave



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    The first thing you have to decide is if you're going for small cell or not. If you go for 4.9mm cell size there are less choices to be made. The only 4.9mm foundation currently available is unwired beeswax. If you don''t go with 4.9mm then you have a lot of other options. Personally, I'm going with the 4.9mm now.

    1. Is horizonal wiring necessary for 9" frames? How many wires? What wire works best? Do the bees chew at the wires?

    If you never want to extract it, you can get by with just the split pins on the sides if you put the foundation in just before the bees draw it. The problem with wax is it warps and then they build crooked combs. One reason to wire is to keep it straight, the other is to keep it from falling apart under the stress of extraction. I like to wire it because it helps to keep the wax straight in case it gets hot and the bees don't draw it right away and if you want to extract it someday (maybe the brood nest is all clogged with honey and you want to extract some full frames of honey that came from there) you have that option. I just buy the thin stainless wire, never paid that much attention to what size it was.

    If you aren't using the 4.9mm I'd buy it already wired or go for the DuraComb or plastic like RiteCell

    I have seen frames wired in different forms. I've seen horizontal and vertical. I've seen a W pattern (and I've bought it already wired that way) and it worked fine. Also I've wired it with an X pattern. I just put one cross of the X on one side and the other on the other side and use some split pins to help hold it all straight. I don't embed it. This is for brood. For extracting on a regular basis you may want more.

    2. Pros & cons of different (type, size, etc) foundations - Please go easy on this one, I get the idea that everyone has a favorite!

    The 4.9mm is a subject all it's own and is covered elsewhere on this board.

    Otherwise, any size is ok for honey, but drone is easier to extract, if you're using a queen excluder.

    I have an oberservation hive with some wired foundation in it and haven't noticed them chewing it but they aren't drawing it yet.

    3. Metal Frame Rests - How necessary? Do they reduce propolis build-up? Why not cover the inside of the rabbit at the END of the top bar, not just where the top bar rests on the rabbit.

    Because they raise the frame some, you need to either use or not use them everywhere or you'll get a lot of burr comb. I would guess the rests last longer with the metal, but I don't use them except for the 9 frame spacers in the supers.

    4. Split or Grooved bottom Bars - Please offer sugestions and explain why.

    I've used both. If you nail the top wedge you can stretch the foundation just a little by bowing the bottom up a little and then putting a nail in the middle. I usually just usde the grooved and don't nail it top or bottom.

    Actually, if not for 4.9mm I love the RiteCell in grooved so I don't have nail it, it always stays flat, it has a good start on the cell so the bees have somewhere to cluster.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    I didn't mention it, but another option, if you don't plan to extract it and you want to save the expense and work of buying and wiring all that foundation, is just buy the 4.9mm foundation and cut starter strips. If they are short (1" or less) they won't warp much, they don't have to be kept straight like a sheet of foundation and you don't have to buy as much foundation and you don't have to wire it at all. Personally, I'd recommend it. It also lets the bees build what they want while keeping it in a frame so you can manipulate it.

    I do this and I wax it with a wax tube fastener (from Walter T. Kelly). You can also just nail the top wedge to hold the strip. When doing a lot I think it's just as quick and more secure to do the wax. I just put the strip in the groove. If it's one with the wedge I just don't break the wedge. When all the frames have a strip in them I wax them all. You melt the wax in a can and use the tube to run a bead of melted wax down the groove.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    One more thing. The most common problem I have is I put unwired foundation in a lot of frames and they don't get used right away. Either because I don't need them or I put them in the hive and the honey flow ends and the bees don't need them. The wax warps and I end up taking it all back out and often it get's wasted.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    2,838
    Michael Bush thanks for the reply.

    I don't fully understand the advantages of 4.9mm foundation, so I planning to use Kelley's #120 Ripple Wired Foundation.

    Is it possible to straighten the foundation after it is warped? Maybe placing on a flat surface with a little heat?

    Metal Frame Rest - "Because they raise the frame, you need to either use or not use EVERYWHERE". Does'nt the depth of the rabbit regulate the height? If you have metal rests in one super, must all suppers have rests?

    How about mixing a couple frames of RiteCell, DuraComb and regular wax foundation in the same brood super?

    --------
    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    >I don't fully understand the advantages of 4.9mm foundation,

    Breifly, it creates a smaller cell (the size the bees would build if they didn't have foundation) for the bees to develop in and this keeps the varroa mites from being able to reproduce very well. Also it creates a smaller bee that seems to resist the tracheal mites, probably because the trachea's are smaller. Dee Ludsby also beleives it prevents American Foulbrood. Personally, it's what I'm doing. The only downside is since most bees are raised on larger foundation and since a bee must get into the cell to build it, clean it etc. it takes a couple of generations to get bees who will build actual 4.9 cells.

    > so I planning to use Kelley's #120 Ripple Wired Foundation.
    It should work well (except for the varroa problems inherent in all large cell foundation) and will save you having to wire it.

    >Is it possible to straighten the foundation after it is warped? Maybe placing on a flat surface with a little heat?

    If it's wired you probably won't have much problems with it but I'd still try to just put in as much foundation as you think you'll need.

    I haven't had much luck straightening it unless it's not very warped.

    >Metal Frame Rest - "Because they raise the frame, you need to either use or not use EVERYWHERE". Does'nt the depth of the rabbit regulate the height?

    The rests are shaped like a sidways "T" the edge of the "T" is what the frame rests on. This is to minimize the amount of contact the frame has with the rest so they can't glue it down as well. This raises the frame slightly. Assuming the depth of the rabbets are all the same, if you raise the frames slightly on one super and not on the one below or above then the space between the bottom bars and top bars is inconsistent. If you get less than a quarter of an inch or more than 3/8ths of an inch the bees will build comb in it. You can put them in some and not others if you don't mind all of the burr comb.

    >If you have metal rests in one super, must all suppers have rests?

    It would be best.

    I also have this space problem problem with queen excluders. If you have the flat ones, like plastic or the zinc ones, (anything not wood bound) they proplize the plastic excluder to the lower box's top bars. If you use a wood bound queen excluder it leaves a bee space on top bars below but leaves too much space above and they burr comb it to the top box. Sometimes you can't win.


    >How about mixing a couple frames of RiteCell, DuraComb and regular wax foundation in the same brood super?

    The only down side is the bees will work the wax first and sometimes they will draw the wax really deep and skip the Ritecell. Sometimes they draw it out fine. I'm not sure why. I would try to put the ritecell together when you can unless you have drawn comb to mix it with. If you alternate drawn comb with new ritecell or any new foundation, it sometimes helps get them to draw them more consistently.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Dave,

    I'd add to what Michael has said. If you use wax foundation please wire it. I know its alot of work but trust me, if you don't and you use wax you will have one big mess if any foundations buckle or warp. Also the day you accidently extract unwired combs and they trash out a bunch of adjacent combs ruining them you'll wish you wired.

    I've tried many wiring patterns. I've wired 1000's of frames in the last 2 years while regressing bees on to 4.9 cell sizing. I like 4 or 5 horizontal wires the best. X and W patterns leave saggy ends and often bow out. Requiring pins and such. Avoid costs to make a profit in beekeeping.

    I don't use metal frame rests or spacers. They cost taking away from profit. I don't find any advantage with them to be honest. But thats one of those do what you want things.

    Frames. Split are good for wax. Grooved are good for everything (i use these). Some use solid bottom bars too.

    Michael mentions using strips. They are economical for the beekeeper. But he makes no mention of the bad points of strips. Which are: If the hive are not level from side to side the bees will draw combs that are vertical, thus the combs may be drawn so that is an inch or two away from the bottom bar (not inside the frame). Sometimes connected to the next frame. Combs can break loose if held wrong. Can't be extracted. Sometimes will have a curve to them. As wild colonies combs often aren't flat but curve. Excessive drone comb. Transition cells. The list goes on......So what I'm getting at is, its not always best to save a dollar.

    Clay


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Michael,

    Either because I don't need them or I put them in the hive and the honey flow ends and the bees don't need them. The wax warps and I end up taking it all back out and often it get's wasted.

    reply:

    Did I mention that I hand mill 4.9mm foundation? If your foundation warps and doesn't break it can be saved! Even if it rolls up like a tootsie roll! Take the foundations out cafefully from the frame. Heat a pot of water filled with 2 inches of water till it steams. Wave the foundation over the pot back and forth. The foundation will get pliable and then can be flattened. Placing on table with cut to size sheets of newspaper to prevent sticking. 100 degree water bath will work too. Just be gentle.

    Clay

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    I may try that sometime. I never could get them to straighten. As I said when suggesting strips, they don't work for extracting. You are right if the hive is not level (side to side) they will miss the bottom bar and possibly connect it to another frame. But if it's level I haven't had that problem. I have had full foundation buckle and get connected to the next one too. And I've seen them, for no apparent reason, build a cross comb to another or just branch off of one sheet on one frame and angle over to the next frame. Bees under exact conditions will do whatever they want.

    In the long run, maybe it makes sense to make your own foundation. Never have to buy and never waste wax.

  10. #10

    Post

    Dave
    wow=you sure got a lot of questions.all I can say is i've been a beekeepera long time and there is always a way to do some thing with bees alittle common sence goes along time with experence.
    I perfer dadants wax to kelly's because I think kelly has too thin wax and do't like the wires too thin and I do a lot of frames so I don't cross wire just because I change out my wax often.
    as far as the pins stoped useing them over 30 yrs. ago there too short and found that bobby pins arelonger and much cheaper.
    don't be afraid to try things on your own
    good luck
    Don

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drums, PA, USA
    Posts
    331

    Post

    I guess I'll add my 2 cents! I like Rite cell. I have used duragilt, crimped wire, and regular old comb. I think if you are using crimped wire. definitely cross wire it, for reasons metioned.
    I like Rite cell, because if the wax worm gets in there, and starts chewing, you don't lose the foundation, the base remains, and I just rub some wax on it to make it "smell", or put it back in, when the bees need a new foundation, and I mean when THEY need it not me.
    I'm thinking of going to 4.9 as well. Seems like an alternative solution to getting rid of mites. For now, rite cell and grease patties!


    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

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