I see that starter strips will save me money. How do i go about attaching them to the top of the frame( the same way as i do regular foundation, with nails and the bar).
also how wide do imake the strips.
last, should i just use starter strips for the brood
This, of course, is all a matter of opinion. But I'll give you mine. I have attached starter strips with the bar just like regular foundation. It works. Usually I use a wax tube fastener (available from Walter T. Kelly) and run a bead of wax down the groove. In other words if it's a grooved top bar, I just put the strips of wax in the groove and run a bead of hot wax down it. If it's not a grooved top bar, I don't detatch the cleat and use it just like a grooved top bar. For a lot of frames this quicker. For a few it's quicker to do the cleat.
I make my strips about 1/2 to 3/4". Partly because they stay straighter if I make them shorter. I cut them with scissors. If the wax is room temperature this works fine. If it's warmer or cooler than that it doesn't. Warmer and the scissors get clogged with wax and colder and the foundation cracks.
I use them for brood and for comb honey. The only thing they may not work well for is if you want to extract deep frames you'll want it wired.
The other up side is the bees will build whatever cell size they want. Also the wax is free from residue because the bees just built it.
If you use deep frames to extract, can't you just put wire in there and a starter strip anyway? Would they avoid embedding the comb in properly, that is, embedding the spine of the comb instead of some thin wall of a cell?
I don't know if they would or not. I think they would just embed the wire but I haven't tried it. When I started using strips I didn't have an extractor and so I didn't care and when I got one, I used Rite Cell mostly and some wired foundation for frames that would be extracted. Also I have extracted shallows with from either starter strips or thin surplus without any wire with no problems as long as I'm gentle at first.
That's interesting! I have been considering trying to use starter strips in my shallow frames, or at least cutting the commercially available 4.9 foundation to size. But I was concerned about extracting and was thinking that I would need to wire the frames. I will give it a try and see how it goes without wiring!
Anytime you extract, wired or not, you need to be gentle, but I have had no problems extracting unwired shallow frames. I try to do it on a warm day. I start slow and gradually speed up and don't get the extractor going very fast until most of the honey is out.
I would be curious if the bees will embed the wire with starter strips. I think the X patter would work best because they would be following the wires down all the way, or do just vertical wires.
If anyone tries it let us know how it works.
Haven't tried using starter strips with wired frames to be honest. Always figured if I went far enough to wire might as well use full foundation. However I have seen pics of beekeepers in S. Africa doing this and from all indications of the pics the bees (scutellata)they drew the frames out fine. Will see if I can find these pics.
When using starter strips of 4.9 with new package bees How long should they be if you want them to regress. I know you said you do 3/4 but I was wondering if you used the same lenght to start new bees to regression.
I am not interested in selling honey I just want healthy bees.
I think you worry too much. I used about 3/4 to 1 inch when I was regressing, but you could use a whole sheet. It will take them less time to draw it with full foundation than with starter strips.
Going back to installing the starter strips...I tried doing some comb honey last year. I used a rotary cutter (sewing/paper cutting tool)to cut the wax strips and it worked really well. Then, I pre-heated my frames in the oven,(200 degrees or so, just till they were warm enough but not too hot to work with) and just kinda melted the wax strips in place a little so they didn't fall out. Left a little wax on the top when we cut the comb out, so I'm hoping to just reuse the frame this year. Otherwise, I'll scrape it a little and snap rite-cell in. Probably wouldn't be effective on a large scale, but it met my needs.
I have used a pizza cutter and it worked nicely for cutting strips. I think the heating would work. I think the wax tube is quicker. Just using the cleat works fine too.