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

    Question

    I've been reading about Langstroth hives with natural comb in the frames drawn without foundation. Sounds great, the bees build it quicker, includes a good percentage of small cell, and it cheaper!

    I'm curious though, aren't there more drones and if so, shouldn't this increase mite populations. Also with more drones, don't they take up more resources. I do conceed that sometimes bees on foundation end up with lots of drones too, but its not the norm.
    Also, can you use a queen excluder? I like not having brood in my honey. If not whats the normal way to deal with that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Post

    The number of bees a healthy hive with a good queen raises is constant. All the recent research indicates the bees will raise the same number of drones no matter what you do. If you give them all drone foundation or all worker foundation. You will still end up with the same number of drones. Since small cell drone cells are smaller, and emergence times shorter, you'll end up with less Varroa and the same number of drones. You may get more drone COMB with natural comb because they often build it for storage. But you'll still get the same number of drones in the end. I tend to move the drone combs to the outside edges of the brood nest where the queen can lay in them if she wants and the workers can sense that there is an adequate supply of drone comb so they don't build more of it. I don't take it out, unless I think there is more than 15% drone. Typically a natural hive has 10% drone comb.

    Dee Lusby uses 10% drone comb as her target. She leaves a gap at the bottom of every sheet of foundation to ENCOURAGE the bees to build drone and if the amount of drone on a frame exceeds 10% she culls it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    Interesting,
    Can I get the bees to draw natural comb after the honeyflow by feeding syrup as you supposedly can with foundation? Are there any notable differences in conventions like ,when to add new supers, etc.?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Post

    >Can I get the bees to draw natural comb after the honeyflow by feeding syrup as you supposedly can with foundation?

    It won't work any differently.

    >Are there any notable differences in conventions like ,when to add new supers, etc.?

    No.

    There are some differences. I wouldn't put a full box of foundationless frames on without a drawn comb in the center, unless you don't have one. It does too much to stack the deck towards getting nice straight comb to have a nicely drawn one in the center.

    You can't turn a foundationless frame horizontal. You have to keep the comb vertical to the ground. You can flip a comb over, but you have to do so in a way that it's never horizontal, at least until it's attached on three sides.

    You can't shake off a foundationless comb until it's attached on the bottom and aged enough to have some strength to the wax.

    You can't extract a foundationless comb until it's attached on the bottom and eged enough to have some strength to the wax.

    But, you also don't have to put foundation in. You don't have to wire it. You don't have to worry about it sagging. You don't have to buy foundation. You don't introduce contaminates (which are in the wax foundation). The bees will draw it more quickly. AND you get natural sized cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    I'm sold, I'll give it a try
    thanks

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