I just had a chance to check the foundationless frames I put in 4 days ago. Both are being nicely drawn and one is almost to all four sides already. I can't believe how much faster they do this than filling out foundation. I slipped in a frame of foundation at the same time and they haven't even touched it yet!
The frames were slotted, so I inserted some carved down greenhouse stakes in the slot so they had about 3/8 of an inch guide. I tapped a brad though each topbar so the guide wouldn't fall out. The comb is straight in the frame and very nice, but the cell size looks quite large, even though I put it right in the middle of the brood nest.
The comb is really fragile at this point, so I didn't try to measure the cells yet.
If nothing else, I've learned that this is really easy to do and I'll at least have a couple nice frames that I can use for queen rearing with the Hopkins method.
Now I need to decide if I should keep slipping empty frames in, or if I should wait until next spring when they are more likely to make smaller brood cells.
By the way. In a couple other hives, I spent time pulling out drone brood and looking for mites. I couldn't find ANY. I'm going to take this as a good sign. Maybe I don't need small cell.
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