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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    San Mateo, CA
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    312

    Default Educate me on foundationless

    All my purchased equipment has so far been mann lake plastic frames, along with some inherited wood frames, some with rite cell, some with foundation, and some that were infested with wax moths and became foundationless after I hacked out most of the comb.

    The plastic frames are workable but have been a lot of trouble, and I also want to produce wax, so I just ordered 100 kelley wedge top, groove bottom frames, with the intent to try foundationless, but with the ability to use foundation if things don't work out.

    So, I just jam the wedge in vertically, and super with a box of foundationless, and it should work perfectly, right?

    And if I cut out the comb later, I assume I leave a little bit at the top to guide them for drawing it a second time?

    Or is internet wisdom going to bite me in the ***?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Greenville SC USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    yes on the wedges, But I'd put your foundationless frames in between frames that are already drawn and straight so that the new comb is straight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Perry county Pa.
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    agree with the foundationless between foundation, even better is foundation-less between drawn comb you may have to feed also if there is not a good flow on,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    316

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    I started putting weedeater string through the bottom holes on the frames to give the bees something to attach to. If not the last half inch they won't attach at the bottom and they bust loose making a big mess. I use the foundationless kelley frames in by bee traps!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Central Alabama, Shelby County
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Make sure the hive is level side to side. Bees hang from the center of the wedge you placed sideways like a plum bob. The bottom of the comb will be where ever the plum bob points and you want that as the center of the bottom bar. You may have some slope from front to back.

    If you put foundationless frames in the hive in early spring they will pull solid drone comb. They will pull it as drone comb til they think they have enough drone cells in the hive.

    I have a < 8 frame nuc whose duty is pulling brood comb to be transferred. <8 frame nuc doesnt pull comb with drone cells.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    5,326

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    A good way to get a foundationless frame drawn is to put them one at a time in the brood nest between full frames of brood. Interspersing foundationless or foundation between drawn combs often results in the drawn combs getting fatter until the bee space between the drawn comb is under the middle of the undrawn foundationless frame. Placing a foundationless frame next to an expanding brood next will usually get a good straight comb. Foundationless works if you want to hover over your hives repeatedly interrupting their work to make sure the combs are kept straight. If that is your style, they are fine, but I have too many hives to play that game and my prepared foundationless frames sit unused in a stack. They are about to get plasticel or duragilt put in them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Like I said, I want to harvest wax, so i'm thinking even if they mess everything up and draw it sideways I'm going to crush and strain it anyway.

    I was going to get the kelley foundationless frames but I would never be able to put foundation in those after the fact and i'm a little suspicious of how involved this whole thing is.

    I should also mention that these frames are mediums, not deeps. I'm guessing they will be a little easier to get drawn on all sides

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    A lot easier than you think. just have to pay attention. I don't get a lot of attachment in the bottom on carnolians. Italians attach everything.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,457

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    >Or is internet wisdom going to bite me in the ***?

    That has been my finding with Housel Positioning, Small Cell, no queen excluders, Warre hives, topbar hives and foundationless. All medium frame hives is still in beta testing.

    Foundationless has worked for me in the medium depth honey supers placed between drawn combs for cut comb production and even extracting frames. In the brood chamber I get more drone comb and micro management than I want. There I use wired wax foundation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Ridgeville, SC, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    I regret not using foundation from the start as well as sbb . If it works for you then roll with it. Try it a few at a time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    7,039

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by tanksbees View Post
    So, I just jam the wedge in vertically, and super with a box of foundationless, and it should work perfectly, right?
    No it won't.

    See this thread -
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-new-top-boxes

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,133

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    >So, I just jam the wedge in vertically, and super with a box of foundationless, and it should work perfectly, right?

    It works much better to pull a drawn comb up into the next box whenever you add one so you have a "ladder" up to the top bars. Otherwise they are liable to build from the bottom bar up. Or add the new box to the bottom. I would recommend doing that for the first additional box (putting it on the bottom) as it's not much work. After that, though, it's a lot of work to unstack the boxes to put them on the bottom, so I would pull a drawn comb up instead and add them to the top.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by ToeOfDog View Post
    If you put foundationless frames in the hive in early spring they will pull solid drone comb. They will pull it as drone comb til they think they have enough drone cells in the hive.
    This is what i have found too, which i have saved and use as part of my mite management strategy.

    On a related note: Been out of beekeeping for 25+ years; pulled my drone comb and poked open a few cells, saw my first living varroa crawling out of one of the cells......still figuring out how i am gonna handle all this.
    -- Joe
    "Make your own decision and embrace the consequences." -- jwcarlson

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    2,223

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    What I've noticed is that following the recommendation of putting foundationless between two brood combs you end up with the top honey band being built out double or triple thick instead of normal comb thickness. And then if they do start comb they'll avoid the thick spot by either leaving a gap and building combs on both sides (which isn't too bad)... or they'll just use that wide part as an offset and start building the comb off center in the frame instead of on the guide.

    What is the problem you perceive there to be in your current set up and what do you think foundationless is going to fix?
    My thoughts after going the foundationless road for one year:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-kind-of-dirty

    Really upset with myself that I let what I now realize is a very vocal minority influence how I started keeping bees. Echo chamber effect, I guess.

    There is no reason you cannot mix in some foundationless into your bee hives in the spring if you want to trap drones, they'll build all the drone comb you could ever want if you give them the opportunity.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    What is the problem you perceive there to be in your current set up and what do you think foundationless is going to fix?
    Problems:
    I am using the Mann lake PF120.
    - Frames warp if they are left in the sun accidently
    - The bees put lots of gunk in the crevices which I don't like
    - SHB nest in the crevices (although overall SHB are not a big problem around here)
    - I don't like the narrow top bar because I somtimes like to grab the frame on the top with my fingers or frame grabber
    - It is impossible to cut out queen cells.
    - With a mix of frame types the bees avoid the plastic and put comb in places I don't like, unless I spray the empty frames every few days with sugar water.
    - I'm not 100% sure of this, but it seems like my bees are prone to swarm even when they have access to an empty box above with plastic.
    - Bees make lots of wonky comb to fit in drones. Cross comb, hanging off bottom of frames, etc.

    So that leads me to wood frames with either ritecell or foundation or foundationless

    Ritecell doesn't let me cut queen cells.
    Foundation with wire doesn't let me easily cut queen cells, and if I do cut the wire it is sharp
    Foundation seems like a waste if I crush and strain, which I want to do to harvest wax, because my mother is currently obsessed with making things out of wax.
    I don't like having frames sitting around with wax because wax moths always get into it, and I don't have a good way to freeze frames. Which would make me prefer plastic so I could scrape it, but then I can't cut out cells.

    Ritecell could work - but seems like i'm paying an extra $1 a frame, for little to no benefit.

    I also thought about just using a box with top bars above a QE, and letting the bees make wild comb, and chopping out the whole mess once it is all capped. It actually seems like quite a viable option for what I want to do, as long as I don't let them raise brood in it.

    I'm not doing this for fortune or fame so efficiency isn't important. Obviously it is inefficient to force the bees to repeatedly make lots of wax.

    I'm most definitely not buying into the foundationless bandwagon as of yet, just seems to be one tool in the toolbox.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    2,223

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by tanksbees View Post
    Problems:
    I am using the Mann lake PF120.
    - Frames warp if they are left in the sun accidently
    - The bees put lots of gunk in the crevices which I don't like
    - SHB nest in the crevices (although overall SHB are not a big problem around here)
    - I don't like the narrow top bar because I somtimes like to grab the frame on the top with my fingers or frame grabber
    - It is impossible to cut out queen cells.
    - With a mix of frame types the bees avoid the plastic and put comb in places I don't like, unless I spray the empty frames every few days with sugar water.
    - I'm not 100% sure of this, but it seems like my bees are prone to swarm even when they have access to an empty box above with plastic.
    - Bees make lots of wonky comb to fit in drones. Cross comb, hanging off bottom of frames, etc.

    So that leads me to wood frames with either ritecell or foundation or foundationless

    Ritecell doesn't let me cut queen cells.
    Foundation with wire doesn't let me easily cut queen cells, and if I do cut the wire it is sharp
    Foundation seems like a waste if I crush and strain, which I want to do to harvest wax, because my mother is currently obsessed with making things out of wax.
    I don't like having frames sitting around with wax because wax moths always get into it, and I don't have a good way to freeze frames. Which would make me prefer plastic so I could scrape it, but then I can't cut out cells.

    Ritecell could work - but seems like i'm paying an extra $1 a frame, for little to no benefit.

    I also thought about just using a box with top bars above a QE, and letting the bees make wild comb, and chopping out the whole mess once it is all capped. It actually seems like quite a viable option for what I want to do, as long as I don't let them raise brood in it.

    I'm not doing this for fortune or fame so efficiency isn't important. Obviously it is inefficient to force the bees to repeatedly make lots of wax.

    I'm most definitely not buying into the foundationless bandwagon as of yet, just seems to be one tool in the toolbox.
    I had the pleasure of inspecting the only hive I have ever inspected that was drawn fully on plastic foundation. It has basically been untouched by the owner since last year when they shook it in as a package. She is moving, can't take it with her so she contacted me and I offered to take good care of it for her.

    Anyway, moved it Friday night. Let them settle Saturday and dug into it Sunday. It's double deep was impeccably drawn. Drone was crammed in some places on the corners of the frame and on the bottoms between boxes. But there were ZERO frames built out too wide. Zero frames that I had to worry about breaking off. Zero frames that weren't just dandy truthfully. I'm almost embarrassed that I bought some of the hype on here hook-line-and-sinker.

    I understand your goals are different, but the perception that foundation is "wasted", maybe be a miscalculation.

    But I always say, make your own decisions and be ready to deal with whatever consequences there are.

    It is a tool, however. In fact, I placed two foundationless frames in between full capped frames of honey in the top deep. I figure they can't really screw that up as the chances of them drawing cells out deeper once they're capped are slim, right? And I added a couple plastic frames in their brood nest in the bottom deep. We'll see how they do.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    I had the pleasure of inspecting the only hive I have ever inspected that was drawn fully on plastic foundation. It has basically been untouched by the owner since last year when they shook it in as a package. She is moving, can't take it with her so she contacted me and I offered to take good care of it for her.

    Anyway, moved it Friday night. Let them settle Saturday and dug into it Sunday. It's double deep was impeccably drawn. Drone was crammed in some places on the corners of the frame and on the bottoms between boxes. But there were ZERO frames built out too wide. Zero frames that I had to worry about breaking off. Zero frames that weren't just dandy truthfully. I'm almost embarrassed that I bought some of the hype on here hook-line-and-sinker.

    I understand your goals are different, but the perception that foundation is "wasted", maybe be a miscalculation.

    But I always say, make your own decisions and be ready to deal with whatever consequences there are.
    I don't doubt any of that - just be warned that they don't draw the full plastic frames the same way. They also draw it much better when you leave it untouched. If you move frames around, like putting a honey frame next to an empty plastic frame, you will definitely get wide comb.

    Nothing is perfect, I think that's one of the big lessons in beekeeiping.

    With the wedge top I can always add foundation or ritecell later, that's why I didn't want to buy the special kelley foundationless frames.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    2,223

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by tanksbees View Post
    I don't doubt any of that - just be warned that they don't draw the full plastic frames the same way. They also draw it much better when you leave it untouched. If you move frames around, like putting a honey frame next to an empty plastic frame, you will definitely get wide comb.

    Nothing is perfect, I think that's one of the big lessons in beekeeiping.

    With the wedge top I can always add foundation or ritecell later, that's why I didn't want to buy the special kelley foundationless frames.
    Oh yes, I fully understand. The issue with foundationless is that there's no wall of foundation stopping them when the start curving or otherwise dinking around. That foundation wall would help a lot for the folks who get combs drawn the wrong way when running foundationless.

    Please let me know your thoughts once you throw a few of them in.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    312

    Cool Re: Educate me on foundationless

    Jwcarlson, this is for you.

    Brand new mann lake plastic frames drenched in sugar water

    They do this probably 50% of the time.

    Frames were spaced properly, with a captured swarm being fed 1:1 sugar water. They have almost no comb in the box and will barely take syrup. Only drawn one good frame in 3 weeks!!!.

    On another hive, I pulled the top cover and found the most ridiculous amount of burr comb on top of the frames. should ha e taken a picture. Unlike my wood frames which have zero. and it's more the norm than the exception

    I absolutely hate these frames.

    I swapped all the messed up frames for foundationless. I bet they start drawing them immediately

    image.jpg

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,457

    Default Re: Educate me on foundationless

    I started beekeeping 45 years ago before plastic frames and foundation existed. I have always used vertical wired wax foundation. Wish I had a picture of the brand new deep combs I extracted today. One hive drew out and filled two deep supers full and perfectly after 3/7 and before the weather went bad in the middle of April. Thank all of you publishing your problems with plastic to keep me on the path I have been on. Plastic might be the downfall in many areas of the Flow hive combs also. One guy who saw me using wax called me an "old man" for doing so. One benefit of being an old man, knowing which old technology and which new technology to adapt or not adapt.

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