Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 47
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Phila Burbs, PA
    Posts
    40

    Default Fixing Foundationless, need help

    Hi Folks,

    I've got two packages on foundationless frames (popsicle sticks), ten full frames with no foundation for guides (ran out of money). I figure that I'd jump in and give it a try. I opened up the hives yesterday, saw beeswax (Yeah!) on one frame. It's off center, not hanging on the popsicle stick, but hanging on the top bar corner. I saw in a previous post:

    "Also keep an eye on their combs right off. If they mess up one in a box, they will repeat the error (because combs are parallel), so you need to straighten it and tie it if necessary to get them back on track."--Michael Bolton

    |__ __|
    aaaII xxx
    aaaaxxxxx
    aaaaxxxxx
    aaaaxxxx
    aaaaxxx

    This is what both combs look like, hanging off to the right of the popsicle stick, on the end of the top bar. How should I correct it? Should I break it off and rubber band it to the popsicle stick? How will it stay on the stick? There's only one primary comb in the hive with pollen, eggs, and sugar syrup stored in it, should I wait until it's capped? Or just get in there and try to fasten it correctly.

    Thanks for the help, and happy keeping.

    Cheers,

    JAK
    Last edited by JAK; 04-11-2008 at 08:07 AM. Reason: Fix pictures

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,649

    Default Congratulations

    Fantastic, another newbie faithfully listening to the advice given on this site to ignore the modern advances in beekeeping made over the last 150 years. Less competition in the honey market for me..... HURRAY!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Default

    Your best bet is to buy some foundation quick. If you don't have 10 dollars to invest in your bees, you should get rid of the bees. You are going to have a mess in that hive that will take eons to straighten out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,204

    Default

    It's not that bad really. Take that little bit of wax and use it to rub on the popcicle sticks. That will give them a better idea where to start. It really does help if you have one drawn comb or foundation in the middle, but it's not required. If you get a larger comb that's off center, simply cut it loose and rubber band it back in (the rubber bands go all the way around the frame and simply holds the comb in the middle). This really does work. I've been doing it for several years now, as has Michael Bush. They won't draw out wax foundation one bit quicker than they will the empty frames.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default

    I use my own custom made foundationless frames. I cut the top bar at 45 degree angles along both bottom edges so it forms a V in the center of the bar (I don't cut so much that it forms a sharp point, I leave about a 1/8" wide strip of "flatness" down the center). With this configuration the bees never have much trouble centering the comb as they naturally slide down the slope to the center of the V when they festoon on the bar. It seems to be a much better comb guide than popsicle sticks or starter strips. If you are committed to going foundationless but don't want to go to the trouble of making your own frames, you can cut V shaped strips that can be nailed to the bottom of the top bar to provide the same type comb guide.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Phila Burbs, PA
    Posts
    40

    Default RE: Thanks for the quick replies...

    I posted a question for some help on techniques to get the comb centered. I received good advice (thank you) that I will pursue this weekend, when I have time to tinker. A friend at the bee club has some foundation sheets I can buy off him.

    I also got a sarcastic reply about ignoring 150 years of beekeeping advancement, and one about not having $10 to spend on the bees so it'd be better to not raise bees. I don't know if it was meant to get my hackles up, but it sure did. I wanted to try bee-keeping this way, it's an experiment to see how challenging it is for a new person to get started this way, and I don't really appreciate the sarcasm/antagonism.

    Maybe the replies weren't trying to be delivered that way, but it seemed a bit harsh. My experience base is zero, and I'm looking for a way to increase it. Thanks for advice, we'll see how it works.

    JAK

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Crawfordville, FL
    Posts
    2,569

    Default

    Don't let them get to you. Some people don't handle new or different things very well.

    Keep us updated as to how your experiment goes!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default

    JAK,

    Don't be too offended, just as with any group of folks, we beeks have our "bad apples". Just ignore the trolls and trudge ahead. There are a lot more sincere and helpful folks on this board than there are dinks, so keep the questions coming and don't let them discourage you.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Default

    JAK - you have to take what you want out of these forums. I use foundationless frames in all but my HoneySuperCell hives and I like them. I find the bees draw them faster, despite the fact that foundation offers a 4mm cell depth advantage over starter strips. Cut it out, band it in, once they get going straight they keep going fine. If you have one drawn comb it really heps get them started right, and rubbing the popsicle sticks with wax helps too.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Niles, Michigan USA
    Posts
    167

    Default

    I guess it all just depends. I use foundationless with wedge top frames with the wedge stapled on sideways so it is vertical and acts as what some use popsicle sticks for. I've yet to have the bees not draw each one as I would like. (I hesitate to say correctly, I generally assume everything they do is correct regardless of what my desire was)

    However, I introduced these foundationless frames in between foundation frames, most of which were drawn already. The frames are oriented North-South, with magnetic and geographic North being almost the same at this longitude.
    Kevin
    Milton Township, Michigan (near South Bend, Indiana)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    The Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    297

    Default

    I think the sarcasm was directed at anyone that might help a newbee with an alternative technique (foundationless frames) rather than encourage using industry standard methods (foundation). You were caught in the crossfire. Don't let it bother you. You are having a problem that you would be less likely to have if you used foundation. So what. If you pay attention you can deal with it.

    I'd plane the the crisp right-angles off the bottom edges of the top bars. They are attractive places for the bees to start combs. If the current comb is warm and soft, I'd be inclined to just smoosh it over to where it belongs if you can do it. That would encourage adjacent combs to be started where they belong.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,236
    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Fantastic, another newbie faithfully listening to the advice given on this site to ignore the modern advances in beekeeping made over the last 150 years. Less competition in the honey market for me..... HURRAY!!!!
    AND THIS IS HELPFUL --- HOW ????

    Since it was stated that these are new packages, I would be hesitant to "fix" it at this point in time. The package(s) have a finite length of time to establish and thrive. Anything that is done in the first 6 weeks to retard their development lessens the chance that the hive will survive.

    I am probably going against the majority, but I would leave the darn thing alone in the first deep and "fix" it in the second deep. Eventually switching out the messed up comb after the 2nd deep is full. I have had some very messed up combs. But the bees don't care. They do fine with whatever they draw out. It will certainly make inspections a problem but you just have to start by removing the outermost frames and slide the rest over one at a time. You also have to make sure you put them back in order.

    But then, what do I know -- Fuzzy

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,204

    Default

    That is certainly an option. After several combs are drawn, off-center or not, they can be cut loose and rubber-banded back with little disruption to the bees. The thing to really watch for is crossing over to another bar. In that case, cut it loose from the 2nd bar and bend it back in line with the first. Add a rubber band as needed. It's not magic, just a little attention. The first time you open a hive that was placed on new foundation and find it's completely cross-combed, you'll know that foundation is not a cure all.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

    Default

    consider putting a 1/4'' or so spacer between the wonky comb and the next frame. this could help the bees reposition the next comb. the bees will be ok and using foundation can have it's glitches too.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default

    This happens sometimes with foundation as well. I was just given a hive that has several combs drawn in between the plastic based foundation in the frames. Some of them are attached to both neighboring top bars. Some are mostly attached to just one of them. I just need to manage the situation.

    Many of the problems that bees face in today's world are because of 150 years of "advancements". This is not a problem that you cannot manage yourself out of. Don't let another's negative opinion get you down. I'm cut from the cloth that will drive me to prove it can be done when someone makes fun of me like that. To quote an old lady friend of mine, "Man up." You can do it and there are plenty of people who have done it here to help you.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,295

    Default

    If you've already done this, then just ignore.

    When starting out with all empty frames like you are doing it's critical that the hive is level. Take a level out to the bee yard and make certain that the box is perfectly level.... left to right.... as you're facing the entrance. Even a very slight lean to one side can cause them to build the comb way off center of the frames when there are no drawn combs on each side as guides.

    I've done exactly what you are doing in the past with a couple of swarms, and with a bit of patience and comb manipulation, it will work. Once you get a few combs going straight the rest seem to fall right into place.
    To everything there is a season....

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Tonasket, WA USA
    Posts
    141

    Default Funny thing about letting bees do it themselves

    They seem to be able to deal with parasites much more effectively without the need for medication.

    Ignore the troll, take a good level out to the yard, make sure the boxes are level from side to side, and let the bees do what bees do naturally, create their own comb with cell sizes that work best for them.

    Congratulations on choosing to be part of the solution.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor it. Makes it hard to plan the day.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,570

    Default

    >This happens sometimes with foundation as well.

    Exactly.

    I'd straighten them if they are off more than a little. Just push it back into the center or, if it's too tough, cut it loose at the top and push it back in the center.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#messup
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#whatif
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundat...s.htm#beginner
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#messedupcomb
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Default

    I want to complement JAK on merely noticing the problem.

    Most "new beekeepers" wouldn't notice or wouldn't explain
    the problem so well.

    Cross-comb and other screw ups can happen, and the only way to
    eliminate them is to take the labor-intensive approach of inserting
    new combs between drawn combs.

    As for the "150 Years" comment, I can see both sides of the problem.
    One side is the mentor/instructor dilemma, where neophytes don't
    bother to even try basic and prudent approaches before trying much
    more complicated approaches, and/or want to argue over basic points
    in classes and workshops. When things go awry, they expect to be
    bailed out of the mess they made, no matter how much time, effort,
    and $3.50 a gallon gas it takes from the mentor/instructor.

    The other side is the typical new beekeeper, who certainly is underestimating the complexity of the first year, yet feels entitled
    to do whatever he/she wants with the bees, and honestly feels
    smarter than all those who have come before. (Its true - nearly all
    beekeepers think that they are significantly smarter than all other
    beekeepers. I've been studying this issue for years. Physicists never
    exhibit such worldview misconceptions, despite a nearly 100% rate
    of advanced degrees and other credentials.)

    I guess my stance is that the central issue is one of "husbandry" of
    the very very old-skool style, the 18th Century old-skool. One
    has an obligation to one's livestock. This includes giving them every
    advantage possible, using "best practices" to assure that they thrive
    rather than merely survive.

    Of course, there are divergent views on what are "best practices",
    and I suspect that Odfrank and I would be more in agreement than
    in disagreement, except that I understand the compulsion to experiment
    and tinker with this and that.

    So, grab that unwarranted sense of confidence firmly, and forge ahead!

    My vote is to cut the comb away from the top bar and use rubber bands
    to hold it in proper position within the frame. The bees will reattach it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,649

    Default Sarcasm, hell!!!

    I meant every word of it straight up. You will also promote my sales by using plastic foundation, small cell etc. as highly recommended on this site.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads