smoke... not hot air.
smoke... not hot air.
BRAVO! Nice reply JAK, you'll be just fine. Everybody does thing different for differnt reasons, stick to your guns. If you want to put bees in a 5 gallon bucket, I'm right there with ya.
My experience with new beekeepers following standard practices typically goes something like this.
An older lady who wants a hive in her garden buys a standard beginners kit. It comes with two deeps with wood frames and plastic foundation. There are no instructions and the bee book she read says nothing about how to space the combs so she spaces them evenly because it seems to make sense. The bees promptly build beautiful combs between the plastic foundations attached to a top bar on each side. After much soul searching and advice from other beekeepers she decides to cut those out and tie them into frames. Not an easy undertaking and she has to order the frames, by which time they have built even more wild comb between the frames. Eventually she gets it all straightened out. and the bees prosper and fill the bottom box with brood and the top box with honey. She thinks she need to check on the queen as the hive seems to be dwindling a bit and finds she cannot lift the top box no matter what she does. She doesn't have a spare box to put the frames in, and would find it pretty intimidating to remove them a frame at a time anyway because of all the flying bees, since she's not that confident. She gets frustrated and sells the whole thing to another beekeeper and quits beekeeping. Or, if she's a bit more determined, she buys some eight frame mediums, because she has no idea how to cut down the deeps, maybe some wax foundations, to try to avoid the messed up comb she got with the "standard practice" of selling beginners plastic so they won't have to learn to wire. Some of the comb is still messed up (she still hasn't learned to put the frames tightly together) and things go better if nothing else because she can now lift a box. As she discovers that the Varroa are getting out of hand she researches further and finds that what she really wishes she'd done is start with small cell foundation or foundationless. So now she spends a couple of years of worrying as she gradually swaps out the comb for what she really wanted, small cell or natural cell.
How has she been helped by following standard practices?
It is far easier to start by doing what you really want to do, than to change over later.
<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.>
I'm confused, Oliver. I think I remember a post about a year ago where you complained that you were having high losses even on your small cell hives. Am I wrong? Or, have you tried small cell and decided it wasn't for you.
These long threads are hard to follow.
The "modern" (as apposed to skeps) technique that I believe in is the use of foundation. The OP complained about poor foundationless combs.
I have been trying small cell for five years but have found no advantages. Like plastic foundation, it is hard to get good combs, and the winter losses are comparable OR worse than LC.
Thanks for all the information that you guys have been providing.
-I checked the level of both hives, and the bubble's in the middle from side to side and front/back.
After looking at both of the hives on Saturday, I have some interesting observations. A second frame is being drawn in both hives, centered on the popsicle stick, where the first frame was hanging from the top bar, bunched to one side.
Both hives are being fed 1:1 sugar solution over the inverted inner cover hole, and both hives built on the first frame below the hole in the inner cover, with the comb bulging toward the inner cover hole. It seems to make sense now, the bees drew the comb closer to the food source (1:1 sugar syrup), rather than drawing off the popsicle stick. The drawn wax is white and very pliable, and I'm going to manuever it toward the center of the frame this week (1/2") when the temps get in the mid-70s. I think that I now understand why I got a "skewed" first frame.
Thanks again for all the information and advice, it's been very helpful. The beekeeping club that I attend really pushes wood frames with crimp-wired foundation. After attending a short-course where we got to install crimp-wire foundation, I found this site since mid-2007 and thought that the foundationless frames looked like a good alternative technique. I also wanted to try something different that required less front end assembly work. Appreciate your help.