foundation less frames
does any one have any experience with foundation less frames apposed to pre waxed foundation? I'm told they build faster combs on foundation less frames?
Michael? Michael Bush? Where are you? Yoo hoo!
Oh, well, look here.
Try the search function. A multitude of posts on the subject.
I'm having amazingly good results right now with popscicle sticks. Two hives at my home location are drawing virtually perfect natural comb, with cell-size consistency much better than what I expected. I go out every couple days and put a new empty frame in the middle of the brood nest, and gradually work the old frames outward and upward. I'm really really happy with how well this is going.
Let me qualify a few things:
1) I'm regressing both hives at this site. I'm keeping no unregressing hives at this site.
2) I've had a good flow on for quite a while. It is still early in teh year here. Clover is just barely starting. There has been absolutely no dearth here.
3) I don't expect them to drawn small/consistent cells all summer. I'd expect they'll start making drone comb at some point.
4) Both these hives are smaller colonies, but are growing. The bigger doesn't have the whole top box fully filled (but they are close). This hive was hit by a bear earlier this year and have had to work to recover.
5) I AM cycling the 5.4 out of the hive slowly.
6) Yes, I guess this is turning into a small cell/regression post.
7) I am using deeps for hive bodies.
8) I put a white flat push-pin in the top of each foundationless frame. This helps identify those frames later.
9) I did have a few frames early on that weren't consistent in cell size. These frames were not started in the abosulte middle of the brood nest. I culled out the larger cells and re-used. They were repaired quite nicely.
10) Location location location! Must start from the middle. One frame at a time has worked best for me.
***Ross' answer really is right on the mark. I think that ealldredge stuck the landing as well.
Last edited by dug_6238; 06-10-2008 at 11:36 AM.
Do you need some kind of starter strip or can you just use standard frames with no foundation?
you can use either a starter strip or staple a popsicle stick to the bottom of the top bar for a guide. Make sure your hive sets level and your frames pushed together or you may end up with a mess.
Originally Posted by Dr.Wax
I've read the many passionate posts each claiming one method superior to another and decided to play around a bit: I'm new to this and figure it's the quickest way to sort 'my way' from the many opinions.
I'm using wood frames w/wax coated plastic foundation because that was the first recommendation I got. Later, I read about foundationless frames about the time my 1st package bees had built comb in half of a single brood box. There were some nicely drawn foundation frames but mostly comb in the spaces between frames and avoiding sections of the provided foundation un-touched. Lesson here is these bees on that day in that box with that queen, with the weather at that time etc, etc, etc. prefer to build in the empty space. Notice the many contributing factors which the following test certainly doesn't delineate.
So I removed the foundation from a single frame to see what happens. They built nice, straight comb on the foundationless frame fully drawn in a week. At the same time, they continued working the foundation frames although they were not drawn very symmetrically and had interesting patterns around the edges.
What's the lesson? They will work with what they have, but prefer to do what they want, which is build comb they way they have for centuries, in a cavity.
If that doesn't work for you because you need a sturdy frame that is re-usable and won't fall apart in an extractor, then you should give them equipment towards that end. For me, for now, I'll give them some of each and see what they want and tailor my harvesting to what they do. It's easy when you've only got 1 hive and are not invested in lots of equipment. Different story if you're trying to sell lots of honey or transport bees on sturdy comb.
Sorry this got long and no doubt others will come to a different conclusion. It's just me trying to find 'my way'.