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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chillicothe, Ohio
    Posts
    8

    Default Foundation VS. Foundationless Experience

    I just want to share my experience on this subject. I have 2 hives and I've tried this on both of them.. I put half strips and half full wax foundations in the supers placing them every other one with the first one being a one inch strip. The strips are cut from the wax foundation.
    In both they drawed the foundations first even skipping the frames with strips to move to the full foundations. Once they completely draw the foundations they go back and draw the strips. This is all very nice comb.
    I started both these hives July first from Nucs so I've been feeding 1.1 syrup with HBH to help build them up for winter and we have had an ongoing drought and dearth.
    Next spring I'm going to try one hive with only strips and one hive with full foundations and see which ones are drawn first if both hives are about equal in strength.
    I've read some post on this subject and know it's debatable. I'd prefer to use the strips for the all natural comb but because some people were talking about how they make a mess I thought I'd do the every other one to give them a guideline to hopefully eliminate this. It worked but not quite like I expected.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,869

    Default

    Hi Honey, thanks for sharing your experience.

    I run all 8 frame deeps with plastic foundation in wooden frames. From all the reading I've done in here and on Michael Bush's site, I've decided to go all foundationless next year (I'd have done it this year if I had learned about it earlier in the year).

    I mentor some people here where I'm at and they went all strips in many of their boxes. What I noticed is the medium frames draw out straighter than deep frames, but did not notice anything I would call a real mess. There is some waveyness here and there, but no gross missalignment issues in their hives.

    I'm figuring that during my regular hive inspections next year, I'll keep watch on the wax progress, and cut out anything that might be crooked as a snakes path and let the bees start over. It's what I had to do when I started out on all plastic and it's worked out fine for it.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,416

    Default

    If you use strips, just make sure they are very well attached. The bees tend to build onto the strip rather than the wood so the strip must carry the weight. I use wooden guides for that reason.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Chittenango,Ny (upstate)
    Posts
    309

    Default

    You might also try foundationless frames. I have had very good luck letting the bees make their own from scratch. I turn the wedge perpendicular, staple it in place, run a piece of wax along the edge and put it in the hive. I probbly don't need to wax the edge but I do it anyway. It takes alot less time to set up than using strips.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    melvin,mi
    Posts
    188

    Default

    I did it to one of my hives. I put on 1" starter strips in my supers and they decided to go the other direction what a mess.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,869

    Default

    I was going to try a couple methods...

    1. Fill the groove with molten wax and slip the starter strip into it, should weld it in place pretty good, I thought.

    2. Fill the groove with molten wax and slip in popsicle stick or tongue depressor long ways so for could still cut out comb honey. Probably popsicle sticks would be better than tongue depressors, less width to them but enough for the bees to attatch to.

    I've got plenty plastic foundation, I could slice off some 1/2 strips and glue them in the top bar groove also.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Logan Ut, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default

    I went to Home Depot to the paint department and asked them if I could buy some gallon wooden paint stir sticks. They wouldn't sell them but gave me a bunch of them for free. They are thicken that popsicle sticks and fit width wise perfectly in the grove of the top bar. I slit them lengthwise to about 1/2" wide and glue them in. My girls seem to be doing a fine job of drawing their own comb from this guide.
    Vickie
    A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt

  8. #8

    Default

    When I did my early spring splits this year I used frames with starter strips as replacements for the drawn frames I removed from my hives. This was in late March. The vast majority of those frames were drawn with drone cells. I've managed to cull or move most of them out of the brood nests since.
    I know another beekeeper who started about 40 hives from packages using only starter strips. She says that hers were drawn mostly as worker cells.
    If there are any conclusions to be drawn from this, I think its that when starting from scratch a colony of bees may do a pretty good job of drawing out starter strips. On the other hand, placing starter strips between already drawn frames, in early spring, will likely produce drone sized cells.
    Next spring I'm planning to start about 20 -30 hives from packages. I'll try to do about half with strips only and half with foundation.
    I might add that I used a few starter strips last year. The lesson I learned from that was to be sure to wire the frames you plan to use without foundation.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,268

    Default

    Dan, were those frames deeps or mediums? What happened that makes you wish you'd wired them? Adrian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,416

    Default

    Bees are going to produce drone cells somewhere. They will chew out foundation or drawn comb to make drones if they have to. It's for the preservation of the species.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Dan, were those frames deeps or mediums? What happened that makes you wish you'd wired them? Adrian
    They were deeps. When handled in warm weather the comb had a tendency to droop and often would break loose from the frame if not handled with extreme care.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    It's for the preservation of the species.
    I understand the purpose of drones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    Bees are going to produce drone cells somewhere. They will chew out foundation or drawn comb to make drones if they have to.
    I haven't seen multiple frames of totally drone comb in my hives that use foundation. Bees will produce drone comb somewhere but not anywhere near the amount that I saw with those starter strips....in my experience.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Venango/Crawford Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,712

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee-wildered View Post
    I They are thicken that popsicle sticks and fit width wise perfectly in the grove of the top bar. I slit them lengthwise to about 1/2" wide and glue them in. My girls seem to be doing a fine job of drawing their own comb from this guide.
    Vickie
    Do you have a picture of this?
    Last edited by Eaglerock; 08-28-2008 at 08:45 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    RayMarler, you mentioned using strips of plastic as starters. I did this too. I cut them at like 5/8 and pushed real hard on the wedge when I stapled it in. I even tried putting the staple in from the edge, so it catches a piece of the plastic as it goes in. That works real well when you hit it, it can be rather spectacular when it doesn't though. Keep fingers clear, sometime the staple turns as it goes in. I think in the future I will just use my wax tube fastener to glue them in. (get one here... https://www.dadant.com/catalog/produ...oducts_id=231)

    As for getting them drawn as drone comb. I saw a lot of that too. One hive I gave a super of starter strips to, drew all 10 frames as drone comb. I guess it is fine in the honey super, in fact it makes some nice looking comb honey. So I've learned to use the starter strips in the honey supers. Some I will wire for extraction, and some I won't, for comb honey.

    For me, getting small cell drawn on foundationless was a failure the first season. I'll try some other techniques next spring.
    Troy

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Kennebunk, Maine
    Posts
    203

    Default

    Here are some starter strips that went wrong. The bees started building from the top down and from the bottom bar up.

    http://images.fotopic.net/yulht8.jpg

    http://images.fotopic.net/yulhtc.jpg

    http://images.fotopic.net/yulhta.jpg

    http://images.fotopic.net/yulhtb.jpg

    http://images.fotopic.net/yulht9.jpg

    This one was attached to the wall of the hive body

    http://images.fotopic.net/yulhte.jpg

    http://images.fotopic.net/yulhtg.jpg

    It was a hot and sticky mess cleaning this up. Most of these frames were drone cells. This was the first time they made this much of a mess out of starter strips.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,038

    Default Congraulations to you all!!!!

    I am proud of all of you once again trying innovations touted by a few on the internet, and abandoning centuries of beekeeping technology.

    "Foundationless": the more drones you produce, the more funky combs you have to trash, the less honey you will produce, the larger the market will be for me.

    "Trying to regress to small cell on starter strips"....GO FOR IT!!!! Yay!!!! Back the tanker truck up to my extracting plant!!!!

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    I guess it is fine in the honey super, in fact it makes some nice looking comb honey. .
    I, too, used starter strips very successfully for my chunk honey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    For me, getting small cell drawn on foundationless was a failure the first season. I'll try some other techniques next spring.
    And, in my opinion and experience, it'll continue to be a failure. Unless you're raising Africanized bees or German black bees it isn't the size they'll draw naturally for workers.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    los angeles, ca
    Posts
    109

    Default

    I make my own starter strips out of wax.I have a pine board I soak it in water.I then brush wax on with a bristle brush.When It sets I peel it off.I add a couple of hand fulls of Propolis
    in the wax that way the wax isn't brittle and it peels off bettter.I also use card board for starter strips.I don't worry about drone cell or stuff like that I let the bees mamage that.It works fine for me
    kirk
    I like bugs

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Wake Co, NC
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Starter strips in frames have worked best for me. I do give them wire to guide them, also

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    I had read somewhere that in Africa they were making full sheets of wax for foundation, only they did not have any embossed cells, just full flat sheets of wax.

    They made them by dipping a sheet of glass in soapy water and then in the liquid beeswax.

    I tried it my own way and had pretty good luck. Here's how I did it.

    I recovered a glass top end table that a neighbor was throwing out. The glass is tempered.

    I prepared a container with some soapy water and melted some beeswax in my handy presto pot. I held the glass over the sink (plug drain) and ran water over it gradually getting it warmer and warmer till running full hot (maybe 1 minute). Shut off tap water, lube up glass with soapy water, and tilt to drain off excess. Then I dumped beeswax on the top and let it run down. That which runs off into the sink solidifies right away and can be recovered. The sheet of wax on the glass is very smooth.

    I cut the wax into strips with a single edge razor blade and pulled them off the glass (still warm) one by one. I give them a quick rinse in the sink to get off any soap residue and they are good to go.

    They smell great and the bees love it. I really think the bees go after it with more enthusiasm because it is freshly melted and smells so good. It can be stored for a while too, it just loses it's great smell is all.
    Troy

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