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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
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    15

    Default new to beekeeping and would like to keep it natural

    hello, im brand new to beekeeping and will be getting 3 packages of russians soon. i had bought all of my equiment used from a friend. most of the frames are drawn out on standard foundation. some looks ok and some looks like a bit messy and the age is unknown to me. my question is this.

    When is comb no good anymore?

    Is it ok to hive my packages on this comb and will they clean any mess up?

    Could i use foundationless frames along w/ the drawn comb and undrawn foundation, and if so what would the best way to go about it be?

    thanks a bunch for all of your wisdom!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default

    >When is comb no good anymore?

    When it is full of acaracides or wax moth webs...

    >Is it ok to hive my packages on this comb and will they clean any mess up?

    Yes. Some people would worry about AFB. You should look for AFB scale first and make sure it looks clean of that.

    >Could i use foundationless frames along w/ the drawn comb and undrawn foundation, and if so what would the best way to go about it be?

    Cut the combs out and leave the outside row of cells all the way around.

    If you have NEW frames:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    how do i tell if it is acaracides or wax moth webs and not other webs?
    what should ABF scale look like?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Default

    Hey Michigan:
    WHile you can see the wax moth webs, you cannot see the accaricides.

    The safest thing to do is to put it put your new packages on foundation and let them draw out the comb. You still are early enough for that.

    There still may be some impurities in the foundation, but the only way around that is to go foundationless, find someone to make foundation for you from your own wax, or make it yourself.

    I personally don't want other folks' comb in my hives unless I know them and their practices.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default

    AFB scale is gray or black and hard. It was a larvae that died and was turned to black liquid which then dried up to leave a hard scale in the bottom of the cells.

    Wax moth webs are just that--webs that are left in the tunnel the wax moths ate through the comb. If they aren't too thick, I don't worry about them.

    Acaracides you can't see. The best way to avoid them is to not use foundation or other people's comb.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Hey thanks guys. you have been a big help!. One more question tho. i have regular foundation but like i said would prefer to keep it as natural as i can. Would it be ok to use one or two drawn out comb in w/ the foundationless to help give the bees a jump? Thanks abunch.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,925

    Default

    When you are trying to get the bees regressed to natural size, getting large cell comb OUT is the difficulty. I would NOT put it in.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    South San Ysidro, NM
    Posts
    503

    Default

    If you really want to use the old comb, ask your friend if he ever had wax moths in his hives and ask him what mite treatments he used.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    ok thanks. it seems like i might have read some where that if you are going foundationless that you cant hive a package onto all empty frames, is this true? if so all i have to place in the hive is that older comb and new duragilt foundation which should i use for the best results?? Thanks alot

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default

    >ok thanks. it seems like i might have read some where that if you are going foundationless that you cant hive a package onto all empty frames, is this true?

    Define "empty frames". You can certainly hive them on all foundationless frames (frames with a comb guide of some kind). I do it all the time.

    >if so all i have to place in the hive is that older comb and new duragilt foundation which should i use for the best results?? Thanks alot

    I would use neither. Use all foundationless.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default

    The title of this thread states that you want to "keep it natural," yet you're starting with used equipment. Do you know the history of pesticide use in those used hives? Residues can hang around a long time. Start by defining what "natural" means to you, then determine if what you know of the history of that used equipment fits your standards for "natural" and if any risk of unknown history with that equipment is worth the cost savings while working toward your goal.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    for a young guy who whould like to try his hand at beekeeping and not knowing the finer details of it all when i bought it hives, yes the cost ratio is worth it at first. I live in fruit farming county and even the deer and fish here i wouldent call " organic or natural" What i would like to do is stay away from the mainstream of treatments and let what natural behavior is left take care of the pests. Why should i have to defend myself for trying to improve my knowlegde base on beekeeping.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    As comb guide you mean the extra meteral that hangs down from the top bar? cool then i should be all set! thanks alot for all of your help and i know that alot of this is redundent to you, but it helps clear things up.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Portersville, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default

    I have read a lot of info. on beekeeping but nothing can compare to having an experienced beekeeper with you when you inspect your hive. To keep it natural make sure that you leave the bees with plenty of honey for winter. This is where an experienced beekeeper comes in handy to tell you how much you have and how much you need. It is NOT natural for bees to need to be feed sugar. Find a local beekeeper. He may not appriciate your natural approach but he will be vital in; helping you get your timing down (when to preform tasks during the year) and things such as splitting or joining hives. I believe I would have had more success in the beginning if I didn't try to go it alone. You will definetly make mistakes but that in itself is a great learning experience.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default

    > As comb guide you mean the extra meteral that hangs down from the top bar?

    Yes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
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    15

    Default

    Will the bees and queen be fine with out any comb already to lay in? how long w/ it take the bees to draw out comb once hived?
    what is the queen doing in the mean time?

    if you cant tell im a bit confused about some of the details of frameless beekeeping i think it is from hearing different things from different places. So just to make sure mr. bush, It is totaly ok to hive a new package of bees on foundationless frams w/ gudes. from there they will be able to get to the top and build comb down in time so that the queen can start laying before the need to swarm hit?
    i know i sound stupid but im just trying to fit all CORRECT information in the right place in my head. Thank you so much you have really been a big help in clearing some of my confusion up

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default

    > Will the bees and queen be fine with out any comb already to lay in?

    That is how all natural swarms start out. Yes, they will be fine, just like they have been since there were first bees.

    >how long w/ it take the bees to draw out comb once hived?

    Assuming an unlimited supply of syrup or nectar, they will have some deep enough for the queen to lay in two or three days. Sometimes it takes a package queen two weeks to start to lay. But if she is ready to lay right off, she will have eggs in the comb by the time it's 1/4" deep.

    >what is the queen doing in the mean time?

    Fattening up to lay.

    >if you cant tell im a bit confused about some of the details of frameless beekeeping i think it is from hearing different things from different places. So just to make sure mr. bush, It is totaly ok to hive a new package of bees on foundationless frams w/ gudes. from there they will be able to get to the top and build comb down in time so that the queen can start laying before the need to swarm hit?

    They will start at the top regardless of what you do or whether there is or isn't foundation. Hanging down is how they draw comb. If you are talking about subsequent boxes of foundationless, I would add them to the bottom or pull a drawn comb up into the next box for a ladder.

    Bees don't swarm because they haven't drawn any comb yet. They swarm because they have reached a point of store and population that they think they can spare the bees and the honey that those bees will take with them and still make it through the winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Shelby, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Thank you all. i believe i understand much better now. I have hived my packages several days ago and hope all is doing well. Thanks again for the wisdom.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ovid, New York, USA
    Posts
    134

    Default This answers aaaaaall my questions....but a few more ?

    >how long w/ it take the bees to draw out comb once hived?

    Assuming an unlimited supply of syrup or nectar, they will have some deep enough for the queen to lay in two or three days. Sometimes it takes a package queen two weeks to start to lay. But if she is ready to lay right off, she will have eggs in the comb by the time it's 1/4" deep.

    >what is the queen doing in the mean time?

    Fattening up to lay.


    But I am losing time, right ? No babies, but the workers are aging....is this just one of the pitfalls of beginning beekeeping ? The pitfall being that autumn is coming and I will have less bees since they are awaiting the comb to be ready in order for the queen to lay ?

    Nancy
    Ovid, NY

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Liberty, Missouri
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Is it best to go all foundationless even in the supers where the honey is extracted from?

    It is best to remove all the drawn comb in all the supers and go foundationless in all the supers?


    Rick Hurd.
    Rick's Indexing
    2125 Birmingham Rd.
    Liberty, Mo. 64068

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