Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Starting with foundationless frames

    Hi All,

    I am preparing to get bees next Spring and have a question regarding
    using foundation less frames.
    There seems to be a bit of back and for about foundation less frames.
    Well, I am actually plan to use them but I am not sure
    whether this is the right approach when I start from scratch.
    I do not have old drawn cones which can be used by the bees
    after I have put them into the new hive.
    Can I just put the frames (with starter strips) in the hive box and
    pour the package of bees into it and put a feeder in or on top of the
    new hive and be done with the installation?

    Looking forward for some advice.

    Thanks a lot
    Stefan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    "Can I just put the frames (with starter strips) in the hive box and
    pour the package of bees into it and put a feeder in or on top of the
    new hive and be done with the installation?"

    Yes... But may I suggest that you coat the starter strips with bees wax.

    Also, You may want to re-think about foundation for your honey boxes. It is somewhat problematic to use natural comb in an extractor to remove honey. It is not impossible but you will cause severe damage to a large percentage of the frames.
    In the brood chambers you will rarely extract honey from them so it is not a big problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    "Yes... But may I suggest that you coat the starter strips with bees wax."

    Ohh, yes, read about that. I put that on my to do list.

    To harvest honey I actually want to use the "crush and strain" method.
    I don't want to buy an extractor yet. So far I think I should be fine.

    Thanks
    Stefan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I too am starting in the Spring, and would like to try going foundationless. My intention was to put my bees into a deep with one frame of foundation in the middle, and the rest with wax-coated starter strips. I'll mark the one frame and slowly shift it to the side and remove later in the summer.

    I think I'll play the rest by ear, and have a few sheets of deep and medium foundation waiting in the wings just in case. If all goes well, then the extra foundation can just get rolled into candles! My main objective is to let the bees tell me what's working, stay on my toes, and TRY to be ready for whatever they're asking for.

    As for spinning foundationless frames, I've definitely heard from some that it works very well. Bush bees and the Backwards Beekeepers are proponents. While I think I'll skip it and risk having all that "ruined" wax to make into candles, some use monofilament or wire in foundationless frames. The bees apparently work it into the wax.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundat...foundationless
    http://beehuman.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I actually just want to use medium boxes, so that I can interchange frames easily.

    Stefan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,213

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    >Can I just put the frames (with starter strips) in the hive box and
    pour the package of bees into it and put a feeder in or on top of the
    new hive and be done with the installation?

    Yes. I prefer wood strips as they are more permanent.

    >Yes... But may I suggest that you coat the starter strips with bees wax.

    I wouldn't. The wax sometimes falls off, accomplishes nothing in the realm of convincing the bees of anything and is attached less well than the bees will attach it.

    >Also, You may want to re-think about foundation for your honey boxes. It is somewhat problematic to use natural comb in an extractor to remove honey.

    Actually it's not. They extract just fine. I do it all the time.

    >I too am starting in the Spring, and would like to try going foundationless. My intention was to put my bees into a deep with one frame of foundation in the middle, and the rest with wax-coated starter strips. I'll mark the one frame and slowly shift it to the side and remove later in the summer.

    You really don't need the frame of foundation. Just keep an eye on them that first week and make sure they are building in the frames and straighten them out if they are not. But they probably will if you have a comb guide.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Clarks Green, PA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I have been going back and forth between starting with a Lang or a Warre. After reading, (or maybe over-reading), I am leaning towards starting with a foundation-less Lang so I can still keep it more "organic" and get some hands-on experience.
    I am still intrigued with the Warre and I would like to add one in a year or two, if all goes well.
    Hmmm, maybe I should start with one of each!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Well, I read about the Warre Hive too but I did not like the idea to always lift a stack of hives up to add a new one. I do not have any experience but it looks much easier to
    add a Langstroth hive box at the top instead of adding it at the bottom.
    I want to use just mediums in standard 10 frame Langstroth boxes. No deeps and no
    shallows.
    Michael Bush recommends that on his really great web page (actually he says that he use 8 frame boxes instead of 10 frame boxes).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    911

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    We started a hive this year with 10 frame mediums, foundationless. We used wooden comb guides. No problems! The bees did it perfectly. We did not add any beeswax to the guides. They know what they are doing. It also saved us money not buying foundation. Just be sure to feed them while they are building comb.

    Edit: Used wooden comb guides actually. Some were the wedge pieces turned sideways and some were "L" shaped pieces of "trim" that were easier to nail or staple in than the wedges. We also had made sure the hive was level side to side as Riley mentions.
    Last edited by Bee Bliss; 10-15-2010 at 10:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Portage, WI, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    The one thing I would add is make sure your hive is level side-to-side. Bees will build foundation exactly vertically and if your frames lean the comb will not follow the frames to the bottom.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Polk Co, NC, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I started out fresh this year and I would definitely suggest starting with more than one hive. I am working on convincing my girls to go foundationless and move into the medium boxes.

    More than one hive would have given me so many more answers and options! Good Luck!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,098

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    They will absolutely build foundationless just fine without waxing the starter strips. Really they will. I've tried every kind of starter imaginable, and they all work fine - use the one that is simplest for you.

    If you do start out with a package in a completely empty foundationless hive, not only should you keep an eye on them that first week, you need to be prepared to straighten comb mercilessly (every day) until they get a few frames well started. You won't want to mess with it because it so soft and white and perfect - and when you straighten it you mash and disfigure it.

    It might hurt your feelings, but do it anyway. Aim to keep the center wall of the comb aligned with the center of the frame. They will fix whatever damage you do almost immediately. If you let them get started crooked you will be dealing with it for a long time.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,385

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Terminology: Starter strips are small strips of beeswax/plastic foundation, or comb. Comb guides are what are used to guide the bees to start and align their combs inside the boundaries of the frames. Comb guides can be composed partially or entirely of starter strips, but comb guides are not necessarily starter strips, comb guides are usually a narrower raised edge of wood on wooden frames, often popsicle sticks glued into the groove of grooved wooden top bars, and sometimes the wedge (fastened in sideways), of wedge top bars -- these wooden comb guides are sometimes coated with a layer of beeswax. Calling comb guides, "starter strips" could possibly lead to confusion among newcomers to this topic.

    When playing around with different configurations of foundationless frames, I have sometimes fastened a beeswax foundation starter strip to my wooden comb guides formed by fastening the frame wedges in sideways.

    Here is an image illustrating a typical "comb guide" for use in a top bar hive -->
    Even if it were to be coated with beeswax it would not be a "starter strip", starter strips, in my glossary must include the basic form of a honeycomb, but not be a complete foundation (filling the entire frame).
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 10-14-2010 at 08:45 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Definitely a difference in terminology here... So I think I see it this way:

    Foundation: An entire sheet of embossed wax (or plastic) that fills the entire frame space.

    Starter Strip: A narrow strip of embossed wax foundation attached to the top bar that only fills a small portion at the top of the frame space.

    Comb Guide: A physical feature of the frame (e.g. a paint stick in the groove, reverse wedge, etc) with or without beeswax coating.

    All are used to "help" bees build out their comb. OK, I can work with those definitions if everyone else can...

    So I think what both David and Joseph said is that they use Comb Guides without any beeswax on them. Just be ready to check daily to correct comb orientation should they build sideways.

    I'm willing to take on that work in order to have comb that I know the story of.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    rowan co. NC
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I use Popsicle sticks(no wax) 5 hives and they all do fine with it

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I've started packages in hives with a couple frames of drawn combs and the rest foundationless. I used a wedge top frame with the wedge turned 90 degrees. I very rarely ever had any combs get messed up.

    If you start a package out on foundationless, FEED them as much as possible until they get the combs drawn. Do NOT think that a Boardman feeder is sufficient to use to feed a package on foundation. Use a frame feeder, or a hivetop feeder. Feed, feed, feed.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Hi All,

    Thanks for this great information. You answered my question regarding
    foundation less really well and it makes my life a little easier.
    I just have to put the comb guide / starter strip into the frame.

    When I put the bees into the hive I just have to keep an eye on these
    bee, so that the create their comb nicely in the frame.

    I plan to build simple miller feeders (hive top feeders) so that the bees
    stay well feed after I have put them into the new hive.
    Our winters here in Pacifica CA are mild (only a few days with a very light
    frost) and a hive top feeder should be fine because the day time temperature
    usually goes over 50F.

    Thanks again
    Stefan

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Quote Originally Posted by stoffel64 View Post
    When I put the bees into the hive I just have to keep an eye on these
    bee, so that the create their comb nicely in the frame.
    Yes, keep your eye on them at first, every few days. My first foundationless super with popsicle stick guides, and a nicely leveled hive....
    After a while I found them starting to build this 'sculpture' which was attached to two frames and they were really getting started on it:
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9fPBEJTqGz...ild-comb-2.jpg
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9fPBEJTqGz...ild-comb-3.jpg
    I cut it out right away, and then they began to build nice straight combs instead.
    If I hadn't of found that 'krazy komb' early, the whole box would have been filled with a solid mass and that would have been way messier to correct.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Well thanks for asking the question stoffel64. I had been thinking the same thing, and now we both have our questions answered.

    Omie: Crazy sculpture there! Quite lovely!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Catawba, Wisconsin
    Posts
    291

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Can I just put the frames (with starter strips) in the hive box and
    pour the package of bees into it and put a feeder in or on top of the
    new hive and be done with the installation?

    Yes. I prefer wood strips as they are more permanent.

    >Yes... But may I suggest that you coat the starter strips with bees wax.

    I wouldn't. The wax sometimes falls off, accomplishes nothing in the realm of convincing the bees of anything and is attached less well than the bees will attach it.

    >Also, You may want to re-think about foundation for your honey boxes. It is somewhat problematic to use natural comb in an extractor to remove honey.

    Actually it's not. They extract just fine. I do it all the time.

    >I too am starting in the Spring, and would like to try going foundationless. My intention was to put my bees into a deep with one frame of foundation in the middle, and the rest with wax-coated starter strips. I'll mark the one frame and slowly shift it to the side and remove later in the summer.

    You really don't need the frame of foundation. Just keep an eye on them that first week and make sure they are building in the frames and straighten them out if they are not. But they probably will if you have a comb guide.

    I agree 100% with Michael Bush on the above. Very few problems.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

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