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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I got started with 2 packages of bees in very late Spring this year.

    Some things I learned that have mostly already been mentioned in this thread or other threads....

    I put 2 medium frames of wired wax (no hooks) in the middle of each brood box thinking that would act as a "guide" for the bees when they started building on the other 6 frames which were comb guide frames from Walter Kelley. In retrospect, I could have just used all 8 comb guide frames and kept a close eye on them for the first few weeks to correct any errant comb building.

    I spent time and effort "painting" beeswax on the comb guide triangles of the top bars. This was completely unnecessary. The bees did not seem to care about it.

    I think the biggest mistake I made was not realizing that I needed to push all the frame together in the center of the box so they make a single unit with proper beespace maintained between frames at all times. I overlooked this detail and it contributed to frames having lopsided combs thicker on one side than the other and some having a "double" row of comb hanging down from the same top bar. It was not until about a week ago that I figured out my mistake and that I could have prevented it by pushing those frames together from the beginning instead of thinking the frames had to be equally spread out from one side of the box to the other. (I was told recently that 8-frame boxes don't all have the same width dimension either.) When I get packages in the future, I will keep the frames pushed together and see how that works out instead.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    308

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    i used small strips of wax covered dadant foundation that i got for free. The bees readily draw it out and fairly fast

    one warning: I use 10 frame mediums and there is that little extra space in between the frames. If you dont consistantly keep the spacing, the bees seem to get a little confused towards the bottom as there will be to much bee space. They then overlap comb on the same frame to compensate. I had some trouble then pulling these frames without risking rolling some bees

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Boalsburg, PA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I will give you a non-biased opinion coming from someone who has kept both..Foundationless...Reg Foundation...and Topbar hives.

    1. I will never do foundationless in a langstroth again. If your managing one hive I would say go for it. But if you do multiple hives it becomes more of a pain than anything.

    2. Rarely will the bees follow the guidelines you set and work the frames evenly. I had bees building comes to the left...right...cross comb..etc. My hives are level.

    3. I noticed no difference in behavior them working foundationless frames versus foundation. I actually think in some cases hives were hotter because the foundationless comb being so out of wack and me breaking off chunks just trying to pull out a frame.


    I did enjoy my topbar hives but even they have management issues. The simplest style and method I have found to work great for me and the bees is just a regular lang setup with foundation. I really like black foundation which is something I just tryed this year.

    Do whatever you want too...but in the long run I can say the tried and true method of a Langstroth hive with foundation pulls through in my opinion.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,318

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    If I didn't have many colonies and many complete combs, in frames, if I were just beginning my beekeeping, and if I were starting with swarms or packages, rather than cut-outs, I'd start them in supers with frames of full sheets of 100% beeswax foundation with horizontal wires, then, during the flow, I would add additional foundationless frames between frames of completed comb.

    Since I already have many colonies and many complete combs, I simply use the combs I already have to help the bees to keep to the comb guides provided in each foundationless frame.

    As it is, I see nothing at all like what SamG347 sees.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,968

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I'm just going to mention this because no one else has and it could be useful for someone who is starting out foundationless with no drawn comb.

    If you put an empty frame between two nice straight frames they will usually draw it out almost perfectly - with one exception - if one of the
    guide frames is uncapped nectar they might just draw it out really thick, but usually not with either brood or capped honey. The side of the hive body or a follower board will also help force them to draw adjoining frames nice and straight.

    So, once they start drawing comb on 3-4 frames (usually right in the middle of the box) move empties all to one side and push the comb over right against the side, and put a follower board on the other side of the frames they are working.

    Keep the rest of the box full of empties just in case, but they will tend to not work on the off side of the follower. As they build out comb just move empties into the nest between the outside wall and a mostly (or fully) drawn frame of either brood or capped honey.

    If you pay attention you can get them to draw almost perfect foundationless frames like this - during a good flow.

    Yes, this is more manipulation than is probably ideal, but it is better than having to mash and mangle crooked comb to try to get it so you can work with it, and once you have a box full of nice straight comb to work with it will get a lot easier.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I found that if I trim my foundationless frames to 1 1/4 wide, the bees draw out the combs almost perfectly. I would say they messed up 3% or 4% of the frames I have done when I put almost a whole box of foundationless frames on, and the combs they did mess up were outer combs when they began curving the ends of the combs. I currently have 300-ish foundationless deep frames in service in 40 some hives.

    I have not installed the first sheet of wax foundation into a frame. (I have purchased equipment with frames that had wax foundation, but I have never installed any wax in frames.) All new frames I put into service are foundationless or one piece plastic frames.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Tioga, NY, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Stefan,
    Two years gone by. How did you make out starting out foundationless?

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,361

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Quote Originally Posted by SamG347 View Post
    I will give you a non-biased opinion coming from someone who has kept both..Foundationless...Reg Foundation...and Topbar hives.

    1. I will never do foundationless in a langstroth again. If your managing one hive I would say go for it. But if you do multiple hives it becomes more of a pain than anything.





    2. Rarely will the bees follow the guidelines you set and work the frames evenly. I had bees building comes to the left...right...cross comb..etc. My hives are level.
    That's not my experience nor the majority of people that try it. I have 10 years of foundationless experience in excess of 50 hives. Before that I used foundation. Life is much easier doing foundationless. Seldom do I have to correct a comb and when I do it takes seconds. I use no treatments and the bees are happy and healthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by SamG347 View Post
    3. I noticed no difference in behavior them working foundationless frames versus foundation. I actually think in some cases hives were hotter because the foundationless comb being so out of wack and me breaking off chunks just trying to pull out a frame.
    Again, never seen or heard of a hive hotter because of foundationless. There is no reason for chunks of comb to be breaking off just because of foundationless.

    Quote Originally Posted by SamG347 View Post
    I did enjoy my topbar hives but even they have management issues. The simplest style and method I have found to work great for me and the bees is just a regular lang setup with foundation. I really like black foundation which is something I just tryed this year.

    Do whatever you want too...but in the long run I can say the tried and true method of a Langstroth hive with foundation pulls through in my opinion.
    Glad you found the method that works for you.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    I've been running foundationless on home-made frames in a Langstroth hive. All standard dimensions except I make the frame tops out of 5/4 cedar decking and cut a 45 degree bevel in each side of the bottom of it to give them more surface area to attach comb too. All medium Langs. Here's a post with photos of my first few frames:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ionless-frames

    Started two packages two years ago, and both hives are still thriving. I had to requeen one of them the first summer, but they've both survived two winters here in the cold rain of the Pacific Northwest. Haven't had any major issues of comb alingment. The only thing worth mentioning is that both hives curved the combs slightly at the ends. All it took was a gentle push to line it up again and everything was fine. I've gotten about 4 gallons of honey off the two hives so far.

    I'd have to say that stories of horrible experiences with foundationless Langs have been the exception. A few others at my local bee club have tried it, and have had similar experiences to mine. Only one had a major issue, and he takes responsibility for neglecting the hive for too long.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    A cpl thoughts, If your going foundationless in a lang, use wires. the bees will build around them nicely and there a lot more durable.
    Foundationless is problematic for a cpl things extremly hot weather can cause collapse. Its also much harder to use drone removal as a mite control as they will build drone comb anywhere they like.
    I am NOT against foundationless, but I wont do it in a lang anymore.
    As for top bar hives Make those bars at 15 DEG and come to a point, that will give the strongest attachment. starter strips cause more problems. and as mike says, let them work the way in there better at it than we are!

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,794

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    >Hmmm, maybe I should start with one of each!

    No, it's much better to start with two of the same thing. First of all you'll see how much difference there is between one colony and the next. Second, you'll be able to interchange frames if one gets in trouble and needs open brood.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespanacea.htm

    >1. I will never do foundationless in a langstroth again. If your managing one hive I would say go for it. But if you do multiple hives it becomes more of a pain than anything.

    I am running 200...

    >2. Rarely will the bees follow the guidelines you set and work the frames evenly. I had bees building comes to the left...right...cross comb..etc. My hives are level.

    I'm not sure what the cause of your difficulties is. Certainly having the frames tightly in the center makes a huge difference. Trimming them down to 1 1/4" and getting them even tighter is better. And, of course, you do have to keep an eye on them at first. A drawn comb in the center any new box is helpful.

    >3. I noticed no difference in behavior them working foundationless frames versus foundation. I actually think in some cases hives were hotter because the foundationless comb being so out of wack and me breaking off chunks just trying to pull out a frame.

    Probably. Destroying combs will upset them... mostly, though I think it's the honey running and brood dying and bees getting squished...

    > If your going foundationless in a lang, use wires. the bees will build around them nicely and there a lot more durable.

    They do build around them nicely but they are always getting in my way. I like to cut it up for comb honey, especially when it's nice white comb, and I like to be able to cut queen cells out, and the wires are always getting in my way...

    >Foundationless is problematic for a cpl things extremly hot weather can cause collapse.

    True, but then I've had combs drawn on Duracomb foundation fall out on a hot enough day... especially if you're moving the hive...

    > Its also much harder to use drone removal as a mite control as they will build drone comb anywhere they like.

    I never remove drone comb... but they tend to build drone back to back, and if you really want to you can cut it out. But then you are selecting for Varroa mites that prefer workers...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Eureka, CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Starting with foundationless frames

    Hello! I am starting my first 6pkgs. Of Russian bees in a few weeks! They are going into 8 frame med. boxes with woodlynbrand foundationless frames. What is the best way to introduce the queen? Direct release? Hang her in a frame? I have read that the bees often screw up the first comb when you hang her. What ya 'll think?

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