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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Albany, CA, USA
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    We've tried to go foundationless, but the bees always built funny comb that we had to tear out and re-position in a frame with rubberbands.

    We had initially placed a wax starter strip on the frame too, to no avail, but from what I read here, it seems like the wax can be all over the place. I'll have to try again, by putting it between two frames of drawn comb. Maybe that would help.

  2. #42

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by msapostol View Post
    the bees always built funny comb I'll have to try again
    Be certain that your hive is level from side to side. Bees know plumb. They'll draw comb perfectly vertical...and if your hive is tilted whatsoever you're gonna get some funny comb.

    ,
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Albany, CA, USA
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Be certain that your hive is level from side to side. Bees know plumb. They'll draw comb perfectly vertical...and if your hive is tilted whatsoever you're gonna get some funny comb.

    ,
    Thanks for the tip. I do have my hives tilted to help the rain water run out.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Leetonia, Ohio
    Posts
    389

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    Front to back is not so much an issue. Keeping it level side to side is a bigger issue.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    You can still see the "spine" of the starter strip!

    It appears you used a chunk of foundation two inches wide which goes from the top bar to the bottom bar. That is not the way a starter strip is supposed to go.

    A starter strip is a piece of foundation that runs from one end bar to the other. It is a comb guide.

    If you look at the comb, it is all over the place. It is wavy and is not centered on the frame. It is all wavy from one edge of the top bar to the other.

    We've tried to go foundationless, but the bees always built funny comb that we had to tear out and re-position in a frame with rubberbands.

    The most important thing is to have a good comb guide. If you use a starter strip, make sure it is a comb guide. If you are putting on a whole box of foundationless, make sure you have at least one frame of drawn comb (or foundation) that the bees can use as a ladder to get to the top bars.

    It also works to put an empty frame between two frames of brood, or between two frames of capped honey. Putting an empty frame between two frames of uncapped honey will likely result in the honey frames being drawn even fatter and the empty frame ignored.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    We tried both horizontal and vertical, and these particular bees built faster on the vertical. Maybe I was using the phrase "starter strip" in a way that doesn't please you, but the bees seemed to like it.

    To my way of thinking, the vertical wax mimicks the long chains the bees make when they are festooning.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    I started my first two hives last year, both foundationless from packages, so I had no drawn frames to give them. As everyone else has said, I found that I had to be diligent about correcting the first few frames. See lisascenic's pictures...at the right top of that second picture the comb is starting to bend out. I'd run my hive tool along those right few inches and gently push it back to being in line with the top frame, the bees will have that repaired and straightly (is that a word? ) attached in no more than a day or two. Keeping on top of it is important and don't be shy about correcting it. Also I found that once a box was getting to be fully drawn and I needed a new box, I had much better luck with that new box being drawn if I moved a drawn frame or two up to that new box and replaced them with empty undrawn frames in the lower box...not so much to give them a guide, I think it just made the bees realize, "oh hey, here's more space, let's build here".

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: considering going to foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
    I started my first two hives last year, both foundationless from packages, so I had no drawn frames to give them. As everyone else has said, I found that I had to be diligent about correcting the first few frames.
    I started my first two hives from nucs in mid-July 2010. They were in deeps with foundation. I let them fill one brood box and part of a second before I added foundationless frames between fully drawn frames. They filled in the frames in no time and eventually connected them on all four sides. Here's how they looked after 2 weeks:

    http://mudsongs.org/natural-foundati...b-2-weeks-old/

    Beautiful straight comb, and most of it was filled with drones cells, like this (and then eventually honey):

    http://mudsongs.org/foundationless-f...ots-of-drones/

    Had I gone foundationless from the start, placing foundationless frames between fully drawn frames --- judging from what I've gleaned from threads like this one --- I think I would have been okay. Lots of drones initially and then regular brood pattern.

    I'm starting up two more hives from nucs next year, and I plan to go foundationless right away instead of introducing the foundationless frames more than mid-way through the season like I did this year.

    The larger or natural number of drones that come with foundationless frames --- aren't they good for the colonies anyway? Drones usually show signs of disease first, right? So the drone pupae are chewed out, thrown out of the hive and subsequently the rest of the colony doesn't become diseased. Isn't that how it works? The drones are disposable, so they get sick first, get the boot and save the colony. Right?
    - Phillip
    @ Mud Songs

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