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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Adams Co., Colorado, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    I'm in my first year at this, so take it with a grain of salt. Me and a buddy decided to start keeping bees about March this year, so we ordered some 10-frame deep hive kits, and knocked them together, foundations and all.

    Then, the next week, I found this forum, started reading lots and following links (I read really fast) and of course found Mike Bush's site.

    I'm also a carpenter, and not only found myself disappointed with the quality of the kits we ordered, but also decided I could build 8-frame medium foundationless cedar equipment cheaper.

    We ordered 5 packages from a company in California, delivered mid-April. Installed them in two 10-frame deep foundationed hives, and three of our homebuilt 8-frame medium foundationless hives.

    All 5 are now dead.

    Based on my exhaustive internet research, they froze. Our bee yard was getting to low 20-degree temps at night through the middle of May, or a month after installing the packages. (Which also means, of course, no nectar... so cold and starvation go hand-in-hand.) Not a good thing, and the lesson we learned from that is -- don't buy packages from warm climates. We're now rebuilding from local feral swarms and cutouts. Colorado weather is fickle at best, and this spring was nasty and mean beyond anything I've seen here in 15 years. (Corn farmers couldn't plant til about 10 days ago, 3 weeks behind normal.) It was silly to hope that bees from essentially a Mediterranean clime would survive here, but no one sells packages locally. $600 out. Lesson learned.

    Long and short of it is... we saw, at minimum, twice as much comb drawn in the foundationless equipment. Before the mass extinction. I think that means something.

    Even if it doesn't, we save a buck a frame... because foundation is the only part I can't make in my shop.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    columbus,ohio,USA
    Posts
    518

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    apiator,,,that stinks! Im sorry to hear it. I dont know if local packs would be any better, local nucs would be best. Getting packs going under those circumstances is tough, and risky. Do you think the foundationless caused it? I havnt tried packs on foundationless yet, just splits.
    Chris Cree
    Cree's Bees

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    I love cutouts, nothing better than getting paid well to take somebody elses survivor bees.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Union County, Ky, USA
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    Why do folks push so hard for you to use foundation?

    Rob

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,270

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    Probably because they know that having a brood chamber that contains accurately drawn comb that is predominately worker cells is one of the requirements for a successful colony. For a colony to reach it's full potential it needs a strong force of workers. A good queen can/will lay 2000 + eggs a day if she has the proper cells to do so, without good comb she can't lay at her maximum rate.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Union County, Ky, USA
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    I wouldnt mind trying some foundationless frames to try some comb honey. Is it ok to put a shallow super of foundationless frames on top of a honey super, or do you run the risk of giving them too much space? I dont want to experiment too much because I only have a small number of hives. I do have two strong hives with supers on right now. They havent really started drawing out the frames just yet on the medium supers. They have them propolised up really good, but thats about it. I dont wanna disrupt them by adding a shallow on top of my medium super, but with no foundation for a pest to eat or lay in, is it safe to throw it on?
    I have always heard to not give them too much space, but then I hear of folks throwing 3 or 4 supers on so they dont run out of space. I just dont want to do the wrong thing.

    Rob

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    Ron, you need to Pyramid up frames with new foundationless frames or you will have a mess. Basically with every new box of empty foundatioless frames you add you pull up a couple of drawn out capped frames, that are nice and straight from a lower box putting the empties in there place. Gives the bees a ladder up in the new box and gives them straight comb to build next to as a guide.

    Don't ask me how I know!


    If you do it right they look like this:


    Don

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,626

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apiator View Post
    All 5 are now dead.

    Based on my exhaustive internet research, they froze. Our bee yard was getting to low 20-degree temps at night through the middle of May, or a month after installing the packages. (Which also means, of course, no nectar... so cold and starvation go hand-in-hand.)
    I doubt they froze....they starved. A new package (a "fake swarm") needs to be fed enough to get established. Some cold nights will not kill a colony...if they have stores. There is no reason to expect a package to draw comb and produce stores under the circumstances you describe...did you feed them at all? how much? with what?

    deknow

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    686

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    This is my first year in beekeeping and I went all foundationless. If you use foundation, people will argue to go foundationless, if you go foundationless they will argue for foundation. There's pros and cons to each and one type of frame may be more applicable to a certain set of circumstances than the other. The biggest hurdle that I've found in one's first year is getting a nice strong colony going, after you've accomplished that, experiment a little. I also went with top entrances my first year buahahaha

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: How do you like going foundationless?

    I heart foundationless! So glad I found out about it. And the bees draw it out and love it! I think my bees and their queen disagree that the comb they make themselves aren't 'accurately drawn' as they prefer to lay in the foundationless.

    D Semple is absolutely correct about laddering them up. I had success with just interlacing foundation and foundationless and they drew them straight and nice, but with their third box, I pulled a few honey store up and replaced them with starter strips.

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