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Thread: Foundationless!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Rifle, Colorado
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    Default Foundationless!

    Will bees draw comb faster with or without foundation?

    100% natural wax or waxed plastic?

    Just thinking about going foundationless.
    "How do you expect to get by in life if you're not precision!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Different beekeepers have had different experiences, as for me my bee's draw foundationless faster than wax foundation.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    lake jackson, texas, USA
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Foundationless is faster but be ready for some drone comb. They will build worker comb when they think they have enough drone comb.

  4. #4
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    Manhattan,Montana,USA
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    I think foundationless is faster. I would just give it a try to make your own opinion. just make sure your hive is level and stick in a frame with a guide stick between two drawn brood frames. My guess is once you get the hang of it you wont go back. They may build a little drone comb but I just move it to the super's or to the outer frames.
    Last edited by kwest; 07-03-2011 at 10:36 PM. Reason: add to it

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Foundationless, for me, has almost always been fastest. But in our heat I wish I'd always have horizontally wired every single frame that didn't have plastic foundation. The wires don't slow the bees down, at all, but they don't always fasten the combs to the bottom bar, at least not right away, and those they don't fasten are at risk of collapse if they aren't supported by the horizontal wires.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    but they don't always fasten the combs to the bottom bar, at least not right away,
    I have noticed this also. It was in my bottom box, so I added a slatted rack in hopes that lifting them a little from the entrance might help. I just added my second brood box, so it will be interesting to see if they do any differently in that one.

    Do you think that they will eventually connect all the combs to the bottom bar?
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
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    486

    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Foundationless,FOR me is faster i also make an x and try to wire all deep frames as well as mediuem

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    No guarantees that they will eventually connect all combs to the bottom bars, but over time they do seem to connect more of them, at least a little.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    I use starter strips. Had foundation and figured the bees could build what they need without my guidance. Not had any problems except one hive that drew it skewed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Rifle, Colorado
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Alright! Thanks for the replies. I think I'll try evry other frame between capped brood in one of my hives just to see what happens. Another learning curve! Thanks again.
    "How do you expect to get by in life if you're not precision!"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Sargentville, Maine
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    13

    Default Re: Foundationless!

    I am absolutely new at this (but obsessive!) Getting our first nuc tomorrow at 8 AM...Right now I am trying to build a box of foundationless frames after coming under the sway of Michael Bush (who you, K.E.N. should look at here
    Do these look correct?
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I cut the wax 1 3/4 as a starter strip and then jammed a popsicle stick in the groove to keep them tight.
    My only concern is they seem kind of loose. Should I try to wire or bobby pin the strips in place?


    My nuc is medium frames (I have all 8 frame medium equipment) and will presumably be started with foundation. My thought is though to go with all foundationless on either side of the five(?) frames of the nuc as well as in the second hive body...I would love any advice.
    Thanks. Nico

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Nico108,

    Too wide a piece of foundation and way too loose. You don't need both foundation starter strips and popsicle stick (tongue depressor) comb guides.

    The bees will festoon from the edge of the foundation starter strip and pull it right out.

    You should either make your foundation strips narrower and beeswax them firmly into place, or glue the wooden strips firmly into place, not both.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
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    Jun 2011
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    Sargentville, Maine
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    So it should be a smaller piece of foundation? Or if the popsicle stick then should I just woodglue it in place? Michael Bush says not to bother waxing the starter strips...
    And if just foundation, do I melt it into place? Will that be enough to hold it in place? Jam a bunch of wax into the groove?
    Thanks all!

  14. #14
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    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Shorter piece of foundation, yes. Imagine the bees will festoon from the edge of your foundation strip -- hundreds of bees, all linked together with the top row of bees holding onto the bottom edge of your foundation strip, and they've warmed up the entire area including the foundation strip. Bingo, there goes the foundation strip. Full sheets of foundation they cluster on, starter strips they festoon from the bottom edge of. The foundation needs to be fastened securely and be narrow enough that the stress of the bees weight pulling on it will not tear it down.

    I dribble melted wax into the groove with the foundation strip, to hold it in place. Wood glue works well with wood to wood fastening, like the popsicle sticks. I prefer Weldbond III.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 07-05-2011 at 07:57 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  15. #15
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    Nov 2009
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    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    I'm havin gsuccess with just glueing some popsicle sticks into the groove with Titebond II. I don't bother with strater strips or wax painting or wax dribbling. My bees are building comb down from the bare pop sticks just fine.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
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    895

    Default Re: Foundationless!

    I believe what Mike B is talking about with waxing the starter strips is this: if you are using wood popsicle sticks or something similar you don't need to rub wax on it to encourage them to work there. If you are putting a small piece of wax foundation in to work as a starter strip then you should wax it into place so it doesn't fall out. I personally normally just use the wedge top frames and turn the wedge sideways as my my starter strip works pretty good.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
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    874

    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Yeah, I just wax in the strips also. Works great.

  18. #18
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    Jun 2009
    Location
    DeKalb Co. Alabama U.S.A.
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    232

    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Using popsicle sticks - do you go from one corner of the frame to the other, or just one centered in the frame? Wax foundation - full length and 1/4 - 3/8 inch below the top bar?

    CC

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Sale Creek, Tn. USA
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    173

    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Ken, check them often. If they get off-track just press the comb straight with your thumb. They will repair the comb. Occasionally you may have to take it out and let them start over. Better to catch a crooked comb right away. If you don't keep an eye on them they can make quite a mess. They WILL draw about 10-20% drone cells. If it is for honey, who cares. I move drone comb to the outside in the brood nest. They will usually fill it with honey. You CANNOT keep out all drone comb ! If you are experienced, you know that they only draw comb during a honeyflow.
    Raymond

  20. #20
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    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Foundationless!

    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenChaser View Post
    Using popsicle sticks - do you go from one corner of the frame to the other, or just one centered in the frame? Wax foundation - full length and 1/4 - 3/8 inch below the top bar?
    I buy the larger 'craft sticks' popsicle sticks- they give more of a ridge hanging down for the bees to build on. Glue them in from one corner to the other, all the way across, and break a stick to fill in the last irregular length gap. Sometimes you might need to put them in dubled if the gap between the frame wedges is wide. You can leave spaces between the sticks of like 1/4", it doesn't have to be perfect at all! But yes all the way across not just one stick in the middle. Use Titebond II - that's a waterproof exterior wood glue. Regular Titebond is not waterproof.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

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