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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default ladder for foundationless start?

    I am going to start a new hive this season with a package and go foundationless in my langstrom frame. I have full frames of honey from the hive that I lost, but they are large cell. To give the package a good start, could I use the large cell frame of honey as a ladder and pull it after they take the honey?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: ladder for foundationless start?

    I would suggest using your drawn frames as guides to help the bees draw straight comb in your foundationless frames. One drawn frame on each side of undrawn foundationless. Otherwise you'll more than likely end up; with a willy-nilly mess. Don't ask me how I know!
    Then as they draw the foundationless out, you can move the large cell comb wherever you wish, until you eventually remove it.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: ladder for foundationless start?

    If you want natural comb, I would not put large cell comb in the hive. Not that you can't, but the object is to get it out and what if the queen lays it full of brood?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: ladder for foundationless start?

    That is my fear Mr. Bush. I lost the two hives I had and there is a lot of honey in one. (2 deeps) If I don't use it for starting up new hives, is there something else I can use it for? I am giving some to a friend if he needs to feed this spring. It cant be used for human consumption.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: ladder for foundationless start?

    I'm in agreement with StevenG. It will make your small cell regression take a little longer but you'll end up with nice straight comb on the foundationless frames. Then you can rotate them out.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Nashua, NH, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: ladder for foundationless start?

    I'm wondering if the reasoning to not even have it in as a ladder as whaler posted, or as a frame guide as SteveG suggests even temporarily is that the bees tend to not just mimic the direction of the comb next that they are building next to, but the cells on the side of the new comb are influenced in type/size by the cells in existing adjacent comb. Seen this stated in a few books.

    Then there is Michael's point of what if she lays in them; if you (whaler) are going foundationless and mention large cell concerns then it is to be assumed this would be exactly against what you want in the long run. Thing is I see how its tempting as they could use the honey, a ladder seems handy and a little guidance to comb direction, spacing might help. Just don't think you can do it.

    If it was me I'd stay away from adding the large cell to start the package. I'd feed them some of that honey from a feeder, or let them rob, give them your foundationless frames, throw in 1 or 2 small cell foundation to show direction and add ladder, then once they started why not put these at position 1 and 10 when you have 7 combs drawn, then add the second box. This would put them at the outside frames as they would build large cell for honey storage there anyways and giving them that honey and saving building two combs per box the first year could mean a lot. But then again I understand a lot of folks would bristle at letting those combs near, and I doubled down and said to not use them temporarily as you suggest but put at the outside until at least next year. You could also just feed them the honey and save the comb for use in honey suppers only.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: ladder for foundationless start?

    KnNashua, some good points. I lost both my hives last year so I am pretty much starting over. I'm a little overwhelmed with all the information I have been reading so I appreciate the help. This is just the third year of beekeeping for me. I just read M. Bush's book and have a lot of decisions to make. I have a hive at a friends that I will try to regress to small cell. So that is the first challenge. I am going to be getting two packages this spring. One will go in a top bar hive I am building, the other in my old equipment which I will convert to foundationless. Should be an interesting season.

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