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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default foundationless frames for new beekeeper

    After reading Mr. Bush's website I've decided that going foundationless makes a whole lot of sense. Now, I'm a new beek starting my first two colonies from 5 frame nucs on deep frames in April. I don't have extra drawn frames to act as a guide, just the 5 frames from the nuc. Is there a good way to start with those 5 frames and get the bees to build straight comb on foundationless frames? Seems to me I could arrange frames like this:

    EEHEBBBEHE

    where:
    E= empty frame
    H= frame of honey and pollen from nuc
    B= frame of capped brood from nuc

    Am I just better off using foundation until I have enough drawn frames to use as a guide on either side of an empty foundationless frame?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: foundationless frames for new beekeeper

    A better idea might be to place the foundationless frames between the brood frames until they are mostly drawn and then move more in.

    First step:
    EEHBEBEBHE or EEHBEBBHEE as long as the bees aren't spread too thinly over the frames so brood gets cold. Instead of transferring the nuc directly in, you could leave it in the smaller box so the population builds up a bit then you'll have enough bees to keep everything warm when you switch it over. You could also remove one or both of the honey frames and store them in the freezer and have the bees draw the new comb while still in the 5-frame box. As long as there is no risk of starving, it should be fine, and then when you get 7 or 8 total frames, you can put them in the 10-frame box and continue.

    When those one or two original empty frames are mostly drawn, put another empty frame in there next to or between them.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: foundationless frames for new beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    A better idea might be to place the foundationless frames between the brood frames until they are mostly drawn and then move more in.

    First step:
    EEHBEBEBHE or EEHBEBBHEE as long as the bees aren't spread too thinly over the frames so brood gets cold. Instead of transferring the nuc directly in, you could leave it in the smaller box so the population builds up a bit then you'll have enough bees to keep everything warm when you switch it over. You could also remove one or both of the honey frames and store them in the freezer and have the bees draw the new comb while still in the 5-frame box. As long as there is no risk of starving, it should be fine, and then when you get 7 or 8 total frames, you can put them in the 10-frame box and continue.

    When those one or two original empty frames are mostly drawn, put another empty frame in there next to or between them.
    I think the nucs are in cardboard... I can make or buy a wooden 5 frame nuc box as I'm sure they'll come in handy later for splits or swarms. I'll try to be prepared for the weather. Late April in central IL could be cold and rainy or could be 90. If it's cold and rainy I'd be inclined to keep them in a nuc box for a few weeks like you said but if it's warm I'd be inclined to split the brood up and put some empty frames between them in a deep. I'm starting two hives and I'm an engineer and the experimental type. Maybe I'll just try both methods.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: foundationless frames for new beekeeper

    DLMKA, being in central Illinois, your plan is probably very workable, as it keeps the brood area compact and protected from your wild swings in weather/temp. And as the bees expand the brood nest, you can manipulate the frames to keep a foundationless between two previously drawn frames. Good luck!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: foundationless frames for new beekeeper

    I would decide based on the strength of the nuc. If there are enough bees to fill a gap big enough for the frame with festooning bees quickly, then add them to the middle of the brood nest. Then, as you show, put them on the edge of the brood nest and the rest on the outside. I doubt a nuc early in the spring will be able to manage to empty holes in the brood nest. A strong hive has no trouble with several.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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