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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
    Posts
    15

    Default How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    I have inherited 2 hives in the Philippines and the task of multiplying those as fast and as best I can to build a livelihood support program here. The project had foundered last year, partly due to illness and dropped from 25 hives to 2. So I have plenty of 10 frame Langstroth bodies, tops and bottoms. Sadly, nearly all the frames of drawn foundation were riddled with wax moth as they weren't stored properly. On the bright side, I have hundreds of sheets of new foundation. The thing I'm most short of is time. I have until next January to do what I can.

    Two weeks ago I created 2 splits from the first two hives, introducing 2 new queens to them and took them to a 2nd site I have in 4 frame travelling nuc boxes. I also fed them 1:1 sugar syrup at first. After 1 week I transferred them into full sized lang boxes using follower boards to keep the brood frames compact. I gave them a sheet of foundation each to get busy on and changed the syrup to 2:1 (by weight) to support the wax makers.

    My question is about how best to introduce the new sheets of foundation to maximize their building comb on them and hive expansion. I'm not trying for any honey this year. My overriding focus is creating new colonies. Anything you can do to assist will be much appreciated

    What has been people's experience? Is it best to build up from a 4 frame nuc 1 frame at a time, or just put the extra 6 frames of foundation in and leave them to it. Some say put the new foundation sheets at the outer edges and some say put them in the center of the brood nest, others say 2nd from the edge where the wax makers are and the field bees exchange their nectar with the house bees. In the past I've added single sheets towards the edge but thy were largely ignored until I put them in the center.

    I haven't yet found anything that specifically addresses this issue.

    What say you and why?

    Regards

    Roger

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    Stay with 1:1 because this will cause them to draw comb.
    Comb is not just for honey. They raise bees in it too and that is what you need. More brood space = more bees = more splits = more hives.
    Keep one frame of foundation on each outer side of the brood nest and you can slip one in the middle of the brood nest.
    But you want to think brood first! Then you can split. If you are wanting to get back to 25 forget honey harvest just think honey for winter storage. Then do 2:1 if you need to give them more food for what winter you would have there.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    Ditto on the 1:1 instead of 2:1.
    As for the foundation, once they have 8 frames drawn out on a box, you can add another box of all foundation. Or you could pull a couple brood frames from the bottom box to put into the newly-added box (so you'd have two frames with foundation in the bottom box and 8 frames with foundation in the upper box).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Alabaster, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    209

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    I have been looking at making increases and someone pointed me to this book by Dr. C.C. Miller, which by the way is a great read.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=KJB...page&q&f=false


    Starting on page 257 of the book, it tells what you are looking for. This is where it talks about going from 9 to 56 colonies. He started May 29 with 9 hives. In those hive only a total of 41 combs had any brood. The process did not begin until June 12 (when the hives were stronger). The first nucs were made June 21. The last were made August 23. But he does say that this was an unusually good year for nectar flow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    Thanks old fella I'm with you in forgetting about harvesting honey this year and my primary focus is on increasing the number of drawn frames as quickly as I can. What you are suggesting sounds like a good 'each way bet'.

    BTW, when I said I had changed to 2:1 by weight, I should have clarified that to be 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. I'm not sure if that is how you were interpreting my ambiguous message. I'd read somewhere that the stronger syrup was more useful to the wax makers. When mixed by weight, that ratio ends up around the saturation point where a little of the sugar stays in the bottom even after several days.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    I would be feeding 2:1 if I could get it to dissolve, but end up with 5:3 because it's hard to dissolve at 2:1. I have no trouble getting wax built or any other purpose that feeding is for at 5:3. Resources are resources and the bees will gladly use them. The 5:3 keeps much better than the 1:1 and is easier to haul around (less for the same sugar content). But if you don't let it spoil, 1:1 can work.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    Greg: Thanks for that link. When I followed it I ended up at a place where all I could read was the book title at the top of page 243. I googled the name of the book and found a PDF copy at http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0...0408miller.PDF {if anyone else is interested in downloading it). Maybe the page numbers on the PDF copy didn't match the hard copy but I read a fair bit either side of pages 257 and enough to pick up the idea of taking a frame or two along with the queen on and isolating her with a queen excluder, in a new box underneath along with the balance of frames with foundation to fill it. I also like the idea that after 24 days I'll have a bunch of broodless drawn frames and maybe I can use them elsewhere.

    indypartridge: If I read you right, that is what you were suggesting. Having two votes now means I'll definitely give it a go.

    Michael: The issue of the syrup keeping is one that has concerned me. Earlier, I had fed the 2 original colonies 1 part sugar to 2 parts water because someone said it simulated a nectar flow better and would perhaps encourage the queen to increase her egg laying to take advantage of it. However, it is really hot and humid here all the time and things go off pretty quickly. A bunch of legless bees who have filled up on fermented syrup might be amusing for a while but it doesn't get the job done :-) So I'm inclined to err on the side of something that keeps better.

    jrbbees: I'll try your 'one either side and one in the middle' on the smaller nucs in case the above overwhelms them a bit.

    To all: I'm a bit surprised this topic hasn't been covered in any of the reading I've done so far. I'm sure I'm not the first person to want to increase the number of colonies I have as quickly as possible.

    I'm also sure I'll have other questions to put to y'all (that one's for you old fella :-) in time but this is the main one that prompted me to join your forum. Thanks for your help and I welcome any further ideas. I read somewhere that if you asked 10 beekeepers a question you might just get 12 different answers :-)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    indypartridge: I re-read your comment and realized I got it back-to-front and you were suggesting putting the bulk of the foundation in the top box. As I'm gunning for as much drawn foundation as I can get a.s.a.p. I'll try putting the bulk of the foundation in the bottom box and see how it goes. If it works, I'll let you know. I suspect that if the queen is stuck in the bottom with not much drawn comb to lay in, the pressure will be right on the workers to get busy and make more for her. Just a gut feeling and I could very easily be wrong.

    I might sound a bit like a slave driver cracking the whip over the poor bees but in the end it is for a good cause and I know I'll have to accept whatever the bees decide is the limit. I'm not doing this as a hobby or for some spare income, the livelihoods of families will be at stake. The Philippines is still a third world country and there is a lot of poverty here. The people I'm here helping run a malnourished program (See www.gceinternational.org), taking in severely malnourished kids. Not all of them manage to pull through. One of the things I'm looking at down the track is collecting pollen to distribute to the kids in the program as it is such a good food - nature's vitamin and mineral supplement!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: How, when and where to introduce new sheets of foundation

    Just to clarify, syrup is designated by sugarater.
    2:1 is two parts of sugar to one part water.
    1:1 is one part to one part
    1:2 is one part sugar to two parts water.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#ratios
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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