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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Flat, smooth foundation?

    What happens when flat, smooth foundation is used? Does it work, or do the bees really need the hexagonal indentations to build upon?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,700

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    not sure where these ideas come from?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    4,026

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Not sure what they would do with a flat sheet of wax. I suspect they need the indentions to get started drawing it out at all.

    If you want to let them draw out the comb with the sizes they want to build, you can just use a starter strip of foundation. That is a topic all to itself, and there are many threads about that on Beesource, if you are interested.

    If you are just starting out, my personal opinion is that you should start with wax foundation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    I'm in my second year, and just did my first harvest. So, I have some wax. I like the idea of foundationless frames and will explore that, but I figured that if I could easily make flat foundation, and it would work, then it would save the girls some work!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Through 120 Million years of evolution the bees have been getting along just fine, the last 100 years humans have come along wanting to fix what is not broken, and lend Nature a hand. I am not sure this will play out well in the end.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    It would be cheap and easy to make - just curious what would happen.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,860

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by kspitze View Post
    It would be cheap and easy to make - just curious what would happen.
    Having tried to make my own foundation...unsuccessfully...it was neither cheap nor easy. Foundationless frames with popsicle sticks or tongue depressers really is cheap, and easy! And I don't have to re-invent the wheel!

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,103

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    I believe M Bush tried that. I believe that his conclusion was bee preference was. foundationless, embossed foundation. smooth foundation then the plastics at the lower end. I have also considered it but will not go with it for that reason.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    48,841

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    They will work it, but slowly. It is much faster to let them build foundationless. You are doing them no favors.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington
    Posts
    1,326

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Try it and find out. Learn thru doing. Then let us know. I have no idea. But I can't imagine the work it took to come up w/ foundation mills and the milling process if there weren't some great advantage over a flat sheet of wax or no fouyndation at all.
    There is an adntage, Mark, but it is to the one selling the foundation.
    It's hard to get an extra buck or two.upsell on frames without foundation...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,645

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    When Mehring first made foundation in 1857 it was a flat, dipped sheet with indentions of the cell bottoms, and no cell walls as we have on foundation today. Being dipped it was thick at the bottom of the sheet and thinner at the top. The angle of the cell bottoms was wrong so the bees had to rework all the foundation before making cells on it. In 1895 E. B. Weed made a machine to make foundation in a continuous sheet of uniform thickness, and roller mills were made to form the cell pattern with the 120 degree angle in the base and beginning cell walls. These improvements made foundations that the bees preferred, and trying to re-think the process today is not a profitable use of time.

    The older issues of the American Bee Journal and the Bee Culture magazine tell the story of the 1800s beekeepers developing the management techniques we use today, and anyone can read and see the evolution in thought and management practices. They argue over many of the same subjects that we do today. One thing stands out, the beekeepers of that period were tight with a dollar. They were interested in profit. They were in search of the most efficient techniques. If comb foundation was not a benefit to them they would not have used it.

    Hobby beekeepers like myself can piddle and play with keeping bees, we can try new things (at least things that are new to us, almost everything has been tried by someone before) but as a group, we seem to have become very gullible. A statement is made, and then is repeated until it becomes truth. How often do we try a procedure for ourselves before we accept it as fact? I see statements about management techniques made on Beesource that contrary to my experience, but that can be explained because of differences in location and the strain of bees being used. I also see statements made about historical beekeeping practices that are half-truths, and that is harder to explain. We should make an effort to study our beekeeping history so that we can give as accurate information as possible, and we should not repeat what we read on the net until we have tried it several time and found it accurate. If we do pass along information/recommendations that we have not checked ourselves, we should say that we have not tried it and let the reader beware.

    When anyone reads my posts, be assured I will do my best to be accurate, but don't believe it as though it is carved in stone. Try everything for yourselves in your area with your bees and prove or disprove it, then you can pass along to others what you have learned with confidence that it will work for them.
    37 years - 25 colonies - IPM disciple - naturally skeptic

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