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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
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    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
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    moravia,ny
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    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    not sure where these ideas come from?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Tulsa, OK
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    3,451

    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
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    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
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    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!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland, USA
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    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
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    1,858

    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
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    Warrior, Alabama
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    1,068

    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
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    46,108

    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
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    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.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  11. #11
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    Apr 2012
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    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    They will work it, but slowly. It is much faster to let them build foundationless. You are doing them no favors.
    Thanks, Michael. Is there any way to get them to reuse the wax? I read somewhere they will rework it if it is put out in front of the hive, but when I have tried it with small chunks, they don't. I am definitely going to try foundationless, but I'd like to reuse the wax if possible.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2012
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    Carrollton, Georgia, USA
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    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.
    Thanks, sqkcrk. I think I will try it - my curiosity usually makes me explore widely!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Boldly go where others have gone before to rediscover old knowledge lost to modern man.

    I used to do that myself sorta. When I worked at Colonial Williamsburg as an 18th Century Pit Sawyer and Carpenter. Using the tools of the times teaches one something which books just don't quite get across. The feel for something, the experiencing of it. I applaud your initiative. Don't forget to report your findings. So others can learn too.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Killingworth, CT
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    43

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Cheaper and easier to let them do all the work. Reuse your wax as candles.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    3,721

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    > "Try it and find out. Learn thru doing. Then let us know."
    > "Thanks, sqkcrk. I think I will try it - my curiosity usually makes me explore widely!"

    You will probably have to set up an observation hive to come to an accurate conclusion that bees "reuse wax" in any form. So far I haven't read anything that they do; at least not to build fresh new comb in any useful amount.

    > "If the bees are watched closely during the height of the honey harvest, or if at other times a colony of bees is fed heavily on sugar syrup for three days during warm weather, there will be found toward the end of the second or the third day little pearly discs of wax, somewhat resembling fish scales, protruding from between the rings of the under side of the body of the bee. These when examined with a magnifier reveal little wax scales of rare beauty. Sometimes these scales come so fast that they fall on the bottom-board and may be scraped up in considerable quantities, seeming for some reason not to have been wanted."<
    > http://www.beesource.com/resources/e...about-beeswax/
    But that was published in 1923.
    > http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...of-honey-comb/

    The whole process of wax secretion, collecting the scales with their legs, transferring it to their mouthparts, masticating it and forming it to make comb is instinctive. As far as flat foundation, I think the base of the cells is the most important crucial step for comb building because it provides for building cells on both sides. They will build burr comb for drone brood and honey on the flat surface of the top bars and other places, but the cells are always aligned horizontal with the plane of the surface; never vertical to it.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-28-2012 at 08:20 AM.

  16. #16
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
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    398

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    Using a slim bit on the top of the frame would provide an excellent starter for foundationless drawing.

    If they will draw off the junk plastic they can do it on the flat wax sheet.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Moseby, Jutland ,Denmark
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    51

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    I made this experiment last season ,very easy to make the sheets ,and the bees did use them ,but very slow even compared vith store bourght foundation.
    I suspeckt they simply vere to smooth, maybe scatching up the surface would help.
    I never made further investigations in this, because i "discovered" that a frame with a paintstick or just the frame ,was so much easyer and my bees fill out a frame very fast (12"*10" framesize).

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    I think if you had a roller that would work the wax it would make the wax softer and that I think is why they don't like the sheets so well, but it also may be other issues. I don't see any reason to use them since they draw comb perfectly well and much faster without them...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,838

    Default Re: Flat, smooth foundation?

    The main issue I've seen with flat sheets (from pics and vids) is bees start working in different spots and with no guide it just creates a mess when they try to come together and they've always been uneven or just clumps of random cells started here and there.

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