Results 1 to 20 of 345

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    Hello,

    I like to post thought provoking posts so I ask those pro and against, what is the surge in interest for foundationless that I have seen online in the last few years all about? From my own perspective I used either wired wax or plastic coated with wax foundation.

    These are if I understand it correctly the benefits of foundationless and why I dont see the justification.

    1. Less contaminants in the hive--yes it is true that even wax from the cleanest foundation maker will have some contaminants in it I remember a study where Jennifer Berry had alot of trouble sourcing pure clean wax for a foundation experiment. However, these contaminants are minute and even if you have the bees draw out their own wax, bee meds and and other contaminates usually find their way into any hive from the outside world from robbing and fruit spraying etc.

    2. It is more natural---Listen I hate to tell everyone but beekeeping is by definition not natural. Sticking insects in a painted box when and where we want is not natural at all from the get--go. That combined with the parasites like mites that we introduced to the environment make the whole environment the bees have lived in for millions of years not natural.


    3. Less work than putting in all that foundation. Perhaps if the bees draw out all the frames correctly, but more often than not alot of initial adjustments are needed which you do not need to do with foundation. Plus for newbees learning for the first time learning to open the hive and observe the bees can be overwhelming enough let alone messing with the combs. And in terms of work for the bees it will take around 8 pounds of wasted honey for one pound of wax (yes I know this number is subject to debate) just to get them to draw out the whole frame and so I would like to give them any boost I can. Plus with new beekeepers you need to idenifty if the bees are drawing alot of drone comb which bees accustomed to worker cell foundation seem to love to do--whole frames of it at first until they feel they have enough for the hive.

    4. I want natural comb cell size--yes this is good but the first comb your package bees draw out will probably be large cell anyway as the bees are not regressed--so now you need to cut out that comb after a few rounds of brood and make them build it all out again-setting them back further--at least with small cell foundation the bees will get a head start on doing all of their work again!

    That is what I thought of so far let me know what you all think for and against!
    Last edited by xcugat; 06-06-2012 at 09:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Round Rock, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    We're new beekeepers and this topic is very interesting to me.

    1. Yes, less contaminants to start with and yes, the bees will eventually bring some into the hive. From there, it seems that the less we have, the better. Right?

    2. I've had that same philosophical argument in my head... Bee"keeping" is not natural, but we are attempting to provide the most "natural" environment possible. AFAIK, no bees look for trees that have wired foundation in them.

    3. For us, it's actually the same amount of work as we've been putting in 1" strips of cut comb foundation as a starter guide. I spent almost 2 years taking classes, visiting other hives and reading about bees before bringing in our own hives. I'm quite comfortable trimming comb and manipulating things as needed. I've found way more drone cells on the wired foundation than on the foundation-less frames. Having not measured cell width sizes in my hives, I'm not sure what the minute differences are.

    4. My understanding was that without being forced into a particular cell size, the bees can be more hygienic by creating cell sizes that don't allow pests to occupy with the larvae. Yes, that may set them back a little but our primary goal is more, healthy bees. So, the delay can be compensated for with a little feeding and not expecting a large honey harvest.

    On a side note, I love the look of the 'natural' comb when I open our hives. Hopefully this thread stirs the pot a bit and we get some interesting info.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    Thanks for the reply funny farm--
    On answer 3 did you not see sections of all drone comb on the foundationless frames?--I know bees will chew and fit in the drones as needed on the foundation frames, but I my foundationless experience (I have tried it) I got alot more big all drone comb areas.

    to answer 4 you need to get a piece of comb and measure the cell size--I would bet it is not much smaller than foundation because the bees were not regressed and are larger themselves. If so your goal is not being reached as the cells are still big and big means more room more mites in the cells (if small cell actually helps but that is a separate topic for discussion other than this thread)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Round Rock, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    3... Not that I have found. On the foundation frames, there will be spots of 4 or 5 drone cells but no large sections. On the foundation-less they are spotty. Due to the type of bees, possibly? We started with Buckfast bees but re-queened with BeeWeaver queens.

    4... Tomorrow, I will cut out a small section during inspection and measure. I'm not expecting it to be much smaller but I would think that with the size of bees and the size of pests, that .1mm or even .05mm could make a difference.

    Is there another thread on small-cell already? That's interesting to me too, but then again it steps away from "natural".

    In response to MrHappy, you're right, I highly doubt the plastic foundation adds any contaminants at all. Today's plastic technology is pretty good especially since people are more aware of chemicals leeching out of them. And heck yeah to chewing some comb. I was 'forced' to sample some the other day when trimming a bit of comb.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    The two main ideas behind foundationless beekeeping are that all commerical wax, since it's coming out of existing hives, often treated with large amounts of miticides, is fairly badly contaminated with not only miticides by also various external things like chorothalonil (and other fungicides) at levels that may be detrimental to bees, and that the "standard" cell size was chosen to make larger than normal bees with the idea (unproven, I might add) that larger bees forage more.

    The contamination issue could be significant, more so if you use standard miticides in you hives, or use thin surplus foundation for comb honey. The cell size issue is different, there is some evidence that smaller cells (hence shorter development time) means far fewer varroa mites. The jury is out on that, and you can get small cell foundation and "regress" you bees the easy way, too.

    Drawbacks are that bees don't always read beekeeping books and fail to make nice, flat comb in the empty frames (swarms are the worst since they are in a huge hurry, but other bees will also sometimes simply refuse to build comb in the frames) and there is no guide for cell size and the bees will often make drone brood cells.

    Of course, the hive need drones, and I am of the opinion that you can control the drone brood by giving them an empty frame outside where you want the brood nest to be for them to fill with drone comb. In my hive last here where I experimented, they made about 30% of the foundationless frames drones, with the remainder being normal brood cell size. You might have to move them around a bit to get a brood nest without drone cells, but they only built large amounts of it in the outer frames.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    Let me see if I get this right. Foundationless frames so you get( Natural? ) sized cells that help reduce Varroa reproduction. Then you get 30% drone comb. Varroa prefer to reproduce in drone comb. So you are building a Varroa factory. Sounds like a dog chasing its tail.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,675

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    The two main ideas behind foundationless beekeeping are
    hmmm, we started using foundationless frames before we had ever heard of wax contamination or anything about cell size.

    deknow

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    For foundation

    1. I don't think the plastic contaiminates the honey any more that the pesticides that are being used withing a mile of the hive.

    2. For this I just agree with OP, nothing we are doing is natural. Is stealing thier storage natural?

    3. It takes me an extra 10 sec(?) to add a plastic foundation in the center as I'm nailing it all up. If you are that worried about time...

    4. The size of the bees aren't the same as they were 500 years ago, so natural size? People have measured the size that the bees draw out normally and that is what the size is based on, so this is the normal size, we are just trying to make sure they don't add extra stuff, like drone cells, in the middle of everything else.

    For foundationless - People do like cut comb though and I do go foundationless for that. It is kind of fun to chew on wax for a while.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,936

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    The modern beehive and most that goes with it was invented over 150 years ago. Hundreds of authors have written hundreds of books and hundreds of inventors have had 150 years to improve upon it. So there is little new for the current beekeepers promoting themselves as authorities with which to fill their websites, books and lecture series. So they come up with things contrary to everyday teachings to make themselves sound like novel innovators. Even though there are billions of queen excluders in service they condemn them. Even though bees build different cell sizes in all hives and in different climate zones they promote one cell size as salvation. Some promote not using a modern hive but a hive dating back to antiquity. Others seem to be able to keep bees with no interference with medications. Small cell, natural cell, and foundationless are just some of this decades catch words and hype. Whether there is any truth to their advantages is for all of us to find out as we sort out who to believe and who not to believe.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,506

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Small cell, natural cell, and foundationless are just some of this decades catch words and hype. Whether there is any truth to their advantages is for all of us to find out as we sort out who to believe and who not to believe.
    Cut to the chase and find out for yourself. That's the surest way to sort things out.
    Regards, Barry

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,675

    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    The modern beehive and most that goes with it was invented over 150 years ago. Hundreds of authors have written hundreds of books and hundreds of inventors have had 150 years to improve upon it. So there is little new for the current beekeepers promoting themselves as authorities with which to fill their websites, books and lecture series.
    The modern beehive is built around beespace. Rarely have I read, in any of the (not hundreds, but certainly several tens) beekeeping books I've read a good description of bee space.

    Care to quote a good one? (description/definition of bee space)

    deknow

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Stromness, Scotland
    Posts
    124

    Exclamation The foundationless hype: a distraction from neonic problems!

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    Hello,

    I like to post thought provoking posts so I ask those pro and against, what is the surge in interest for foundationless that I have seen online in the last few years all about?
    I provide my bees with a strip of wax folded over horizontal fishing line. On a broodframe I have 4 parallel lines and 3 on a super frame, they go through holes in the side bars and are stretched tight, the comb built on them is pretty strong. As long as I am carful I can put even virgin comb through the extractor.

    This system suits me and my bees, and I get lots of fresh comb drawn every year.
    On the other hand I can understand people who use foundation instead, as it can make hive management more straightforward.

    And now to the original question: Why the hype?

    The answer is simple:

    The whole topic is mainly a distraction from the real reason of our bee problems: modern agricultural pesticides.

    Beekeepers are dragged into the most weird and wonderful discussions like cell orientations and cell sizes, while up and down the country colonies are sick and dying from neonic pesticides. But the blame is put on the varroa mite, which on it's own would never be as much of a problem as in combination with the neurotoxins brought into the hive with pollen, nectar and feed.

    I say: ban the neonics - and varroa treatment will become much easier, as the bees won't be compromised in their hive hygiene anymore. Then everybody can just use the beekeeping method that suits himself without fearing to risk the survival of his bees.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: The foundationless hype: a distraction from neonic problems!

    There are lots of other things in the hive besides neo-nics. Fungicides and herbicides also accumulate there, and the interactions between all these chemicals are unknown.

    The two largest changes in beekeeping since WWII are probably large scale "migratory" bee "hauling" (the bees don't migrate, people load them on trucks and haul them all over) and the widespread use of pesticides. Lead and arsenic were significant problems before WWII, as most orchards were heavily sprayed with lead asenate to control codling moths and other pests (to the point where the soil was poisoned and the trees died, believe it or not), but the organic pesticides were post WWII.

    The results are that not only are the bees exposed to low levels of a huge variety poisons and are exposed to lethal levels fairly often, but we spread whatever new diseases or pests appear all over the country in very short order by transporting hives to all 48 states during a growing season.

    Peter
    Last edited by psfred; 06-07-2012 at 09:57 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Stromness, Scotland
    Posts
    124

    Exclamation Re: The foundationless hype: a distraction from neonic problems!

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    There are lots of other things in the hive besides neo-nics. Fungicides and herbicides also accumulate there, and the interactions between all these chemicals are unknown.
    The difference to other contaminants is that neonics were designed to kill sytemically and with a delayed action.

    Here is Bayer describing how Imidacloprid kills colonies of termites:

    Premise® Insecticide, introduced by Bayer Corporation in 1996, works synergistically with nature to provide value-added termite control. Premise Plus Nature,TM the term the manufacturer uses to describe the product's unique mode of action, affects termites by making them susceptible to infection, disease and death by naturally occurring organisms.
    http://www.pctonline.com/Article.aspx?article_id=39807

    Bees and termites are related to each other and both use grooming behaviour to keep out infections and parasites.

    Neonic contamination is extremely widespread nowadays, it interferes with grooming and hive cleaning, that's why varroa mites can overrun our colonies.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads