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!