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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    6,859

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

    Beeswax is a chemical sponge, as Jerry Hayes calls it. It soaks up chemicals and contaminants that the bees bring in or beekeepers are putting in the hive the last couple decasdes. Regular comb replacement is the only soluton. Replacement is not dependent on foundation type. Plastic foundation is easily scraped with a capping scratcher for "crush and strain" harvesting or regular comb replacement.
    Small cell and natural cell studies in several states and worldwide have proven ineffective in controlling Varroa or anything else. The spatial relationship changes as bees "regress" so there is no benefit. The bee biology that makes AHB resistant to Varroa is called absconding. AHB leave when the mite load gets high. We are starting to see this with all bees. It goes by another name also - CCD.
    Beekeeping is a relative unknown with so many people showing interest and the Internet so willing to show "a better mousetrap" or the "perfect solution" I would put more trust in scientific research than what you can read on the Internet, even this forum, or this post. More thn once I have read ardent seemingly knowledgeable posters here who experience the same challenges a year or two later when they get their first hive.
    There is nothing natural about horizontal hives or checkerboarding, but great interest in both by beekeepers in the last couple decades.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  2. #22
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    4,317

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

    "Small cell and natural cell studies in several states and worldwide have proven ineffective in controlling Varroa or anything else."

    I do recall some controversy over some of the small cell studies done. I don't recall the natural cell studies though.

    Apparently, you actually need to have established treatment free bees first for the whole thing to work with natural cell/small cell.

    Treatment free bees could be resistant because of other scientifically proven mechanisms. Hygienic behaviors are one. Another is attenuated mites. I'm also very much aware of the Maori finding that inserted sequences (like those from viruses) can make bees resistant via RNAi molecular immunity. Monsanto acquired Beeologics based on that.

    So, it is possible that treatment free bees and natural comb is real.

    It's not just anectdotal.

  3. #23
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    4,317

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

    Let's try to remember that treatment free is a layered approach. Simply putting any old bees onto natural cells isn't going to make them resistant.

    For example, Steven G started with resistant queen stock.

    Mr. Bush also dips his hives in artificial propolis.

    There's the principal of creating competitors for pests/patogens by increasing microflora via eliminating chemical contaminants or putting frames close together (attenuated mites count as well).

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

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

    Another thing for foundationless is that foundation in the broodnest can be ignored, but an empty space won't be. They will fill the gap.

    Matthew Davey

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

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

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    Let's try to remember that treatment free is a layered approach. Simply putting any old bees onto natural cells isn't going to make them resistant.

    For example, Steven G started with resistant queen stock.

    Mr. Bush also dips his hives in artificial propolis.
    That's the first time I've ever heard it called artificial propolis. It's just wax dipping, it is for wood preservation, it has nothing specifically to do with beekeeping.

    I put my stock in the concept of natural selection. Let them die if they can't deal with it. People used to say that you couldn't beat mites because 'there's no such thing as wolf resistant sheep'. But nobody was breeding for wolf resistant sheep. They were breeding for wooly and tasty sheep. On the other hand, on the Serengheti, you have a better chance of surviving childhood if you're a wildebeest than if you're a lion if you get my meaning.

    But back on topic. Being the moderator of the TBF forum and neck deep in small cell methodology and mythology almost since its mainstream beginnings (if in fact it is mainstream, at least it's available for purchase) I see 'natural cell' day by day. I refuse to use the term natural cell lately. It's foundationless. Just like there's no such thing as a 'natural treatment.'

    I have tried it a frame at a time because I don't want to deal with having to do cutouts on my own hives (again). I find it to be most useful for creating drone frames in medium size because nobody makes them in plastic. Beyond that, they lose most all utility for me and utility is my main focus.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #26
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    Jan 2010
    Location
    Stromness, Scotland
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    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.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,489

    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.

  8. #28
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    Jan 2010
    Location
    Stromness, Scotland
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    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.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

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

    Pick a side and run with it till it doesn't work, then pick a new side, run with that till it doesn't work. One day, something will work for you, your bees, where you are. The thing is, what do you want to end up with? Some chemicals, or none ? There are chemical free treatments, methods if you will, that are effective for mites. To each their own. What ever makes you happy with your bees.
    Here's what makes me happy. Starting all my new hives and swarms(the one) with foundation less frames, beginning to change the established ones over as I can. Why? It is something I have not done before, I can't begin to understand the complex relationships between the micro flora and fauna, that exist in a bee hive. I just know that it is. I have no issue with foundation. It just makes sense to me if one chooses to be treatment free, to do it as "natural" as possible. I believe that environmental (mites) pressure can and does evoke change from a community to deal with problems. It makes no sense to me that will happen in an un natural state of anything I would do to eliminate mites. So, I'm trying foundation less. Might try regression next year, cuz I ain't never done it before.
    My bees are alive, healthy, and I still enjoy this hobby. That's what matters

  10. #30
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    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
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    4,317

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

    Foundationless vs natural cell? While I do use both terms, I think that foundation is any backing that has cells stamped on it. You could use boards without any cells on em and it would still be foundationless.

    "That's the first time I've ever heard it called artificial propolis. It's just wax dipping, it is for wood preservation, it has nothing specifically to do with beekeeping."

    I've mentioned it before. If you melt beeswax and rosen, you get artificial propolis.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,385

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

    Foundation is darn pricy when compared to going without. And you have to replace every so often. I have no regrets about using foundationless frames. The bees like them better than the others and draw them quicker and make more bees per inch when they regress. You can also slap comb from cut-outs - (which I do regularly) - into foundationless MUCH easier. Foundation has it's place, but there are lot's of things out there designed simply to separate you from your money - especially in the bee world. Simplicity is a virtue. Why buy things you don't really need?

    And WLC, I have seen some studies from South Africa where they used a blank sheet of wax for foundation with good result.

  12. #32
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    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

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

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    If you melt beeswax and rosen, you get artificial propolis.
    So is 'artificial propolis' defined as mostly wax? Because regular propolis is mostly not-wax. Or maybe you're confused with the differences between resin and rosin. I guess I could see your point on the basis of the number of constituents, two versus 50 including the two. Is gasoline artificial oil? Is coal artificial mountain? Is T-bone steak artificial cow?

    Call it what you want, it is still for wood preservation and has nothing to do with beekeeping. Perhaps you remember how it was done to death in TFB by someone with an ax to grind wanting to call it a treatment?



    In reply to Paul, you buy things you don't really need because they're darn useful. When you get past a handful of hives, suddenly all that effort to keep hundreds of frames of foundationless comb in order becomes prohibitive. Michael Bush uses foundationless, but most of his frames are PF-120's with some permacomb mixed in. Rather than treating a frame as a sub-unit of a hive like most of us do, he treats whole 8-frame boxes as units. It's why I switched to plastic frames. Sure, I got pretty good at assembling frames and wiring them and installing foundation, but not 'comes ready out of the box for the same price' good.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #33
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    105

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

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post

    Being a scientist, I'm somewhat perplexed that there is so little science applied at the practical beekeeping level -- there seems to be a significant dearth of theoretical investigation into the daily activities in hive management, and as a result, there is quite a bit of hands-on experience passed on by any number of people (and books) that may or may not apply in any given situation.

    Peter
    As a new beekeeper trying to learn as much as possible, I want to echo Peter's statement. I was quite shocked at how little published scientific literature there is on beekeeping, and especially on AHBs. Much of what there is, is 10-20 years old (or more).

    For one thing, why is an industry, which is worth some real money, not more closely investigated? Lemme tell you, the cattle industry is a seething hotbed of scientific research compared to apiculture.

    I was also surprised that beekeepers in the US are limited to a very few subspecies of bees (German, Italian, Russian, Carniolan, Caucasian), most of which were imported over 60 years ago. You would think that with AHBs, someone would be studying hybrid genetics of some of the many other races of bees. Living in the hot southwest, I have to think that a subspecies such as Apis mellifera sahariensis, which is a gentle bee from Morocco used to an arid climate and able to travel up to 5 miles in search of nectar, would be ideal.

  14. #34
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    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

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

    The difference between real money in bees and real money in cows is that even Texans can figure out how to raise cows. Just joking.

    Cows are fully domesticated. Bees are not. Far more people will touch a cow than will touch a bee. Cows are more useful as food than bees. Cows require far more space and resources. Bees will do their job in the wild out in nature, cows will get eaten. And I won't even get into the massive government subsidies that go into meat production and research and into the grain that goes to feeding them.

    On the other hand, cow farmers are out on horseback rounding up the herd, beekeepers stand around arguing about foundation.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  15. #35
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    1,385

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

    I have PF -105's and my bees hate them. I really wanted them to like them, but no bueno. Even when I spent an enormous amount of time re-coating them with wax. I only really use them to correct curved comb. And at $2.20 a piece compared to $.99 a piece for the foundationless - it was a no brainer for me.

    It might be that my particular wild breed of bee just hates them. Maybe a more domesticated variety would take right to them. I don't know, most of mine are wild caught.

    Funny about the AHB thing. For them to be such a bogeyman, there is very little true research being done about them. Even stranger is the fact that DNA survey's has shown previous African genetics in some of our bees, mainly from out West, that were probably brought over by the Spanish in the old, old days. That is never mentioned either. I suspect most of the wild sort in my area have more to do with these bees than anything that came up from Brazil - but I am no scientist.

  16. #36
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    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

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

    Paul, what is your method for getting the bees to draw the PF-105? I too had some problems with them when I was trying to stick them in peacemeal. But I find it works much better when I stick them in three or more together at a time or with newly started hives or if I just don't give them another option. They're almost always drawn very well and treated no differently from then on.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    238

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

    In reference to the cost of foundation I dont consider it to be a cost as much as a money saver. This is because of the cost assoicated with foundationless comb which requires more wax to make and thus more Honey. I am selling honey here for 10 dollars a pound so for me at least, it is alot cheaper in the long run to buy some foundation and get more honey than the other way around. Also, with plastic foundation you can scrape off old comb and reuse it after a light coating of new wax--so you only have to buy it once. With wax foundation you could save enough of it so that when you go to a supplier to get new foundation, they will discount your new foundation in exchange for your rendered wax.

  18. #38
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Can someone please explain the Foundationless hype to me?

    If I give them no other choice they usually draw a little of them and the goober up the rest. Lot's of one side only deals with big globs where they reform the wax and try to draw in between the frame. easier and faster for me to just slap some foundationless in and check them once a week when i do my rounds. May not be perfect, but they draw it out quick normally. However, I have noticed they don't like to move up into supers sometimes with foundationless frames, even with a few plastic ones to help move them up. My few standard langs have become nuc breeding factories, that I use mostly to stock my bigger long hives and raise queens for them. Too hard to deal with.

    My system works for me, but would probably not be so good in a different region. You guys have to remember New York is a far cry from the nearly Third World conditions found in some parts of NM. Heck, I don't even have mail delivery.

  19. #39
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    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
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    238

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

    For those trying PF 120s they are small cell frames, so unless you have regressed bees they are not going to like to draw it out--anyone with small bees care to chime in?

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    890

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

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    In reference to the cost of foundation I dont consider it to be a cost as much as a money saver. This is because of the cost assoicated with foundationless comb which requires more wax to make and thus more Honey. I am selling honey here for 10 dollars a pound so for me at least, it is alot cheaper in the long run to buy some foundation and get more honey than the other way around. Also, with plastic foundation you can scrape off old comb and reuse it after a light coating of new wax--so you only have to buy it once. With wax foundation you could save enough of it so that when you go to a supplier to get new foundation, they will discount your new foundation in exchange for your rendered wax.
    There is another cost involved also and that is the cost of time. Here in Misery we have a limited time window for them to draw frames out. I have found that foundationless are built MUCH quicker than foundation. How do bees build comb? By festooning. Let me see is it easier for them to build a comb with nothing in the way and festoon down the middle or to festoon some bees on one side of the foundation and some bees on the other side of the foundation. Making wax is what bees do, along with honey and collecting propolis, I reject the notion that it costs too much honey to make comb, it costs them time to build on foundation and TIME is MONEY brother.

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