'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.'
What a marvelous observer you are!
That's got to be a winning argument for foundationless if ever there was one.
Perhaps rweakley's observation could suggest a way to speed up comb building on foundationless frames?
I already glue popsicle sticks to the top bar. I've glued a bunch to the bottom of some. I might just do a comparison.
Last edited by WLC; 06-07-2012 at 07:23 PM.
My general impression after 10 month of bee-observing (do not feel, I am a beekeeper) is that the whole approach needs to be re-evaluated in the light of current reality: pesticides, 100+years old dogmas, congestion, concrete, industrialization, pollination, migration, "bee space", new diseases etc. It needs to be accepted that current beekeeping industrial system - fails! Nearly 50% of bee-colonies lost every year in US - it IS a failure of the current approach. If system did not work, it needs to be changed in accordance to the new reality. If someone repeating the same thing and it fails every other time - is this right way to do business? Like, if every other space shuttle will fail? I think, such forum(s) is a good place to discuss a new ideas and learn new approaches from the people who may be "discovered" something better for your bees.
Last edited by cerezha; 06-07-2012 at 08:53 PM.
I've already seen that bees prefer to build on foundationless frames while ignoring perfectly good small cell frames. I've also added an empty foundationless body to small cell comb containing body to see what happens.
I also have ritecell deep frames in my nucs that were drawn by placing a deep over a body with fully drawn foundationless frames.
So, I kinda understand some of the dynamics involved, and the frustrations as well.
However, I never really thought about the way bees festoon when building comb and how that might affect the speed (or preferences) when building new comb on different types of frames.
There's something there.
So, I'll see if popsicle sticks on the top AND bottom of a foundationless frame speeds things up or not.
It's just a hunch. Besides, it'll give me something to look for that I can see clearly.
I've heard of the anectdotal reports that foundationless frames are drawn more quickly than frames with foundation. I haven't really noticed that. I think that the deep frames with ritecell were drawn more quickly than foundationless frames or small cell frames.
So, I'll give it a second look.
Rod Sullivan, MO
Like I says - many thing in beekeeping is controversial! Measuring the speed of honeycomb formation is not a simple task. Many factors needs to be accounted. I never actually measure the speed of honeycomb creation, but I noticed that honey comb on foundationless frames is thicker than on the frames with foundation (I am doing 8 in 10-frame medium box) . In my hive, foundationless frame full of honey is approximately 30% heavier than completely filled frame with foundation. So, I have more honey from foundationless frame. In this sense, if you want accurate measurements, you need to normalize your data per pound of comb (honey+wax+drones), per day.
By the way, in my hands, the top plank of the standard frame works as great as a full frame. My local bee-store sells to me only top parts for something ridiculous - 0.24$ per piece? Also, I do not see a difference between using "popsicle sticks" type guide or just fill up the groove in the plank with melted wax. I prefer the latest because it is much quicker and attachment of the comb to "frame" seems to be more secure. So, right now, I am replacing all frames on just top planks with groove filled with melted pure wax. I found that it is much better to alternate empty frames and full frames - when box is full of honey, I took each other frame, sort of checker-boarding... girls work like crazy to "repair" the damage. It has additional benefit - it looks like they are so busy that keep forgetting to swarm... As for honey extraction - you just dump everything in the mesh bag installed in suitable container with holes and let it drip! It is scalable - one could use a barrel or even something bigger. Next day you have a really raw, grade A, non-heated beautiful honey. I mix the remaining wax/honey leftovers (still in the mesh-bag) with water, remove wax with mesh-bag and use the liquid to make a honey vine - just add yeasts and plug the water gate. Wax is used for candles.... As everything in beekeeping, my non-professional dilettante approach may not work for you. Sergey
Now the old Dadant small cell plastic foundation was another story. It was horrible, but fortunately, it's not still on the market. I still have five pieces. I tried them again this year just for kicks and it was an abject failure.
I don't doubt that foundationless is drawn quickly and has has many other benefits.
My experience with rite cell just happened to be a positive one. It may simply be a great product.
I am interested in seeing how bees on drawn natural cell (foundationless) will build on PF 120s. I'm also interested in seeing how bees on drawn PF 120s will build on foundationless frames.
I hope to see a reduction in cell size when PF 120 'bees' draw on foundationless. I expect to see the bees 'balk' when they go from foundationless to PF 120s.
I also expect that the bees will confound any of my expectations.
As for the festooning observation, I'm interested in seeing if having a comb guide on both the top and bottom of the frame speeds things up.
What I really want to do is observe how the bees festoon on the top and bottom vs the top only comb guide frames.
Who knows? There might be a some differences that may suggest possible improvements.
Someone with an observation hive should make a time lapse video of comb drawing in the above cases. Just a thought
psfred I was told of this site recently
I have not taken the time to check it out so take it fwiw.
USDA zone 11a, Western Garden zone 24 (75 ft elev. n34.0w118.47)
That's Randy Oliver's site. I have found quite a bit of good information on there concerning bee nutrition, feeding protocols, and general bee health. I don't find him biased particularly, but he does have a focus on pesticides.
Remember that he keeps bees in California for almond pollination amongst other things, and there is probably more pesticide applied at more times in the Central Valley of California than at any other place in the world (including herbicides and fungicides). I suspect that bee kill-offs are a significant problem. Bayer just last year de-listed neo-nics for use on almonds due to concerns that the bees, without which there will be no almonds, were being killed off.
Naturally, he's quite concerned about pesticide effects on bees, and research on "CCD" has focused quite a bit on some pesticides that came into common use at about the same time as CCD showed up (notably neo-nics).
The recent scare about slamonella and e.coli on lettuce has resulted in a very serious "weed eradication" program that pretty much removed any non-crop plants, too, which is causing some stress problems.
In my opinion, the second worst problem beekeepers face (after loss of forage) in the near future is pesticide use that seems to keep increasing all the time. Mites can be managed by treatment, or better, by breeding resistant bees and non-lethal mites, but we are never going to breed pesticide resistant bees.
Here is something that nobody has mentioned yet.
Its more fun!
Even if all the claims about foundationless turn out to be false its still going to be a simpler and more enjoyable way to keep bees.
This isn't true. We are experts at breeding pesticide resistant insects. Any time you use a pesticide that does't kill 100% of a population you are eventually going to end up with pesticide resistant insects. This applies to bees just as much as it does mosquitoes.but we are never going to breed pesticide resistant bees.
The problem is that bees have a longer life cycle than most the insects we are trying to kill and so will adapt slower than the pest species.
For the most part pest species also adapt faster than the chemical industry. I'm not actually all that worried about pesticides. Given enough time they'll all become useless. Heck, given evolutions track record we'll probably end up with insects that depend on pesticides as part of their biochemistry. We'll have healthy bugs filled with so much poison nothing else will eat them.
Another advantage to foundationless is being able to cut out whole capped queen cells (for splits) without much worry, as opposed to doing that on plastic.
You can also do the fatbeemans method of cutting a strip of comb off with eggs and put it into a cell starter, I dont think you can do that with plastic, without grafting. Another good thing is if they do make a frame or two of drone comb, you can move those up into the honey supers and have LARGE cells of honey!!
This is my first year of foundationless and I am impressed at how fast the bees draw out the comb compared to plastic. Its also fun watching them start the comb and amazing how they can make something so nice and architechual!!
But he main thing for me...............saving money!!
Coyote Creek Bees
I am sorry I am interested in foundationless.. Only because it is cheaper. Secondly the benefits of contamination from another wax source is also a plus. cell size. my foundationless are huge cells. Maybe they are building giant bees maybe those were not drones I saw maybe I am breeding giant bees
Can someone quantifiably show that foundation less is cheaper? By my calculation it is not-- you are losing honey production. If I buy foundation from Dadant, seven sheets equals one pound so for 2 deep boxes that is 20 sheets or 2.85 pounds of wax, which translates at 8 pounds of honey per pound of wax 23 pounds of honey. I sell honey at 10 dollars a pound that is 230 dollars lost money. Even if you include the cost of the foundation, which if bought in a fifty sheet pack would be 19 dollars worth of foundation for the above example--there is still a loss of 211 dollars honey profit just to start to draw out the brood boxes let alone the supers-So how is it cheaper again?
What you really mean is why don't all of the commercial operations use foundationless if it's so great?
My guess: time bandits and money pits.
I shouldn't do this,,,
But see, there we go again, putting production first, and bee health somewhere down the road. I'm not singling anyone out here but the attitude is,,,,,disheartening. It reminds me of the "curmudgeon" at the last, and I mean last, bee meeting I went to. Take all the honey from the bees sell it, and then feed them syrup, because honey is worth more than the cost of sugar. Maybe it is just me, but is it any wonder there are problems in a management system like that ? We are talking back yard beeks here.
I have my bullet proof vest on
Rick I hope its kevlar!
I understand what you are talking about, but you are comparing apples to oranges here. This discussion is about not using foundation not all beekeeping Modus operandi. I agree with you taking all the honey is clearly wrong but that is not at all the same as using foundation. Just because I am demonstrating cost effectiveness doesn't mean I am shortchanging the bees "way of life" wax foundation is just that beeswax from bees which helps them get a head start on comb drawing. Yes there could be contaminants in it but even with foundationless contaminants will get in in a season or two- unless you plan to constantly remove combs, which most people do not.
WLC I dont think they question should be why don't all commercial beeks use foundationless if its so great but why dont ANY use it if its so great (unless you know of someone?)