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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
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    104

    Default Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    I just started working foundationless frames into my hives. I did it by putting foundationless frames in between 2 drawn out frames in my hives. The bees are drawing them out beautifully, but the problem is the existing honey frames have been drawn way out into the space that the foundationless frames take up before some of them are drawn out. How do I go about fixing this? Just scrape away the big thick parts of the existing frame which they have made too deep? I tried doing it to one of the frames and it turned into a gooey mess and bees were drowniing in honey so I figured I would consult the experts on here before I went further .

    And a few pics of my newly drawn foundationless frames




  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Rifle, Colorado
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    That is some great looking comb! Awesome! Here is what I do when mine get drawn out too far. Get a spray bottle with some syrup in it. Take the frame out of the hive and spray the bees with some syrup, careful not to much!, you don't want to drown them. This will keep them busy cleaning up the mess you just made for them and they wont be flying all over the place. Now, gently sweep the bees back into the hive. Once the frame is clean of bees I take it inside away from the hive and shave off the protruding comb into a bowl, yummy. After I wipe off some of the oozing honey with a rubber spatula I return the frame to where it belongs and the bees clean up that mess and generally cap the honey. Sometimes they'll draw it out again but for the most part they draw the frame next to it a little faster and move the excess honey to the frame. At least that's what I've observed with my hives. Good luck!
    "How do you expect to get by in life if you're not precision!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    Thanks! That makes a lot more sense.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    I apologize for hijacking your thread, ky_mike.

    When I saw your thread title I was so relieved because I came here expecting my first post was going to get me yelled at (probably deservedly so) and thought for a sec I wouldn't have to confess that I have a big problem. Well, this is my very first hive (package bees) and it is on a farm over an hour away from me. I haven't been able to get out there for a few weeks. Finally checked it yesterday and found a real foundationless mess indeed. They built freestyle comb on the top of the bottom brood box frames and through the base of the frames in the second box on top. (Hope that makes sense.) The two boxes were stuck together by the comb so we had to tear it apart and honey dripped everywhere. Poor bees.

    The first box was fine last time I was in there. I put the second box on top last time I was out to see them (three weeks ago). I don't know any local beekeepers so I'm going to have to fix this myself, yikes!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pawnieking/7540814596/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pawnieking/7540814644/

    I think I'm going to have to just cut out the mess and move the empty box under the first brood box and keep checking on them until they are making nice comb on the frame like before. I'd be grateful for any guidance!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    that is one reason I like to make a frame for my foundation less frames and that will keep the comb inside the frame, at least it has so far. And if they built it too far out into the next frames space, I leave it that way and when they have filled both I take the honey and then they will have another chance to built them again, hopefully, they will stay straighter, if not, as long as I can work the hive, I leave it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by borealbeegirl View Post
    I apologize for hijacking your thread, ky_mike.

    They built freestyle comb on the top of the bottom brood box frames and through the base of the frames in the second box on top. (Hope that makes sense.) The two boxes were stuck together by the comb so we had to tear it apart and honey dripped everywhere. Poor bees.

    The first box was fine last time I was in there. I put the second box on top last time I was out to see them (three weeks ago). I don't know any local beekeepers so I'm going to have to fix this myself, yikes!

    I think I'm going to have to just cut out the mess and move the empty box under the first brood box and keep checking on them until they are making nice comb on the frame like before. I'd be grateful for any guidance!
    When your doing foundationless you have to Pyramid up frames from below when you add a new box. The bees need some comb or foundation to provide them a ladder to the top of the next box, so they will build from the top down, instead of the bottom up like they did on you.

    Just pull 2 or 3 nice and straight CAPPED comb frames from a lower box, insert empty frames to take their place. Space out the 2 or 3 frames (as long as it is warm) in the new box your adding with empty foundationless frames.

    Even if your Nadiring (adding boxes below), you still want to pyramid or ladder frames when doing foundationless to encorage the bees to start using the new box and provide straight comb guides.


    For the mess you have now, shake or smoke the bees off the burr comb and scrape them off and let them start over.

    Don

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    968

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    One thing I have found out the hard way, and Micheal Bush has also pointed out, is in your honey supers, is, you shouldn't put foundationless frames between drawn frames. This works great in the brood chambers. Not so much in the supers.

    HTH,

    Shane

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsmullins View Post
    One thing I have found out the hard way, and Micheal Bush has also pointed out, is in your honey supers, is, you shouldn't put foundationless frames between drawn frames. This works great in the brood chambers. Not so much in the supers.

    HTH,


    Shane
    Drawn CAPPED Comb is the secret to Pyramiding or Laddering up honey frames between foundationless frames.

    If the honey comb is drawn but not capped, they will just extend the drawn frames of honey comb wider.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    One thing we're experimenting with is wire guides made of chicken-fence wire ... the kind that has rectangular openings that are 1" long on one side. Cut a rectangular piece of that and bend it so that it fits over the top of the bar, sticks down, then turns horizontal and has a 1" long set of protruding wires. Set that assembly on top of the bar and press the honeycomb onto the wires. It seems to hold them in place without the messiness of hair clips. The jury's still out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Upper Kingsclear, NB, Canada
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsmullins View Post
    One thing I have found out the hard way, and Micheal Bush has also pointed out, is in your honey supers, is, you shouldn't put foundationless frames between drawn frames. This works great in the brood chambers. Not so much in the supers.

    HTH,

    Shane
    Just wondering why this would be? Doesn't it all depend on bee space? I was preparing to open up the brood area on one hive that is growing very fast and appears to be getting 'honey-bound', by employing the Bush method of swarm prevention, in which he advocates inserting empty frames to subdivide the brood area -no foundation of any kind. Why would adding foundationless frames between drawn honey storage frames in a super be any different, the available space for the bees will be the same, no?

    Rob

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    968

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    Hey Rob,

    Not so much an issue of bee space. The real issue is bees like to make comb for brood a little narrower than comb they store honey in. Many people run 11 frames in a 10 frame brood box and many people run 9 frames in a 10 frame honey super.

    HTH,
    Shane

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    I am running into a similar situation as far as comb spacing in the honey storage. I intend on going foundationless throughout the hive. I have two deeps and 1 medium on my home Lang. I had the bees build out a medium in the deep and then move the medium frame up into an empty medium. Off to one side things seem to be building correctly. On the other side the main comb was built out a bit far and it pushed things a bit off. The key is to get all the frames you need drawn out against a straight comb. So I pushed the frames with the incorrectly spaced comb off to one side and checkerboarded the rest. I will probably harvest these off centered combs if I get a harvest this year with the crush and strain method. If I don't get a harvest this year I will probably deal with it in the spring when it's empty. At that point I could easily cut it off and rubber band the thing centered.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Upper Kingsclear, NB, Canada
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsmullins View Post
    Hey Rob,

    Not so much an issue of bee space. The real issue is bees like to make comb for brood a little narrower than comb they store honey in. Many people run 11 frames in a 10 frame brood box and many people run 9 frames in a 10 frame honey super.

    HTH,
    Shane
    Thanks for that. Re-reading the thread carefully I see the key factor is capped frames - whatever width the comb may be, as then the bees will use it as a reference point, whereas if they're still drawing it out then the end point in terms of width hasn't been reached and they keep going. I guess there has to be a maximum comb width/cell depth they'll make. Anyway, the learning curve continues...

    Rob

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    Thank you everyone for your help and advice.

    I will clean up that burr comb and borrow some capped frames for laddering. I learned a lot just from this thread so I'm not entirely unhappy this happened. I'm a little nervous about using the smoker for the first time and I'm really reluctant to crush bees even accidentally.

    How would one pyramid when switching from deeps to mediums? I'm wondering if for now I should just stick with the same size and hope I can lift them when they're full. The way things are going it doesn't look like I'm going to have to worry about harvesting a lot of honey. That isn't my motivation this year anyway.. I'll be happy as long as I have healthy bees that are well prepared for overwintering.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Foundationless mess, how do I fix?

    In my post above I discussed how I did this. Place a medium frame or two in a deep. Then when you are ready to place the medium super bring the medium frames up and replace them with deep frames in the deep brood chamber.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

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