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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    Moon, I'd like to hear how things go for you.
    We started our bees on frames from Walter T Kelley but did not experience the amount of drone comb that you have.
    Maybe you could pyramid that drone comb up into the above supers so they get filled with honey later on.
    I'm not sure if it's because of the time of year or not Allen but the current drone comb has emerging drone on it and the empty cells next to the emerging drones is beginning to be back filled with honey. Bonus?

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    341

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    I had two established hives with a single deep that I wanted to "convert" to foundationless. The first couple of frames were drawn out as drone size. When I wanted to add more, I move the drone size to the outside of the brood chamber and always inserted then new frame between worker comb. After only a couple of drone frames, I had nice looking worker comb. Later on new packages or splits,I just put in foundationless either in the whole box or staggered brood comb and they have built mostly worker comb ever since. When they build drone comb, I figure that they want or need it and I leave it alone. All of my 8 hives are foundationless other than 3 frames in one hive.

    They seem to use the space wisely and I am happy with the resul
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    placement of your new frames that are being drawn naturally seems to have impact on drone cell vs worker cell.

    If I super with foundationless during a flow and the bees plan to fill it with honey- it's large cell. If I 'checkerboard' the brood nest, I may see a little drone at the top and the rest worker cell...I've been headed toward natural foundation for about a year. You can just cut out the drone cell if you don't want it and let em rebuild. I keep some drone cell going and freeze it as varroa management...
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,021

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick 1456 View Post
    Solomon, along your line of thought, what if we tell the bees what the don't need? We give them all worker foundation and they find a way to make drone cells. We "allow" natural, and they do their plan as long as we do not fool with it. But when we do fool with it, things go askew. Has anyone, or what would be the thoughts, on this: Take a swarm, and add a frame of drone comb. Would that satisfy the drone need?
    Hmm, I don't really have a solid answer for that because I've never done it. My point was that if you're unhappy with the results, you have to do something different. These results are seen all the time. We want large swaths of perfectly drawn brood comb. The bees have no such need. So in order to get what we want, we must manipulate the configuration to achieve that.

    Here's my hack: Early in the year, they will draw brood comb if you place single frames in the middle of the broodnest. Nucs will draw it for longer. So I keep nucs whose sole job is to draw comb. It gets rotated in or out as long as they're still doing it. So use nucs to draw comb and only use bigger hives to do it only during the right time of year. If you keep doing the same thing, you'll keep getting the same results. Hives will draw drone this time of year.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Wellston, OK USA
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    I have most of my hives slowly converting to foundationless some where close to a hundred give or take a couple dozen on any day. lol. I wanting to convert also to mediums but I had about 140 deeps so stuck with those until I can convert more. I love the way they pull the deeps and they fill them with brood. You do have to be careful with some of the frames until they get them stuck to the bottom but not a big issue. Above that though in the supers (medium) I have had some drone cells pulled and they are big, park a car in some of them but when they were through they just filled them with honey. I had one medium super weigh 103 pounds with several frames having the big cells. Hard on an old fat man. Some of the comb busted when spinning but most of it I cut and it made beautiful comb honey. Might note the mediums that had wires in them spun out ok. I have been scratching my head on this issue of complete box management that was mentioned that Mr Bush does and I also had some questions on something I saw Mr Palmer doing. In one of his videos he had hives four or five boxes high and in his second box was a small super??? First thought was it was all he had on the truck and just left it but decided had to be another reason??? I also thought there was a thread that discussed when converting to foudationless it actually had to be done in two stages???? Working bees is never dull.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    It's not from a drone laying queen. Lesson learned was with a question mark. I was trying to infer that going foundationless was a bad idea.
    Lesson learned is that improper or uninformed use of a tool can bring unexpected results.

    I suggest that both the bees and the frames are working as intended.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,345

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    I do the same thing as goldprospector, put an empty frame between brood comb, if it gets drawn out as drones, move it up or to the outside, or both. Soon enough you will have them drawing out beautiful brood/honey comb and if numbers allow, move a frame or two of foundationless worker brood up into the second box and insert a couple more frames for them to draw out. I was in the same boat as Moon and see a lot of drone comb being drawn out and after some talk with others and how to do things, it has turned out great!! And it is really surprising how strong that foundationless comb is, I moved my bees across town and thought I would be rubber banding comb back into the frames, no the case though!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Syracuse, NY (upstate)
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    Moon:
    I have used natural comb for years with great success... but with a twist. I use regular brood foundation or Pierco plastic foundation in the brood boxes and let them draw natural comb in honey supers above queen excluders. They do make jumbo cells, much bigger than drone cells, but that makes extracting easier and my cut comb honey has far less wax per bite including a much thinner "foundation" layer than using cut comb foundation. An added benefit is that my cut comb honey doesn't have contaminated wax from the wax mill.

    Ekrouse

  9. #29
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    This thread made me laugh many times. "books of the natural masters. Read the blogs and posts of the rightous"
    Bee-religion to funny heres my couple cents since everyone else has weighed in...

    1) what works for someone might not work for everyone (some exaggerate)
    2) "Let them do what they want to do", hmmm. A hive super-organism "wants" to make more of it's self and live forever (one can infer). It doesn't "want" to make honey to be robbed and remain calm while it is being robbed. It doesn't want to not swarm and since it is recently exposed to new diseases and parasites I don't believe they have formed oppinions on them yet (tongue in check)
    3) Look at each hive and decide what has to happen to have them survive, leave the Bee-religion out of it (treatment free has alot of bee-religion posters)

    Good luck
    Daniel

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    Quote Originally Posted by danmcm View Post
    This thread made me laugh many times. "books of the natural masters. Read the blogs and posts of the rightous"
    Bee-religion to funny heres my couple cents since everyone else has weighed in...

    1) what works for someone might not work for everyone (some exaggerate)
    2) "Let them do what they want to do", hmmm. A hive super-organism "wants" to make more of it's self and live forever (one can infer). It doesn't "want" to make honey to be robbed and remain calm while it is being robbed. It doesn't want to not swarm and since it is recently exposed to new diseases and parasites I don't believe they have formed oppinions on them yet (tongue in check)
    3) Look at each hive and decide what has to happen to have them survive, leave the Bee-religion out of it (treatment free has alot of bee-religion posters)

    Good luck
    Daniel
    Since you're weighing in what's your personal experience on using natural cell combs after a period of culling to induce regression? What were your hives like before while on whatever foundation it was you were using and what were they like after? What type of mite counts did you experience before and after?

    1) What works for someone might not work for everyone (some exaggerate)
    - I agree some people definitely do exaggerate. Other people may be overly conservative and not report the full extent of their successes. I imagine that can go both ways. Although past experience shows it would more than likely lean towards those over stating their success.

    2) "Let them do what they want to do", hmmm. A hive super-organism "wants" to make more of it's self and live forever (one can infer). It doesn't "want" to make honey to be robbed and remain calm while it is being robbed. It doesn't want to not swarm and since it is recently exposed to new diseases and parasites I don't believe they have formed oppinions on them yet (tongue in check)

    - I think you're missing the point of the 'let them do what they want' comments. I believe what is being inferred is to allow the bees to draw out the cell size that they want being as how that's what my original post was related to. The exorbitant amount of drone comb that was being produced. Given that I (most people) am unfamiliar with what the bees will draw out naturally given the different times of year as well as in relation to the timing of the flows I think the idea of 'Let them do what they want to do' is not only prudent, but necessary.

    3) Look at each hive and decide what has to happen to have them survive, leave the Bee-religion out of it (treatment free has alot of bee-religion posters)

    - Deciding what needs to happen for a hive to survive is another point of contention among beekeepers. Dumping chemicals, fungicides, & antibiotics in to a hive may prolong the life of a colony that would otherwise succumb to parasites and disease but to what end? Does the short term gain associated with using treatments negate the long term effects of contaminated combs mingled with continued breeding of stock that is proven over and over again to be susceptible to disease? Undoubtedly there is a lot of 'Bee-religion' out there and a lot of people swear by management strategies without actually having seen the other end of the spectrum but I see no reason to attribute an entire branch of beekeeping (treatment free) into a group of fanatics that don't know what they're talking about.

    Personally I plan to pursue treatment free beekeeping for several reasons.

    1) Foundation is bloody expensive. I can't afford to buy 10,000 frames ($6900) along with 10,000 sheets of rite-cell ($8,800). Couple those costs with the costs of feeding, using fumagilin every fall along with mite treatments, etc... etc... etc... It's an endless money pit in my mind.

    2) In any part of industrialized agriculture where humans have began dumping antibodies, growth hormones, and unnatural foods that are outside a given organisms normal diet adverse side effects have been observed. This isn't a fanatical religious point of few, it is a scientific fact. I see no reason to continue the same cycles in beekeeping.

    3) Foundationless comb is just cooler imho then comb on foundation

    4) Everyone has their own desires and goals while keeping bees. Mine so far seem to be simply having fun and staying actively engaged in trying new things until I find the right combination of things that work best for what my ultimate long term goals are. I'll lose nothing (except a little sanity and a few dozen hives) if this doesn't work out. If my queen rearing continues the way it has the few lost hives are a moot point and the sanity... Well I guess you have to have some to begin with to lose any along the way eh?

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,453

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    Whenever you add foundationless (or leave a space for them to draw comb in general) in a well progressed hive that has been on worker foundation, they will draw nothing but drone comb for the first several frames. I have about 25% drone comb in my hives. The bees use it when they want and backfill it when they don't want drones. If I am determining where, I put it on the outsides which is where, under normal circumstances, they would have put it. I never remove it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    803

    Default Re: Foundationless woes

    Hi Guys

    Going foundationless is a good learning experience. It shows how easy it is to mess up a colony's decision making process with a beekeeper's good intentions. And how long it takes for a colony to get back into its natural rhythm in spite of the beekeeper's best judgement.

    And it's a good test to see just how far down the natural path a beekeeper has gone.When the bees are given the freedom to choose and their choice doesn't meet with the beekeeper's expectations, what has gone wrong? :-)

    In my own case, I find that I'm often too impatient for the results. And that I need to think in terms of brood cycles rather than days or weeks.

    Regards - Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee. It's only natural.
    http://talkingstick.me/bees/

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