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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Corry, PA
    Posts
    9

    Default Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    First year Beek with a question about foundationless frames. I have two hives that are almost identical in strength, with two deep boxes fully drawn out. So when it came time to add on, we decided to put a medium on both of the hives. Well the curiosity got the better of me and I decided to experiment; in one of the mediums I put wooden frames with wax foundation and a queen excludeer, the other medium I used foundationless wood frames and no queen excluder.

    The bees in the hive with the foundation in the frames are drawing out the foundation and putting honey in them, but the bees with the foundationless frames havent drawn them out at all. The amount of bees milling around in each medium is practically identical, but no progress on the foundationless frames.

    I coated the foundationless bars with wax from some extra foundation. Could there be something I did wrong?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,841

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    They might need a guide to wear to start? What kind of top bars did you use.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    This time of year my bees won't touch foundationless or plasticell but will draw comb on wax foundation if you feed or there is some nectar source available.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Corry, PA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    They might need a guide to wear to start? What kind of top bars did you use.
    I used the foundationless frames from Kelly, with the 45degree guide on the top bar, and put wax on that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,626

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    Apart from extrodinady circumstances, you cannot just put a full box of foundationless frames on the top. The bees will not leave the established nest to cluster at the top of the box to start drawing comb. If they do start using the extra space, they will like build the comb up from the established nest....as the comb isn't supported from the top, they will start building brace comb perpendicular....and on from there you will end up with a box full of comb...but a mess of comb that is useless to the beekeeper.

    Deknow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,626

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    ...there is no need to wax the comb guides....you can't attach the wax as well as the bees do....when they attach their wax to your poorly attached wax, you will have a collapse....like gluing something to a poorly painted surface.

    Deknow

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Corry, PA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    ...there is no need to wax the comb guides....you can't attach the wax as well as the bees do....when they attach their wax to your poorly attached wax, you will have a collapse....like gluing something to a poorly painted surface.

    Deknow
    Fair enough....lesson learned. Thanks for the help

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,841

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    Oh yeah, if all the frames are empty, the bees have no scaffolding to hang onto to draw comb so it's hard for them. Usually you need to put them between two established combs for the best results when you start making foundationless frames. It is also getting late in the year as DLKMA says for drawing comb. Deknow hit on something too, but just keep an eye on them and see how well they attach it. My bees like stripping wax down even off foundation and pretty much reattach all the edges themselves anyway.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Huffman, TX
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    We are newbee's also in our second season and we did exactly like you did except we did it last spring. We split some paint stirring sticks and glued them into the slot of the top of the frame and coated them with beeswax to give them a starting point. We put them in a medium super on our most productive hive and had the same results as you...at first. The other hives were going great guns with comb and honey and this one didn't have much happening.... at least with the foundationless frames. Then after a couple weeks we noticed that they were finally "festooning" ...making curtains in the frames with bees... meaning they were starting to build comb. Then a week to ten day's later at the height of the spring flow, we checked again and to our amazement they had completely combed out, filled with honey, and capped the entire box !!! Sorry so long winded, just wanted to share the whole story. So just be patient....they will make it happen when they are ready. Jim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,347

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    Of course, with all other conditions being good, you can move a completed foundationless frame, or even any frame already containing a comb, into the center of the new super. Replacing it with one of the new foundationless frames. This will usually, though not always, inspire them to move up immediately and get busy.

    As far as the excluder is concerned, it works much better if you place the only entrance, above the excluder, so they have easy access to the honey supers, but must cross the excluder to enter the brood nest, instead of the other way around.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,626

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    I'm not a fan of the advice to put foundationleaa frames between drawn comb....you can do it and it works, but if you've ever watched them draw several combs in parallel from a single cluster, you will get the picture.
    I also like to bait up with 3 frames.....the bees like to be in between combs. A single comb offers no "interior"...2 combs offers only 1 interior space....3 combs allows the bees to cluster and use the space efficiently even if they do not start drawing new comb immediately.

    Deknow

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Corry, PA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket08 View Post
    We are newbee's also in our second season and we did exactly like you did except we did it last spring. We split some paint stirring sticks and glued them into the slot of the top of the frame and coated them with beeswax to give them a starting point. We put them in a medium super on our most productive hive and had the same results as you...at first. The other hives were going great guns with comb and honey and this one didn't have much happening.... at least with the foundationless frames. Then after a couple weeks we noticed that they were finally "festooning" ...making curtains in the frames with bees... meaning they were starting to build comb. Then a week to ten day's later at the height of the spring flow, we checked again and to our amazement they had completely combed out, filled with honey, and capped the entire box !!! Sorry so long winded, just wanted to share the whole story. So just be patient....they will make it happen when they are ready. Jim
    Unfortunately I bought the foundationless frames that had the beveled edge on the top bar, and not the slot. Well even though they havent drawn it out, I had the pleasure of cracking some brewskis and nailing the frames together....still interesting and fun.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Newb with foundationless frames and a question.

    When I add a super of foundationless frames, I either checkerboard the frames between drawn comb, or I place the whole super in between the two working boxes. Be careful and keep an eye on them or you will get a mess of crosscomb.

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