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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    We now have two other locations to expand our beehives besides at home.
    Am going to start small and put two hives plus a nuc or two in each yard for the first season.
    We are adding some Nucs into our home yard also.

    We had started our home yard bees on foundationless (FL) with some foundation frames mixed in.
    It seemed successful except for some wonky comb here and there.
    Should we continue the FL approach with the new hives and the Nucs?
    Or should Dadant small cell foundation be looked at and let them build on there?

    Hoping that at least some of our 5 colonies and 1 Nuc survive the winter and plan to split the survivors.
    I have till March to make a decision on how many packages are needed to make up for winter losses and populate the out yards.

    Once the Nucs start pumping out brood frames we'll attempt to expand our colonies a bit more that way.
    And keep them going.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    Did you like how foundationless turned out? If you did then stick with it.

    For me the small amount of effort fixing comb is nothing compared to the savings from no buying foundation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pisgah Forest, NC, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    The hives I started this year were all foundationless, and things were good until I had to be out of town for 2 weeks during the summer flow. My question for you would be how diligent will you be in getting to those out yards to ensure that the girls are drawing good comb? If it's something that you can easily keep an eye on, then foundationless is the way to go, otherwise I would play it safe and use foundation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    I do like FL.
    Both places are farms that I hunt groundhogs so yeah I'll be there regularly.
    I see the value in savings over using foundation, but...

    There were some frames in each hive that were built out into the adjoining empty FL frames.
    Seemed to happen in July when new comb building was slowing down and they kept adding to the existing comb.
    And those empty FL frames never seemed to get drawn out.
    I trimmed some of the huge ones down that were difficult to remove and the bees capped them without building them back out.

    That's partly why I was wondering about small cell foundation and if that would help keep the comb orderly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,789

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    I use some foundationless - have a couple of supers that started as cutouts and I rubberbanded comb into all the frames - there is no foundation in the whole box. When they make a mess I trim and rubberband the comb into frames neatly, then let them mount and finish the tidy up. It's working ok for me. I may get 2 frames stuck together in a whole box, and I may tear it apart to discover I've damaged a couple of brood cells, but overall it is working.

    When I have my "druthers" I have 2 foundationless and 8 plasticell frames to a box, and that works really well, they draw beautiful comb. But as I said, sometimes I have to work with what they already have and just band it in. On my deep foundationless frames I use 20lb test fishing line stretched in an x and horizontally hole to hole. When I'm banding in comb, I put it between the 2 fishing lines then pop a rubberband over the frame vertically.

    Gypsi
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    What do you do with your dead groundhogs? I had no idea people ate them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    I do like FL.
    Both places are farms that I hunt groundhogs so yeah I'll be there regularly.
    I see the value in savings over using foundation, but...

    There were some frames in each hive that were built out into the adjoining empty FL frames.
    Seemed to happen in July when new comb building was slowing down and they kept adding to the existing comb.
    And those empty FL frames never seemed to get drawn out.
    I trimmed some of the huge ones down that were difficult to remove and the bees capped them without building them back out.

    That's partly why I was wondering about small cell foundation and if that would help keep the comb orderly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    I have had good luck, so far, with the Kelley foundationless frames so far. My bees have not built out on the Med. Supers yet but have done outstanding work in the deeps. I have gotten no cross comb yet, hive is level front to back and side to side. The only thing I am now keeping an eye on is that they have yet to attach to the side bars or bottom bar. The comb they have built is within 1/8" of the sides and bottom, but beautiful. I have started seeing some drone brood there but mainly honey storage. Not too worried over drone brood as I have not seen any queen cells or drone on my plastic foundation yet.
    Good luck.
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    Codyjp, I know several people who have eaten them and they say it tastes just like chicken...
    Doesn't work for me, I've smelled too many ripe road-killed chucks.
    We dispose of them in a fencerow or back down the entrance to their burrow.
    The farmers get so upset at the damage groundhogs do that they want to charge us a dollar for each one we miss.

    Gypsi, thats interesting on how you do that, thanks.
    I've been running two strands of stainless wire across our Kelley FL deep frames.
    Haven't had any comb collapse so far.

    mmmooretx, one colony is on all 8 frame mediums with Kelley FL frames.
    They made beautiful comb.
    Some of the comb isnt attached on the bottom or completely on the sides.
    That might be a good thing for the cluster to move around better during winter.
    We've been seeing a small amount of drone brood all summer and hasn't been a problem.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Planning for next year. Foundationless or not

    Another thought.

    How about starting all Nucs on Dadant small cell foundation?
    The foundation in each Nuc would give the bees a place to hang out on as they draw comb.

    Then when a new colony is started from a Nuc, we add in FL frames in between the drawn comb foundation frames and go FL from that point on.

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