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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus979 View Post
    There are many advantages in going foundationless, being lazy and not having to pay for foundation are two that appeal greatly to me.
    I jumped back into beekeeping this past spring. Having kept bees in the past, being aware of time requirements, cost, and issues with foundation, I made a decision to not use it. It is not for the lazy though, it takes effort to build a good foundationless frame that will survive an extractor, and they must be placed in the brood chamber and checked often for good worker cells, or moved up for honey production.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,140

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    The bees will be fine whether you go foundationless, small cell, all plastic, or grooved wooden frames with plastic insert foundation (like Rite-Cell from Mannlake). I chose the latter.

    The all plastic frames are heavy and harbor small hive beetle in their edges (something in abundance here in Texas) -I don't like that. Years ago, I had pure wax foundation droop in the heat and it resulted in a mess so I went away form that in the 1970's. Foundationless frames are not fastened at the bottom & ends of the the frame this time around, that makes it more tricky to inspect -I put up with it because I plan to cut some comb for queen mating NUCs.

    Nailing a frame and inserting the plastic foundation takes a couple minutes per frame -I don't mind that, in fact I enjoy it. If you buy anything plastic, be SURE it is wax coated, the bees won't work it without the coating (in my experience).
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Where can I buy 5,1mm plastic foundation?

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    I believe that the mann lake rite cell are 5.1mm. Source? I asked their online chat rep because oddly enough their plastic frame plastic standard foundation is 4.9 but nothing else seems to be.

    Thanks for all the opinions on this subject everyone!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    I believe Mann Lake Rite Cell is 5.4, not 5.1. As far as I know nobody sells 5.1 in any type of plastic frame or foundation, however I think Dadant sells wax foundation in 4.9 and 5.1. John

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Olympic, why do you want 5.1?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,544

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    When I studying for bees, my understanding was that in natural environment, varroa mites prefer to feast on drones in their large cells. When honey bees were artificially "enlarged", it confuses varroa and our problems began - varroa attacked worker bees. Thus, the idea behind smaller cells is to return to original status quo when mites dine mostly on drones. I really do not know how much truth in this. Speaking about foundation vs foundationless, there are bunch of factors to consider:
    - there is believe that foundation with uniform cell size prevent from excessive drone's cells creation. Some beekeepers believe that it is beneficial to ... who? bees? In the same line - it is believed that foundationless approach stimulates drone's cells formation and thus bad... or good for other beekeepers.
    - in my opinion the advantage of the foundationless is that bees could create cells whichever they needed, it is more "natural" way.
    - many think that, the major advantage of the foundation is that honey may be extracted from the comb and honeycomb reused to accelerate honey production. Having extra frames of drawn comb (extracted) is considered to be an advantage. Note that it is proven by many research studies that chemicals used for bee treatment as well as other pesticides have a tendency to accumulate in the wax especially in recycled drawn comb - search Internet for details.
    - you probably noticed already, that many beekeepers obsessed with that honeycomb must be straight - it is essential for mechanical honey extraction (centrifuge). So, you expected to follow tradition and use mechanical extractor. If you do not use extractor, than straight comb is not such critical.
    - as many already pointed out, foundationless is not less work, it require more attention and sometime messy corrections, which upset bees!

    On the personal note - my two beehives allowed are foundationless and I am very happy with my bees. I do crush-and-strain honey - it is very simple, natural and does not require expensive equipment. My observation is that girls (bees) made perfect straight comb without any foundation. If comb stays in the hive for long period of time, girls start do renovation - they created cross-comb etc. As long as "mess" is in the super (honey compartment), I personally do not care - I will crush comb anyway. The brood part of the beehive is another story. Being completely foundationless, I would probably recommend for beginner to start from nuc with foundation - somebody suggested the same above. Once nuc established, you could start adding foundationless frames if you desire is to be foundationless. My bees never saw foundation. Nevertheless, the average cell size is 5.1 mm. It is never smaller than 5.0 mm. Barry, the moderator also suggested 5.0-5.1 mm average.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,782

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    >Don't you mean the opposite here? That foundation is slower than foundationless?

    Yes. Sorry, brain f*rt, lost the "less".
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,960

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Don't you mean the opposite here? That foundation is slower than foundationless?

    Yes. Sorry, brain f*rt, lost the "less".

    i saw this for myself this year. in hives that were given both foundation and foundationless frames, the bees started working the foundationless earlier in the season, and finished them way before the foundation frames.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    I was curious about mann lake and their cell sizes so I sent an email. The reponse was it is 5.1mm-5.4 mm. Also- Interesting link about the effectiveness of small cell http://www.beeculture.com/storycms/i...y&recordID=676

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,140

    Thumbs Up Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus979 View Post
    ...snip... Interesting link about the effectiveness of small cell....
    Seems like the science is unequivocal. Thanks for the link to an excellent article!
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Washington, AR, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Don't you mean the opposite here? That foundation is slower than foundationless?

    Yes. Sorry, brain f*rt, lost the "less".
    Michael, I have almost exclusively foundation-less frames and have noticed that they will build out foundation-less faster anytime comb building is occurring, with one notable exception. When I have put a frame of foundation in a nucleus where the queen is limited in the available laying area, she will lay right on the foundation and the bees will draw that sucker out like lighting to stay ahead of the growing brood. If I were starting a hive from a swarm or a package, I would probably put in a frame or two of foundation if I didn't have some drawn comb. Otherwise, I have found I get comb quicker without foundation. Have you noticed that exception as well?

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,782

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Maybe it depends on how deep the cells are pressed and the queen's preferences. In my experience the queen usually doesn't lay in it until it's about 1/4" deep or so.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    i have been keeping bees now for 5 winters.all are foundation-less in the deeps "brood chamber" one thing that i have noticed is the the accessibility for the bees to go from frame to frame with out having to go either up or down.good for wintering over and moving food to the center also i never had to insulate them for the winter -15 degrees for 2 week periods.I do keep all plastic frames for my honey suppers tho. ease of extracting purposes I remove them for the winter only the only down side of foundation-less that i have found is when the spring comes is taking the frames out to make splits sometimes the comb falls apart or sticks to the other comb and it difficult to get them out.I can live with that since it seems that the bees are healthy i have never treated them for anything.currently today i have 13 hives two of which are overwintered observation hives all foundation-less they both swarmed this year successfully caught them and also made a split from one by taking the outside frame with the queen shes on her second winter this year in a double deep.she has a great brood pattern.foundation or foundation-less either way works keeper preference i suppose.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Foundationless I think means a frame without foundation (with several configurations of guides or no guides). Foundation can mean all wax (surplus wax, wax, wired wax, wire supported wax, etc), wax over plastic, Plastic can mean low cell pressed or deep cell pressed, waxed (or not waxed ?) and so on. Then you can have different cell size in this mix.

    I have read this thread several times and it confuses me.

    Right now I have started with 1. wax on plastic interspersed with some 2. wax with bar supports and some 3. empty frames with guides (usually tongue depressors or tapered top bars). All my frames are wood.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,422

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmooretx View Post
    From my limited run from July, using w. Kelley foundationless and grooved top/bottom with 1/8" plywood guide, I got wonderful results from frames that were between built out plastic. However when I put a foundationless between two new plastic foundation frames the results were mixed and occasionally strange. I had very thick comb that would extend all the way to the surface of the plastic foundation next frame. I also ended up with tunnels under the comb to the surface of the plastic foundation. The bees seem to like it, I am just confused with what they are doing, and it gets messy lifting the frames for inspection.
    Yep, the bees prefer to draw the foundationless and ignor the plastic when given a choice.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,422

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post

    Foundationless is the new fad, and it has it's place, but it's more work in most cases than using foundation and the bees will make a mess if you don't get it set up right. Some bees make a mess with foundation, too, but it's worse with foundationless. Certainly you should expect to get it all drawn in the spring, they will leave frames partially drawn in the fall and fill in around what' there with bridge comb, and in the fall it will often be full of honey and messy to fix.

    Peter
    Not in my experience doing foundationless for the last 10 years. And the new 'fad' goes back over 100 years.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,422

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    Lots of rationalization for every direction. We went all plastic for a simple reason. I can't be bothered to spend hours nailing and stringing frames. I open a box of pf500 or pf520 and put them in the hive. Job done. Costs me a buck a frame more than buying the bits, money well spent. Our bees built just as much comb as folks up the road that started on foundation the same time we did.
    There is a big difference between plastic foundation and plastic drawn frames. You are talking about plastic drawn frames.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Vernonia Or
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    Seems like the science is unequivocal.
    But it's not.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Why Plastic foundation? Also Foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_T View Post
    But it's not.
    Maybe we shouldn't be diverting the thread to the merits (or lack of merits) of small cell bees, but what I find unfortunate about all the "definitive" studies I've seen is the relatively short time period that these experiments have covered. From what I've read, almost any sort of hive will survive for 40 weeks, which I believe was the maximum length of the replicating studies done with the Berry protocol. Isn't there an inherent and fairly obvious problem with taking a bunch of unrelated large-cell bees and dumping them on small cell foundation or plastic comb, considering that this must be a stressful situation for the bees, trying to make that adaptation and survive the mites at the same time? I would be far more interested in survival rates after, say, 2 or 3 years.

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