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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Philippines
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    18

    Default Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    Hello everyone,

    I'm going to be setting up a Langstroth hive in March and I wanted to know the advantages & disadvantages of frames with foundation versus the empty frames where the bees would fill it with their own foundation. Which would be better to place in a beginner hive?

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Genola, Ut
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    The problem starting with empty frames is dealing with getting the bees to draw the comb straight and center. A lot of problems can be avoided by using foundation in the beginning; even though it can be done without it. Once you have the drawn comb it is easy to place empty frames between drawn comb to get more straight comb. It all depends on how much you want to deal with. You really have to watch the hive if you decide to go "commando".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    I would suggest that you start with foundation in your frames, and then insert a few foundation-less frames between drawn frames as the season progresses. Bees may decide that the foundationless frames are a great place to create a bunch of drone comb, so keep them high in the hive and insert them only when a good honey flow is on.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,828

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    I had one frame I put in hive without foundation. with the frame sandwiched between drawn comb the bees seemed to do just fine. I woudl not want to try it with a box full of empty frames though.

    I used a lot of wax foundation this past year with mixed results. I will be trying plastic foundation for the first time this spring. I removed the one foundation less frame from the hive and now have it in my shed. Hard to find a place to keep it safe but I have if if needed. watching to see if anything like moths mess with it.
    Last edited by Daniel Y; 12-19-2012 at 05:19 AM.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,456

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    I have hives that have both. They seem to do fine as long as you sandwich the frames between foundation and foundationless frames. For honey extraction purposes the honey supers have all plastic foundation.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    Ok, so I'm going for frames with plastic. I saw a video on youtube and the installation process seems straightforward enough but when the plastic foundation is place, he inserts a pin to hold it wouldn't that cover a couple of cells?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    If you are a beginner, I would recommend grooved top and bottom frames with Duragilt foundation. Duragilt is beeswax coated plastic. The foundation is lined on the outer edges with a metal reinforcement eliminating the need for pins or wire. It's very easy to install. I will be inserting a few empty frames in 2013 as well. As far as extracting honey, it will be much easier for you if you use a foundation. Frames without foundation normally are limited to pressing or squashing to remove honey. I will use the foundationless frames for cut-comb honey.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    >If you are a beginner, I would recommend grooved top and bottom frames with Duragilt foundation. Duragilt is beeswax coated plastic.

    There have been many posts on Beesource over the years expressing dissatisfaction with Duragilt. Do a search on the topic before you use it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    I started out on all foundationless and never had an issue. I just made 1 inch starter strips out of the foundation that came w/ the hive and glued it into the grooved top bars w/ beeswax. I did spend a good bit of time ensuring the hive was exactly level though.

    Started w/ warre hives (2) then a lang w/ a swarm last year and have never had a crooked frame yet. I think the key is level boxes and good straight starter strips. I do use foundation now when I add a super (w/out foundation they probably would make a mess out of it as they would build up from the bottoms of the frames).

    I am starting to use foundation more as the bees seem to start the process of drawing it out faster than foundationless--despite what I had read elsewhere. I do prefer foundationless in the brood nest so the bees, themselves, decide on cell size.

    If I were starting from scratch I would alternate foundation and foundationless frames when I first hived the colony. You still need to ensure the hive is level or you will still have issues.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    can the Duragilt foundations be re-used after extraction?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    A beginner as mentioned can do foundationless, just like a beginner can figure out how to use foundation. They are simply different ways of getting to the same place. Both have their unique management tweeks and work involved. Here is a video I created on foundationless frames.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38SPvuWvVkc

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshC1021 View Post
    can the Duragilt foundations be re-used after extraction?
    Yes.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    So I guess I'm going for the duragilt because they seem fine to me. I saw the video on Brushy Mountain Bee Farm's website about assembling the frame with duragilt already attached. How do I go about that? Do I glue it to one side or something?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshC1021 View Post
    So I guess I'm going for the duragilt because they seem fine to me. I saw the video on Brushy Mountain Bee Farm's website about assembling the frame with duragilt already attached. How do I go about that? Do I glue it to one side or something?
    No glue needed. Assemble frames as you normally would. Duragilt is then inserted into bottom groove then slid into top groove. Do not bend the metal reinforcing on the ends. Let it "float" in the grooves. On your deep frames, make sure the communication ports on the Duragilt are on the bottom. These comm ports are not on the med and shallow foundation. The bees will put propolis to tighten and keep them from sliding in the grooves. I did a search on Duragilt here on this site as another poster suggested that I do. I only saw one thread where there was dissatisfaction with Duragilt.

    If your duragilt loses the beeswax coating, you can reapply it yourself with your melted, strained cappings.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    >I did a search on Duragilt here on this site as another poster suggested that I do. I only saw one thread where there was dissatisfaction with Duragilt. If your duragilt loses the beeswax coating, you can reapply it yourself with your melted, strained cappings.

    I did the search before I made the comment and found many I had seen over the years. These ae just from one thread.

    "I just find it overly sensitive. It's easy to get a wave in it when assembling and hard to straighten out too. As others have noted wax very easily flakes off base Mylar like plastic."
    "I despise it."
    "I refer to it as Duracrap!"
    "I used it in my honey supers and when the weather turned hot the foundation warped and pulled out of the grooves."
    "When flool proof stuff is made, I guess bigger fools will arise. "
    "Oh they'll touch it alright...and make beautiful drone and burr comb "
    "Is it as bad as other beekeepers say it is?Indeed it is "
    "I prefer not to use it. I bought out a beekeeper who had retired and he had several boxes of it. It goes in fast, but best with grooved bottom bars instead of divided bottom bars. The wedge cleat won't always hold it in and it often falls down to the next hive body. Also, as some of this duragilt was older, some had dried out and flaked off the plastic base. Bees will absolutely REFUSE to touch the plastic. You'll get odd shaped frames and extra wax built from adjacent frames. In my opinion, there are much better options."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    >If your duragilt loses the beeswax coating, you can reapply it yourself with your melted, strained cappings.
    By strained cappings maybe you mean melted beeswax.
    One problem with Duragilt is that the bees eat the wax off of it. IT has no cell layout on the plastic, so re-coating it will not give the bees a guide. I have 42 years experience with Duragilt, if it has even been available that long. I think it has. I have thrown away a lot of bald Duragilt frames that came from other beekeepers. You also lose a lot of cells on the edges to that metal band.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,831

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    A given beginnng beekeeper will find a way to have trouble with any foundation. I had every problem above until I learned how to install it and how to get the bees to draw it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    Quote Originally Posted by MaydayMalone View Post
    If you are a beginner, I would recommend grooved top and bottom frames with Duragilt foundation.
    No offense, but Duragilt is the absolute worst foundation that I've ever used. I highly recommend looking at other foundations.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    >If your duragilt loses the beeswax coating, you can reapply it yourself with your melted, strained cappings.
    By strained cappings maybe you mean melted beeswax.
    One problem with Duragilt is that the bees eat the wax off of it. IT has no cell layout on the plastic, so re-coating it will not give the bees a guide. I have 42 years experience with Duragilt, if it has even been available that long. I think it has. I have thrown away a lot of bald Duragilt frames that came from other beekeepers. You also lose a lot of cells on the edges to that metal band.


    You know how these youngsters are these days ODfrank they have to learn it all the hard way. LOL

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,456

    Default Re: Frames w/ foundation vs. empty frames

    I like the plastic foundation with wax coating from Mann Lake.

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