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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Houston, Texas, USA
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    Default Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Yes I have done a lot of searches and will continue to do so but would appreciate some sage advice.
    I will be starting 2 10 frame med. only hives on 6 April when I pick up my package bees from BeeWeaver. My issue is I have no built out med. frames to use as guides, but do have some empty plasticell in wood frames I can use checkerboard fashion. Basically do you think checker boarding with empty frames (plasticell) is optimal or just put in all foundationless frames? I will be using the Walter Kelley frames and have had good luck with them in my deep hives. The only issue I have had in my deeps was that the foundationless were built out first, but the comb was super wide in areas all the way to the surface of the next frame that had an empty (non built out) plasticell frame.
    I am starting my second season and really looking forward to getting a harvest this year! Thank you for your time and support.
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    375

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Well you tried it in the deeps and you thought it was super wide. I have had success using one frame in the center as the guide frame (granted this frame was already drawn out & u don't have any), and then putting foundationless frames, 5 on one side and 4 on the other. This establishes the width of the foundation the bees will draw out on the next frames. Perhaps you can try this with one of the plasticell frames. There is a risk of just putting all foundationless frames in a hive, (cross-comb building, building bottom up), but if you have good, long guides, I don't think you will experience that problem.

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

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Before April 6th, I would put a couple of Medium Frames in your deep bodies on the hives you have now and let the bees draw them out. Then you'll have at least 2 drawn frames when your packages arrive. As is mentioned above, having one frame in the center as the guide frame will help. In my experience comb width will continue to be a problem until you have enough drawn frames where you can just insert the foundationless frame in between 2 already drawn frames. You'll just have to keep an eye on it, and correct as it occurs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    This is my experience with foundationless:

    With a good starter strip ( I turn the wedge of a wedge frame on edge) they didn't draw cross comb.

    The face of the comb was wavy though, and some of them were so fat as ti prevent proper comb being drawn in the frame next to it.

    I tried drawing foundationless bte frames existing brood comb and got nice, straight even comb in those frames... none of the wavyness that rolls bees.

    When I tried putting foundationless btw plastic frames, I got the same issues as with all foundationless. The didn't start drawing the plastic for a while after they'd drawn out the ffoundationless, so the fndnless had plenty of room to go wavy and wide.

    If I don't have drawn combs to put foundationless frames btwe in the future, I'll put several frames of foundation in first, and add the foundationless btw them once they are drawn.

    If you're concerned about residual cehimcals in foundation, you can always rotate them out once your empty frames are drawn.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    1,134

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Most people say add wax to plastic before using. Your bees seem to agree. Use the bees you have to start medium comb. I would rather have several started combs (nearly full length at the top) than worry about getting a few finished frames. Unless your current bees like the plastic I would go all foundationless and not mixed.
    You may get lucky and have some brood before packages arrive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
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    485

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    mediums are good to start with less trouble with them drawing them wrong, remember to keep your hives level side to side they will be fine

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,406

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Quote Originally Posted by wadehump View Post
    remember to keep your hives level side to side
    I think that is the most important thing you could do. A level hive is absolutely critical when you are going to install a package with all foundationless frames.

    I know it's not good to bother a newly established colony too often, but you will need to check on them regularly and be sure to straighten out any comb that starts to go off center or becomes wavy. It's fairly easy to adjust the comb and correct it when they first start to draw it out. Just use your best judgement on how often you inspect and correct if needed.
    To everything there is a season....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
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    460

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Nice idea! I did a quick check after work today and my 3 main hives are all doing well, lots of stock. I pulled an end frame from two of my hives and put two empty med. frames in the middle of the upper deeps, and will check them this weekend for progress (weather permitting). my rescue hive is not doing well at all, very little built out new comb, and only a couple hundred bees, and did not see a queen. I did spot two queen cells, one chewed through the side, so maybe the new queen did not make it back.

    Update: m
    My hives are level side to side and front to back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger Cody View Post
    Before April 6th, I would put a couple of Medium Frames in your deep bodies on the hives you have now and let the bees draw them out. Then you'll have at least 2 drawn frames when your packages arrive. As is mentioned above, having one frame in the center as the guide frame will help. In my experience comb width will continue to be a problem until you have enough drawn frames where you can just insert the foundationless frame in between 2 already drawn frames. You'll just have to keep an eye on it, and correct as it occurs.
    Last edited by mmmooretx; 01-28-2013 at 07:56 PM. Reason: update
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,084

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    > Basically do you think checker boarding with empty frames (plasticell) is optimal or just put in all foundationless frames?

    Since the plasticell will be 5.4mm cells and avoiding those would be my primary reason for using foundationless, I would not consider it optimal at all. I would just use foundationless farmes and keep an eye on them to make sure they start off right. Whatever you do, don't hang a queen cage in there. One good comb leads to another. If they start off wrong you need to straighten things out quickly. You can tie combs into frames with rubber bands or string if they are too far off, cut them out and tie them in straight. If they are only a little off, push them into place...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    > Basically do you think checker boarding with empty frames (plasticell) is optimal or just put in all foundationless frames?

    Since the plasticell will be 5.4mm cells and avoiding those would be my primary reason for using foundationless, I would not consider it optimal at all. I would just use foundationless farmes and keep an eye on them to make sure they start off right. Whatever you do, don't hang a queen cage in there. One good comb leads to another. If they start off wrong you need to straighten things out quickly. You can tie combs into frames with rubber bands or string if they are too far off, cut them out and tie them in straight. If they are only a little off, push them into place...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
    Thaks Mike, I often refur to your web references, and I keep the ebook I bought on my Android tablet. Your extesive knowledge, time, and support is greatly appreciated. Being limited to 5 hives makes the learning curve pretty steep, but my beekeeping is quite enjoyable. I am really looking forward to my first harvest this year, without an extracter.
    Also I plan on using the Brushy Mountain re-queening frame, but expect to be able to release the queen in 5-7 days. Upon removing the re-queening frame, as soon as the queen scurries out, I plan on replacing with an empty foundationless frame. Please let me know if you think my timeline is off.
    Last edited by mmmooretx; 01-29-2013 at 06:42 PM.
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    1,496

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    I agree with others who suggested to place empty frames between frames with drawn comb, foundationless or not. In my limited experience, bees do not like the entire empty box with foundationless frames. If possible, I am trying to gradually substitute foundation frames on foundationless by replacing 1-2 frames (every other) in the center. This way I am pushing fondation to the periphery of the box and eventually remove them.

    Another aspect of foundationless is that extractor is not necessary - thus, actually, in the honey supers, it is absolutely unimportant if comb is disorganized. Wait when super is full and crush-and-strain everything! Well-organized frames are important for the brood nest. I really do not see why comb must be straight in the honey super? Good luck with your project!
    Sergey
    Серёжа, Sergey

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
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    460

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Sergey,
    Thank you my friend, and I do owe you some pictures, or a video posting. If the weather is good I will try and do an inspection on Sunday, weather permitting and check the two medium frames I put in yesterday. Our weather is doing the rollercoaster ride between 80F and 60F lately. The hives are pretty active lately so I hope being in the middle of the upper brood chamber they work it soon.
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Mike - good luck with everything! Post pictures when possible! Sergey
    Серёжа, Sergey

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,084

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    >Also I plan on using the Brushy Mountain re-queening frame, but expect to be able to release the queen in 5-7 days. Upon removing the re-queening frame, as soon as the queen scurries out, I plan on replacing with an empty foundationless frame.

    I would just directly release her after putting in the bees. I have put cages in and direct released and have seen the same rate of rejection and moving next door, which unfortunately has gotten worse in recent years...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    1,134

    Default Re: Going foundationless in two hives in April with package bees

    Yes, the package and queen have already spent several days together. Ask how long, or how empty is the feed can? Small risk to release but less than messing with them.

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