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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Salem, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    56

    Default foundation question

    I have read several posts about whether to use foundation or not in the brood boxes. I believe previous beeks have tried all the tricks. So here is my question: I think embossed foundation allows the queen to lay before the comb is drawn, right?, but is there any way that a wax foundation sheet without the embossing would be used to draw comb? Its easy to make the sheets but not to emboss it without a major cash outlay for a roller. Even if it worked, would it be worth the effort?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,188

    Default Re: foundation question

    >I think embossed foundation allows the queen to lay before the comb is drawn, right?
    Yes but it needs to be started

    >but is there any way that a wax foundation sheet without the embossing would be used to draw comb?
    Yes that's how they use to do it long time ago, but the bee don’t like to draw it

    >Its easy to make the sheets but not to emboss it without a major cash outlay for a roller. Even if it worked, would it be worth the effort?
    If you shop around you can find them used $1000 to $2000, it would not be worth it for a small scale beek, large operation may not think it's worth the time. There are some bee suppliers that will turn your wax into foundation for a fee plus shipping bothways, people looking for treatment free foundation do this.

    If you trying to cut costs use foundationless frames. The bees will draw them quicker than anything else.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: foundation question

    > I think embossed foundation allows the queen to lay before the comb is drawn, right?

    No more so than foundationless. The queen will start laying in the cells when they are about 1/4" deep usually. They will draw the foundationless faster.

    > but is there any way that a wax foundation sheet without the embossing would be used to draw comb?

    Yes, but it's even slower than embossed wax, partly because, unless you run it through a press, the cast sheets (by dipping a board) are tougher and harder to draw than the pressed sheets of foundation are.

    The fastest is foundationless.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: foundation question

    When using foundationless, is it posible to incorporate wire reinforcing? Will the bees draw comb around the stainless wires, or will it disrupt them?


    edit: some quick searching seems to indicate the the bees are okay with this wire.

    So, does one eventually work towards having only 8 frames in a 10frame box?
    Last edited by KPeacock; 02-07-2013 at 10:26 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: foundation question

    >When using foundationless, is it posible to incorporate wire reinforcing? Will the bees draw comb around the stainless wires, or will it disrupt them?

    Not a problem. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#canwire But I wouldn't.

    >So, does one eventually work towards having only 8 frames in a 10frame box?

    I would work towards having 11 frames in a 10 frame box or 9 in an 8 frame box...

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: foundation question

    Michael: Do you think the unnatural size causes us to be more accustomed to 10 frames in a 10 frame box? I realize that in the wild the bees have sizes all over the map, but when Huber was making his measurements, was he not dealing with a smaller bee? Would we have to regress bees to get a comfortable 11 frames in a box?

    I personally like putting 10 frames in my brood areas, and 9 above to make things simpler in extraction. (still use queen excluders in my Langstroth hives)

    As for my top bar hives, I vary the width by the size of the bars. However, if I get around to building the Warre hives this year I'm wondering if I should try for a smaller spacing as those will be foundationless.

    Rob.
    www.mongrelbees.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: foundation question

    I've seen eggs on embossed foundation with just a tiny bit of wax (way less than 1/4").
    Those frames were drawn out very quickly - faster than foundtionless frames that were also in the same box.
    I prefer foundtionless, and primarily use plastic while expanding hive numbers and am short on drawn comb to ensure straight foundtionless comb building.
    With a very fecund queen, when there is no where else to lay, I think she might even have been laying in cells before the wax walls started.
    Some of them only had the smallest hint of white wax walls...The workers got real busy building walls to keep ahead of larval growth!

    That's something that doesn't happen in foundationless, as there is nothing there for the queen to lay in.

    I really do prefer foundtionless, though. I am suspect of any wax that's "run of the mill with regard to miticide residues.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: foundation question

    Assuming one wanted to go with a foundationless frame, and furthermore, assuming they wanted to use a reinforcing wire/line of some sort, is there a consensus on what is best to use?

    It seems to me that there are three options:

    1: Stainless steel wire. This is nothing new to the beekeeping community, and appears to be standard practice depending on foundation used.

    2: Monofilament fishing line. There seems to be some disagreement on the line size required to prevent chewing through it, but from a few searches, i gather that 20lb or higher should be adequate.

    3: "super lines" (spyderwire/fireline..etc): I didn't see any mention of these particular lines used in this capacity.

    My affility for the use of line instead of the steel is founded on the basis that I already have a seemingly limitless supply. My curiousity between the two fishing lines is simply that...curiousity. I don't know if the bees would reject the superlines, but i don't think there is any reason to suspect they would. On the other hand, it does have dyes added in many cases, so there is a chance. The superlines have very low stretch and a smaller cross-section (assuming same strength as mono), so their benefits in extracting might be eliminated becasue the could easily "cut" through the comb built arround them if a radial extractor is not used. The only significant benefit I see to the super lines over the monofilament is that it's strength (assuming same diameter as mono) is much higher and that might facilitate simply pulling the line through a drawn and honey filled frame. This would allow a keeper to have the rigidity desired when manipulating a hive, yet an unpolluted frame of comb for cut comb honey.

    I have no interest in messing about with cut comb honey other than to try it once for the heck of it, so it probably doesn't matter for me. I'm just interested in thoughts and discussion about this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,188

    Default Re: foundation question

    >they wanted to use a reinforcing wire/line of some sort, is there a consensus on what is best to use?
    I use nothing, going to take my chances they will hold up in the extractor. If I had to I would use mono fishing line, it's cheap, easy to cut out. I would only use on deeps.

    I would not use any kind of braided string in the hive, the fibers in the string can catch and hold bee's by their legs, I have read here a few queens were caught by stings.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: foundation question

    I hadn't thought of the braid tangling them up...good thought!

    Thanks for the responses!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: foundation question

    >Michael: Do you think the unnatural size causes us to be more accustomed to 10 frames in a 10 frame box?

    Bees are larger mostly because of the size of the cell on the embossing. Yes, bigger bees build thicker combs (see Baudoux's work)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=i0P...20size&f=false
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#combwidth

    Here is some naturally spaced comb by a regular package of commercial bees that moved into a feeder:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BroodNestInFeeder.JPG
    and after cutting off the combs here is the spacing:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/CombSpacing30.JPG

    30mm is between 1 1/8" and 1 3/16". A standard hoffman frame is 1 3/8". My "narrow" frames are 1 1/4"

    > I realize that in the wild the bees have sizes all over the map, but when Huber was making his measurements, was he not dealing with a smaller bee?

    No. The same bee we have.

    > Would we have to regress bees to get a comfortable 11 frames in a box?

    No, it's what they naturally want to build.

    >I personally like putting 10 frames in my brood areas, and 9 above to make things simpler in extraction. (still use queen excluders in my Langstroth hives)

    The bees will build honey combs very thick and that makes it much easier to uncap.

    >As for my top bar hives, I vary the width by the size of the bars. However, if I get around to building the Warre hives this year I'm wondering if I should try for a smaller spacing as those will be foundationless.

    I would do 1 1/4". Baudoux's measurement of natural small cell comb thickness is roughly 20mm and that leaves 12 mm between the combs for "beespace".

    >1: Stainless steel wire. This is nothing new to the beekeeping community, and appears to be standard practice depending on foundation used.

    I have used wire (I usually don't). I prefer to crimp it. It spreads the forces out more and the comb is less likely to break right along the line of the wire. The reason I don't like wire is it gets in the way. When I want to cut the comb for comb honey or I want to cut out a queen cell, there always seems to be a wire in the way.

    >2: Monofilament fishing line. There seems to be some disagreement on the line size required to prevent chewing through it, but from a few searches, i gather that 20lb or higher should be adequate.

    I've never tried it, but apparently it works.

    >3: "super lines" (spyderwire/fireline..etc): I didn't see any mention of these particular lines used in this capacity.

    I think smoother is better in a bee hive. You could use "tiger wire" that is used for jewelry, which is a steel cable with plastic coating. But I prefer to use nothing...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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