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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    Hi! I'm a newbee from Ottawa, Ontario. My 3 hives were destroyed by a bear in the fall, so I am looking to start over. I'm really intrigued by 8 frame mediums because then I could lift them without depending on my hubby and foundationless seems great, but I have 3 questions

    1) Do you think an 8 frame medium box would withstand the climate?/ how many would I need to stack to give them the best chance at overwintering? Previously, I had succesfully overwintered running 2 deep 10 frame (but I can't move these by myself). We had two really bad cold snaps this winter (-30C plus windchill - minus 20F?) The average temperature is -15C (but thats an average with warmer and colder days)

    2) I'm going to get two nucs in the spring. Can I just start with foundationless frames?

    2) Similar question - Swarms seem to arrive at my house every summer - can I put a swarm directly in a foundationless brood box, with starters on the frames?

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    1. I don't use 8 frame meds so I will not venture an answer for this one.

    2. You can start them on all foundationless but that does not mean they will build as planned. I started a 5 frame nuc from a swarm that way last year and the built beautiful straight comb about 3/4 the way down the frames then took a hard left. I ended up killing the queen while fixing the turn and had to combine. I have found the best way to get foundationless drawn is to intersperse drawn frames with foundationless and the second best is to use frames of foundation.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Pensacola, FL
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    Quote Originally Posted by gees_bees View Post
    <snip>
    2) I'm going to get two nucs in the spring. Can I just start with foundationless frames?
    <snip>
    This is exactly how I started my two hives last year. Keep in mind that if you get nucs, you'll get frames of comb with them. So when you transfer them to your boxes, the bees will have a guide when it comes to building out the other three frames if you space them out in the boxes.

    Brian
    Hobby Beekeeper - Second Year - Two Hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    If its still cold don't split up the brood nest. Put the empty frames between the brood and the stores, untill its warm enough, then you can put empty frames in the brood nest. Also they draw them out better when they are placed inbetween frames of brood instead of frames of honey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bourbon, Missouri
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    All my hives are 8 frame mediums and I love them. I stack 3 for the brood area. But I am in Missouri, USA. In your area I would think 4 mediums stacked would work. My hives are all foundationless too. I started with 5 frame nucs. When I transferred them into an 8 frame I checker boarded them in. Worked out fine if done in spring with the flow starting. With foundationless frames it is VERY important to have the hive level, both ways, front to back and side to side. They can tolerate a little forward lean but not much.

    I assume the bear left you with some drawn comb? If so you can place a swarm in a box with some drawn comb and foundationless frames in between. Another step for insurance with the swarm staying in the box is to place a queen excluder on the bottom of the box to act as a queen includer. When the queen has laid a few frames of eggs and the colony has brood to tend to you can remove the excluder.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    My biggest piece of advice to those starting to use foundationless frames is that when the bees start to build comb that wanders outside the frames, and they will, you need to break that bit off from where it's attached and get it back in line with the frame, and don't be prissy about it...they'll fix it. Make sure that you get that comb in line w/the frame as soon as it starts to wander, even if it makes a little mess of honey or you lose a little brood or whatever. Do that and you'll end up with nice straight, even, extractable comb.

    I agree with Goat Man. Your queen will probably hang out in 3 boxes, but for winter I'd have a 4th on them where you are.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    Thanks everyone! I will definitely intersperse the frames.

    If its still cold don't split up the brood nest. Put the empty frames between the brood and the stores, untill its warm enough
    Thanks I'll keep that in mind. It should be warm by then but you never know we could have a chilly spring.

    I assume the bear left you with some drawn comb? If so you can place a swarm in a box with some drawn comb and foundationless frames in between
    Great idea! I forgot about that!

    when the bees start to build comb that wanders outside the frames, and they will, you need to break that bit off from where it's attached and get it back in line with the frame, and don't be prissy about it...they'll fix it.
    I will - yes, I will have to be less prissy. I always feel so bad whenever a bee accidently get squished (like when putting the lid on and off)

    RE overwintering. I think what I might do is start one nuc in mediums and put the other in deeps (since I already have the deeps and they overwintered successfully before) sort of as an insurance policy. Then if the mediums do well next winter, I'll change out the deeps... How would I switch out the deeps for mediums? with a queen excluder?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,571

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    >) Do you think an 8 frame medium box would withstand the climate?/

    8 frame hives winter better than 10 frame hives in my experience.

    >how many would I need to stack to give them the best chance at overwintering?

    Assuming a typical Italian cluster in a booming hive, four.

    > Previously, I had succesfully overwintered running 2 deep 10 frame (but I can't move these by myself).

    Four eight frame mediums is exactly the same volume.

    >2) I'm going to get two nucs in the spring. Can I just start with foundationless frames?

    Yes. Bees build parallel combs. Just remember one good comb leads to another. One bad comb leads to another. Don't every take the view that you "hope" the bees will straighten things out. They won't. But often they build them correctly to start with.

    >2) Similar question - Swarms seem to arrive at my house every summer - can I put a swarm directly in a foundationless brood box, with starters on the frames?

    I would use wood for a guide as it is much more durable and better attached than a starter strip of wax. Yes, you can put them directly on foundationless. If I had a drawn comb, though, I would put it in the center of the box because one good comb leads to another...

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,649

    Default Re: 8 frame medium foundationless - 3 questions

    May be the wrong place, but with bears around I wouldn't do foundationless...... every time the hive gets upset your comb is going to be busted up and useless.... JMO..... plastic foundataion as a TON more durable.

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