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  1. #21
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by JStinson View Post
    Acebird, you say you don't need wire for mediums. Do you mean that they will hold up during extraction or just inspection?
    I am sorry, I lost track of the topic. You would probably want support for fondationless comb. Ignore my comment.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  2. #22
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    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Which is why people use wire.
    Actually, no.

    Wire certainly does add some strength to seasoned comb, but the force of honey laden fresh comb vs. the small surface area of wire might assist a bit in handling...but against the forces of extraction? Think of how easy it is to cut through fresh comb with some thin wire or fishing line.

    The primary reason people use wire (and the initial reason for its use) is to support the foundation from sagging under the heat/weight of the bees clustered on it. Once the comb is drawn there is good structural stiffness in the comb...but before drawing, not so much.

    First came the extractor (before foundation), and no one seemed to feel the need to wire the frames. Only with the invention and adoption of foundation were wires found necessary.

    For unwired, foundationless frames, don't "hold" the frame....rest the frame ears on your index fingers and gravity will keep things lined up safely.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  3. #23
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    We routinely extract from unwired foundationless deeps. A tangential extractor probably helps support the comb.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  4. #24
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    When I saw Sam Comfort in February, he told me about a beekeeper he is working with in Hawaii.

    Her method of extracting foundationless combs is to only uncap one side first, spin ALL the honey out of that side, then uncap the other side.

    The capped cells provide some stiffness to the comb (parallel to the midrib) while extracting out the first half of the honey. I haven't tried this yet, but I never would have thought of it on my own. Sometimes you have to think outside the cell.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    killen,al
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    152

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    I'm putting bobby-pins threw the holes on the sides of the frames for reinforcement. If the doesn't work my next step is to add a horizontal bar across the center of my medium frames. This will take more time because I will need to groove the center of both side bars. Then I plan to use a spit bottom bar with a strip of cell-rite to make a centering strip for the top,and bottom of the center horizonal bar on these frames. Most of the time I find that my new ideals have already been thought of by someone before.

  6. #26
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillipm View Post
    If the doesn't work my next step is to add a horizontal bar across the center of my medium frames.
    If I wanted to reinforce comb, this is what I would do.

    This will take more time because I will need to groove the center of both side bars.
    I think it would be less work (and more useful) to make a jig that positions a horizontal bar properly. You would also have pretty good centering if you used the wire holes in the side bars.

    Then I plan to use a spit bottom bar with a strip of cell-rite to make a centering strip for the top,and bottom of the center horizonal bar on these frames.
    I've never put a comb guide on the bottom bar, but I know some do. As for the comb guide (centering strip), I find popsicle sticks work so well that I can't imagine why anyone would use plastic or wax foundation starter strips.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  7. #27
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Some of what's been said here reinforces my belief that monofilament is a better way to reinforce comb than wire, if you're not using foundation. Its larger diameter should provide more resistance to cutting during extraction. Also, it's a lot quicker and easier to install than wire. You can get it banjo tight with just your hands and a knot.

    Old drawings of Langstroth frames show triangular comb guides on all 4 sides, and I imagine this makes for stronger combs, as the bees have much more attachment surface to work with. But I hope that isn't necessary. It doesn't seem to be, as far as straight comb is concerned, so far.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
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    4,207

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    If you have frames to extract that aren't attached well, just wrap several rubber bands around them, just like when you tie in comb from a cutout. The wider office style rubber bands will keep the comb in place while you spin it.

  9. #29
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    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,492

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    >Except for the time it takes during assembly, just wondering if there is one good reason to NOT use wire?

    I don't like wire in my cut comb, and I never know if I'm going to have that nice new soft white comb that is great comb honey and hard to extract. Also I like to be able to cut queen cells out without working around wires. I prefer not to use wire. Then, of course, it's work...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #30
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    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
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    164

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    plus a spool on 30# mono is a lot cheaper than wire as well. I think it works so well because the bees can't see it, unlike rubber bands which they will chew out. Went through 100 frames on one spool of mono this week. Plus, you never know what is in wire or any metal these days.

  11. #31
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Actually, no.Wire certainly does add some strength to seasoned comb, but the force of honey laden fresh comb vs. the small surface area of wire might assist a bit in handling...but against the forces of extraction? Think of how easy it is to cut through fresh comb with some thin wire or fishing line.
    One might think so in theory, but in practise it doesn't happen, in my younger days I'd spend a couple of months extracting 2 or 3 tons a day and never saw this.

    Only time I'll see wires pull out of a comb is if it's subjected to a pretty extreme trauma, ie a comb of honey dropped and smashed. But in the normal course of extraction, comb would break long before wire would pull out.

    However some of the ideas above have merit I guess it depends on a persons perspective. Cos I've been a commercial, messing with rubber bands, uncapping one side only, etc. just isn't time efficient. But for someone with just a few hives it may not be an issue.

    But I guess the best argument for wiring, is that feeling you get when you are working your hive, and your comb drops out of the frame and smashes. Each to their own though, EOD it's purely personal preference.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,191

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Like everything in beekeeping, foundationless frames will interest you depending on your basic assumptions.

    My assumption was that acaricide residue in foundation is a potential problem. It may not be a large problem, but I'm a person who believes that the small things add up. When I discovered that it was possible to keep bees without foundation, I decided to give it a try. So far I like it a lot, though I'd probably have a different reaction if my bees had been determined to build wild comb.

    It's cheaper.

    It's less time consuming.

    The bees like building their own comb, it would seem.

    Once comb has been through a couple brood cycles, it should be plenty strong enough for extracting. Smalltimers have the time to manipulate their hives to rotate these combs into honey storage.

    It's very interesting to observe what the bees build when left to their own device. This is possibly fanciful, but I suspect this might be a way that bees could communicate with the beekeeper, if the beekeeper has enough experience reading the bees' intent from the comb they build. Every good beekeeper I've talked to has stressed the importance of close observation, and this is another channel for that.

    It's possible to regress bees, given patience, just by letting them build their own comb and cycling it out.

    I don't have an extractor, so the extractability of foundationless comb is a non-issue for me. An advantage of crush and strain honey processing is that you have more beeswax for candles and salves, if you like to experiment with that sort of thing (my wife does.)

    There's some evidence that keeping bees busy making wax can suppress the impulse to swarm.

    Some non-grafting queen breeding processes appear to work better with fresh foundationless comb.

    I'm sure there are also many disadvantages, but I haven't seen them yet. That said, I'm a hobbyist. No doubt I would have a completely different view if I had 500 hives.

  13. #33
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Foundationless and wireless are 2 different things.

    Foundationless can work fine, provided a person is OK with a natural amount of drones. But life is made easier for the future, if wire is used. Fishing line can achieve similar, but is less strong and will typically weaken in around 3 years, although that may be enough for some.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #34
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    I am not buying the concept of only uncapping one side at a time. This would create a very uneven force on the comb. I contend that uncapping both sides and bringing the extractor up to speed in increments would solve any comb breakage. This allows the majority of the honey to leave the cell on both sides of the comb before the extractor gets to top speed to take out the small amount of honey left in the cells.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #35
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Agreed. And with an extractor like yours Ace I'm sure you would have to be an authority on this.

    Where I am we get some viscous honeys, and uncapping both sides and spinning up in increments is very important. Probably a bit why I'm prejudiced towards wire also, wireless just wouldn't work in these areas unless you wanted to crush & strain.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Greene, (Upstate) NY. The Great USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Newbie here, want to say great thread, and great input from all you guys. I intend on running foundationless with popsicle sticks for starters, between mannlakes small cell frames (every other one) to help keep things straight. Any thoughts on this? Should I add wax or sugar water to the plastic (believe they are lightly coated)? Will this work or just confuse the bees?

  17. #37
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Just to clarify, are you wanting to start the hive on small cell plastic foundation, with a foundationless frame between each one? Or is it an existing hive?

    Dumping bees into a hive of small cell plastic foundation alternated between foundationless frames is asking for a mess.

    Tell us just what you are wanting to do & we'll tell you how best to do it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #38
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Huntingstoneboy View Post
    Newbie here, want to say great thread, and great input from all you guys. I intend on running foundationless with popsicle sticks for starters, between mannlakes small cell frames (every other one) to help keep things straight. Any thoughts on this? Should I add wax or sugar water to the plastic (believe they are lightly coated)? Will this work or just confuse the bees?
    I'm no expert, but I don't think the foundation is necessary. I hived a package a couple weeks ago in a six frame space-- just empty frames with comb guides, and they've built out the comb beautifully. They haven't completely filled the frames yet, but I have capped brood on 3 or 4 frames.

    Maybe I've just been lucky, but I get happy when I peek into the hive and see nice straight comb. I took this picture yesterday:

    wccombapril25.jpg


    I think the comb guides with a triangular cross section are the best, and if you have a table saw, or a friend with a table saw, you can knock out a hundred of them in an hour.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    ... Foundationless can work fine, provided a person is OK with a natural amount of drones. ...
    This is really interesting - I am 100% foundationless and technically "frameless"... I have no problem with drones. It seems to me, girls control it pretty well. We had drones 2 month ago probably in swarm preparation. Than I chekerboard and it changes their mind. Soon after chekerboarding, I noticed that girls are very busy evicting drones! For while, there were no drones at all. Now, I noticed some drones again, but it is very little (to my taste) - may be one drone landed in 2-3 minutes. Also, all girl's fresh comb is usually used for nectar first, than for brood and I saw 10-20 drone cells at the periphery of the comb sometime. I just did not see the bar full of drone cells.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  20. #40
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    Oct 2011
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    ... I took this picture yesterday:

    wccombapril25.jpg
    Another beautiful comb- congratulations!!!!!
    Серёжа, Sergey

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