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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,195

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    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.
    That is interesting. I was told by some folks that the bees would draw a lot of drone comb if I didn't use foundation, Out of the 8 or 9 combs the first hive has drawn since I installed the nuc 6 weeks ago, there's only been one patch of drone comb. It's a pretty big patch, about a third of a frame. As they often do, the bees started two separate combs and eventually filled the frame and joined the two combs. I think that when they drew that drone comb, they were considering swarming. The hive was bursting with bees and there was a good flow going on. I found a few queen cups, though none were occupied. I opened up the brood nest by adding several empty frames and moving the follower board out. The next time I looked the queen cups were gone. They haven't been drawing any more drone comb.

    The new hive doesn't have any drone comb, but it's from a 2 week old package, and I assume they know they need workers. There's a lot of capped brood in that hive now, even though the frames aren't fully drawn yet, so I think that hive is about to take off. The flow must still be pretty good, because in 2 weeks, they didn't take a whole quart of syrup. I took out the feeder yesterday, and I hope they'll do okay.

    I know I've said this before, probably too many times, but I'm really loving these long hives. They're so pleasant to work, and you can get a very good idea of what's going on in them without disturbing the bees much at all.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,441

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Nucs or new packages won't typically draw drone comb as they don't need it, they're trying to build up. I think most people have issues with established hives and then start putting foundationless frames in and then the girls are all too happy to make a frame of drone comb.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Could you do a super of foundation and a super of foundationless?

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,195

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Nucs or new packages won't typically draw drone comb as they don't need it, they're trying to build up. I think most people have issues with established hives and then start putting foundationless frames in and then the girls are all too happy to make a frame of drone comb.
    Does that mean they were thinking about swarming when they built that drone comb?

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Does that mean they were thinking about swarming when they built that drone comb?
    Hives are supposed to and will have drones at a certain percentage, from all the readings I have come across.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,342

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    I have had good and bad with foundationless, the bad being comb drawn across the frames connecting up to three frames, easily ripped out though. I have enough drawn out frames now that I just stick a foundationless frame between drawn frames and they draw them out how they will, drone comb or brood comb.

    I used to used mono to help with support, but have skipped that step since expermenting with a comb that was barely attached on a couple points on the sides and nothing on the bottom, still very strong.

    I have also gone to a solid bottom board which should help them draw all the way out to the bottom of the frame!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,448

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Does that mean they were thinking about swarming when they built that drone comb?
    No, all hives want drone comb. Yours will build more once they are not feeling the urgency to produce workers.
    A survey done once on wild hives found 19% drone comb on average. For me, I've found small hives will build less or none, and the bigger they are, the higher % of drone comb they can afford, a big strong hive may build well over 20% drone comb. (assuming natural comb).
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Greene, (Upstate) NY. The Great USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    @ oldtimer...Yes I am planning on putting "new" bees on both foundationless and small cell. I am setting 4 traps, and helping a gentleman remove some hives from barns, houses, etc. We will put some cutouts in those hives. Why would i get " a mess"? Should I run all foundationless or all small cell plastic in each individual hive?

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,448

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Likely get a mess because the bees don't like building comb on plastic foundation, if there are gaps caused by foundationless frames between each plastic foundation, they will fill the gap with a mishmash of comb, to avoid building on the plastic.

    My recommendation would be put the bees on pure plastic small cell foundation, ie, every frame sc plastic foundation. They then have little option but build the combs the way you want. Once combs are built, you can then start putting your foundationless frames between them which they should build properly because once the combs are built on the plastic, there is less room between and the bees will probably just put one straight comb in, long as you have good comb guides.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    If you want to go foundationless then just start with a clean slate. Most of the hives I started with empty frames did everything right the first try. I did have to fix a few combs early on in a couple of them but overall it was fun and easy. Fixing combs is not hard, just make sure to inspect every three or four days and you will be fine and won't have to deal with a mix of methods in your hives.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ka'u Hawaii
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    I agree that bees in a single box will draw out new foundationless combs pretty well, iow not too many drones; however, when you pull them into a second and third box of brood, my experience is that there will often be several frames with all or a high percentage of drone brood, and that continues as you go up. I always try to move this up and away from the brood nest.
    Now, I'm not complaining so much as stating how it is. Late in the season the bees do reduce their drone production as they fill the combs with honey. Furthermore, I've been absolutely amazed by the large size of cells that they build for in the supers when it is purely for honey storage.
    In my many years of foundation beekeeping I had never seen such large cells before.
    I do believe they raise many more drones on foundationless. Does it result in less honey production? My guess is that early in the year the answer is yes. Later in the year, probably no. I did get a good harvest last year on the natural cell in the end as I had a good late honey flow. I know that some argue that a lot of drone rearing does not reduce honey production. I don't claim to have enough experience of natural cell to be willing to state my opinion as fact.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Greene, (Upstate) NY. The Great USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Thanks guys for the input. I may try all 3 ways...ie. all foundationless, all small cell plastic, and then a hive with a combo of each. I will keep you guys posted how it all turns out.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,649

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    You will find some queens will not lay on small cell plastic......

  14. #54
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,649

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    I ran this experiment 2 years ago.... on 10 hives each... I found they do draw faster foundationless. They don't draw small cell. and when forced on small cell some hives do "okay" none thrived. and several hives died because the queen would not lay on small plastic.

    I also found in my opinon that foundationless was a waste of time, broken comb, unfilled frames and comb I couldnt extract as well as random drone cells made it not worthwhile for me.
    Its impossible to do effective drone trapping on foundationless, and dang near impossible to extract. Wires help but foundation is quicker and cleaner..... Were it not, then it wouldn't sell.... but probably 80% of the beeks are useing it.......

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    384

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    I also use fishing line to add a bit of strength to fresh comb.
    I put a frame with a double strand of fishing line between two frames already drawn out and the bees then draw it out nice and evenly between the preexisting comb.
    I do this in colonies I want to produce drones at mating apiary sites.
    They invariably draw out drone comb although this depends upon the time of year and colony strength as well.

    I drill 2 holes in each side bar with a 2mm bit and use 30lb monofilament fishing line.
    The fishing line is held taut with 2 drawing pins pressed into the side bar.

    A strong colony can draw out a frame and the queen can have it laid up within 48 hours.




  16. #56
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,649

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    thats what I found as typical foundationless. Not attached at the bottos. sides vary. even after 3-4 years. which means handeling them is a pain in the butt

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,583

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    You will find some queens will not lay on small cell plastic......
    I would say that this would be rare. In 5 years of using SC plastic I have never had a problem. Perhaps my queens haven't been as finicky as some.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,195

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    I ran this experiment 2 years ago.... on 10 hives each... I found they do draw faster foundationless. They don't draw small cell. and when forced on small cell some hives do "okay" none thrived. and several hives died because the queen would not lay on small plastic.
    It might have been an unrealistic expectation to hope that large cell bees would draw small cell comb in foundationless frames. Some folks say that if allowed to draw their own comb, they will draw slightly smaller cells, but apparently you need to go through several sets of comb, each one a bit smaller than the last, in order to regress bees down to 4.9 mm. The small cell package from Wolf Creek that I installed seems to be drawing small cell comb on my foundationless frames, as you would expect.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    I also found in my opinon that foundationless was a waste of time, broken comb, unfilled frames and comb I couldnt extract as well as random drone cells made it not worthwhile for me.
    Its impossible to do effective drone trapping on foundationless, and dang near impossible to extract. Wires help but foundation is quicker and cleaner..... Were it not, then it wouldn't sell.... but probably 80% of the beeks are useing it.......
    This may not be a helpful observation, but according to the Bee Informed winter mortality survey, removal of drone brood has no significant effect on colony survival.

    http://beeinformed.org/2012/03/bee-i...0-2011/#varroa

    I wish I knew what you and Michael Bush are doing differently. He says he has no difficulty extracting foundationless comb. Right now it doesn't matter to me, because I don't have an extractor, but in the future, who knows? I've already become addicted to keeping the little bugs.

  19. #59
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,649

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    WEll you would have to ask mike about his, but I use a 21 frame radial, and I extract deep frames. I don't think Michael uses anything but meds.....

    And believe me they make a mess when they come apart,

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,195

    Default Re: My experiment with foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    WEll you would have to ask mike about his, but I use a 21 frame radial, and I extract deep frames. I don't think Michael uses anything but meds.....
    Makes sense. Do you think it might work better with a tangential extractor?

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