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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Benedict, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    Hey all,

    This is my first year beekeeping and we have two hives going in one deep brood each. We started with Mann Lake RiteCell foundation and to make a long story short, I made a newbie mistake and gave them to much bee space. They drew comb in the space (stick straight I may add) and its almost a full frame's worth. It does have capped brood, so I decided to tie it into a foundationless frame. In the midst of making this decision, I stumbled upon going foundationless. I really wish I would have known about foundationless from the start! I would have just started my beekeeping career like that. So now I'm getting ready to add a medium on top of my almost full deep and I am just befuddled as to a game plan to get the deeps to be foundationless. I don't mind the bottom brood being a deep, because I'm under the impression from my mentors that I probably won't be moving it that much. Plus, I'm 116 lbs soaking wet and currently pregnant. I really want to make the rest of the colony mediums if possible. So that throws the idea of being able to move things around a bit from bottom brood to top brood out the window. I'm probably rambling here.

    My goals are: going foundationless and sticking with mediums from here on out.
    How to go about that or what kind of game plan to follow, I am just at a loss. Any advice or ideas for a newbie??? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    The key to foundationless is one straight comb leads to another I run all mediums so when I put on a new box I just pull up a frame as a guide and let them do their thing in you case you can't do that so if it were my hive I would put a med frame in between some drawn comb in your deep and let them draw it out cut off any hanging below and rubber band it into another frame if there is enough to mess with and from there you should be good to go just remember to correct and crooked comb early because they won't fix it for you and the problem compounds as it goes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    When you go foundationless,,do you put a starter peice of foundation on the top of the bar, or do you just put in empty frames??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Benedict, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    Okay, that makes sense Harley. Thankfully, my newbie mistake was drawn between two with foundation, so it is stick straight. If I were to decide to go ALL mediums, would I pop a medium below the deep with a full frame and they would hopefully come down and start working on drawing and laying brood after the deep hatches out? I should also mention the foundationless frames I have ready, I did glue a paint stick into the top groove as a guide.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    My frames have a milled v in them no need for a starter strip you your popsicle sticks will work well that is what I use on my TBH if you have wedge frames you can just pop the wedge and turn on its side and glue in place as well you can put a foundationless between frames with foundation but sometimes they make it too wide and on one of my hives they made a weird s shape where they started on foundation jumped to foundationless and then curved over and attached to the foundation on the other side

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    Not sure about ditching the deep I started off all med so I have no experience with that sorry when all else fails there is always chop and crop but I'm sure there is a better way somebody with more experience will surely come along and help you

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    583

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Franklin View Post
    When you go foundationless,,do you put a starter peice of foundation on the top of the bar, or do you just put in empty frames??
    we do the melted wax down the top bar method. that works awesome i must say. the only NON foundationless frames in all of our hives is the 5 that we got when we bought nucs. we are dead set on foundationless. and the bees are starting to be tiny plump girls. the feral colonies we have been blessed with this year are the best. i do have to admit that our top bar hives bees draw much faster than our lang bees. im working on a system to have them draw our frames then add them to our langs .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Benedict, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    Didn't think of that. Hmmm... I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of trial and error to this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    Yip welcome to beekeeping if you ask 10 beekeepers the same question you will get 12 different answers you just have to figure out what works for you and your girls that will help you accomplish your goals

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    There's no need to worry about switching anything out yet. You can put that off for a good long time. My suggestion is to simply carry on with the new frame size and type you want for the next year or two. Add foundationless medium frames and boxes on top of the deeps you already have. Allow the bees to build up into them as much as they want (and keep an eye on the comb, a whole box of foundationless is asking for trouble if you don't keep track of it). Later on when you have expanded your collection of medium drawn comb frames and boxes, pick a time when the bees are for the most part not in the bottom deep and either remove it from the hive or move it to the top where it will be filled with honey. Early in spring is a handy time to do this, it's much easier when the brood nest is not in there.

    My main point is, you don't need to do anything now, or ever really if you just want to leave the deep on the bottom. Carry on like it's not a problem and at some point when the opportunity presents itself, remove it or put it on top. But there's no need to over extend yourself and get rid of it now through a bunch of manipulations.

    To answer your other question, mixing foundation with foundationless is just as fraught with problems as all foundationless is. You're likely to get comb built in places that won't be convenient. The best place for a foundationless frame is always between two frames of drawn comb in my experience.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Benedict, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    I was just concerned about starting out how I want to go along. What you say about just keeping the deep where it is makes a lot of sense. I'm using Rite Cell right now from Mann Lake. Maybe I'll just stick with this and then when I get a little more experience under my belt go foundationless? I will say that the natural comb that my bees are making are approx 5.4mm and the Mann Lake is regressing them to 5.0 I believe. I guess regression is a bit more important to me as I'd like to try and naturally protect them from varroa. So I guess I need to just decide what is most important to me at the moment as I'm still learning the ropes.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: New beek wanting to go foundationless...

    Interesting numbers. I doubt Rite-Cell is 5.0, more like 5.4, according to the documentation on Mr. Bush's website. You may be thinking of Mann Lake's standard plastic frames which have a cell size of 4.95mm. So as you can see, there is probably not much regression going on at all. Rite Cell is a different product. I argue that regression does not quickly happen through foundationless methods. That's my experience.

    That being said, cell size is not the only factor. There is a user here who keeps a couple dozen hives on standard cell size treatment-free.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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