Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 28
  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
    1,008

    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
    959

    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
    1,008

    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
    1,008

    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
    May 2013
    Location
    Benedict, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    8

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

    Yeah, I'm really kicking myself for not listening to my gut and just starting out with mediums. That had been my original plan, but being new to all of this, I listened to all of the beekeepers around here tell me that my broods needed to be deeps, so I quickly ordered some before my bees came home.

    I had my mediums all ready to go with every other frame having foundation and the foundationless in between with a guide glued in. I posted here just to see if there was a better way to get started with foundationless. Will they naturally fill in the foundationless space first? I'm hoping that they'll start there and I can move frames around accordingly and be able to take the foundation frames out without too much waste involved.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,008

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

    That is what I did when I started and like I said ended up with wonky comb comb on a few of them others turned out ok if I had to do it all over again I would start with all foundation and once I had a couple of good ones start feeding the foundationless between them to get them started if everybody else is running deeps you may want to keep them untill you get enough meds going you can rob resources from yourself if a med goes queenless and you need to get a frame of eggs off someone else you might be in trouble if everyone has deeps

  9. #9
    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,008

    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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,077

    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

  12. #12
    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,077

    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

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Benedict, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    8

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

    Okay, that's good to know. Hmm... I ordered Rite Cell, maybe that's not what I received. Like I said, I'm a complete beginner. All I know, is that the natural comb they drew is bigger than the foundation I'm giving them.

    So, down to brass tacks, because I don't necessarily like to talk something to death. I like to make decisions and go with them.

    With the info I've given you. Would you just continue on with the equipment I have and NOT go foundationless at this stage? With me being a beginner, I don't want to throw all sorts of variables into this and make it harder than it is, but I do want to go as natural as possible. Being mostly treatment free and having healthy bees is more important to me than than going foundationless at this stage. I had originally thought that the two went hand in hand, but now after talking with you fine folks, I'm realizing that's not always the case.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,077

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

    I am not a big fan of foundationless. I find it to be useful in making cheap drone comb. The only time I have ever had it be successful with it is when it is between two drawn frames. There are others on here who do much better, but that's how I use it and that's what works for me.

    I'd say do what you're doing until it doesn't work. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn't work, do something else. I can't (or won't) just tell you what to do. There are no guarantees in any direction. I can only tell you what I've done, and I've never used large cell foundation, much less plastic.

    I would suggest grabbing a cheap set of calipers or a metric ruler to measure your comb before citing numbers though. There was a guy on here a while back who came in complaining that his foundationless (and therefore in his mind "small cell") bees were dying. Turns out his comb was nearly drone comb. No wonder they were dying. The pseudo drone theory states that varroa problems lie in not enough size differential between workers and drones.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Benedict, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    8

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

    Okay, I value your honesty, I really do. I basically just wanted someone more experienced than I to tell me like it is. Not necessarily asking you to tell me what to do, but what YOU would do is what I was after. I did measure, and that is why I was confused. May I ask what you use for foundation? I was excited about the one natural comb they made because it happened so QUICKLY, but if its going to be a pain in the long run, I don't need any more variables thrown in than I'm already facing as a newb.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    55

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

    I stuck a medium foundationless into the deep broodnest, it is getting filled out just fine, might go out and take a pic, maybe measure it as well. It is possible, just takes time, some head scratching and lots of question asking.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    396

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

    As often mentioned by others, I am finding that they draw foundationless frames well between brood frames or frames of capped honey. Be ruthless in correcting any wonky comb - they'll never fix it themselve and it will only get worse with subsequent frames. My LC nucs drew 5.4mm worker comb in foundationless frames - so no natural regression at all. I am using PF120's to regress. They draw out foundationless frames at least twice as fast at they draw out the PF120's. I am not sure if they will get better with the PF120's once they are smaller.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

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

    >. 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?

    Rite cell will be 5.4mm. Bad if you want regressed bees to deal with Varroa. PF 100s and PF 120s are 4.95mm. Good if you want regressed bees to deal with Varroa. Natural drawn comb will be somewhere in the range of 5.2mm to 4.7mm on the first regression and somewhere between 5.1mm and 4.6mm on the second, in the core of the brood nest. The goal for Varroa suppression is 4.9mm but 5.0mm seems to work well enough.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

    Foundationless is easy enough.

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

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,077

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

    Quote Originally Posted by huskyseehuskydo View Post
    May I ask what you use for foundation?
    I use a combination of small cell wax foundation and Mann Lake PF type frames. They both work better if you keep them separate until they're fully drawn. I find that mixing types, of any of the types will cause issues.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads