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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,492

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    the only thing that throws all that out of the window is in most areas nectar is limited and the bees do compete otherwise there would never be any robbing and we would not have to worry about them building up for winter. ...
    Sure. I am in the same boat.
    I think, the variation in productivity between beehives is much larger than difference between drawn comb and foundationless. I also noticed that a few foundation frames I inherited with hives had literally twice less honey than my "normal" foundationless "bar" of the same size - it is not a proper comparison, but I love my bees fat golden comb!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    the nectar is finite, but it also is the limited time that the nectar is available. You need a solid flow for them to want to draw comb.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    angola,ny
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    what are the advantages of wax foundation vs plastic foundation? How does the advantages of either relate to foundationless? Thanks.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    angola,ny
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    So am I correct in thinking you are pro foundationless?

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Wax foundation advantages:

    It is drawn more quickly by the bees.
    It's a natural product.
    It's lighter then plastic foundation

    Disadvantages:
    Wax is more fragile - breaks when handled at cold temperatures, warps if it gets too hot after mounting in frame, and will not bear rough handling.

    Run of the mill wax carries traces of the the chemicals that were applied to the comb from which it was made

    Plastic advantages

    Saves time - plastic frames need no assembling saving time or labor expenses.

    Tough - bears rough handling. More resistant to warping in heat, less likely to break when cold.

    Cost: Plastic frames are sometimes cheaper than frame/foundation combined cost.

    Eggs are easier to see against black plastic foundation that against wax


    Disadvantages -
    Bees usually initially resist drawing plastic foundation after it is put in the hive, esp if not wax coated.

    I find that there is generally more burr comb when using plastic.

    Plastic is heavier - if any amount of moving hives is anticipated, this is a factor (esp if you have a whole truck or trailer load of plastic.

    If left in direct sun, heats quickly, liquifying the wax coating and warping if allowed to overheat - which can happen quickly.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,395

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Connie -

    This all depends on what your objective is. Since you posted this in the TF forum, I'll assume you're looking to be TF yourself. I've used both wax and plastic, and have now decided to convert all over to plastic, namely, PF120's which are small cell.

    I've not noticed any difference in the bees drawing one any quicker than the other, as long as you are only using one or the other and not combining them.

    The disadvantages I've had with wax is getting consistent small cell drawn. If you aren't trying to get small cells, wax is fine.

    Plastic frame/foundation combo I do not recommend. Plastic frames stink! They bend when you pry on the top bar to separate. I'm using the foundation from the PF120's and putting them into my wood frames.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Plastic does bend when you go to lever them apart.

    But the edges of the end bars don't split easily like wood does, and allow you to slip a hive tool between them and lever then apart there, and that works quite well.

    A disadvantage to palstic frames I didn't mention because it is not an issue here and didn't come to mind is that he grooves in the top and end bars allow small hive beetles hiding places.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I've found the discussion regarding wax interesting, so when I recently harvested 2 deep frames of honey, I rendered the wax. We got 3.1 oz of wax from each frame, but there was probably some wax left in the stuff I strained out. We got about 5 lbs of honey per frame. So if you do the math, a pound of wax holds at least 25 lbs of honey. If the cost of making that wax is indeed 8 pounds of honey, then you're making 75% of what you'd make if you were re-using comb, minus the energy cost of the cappings. But to be fair, you have to factor in the money you can get from selling wax. If you make little candles out of that wax, I've seen 2 oz. beeswax candles going for 4 bucks, so that pound of wax can be sold that way for 32 bucks. That doesn't quite make up for the loss of honey at retail prices, but comes much closer to evening out.

    Of course, as a hobbyist, all these calculations are outweighed by the sheer beauty of foundationless honeycomb.

    newcomb2.jpg

    You could make cut comb from this frame that would bring a lot more than the price of the honey and wax sold separately.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    And if you use plastic foundation, there's even less wax in the foundation-- not a significant amount at all.

    I see many advantages to foundationless, at least for hobbyists like me. It's cheaper, the comb is not contaminated by acaricides and other chemicals which may have a negative effect on bees, you can make cut comb of the very highest quality, and your bees are allowed to draw whatever kind of comb they want. I don't have an extractor, and cutting foundationless comb off the frames to crush and strain is pretty cool.

    Plus, the comb is pretty.

    Attachment 6902

    For someone like me, the wax itself is a significant plus-- I have five colonies now and if they make any honey to speak of, they'll make much more honey than I can use, or even give away as gifts. I'm about to build myself a solar wax melter... it gives yet another facet to an already fascinating pursuit.

    Of course, if you're a commercial beekeeper who uses acaricides, I guess there's little reason to use foundationless frames. I imagine you don't have the time to watch every hive to make sure the little devils are making straight comb, for example. They may mess up foundation, but at least the next comb starts straight. And foundation is stronger in the extractor.

    But for treatment free dabblers like me. foundationless is great. I've already taken honey from my best hive, and it's completely foundationless and a first year hive.
    rhaldridge,

    That is some nice looking comb. I was wondering the the strip you have at the top is just the normal wedge nailed in sideways, or if you make an extra splint of some sort and glue it in th eexisting slot?
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    John. I use a comb guide with a triangular cross-section. Pics:

    emptyframe1.jpgusedframe.jpg

    The first image shows the monofilament fishing line I string through the 2 center holes of the deep frames. The second image is from a frame that I harvested, so you can see how the bees attach the comb.

    One of the reasons I think these triangular cross-section comb guides are far and away the best is that the attachment of the comb is so much stronger. The downward pull of the comb is mostly in shear. Engineers will understand what I'm talking about here, but another way to look at it is that because of the acute angle of the guide, there's much more surface for the bees to attach the comb to. I haven't a a single comb wander off the center line, so evidently the bee engineers are pretty happy with the guide.

    I find the arguments against putting any wax on the guides convincing; seems to me the bees can do a better job of this attachment if there's no layer of wax between wood and comb. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the first wax the bees put on the guide is mixed with propolis for a stronger attachment. When I look at partial, or newly-started comb, I see some evidence of this, I think, but that might be my imagination. Anyway, I haven't had any comb fall off yet.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Central Oregon
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I know this is old but thought I would update with what I did. I added 10 frames of foundationless frames. I used the wedge top frames, broke the wedge out and glued it in as a guide. In all, I have 40 frames, 30 foundation and 10 not. My hive is 1 deep and 3 supers. I mixed the foundationless frames between the three super boxes and and surrounded them by either capped brood or honey frames. The foundationless frames in my second box(my first super) is practically fully drawn out and have capped brood in it. I have two frames in my top super that haven't been drawn out and one that is only partially drawn. I didn't have much in the way of issues with crazy comb etc. They did extend one of the honey frames into the foundationless frame and I merely scraped it back to size. They have since recapped that honey frame and did not draw it into the other frame. Overall things look well from a foundationless stand point. I do still see a need to have some foundation frames around and will probably try the PF120s.

    Thanks to all for your advice and comments. This has been a really fun experience.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    We were at a beekeepers meeting Thursday night and one keeper was really hyping foundationless . So my thought was we would try it and sell some of the production as comb honey. I figured we would have to crush and strain the rest. Can you really use an extractor instead? any special procedure?

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    If you search BeeSource for foundationless, you'll find lots of info on the subject. A number of members have said that foundationless frames can be extracted with a little care. My understanding is that the extractor should be slower, and the frames flipped before the first side is finished extracting, then switched back after the second side is empty to finish the first side-- I guess this is with tangential extractors.

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