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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    You lost me with to much math.

    I don't know for sure, but what I've been told is bees can make 8 pounds of honey for the same amount of effort and resources it takes them to make 1 pound of wax.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    When comparing foundationless frames to drawn comb, the weights will not make sense. To make a fair comparison, you have to compare a frame with foundation to a frame without any foundation. The bees will only have to make the amount of wax that was in a sheet of foundation, to be back at a place where you can now compare apples to apples. Either way, from that point, the bees still need to draw out the comb.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    actually when they draw foundationless...the middle part that the bees make naturally where the foundation would be is so very thin (you can see right through it) that I doubt that a whole deep frame would even weigh an ounce.

    So I don't think there would even be a measurable difference in the use of resources to make comb with or without foundation.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by NewJoe View Post
    So I don't think there would even be a measurable difference in the use of resources to make comb with or without foundation.
    When you burn that wax you can see the energy that it took to make it. Much more than weight. They had to convert sugar to energy.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    But again, how much wax-making does a sheet of foundation save the bees? And how much does the foundation cost? It takes very little wax to make a comb of honey, so the economic calculation should be: is the tiny amount of energy the foundation saves the bees really worth the cost of the foundation and the time it takes to install it?

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by wmsuber58 View Post
    When comparing foundationless frames to drawn comb, the weights will not make sense.... compare apples to apples. ...
    This is why I proposed to measure a honey produced. The individual weight of the frames shall be different with and without foundation, so I was trying to convert everything into honey to measure the difference between two approaches. We also shall assume that we extract most of the honey in foundationless approach. Also - we need to compare drawn comb to foundationless. I told you - it is confusing
    Серёжа, Sergey

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by HeffsBStuff View Post
    I also started foundationless with all mediums. It is the direction I want to go but I am struggling with a the comb being drawn out too thick on the outer edges (honey) of the frames in the brood box. I have just added a second box so I will try to move some of these up into the new box, but almost every frame in the bottom box is like this. I'm not really sure how to handle this situation...
    What I *TRY* to do is move those outer honey combs in the brood nest up to the next box, then move the adjacent brood combs outboard and put some empty frames in between frames of sealed brood. My goal is to keep the brood nest open and get frames of nicely-drawn comb.

    I smoke down along the edge of the box to move the bees away because I'm always worried about rolling the queen. Sometimes I'll run a bread knife along the side of the box. You can usually get the frame out then without making too much of a mess, and then the subsequent frames are relatively easy.

    If it looks like trying to remove frames will just be too much carnage, then I leave them alone and harvest the box as a whole, either when it's completely filled with honey or when the bees have moved up over the winter and it's empty. Frames with wonky comb can be squished back in line and put back into a hive. The bees will repair it.

  8. #28
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    meredith, nh, usa
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    ... It takes very little wax to make a comb of honey, so the economic calculation should be: is the tiny amount of energy the foundation saves the bees really worth the cost of the foundation and the time it takes to install it?
    The only advantage I can see to foundation is that it forces the bees to be "neater" by our standards.

    That's outweighed by things like being able to harvest queen cells easily with a pocketknife.

    Not to mention coming in from the backyard with a frame, running a knife around the inside, and plopping a slab of beautiful comb honey onto a plate in front of your dinner guests.
    Last edited by Oblio13; 07-09-2013 at 07:05 AM.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Cerezha, this can get confusing. Sometimes the confusion means you are at a fork in the road, and both directions seem equally the same. When I get confused, either at my work or in minding the bees, I often realize I have set my initial priorities aside, or I have lost sight of my original (or new) plan. Directions, with a road map or bees, get a lot simpler when you know your destination. If you stop and think about it, what was your main reason for considering going without foundation in your frames. It might have been it seems easier in regards to less work, it seems healthier for the bees, it would help in dealing with the pest, or numerous others. For what ever reason, take your reason and take note of that purpose. Now figure out what is the conflict. If it is healthier for the bees, but will I lose on honey production. Will this be a short term reduction or long term, and so on. By reconsidering and setting your priorities, the choices seem to become more clear. Also continue to gather more information. Confusion is not all bad. Like Mr. Bush says, it proves you are learning. Personally I have some benefits in top bar hives having natural comb. I have some in my Langstroth hives, but am looking at doing so on a bigger scale. But I am reading, looking and learning as I try to get more comfortable with the whole concept. Taking my time seems to help as well.

  10. #30
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    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    When going foundationless is there any way to extract honey and save the comb for future use?

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    >When going foundationless is there any way to extract honey and save the comb for future use?

    I extract most of mine. The really soft new combs I make into cut comb honey. The rest I extract.

    http://bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#extract

    In my experience drawn comb makes more honey than foundation or foundationless. Foundationless makes more honey than foundation. It's all about having a place to put the nectar. With drawn comb there is somewhere to put it. With foundationless they quickly build comb to put it in. With foundation they hesitate building it. It's not about how many pounds of honey makes how many pounds of wax. It's about time.

    As far as the difference in the midrib, it takes very little wax to support a lot of honey. I'm sure the difference is negligible.

    http://bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm#expenseofwax

    "A pound (0.4536 kg.) of beeswax, when made into comb, will hold 22 pounds (10 kg.) of honey. In an unsupported comb the stress on the topmost cells is the greatest; a comb one foot (30 cm.) deep supports 1320 times its own weight in honey." --Coggshall and Morse, Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, pg 41
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by wmsuber58 View Post
    Cerezha, this can get confusing. ...
    Thank you for nice comment. I actually was confused with understanding how this 1-to-8 wax-honey ratio may be used in my own practical beekeeping? This "wax" argument is often used against foundationless, but I have difficulties to find the way to implement it in my beekeeping practice. I am 100% foundationless for 2+ years (not much, but). I could see the usefulness of the drawn comb, but drawn comb approach may be used with foundation or without (see Michael Bush above). Than, the foundation argument is pointless to me. Thus, I am confused why people use the "wax" argument again again and again?
    Серёжа, Sergey

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    Thus, I am confused why people use the "wax" argument again again and again?
    I think (and I am very new, so take anything I say in that light) that many people feel the weight of a sheet of foundation and assume that that is the quantity of wax the bees have to produce if a foundationless frame or a bar is used. But this is not true - I have broken apart natural comb, and the wax that separates the cells on one side of the comb from those on the other side is paper thin - not at all like manufactured foundation. The work savings to the bees, if they have to make their own "foundation" (wax dividing the comb sides) is minimal. One of these days I am going to weigh a frame with natural comb and one with foundation+comb - and I am sure the foundation comb is heavier by almost the exact weight of a single piece of foundation.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestB View Post
    I think... that many people feel the weight of a sheet of foundation and assume that that is the quantity of wax the bees have to produce if a foundationless frame or a bar is used....
    I agree - this is a very good explanation! Thank you!
    I think, foundationless or not is just a different approach in beehive management. I could see how foundation (and drawn comb) may be better for commercial operation. But, for me, a hobbyist, it is just a fun to observe bees creativity.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    This is so confusing to me. I sincerely tried to understand this and it just did not sink into my brain. OK, we have two identical beehives with exactly the same weight. On top of each we are adding a super, one with drawn comb and another is foundationless. Let's assume that bees are active equally and have enough to forage. When full, we would extract honey from both supers and weight it. We also would weight wax from the foundationless super(s). We shall continue adding supers and weight the honey and wax until flow stops (number of supers may be different). Finally, we shall have some numbers - amount of honey collected from each hive and amount of wax bees produced in foundationless setup. So, if this 1-to-8 conversion is right, in foundationless crop we shall have 8lb*wax less honey than in the hive with drawn comb. Right? My estimate as following: my bees uses approximately 1/4 lb wax to build 4 thick frames (med) of honey, Each frame holds approx. 2.5 kg of honey. For 8 frames ~ 20 kg honey and 1/2 lb wax. It means that hive with foundation in average must produce 4 lb per super more (if 1-to-8 right) than foundationless. Make any sense?
    what that equation is referring to is comparing frames with no foundation to frames with drawn comb. So if the one colony had unlimited room and the desire to build one pound of wax they would end up 8 lbs behind in honey production to a colony that had unlimited room to just fill comb with honey. You are putting a limit on it by trying to compare when full. That's not the point of course to boxes exactly the same size should hold apx the same amount of honey weather foundation, a topbar or full comb was used as the starting point, the point is the bees with comb could fill up more than one super in the time that the bees drawing comb first could fill up one because the bees that have to draw comb use up a portion of their nectar to make the comb.


    to the point about the argument being applied to the difference between foundation and foundationless, I don't get that either, because that is not what the equation solves. In this case the bees have to draw out comb in either scenario and they will usually draw out foundationless quicker so in this case it's a matter of time, not rescources quicker to comb the more honey you get before a flow stops.
    Last edited by Harley Craig; 07-09-2013 at 08:21 PM.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    what that equation is referring to is comparing frames with no foundation to frames with drawn comb. So if the one colony had unlimited room and the desire to build one pound of wax they would end up 8 lbs behind in honey production to a colony that had unlimited room to just fill comb with honey. You are putting a limit on it by trying to compare when full. That's not the point of course to boxes exactly the same size should hold apx the same amount of honey weather foundation, a topbar or full comb was used as the starting point, the point is the bees with comb could fill up more than one super in the time that the bees drawing comb first could fill up one because the bees that have to draw comb use up a portion of their nectar to make the comb. ..
    colony had unlimited room and the desire yes, agree, this is the key. But now, I am wondering if equation is actually true? Did they provide unlimited room and ... desire for bees? My understanding is that they measure amount of syrup consumed when colony was locked in the beehive. I remember Michael Bush commented on it in some thread. Clarification would be highly appreciated.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    colony had unlimited room and the desire yes, agree, this is the key. But now, I am wondering if equation is actually true? Did they provide unlimited room and ... desire for bees? My understanding is that they measure amount of syrup consumed when colony was locked in the beehive. I remember Michael Bush commented on it in some thread. Clarification would be highly appreciated.

    I totally agree that the numbers are arguable, but common sense tells us that if you extract instead of cut the comb out this go around, you will get more honey the next. In order to get real numbers you would have to have a way to ensure that the only source of nectar is that which you measured, then when the comb was drawn out and capped, you would have to extract all the honey getting all of the residual off, save all of the wax and then weigh it, subtract out the weight of the honey and this will tell you how much nectar went to wax and how much went to honey, you would also have to take into consideration things like How much nectar did the bees eat, how much of the nectar was evaporated out as water etc. There would be no way to duplicate it from one to the next best case would be to do it many times and avg them out. It's like this, If you and your neighbor had a warehouse of bottle water, and each wanted to fill up a swimming pool with it, Which neighbor would get more water in his pool the one that had one sitting there ready to be filled or the neighbor that had to dig the hole first and then pour the concrete. If neither neighbor consumed any of those bottles of water, at the end when their warehouses were empty they would both end up with the same amount of water, but lets say that was their only source of water and some of it will have to be consumed in order to keep working filling the pool , the neighbor that has to dig the hole and work harder/longer will consume more water than the neighbor who has had the hard part done for them. Now then who will end up with more water in his pool?

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I am running almost all foundationless, except for a few frames of plastic foundation left over from when I started keeping bees, but I have been sticking those in between capped brood this year and they draw them out just fine. I would do as stated and pull atleast one frame of capped brood up into the second box for the bees to have a ladder and a guide.

    I didn't do that to one hive this year and they started building comb from the bottom of the frame, we had 108 degree temps for over a week, lets just say that fresh comb turned into a bridge and folded over!

    I have also found that the bees do draw foundationless out much faster, and they build what they need, drone comb or worker comb.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    ... Now then who will end up with more water in his pool?
    Again, I totally agree with your logic. I think the same. But, if source of nectar is unlimited (bees do not compete for this) and bees could bring in the hive more nectar than could be stored at the moment and bees could make a comb at night (which they do), when foraging is not possible or non-foragers build the comb... than speed of new comb creation will not limit the whole thing especially if food is unlimited. In another words, we could imagine that bees in drawn comb hive may work 70% from the max (unmotivated etc) and it is possible that bees in foundationless hive may be more motivated and work harder, 85% for instance. If so, the difference in honey production may be independent from wax production and depends from other factors such us general well-being, motivation etc. I heard somewhere that bees actually love to make a comb - they used it as a stress-release. Thus, it is possible that foundationless bees are simply happier and therefore more productive and healthier perhaps

    I think, many foundationless beekeepers do this in believe that it is better for bees and they are OK with idea that they have less honey because of foundationless
    Серёжа, Sergey

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    Again, I totally agree with your logic. I think the same. But, if source of nectar is unlimited (bees do not compete for this) and bees could bring in the hive more nectar than could be stored at the moment and bees could make a comb at night (which they do), when foraging is not possible or non-foragers build the comb... than speed of new comb creation will not limit the whole thing especially if food is unlimited. In another words, we could imagine that bees in drawn comb hive may work 70% from the max (unmotivated etc) and it is possible that bees in foundationless hive may be more motivated and work harder, 85% for instance. If so, the difference in honey production may be independent from wax production and depends from other factors such us general well-being, motivation etc. I heard somewhere that bees actually love to make a comb - they used it as a stress-release. Thus, it is possible that foundationless bees are simply happier and therefore more productive and healthier perhaps

    I think, many foundationless beekeepers do this in believe that it is better for bees and they are OK with idea that they have less honey because of foundationless

    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. I use mostly foundationless, and my bees will skip right over foundation and go on to the next open frame and fill all of them before they start on foundation I have no drawn comb to give them so I have no comparisons for that. I do have one from a cut out that I gave them brood comb and one frame of empty so they could immediately store nectar in it, I put them in a 8 frame med and they have expanded to a second box, Been a month and they have drawn out 12 combs and filled most of them with brood or nectar, and have not put a thing in the one empty comb I gave them, they haven't even added to it yet so that throws the whole theory off as well but I would say that's not the norm.

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