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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    North Wales, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default messy foundationless super

    hello

    I hope I can get some advice: I'm very new to beekeeping, having started two nucs this spring (in the UK (North Wales) in British National hives). I decided to go foundationless (not a lot of support in the local beekeeping community for that) and so far everything as gone great - both hives filled their brood boxes with beautiful straight comb on the empty frames I added inbetween drawn nuc frames (with turned over wedges as guide strips)
    Unfortunately things went a bit wrong after putting on the supers - in 10 days they built a lot of comb in there (during a great spell of warm weather) but it's all a big mess, with wavy comb built vertically across the frames, started from the bottom, not the top.
    I read up on some relevant posts here, and I see that my biggest mistake was to not provide a ladder for the bees up the empty super frames.
    Also I have no drawn shallow comb to use in the supers as guides, and I have also read here that alternating empty frames with (wax) foundation is not going to work either, so I'm a bit at a loss at what to do.
    Will one (wax) foundation frame in the middle work as a ladder? Looking at the mess I have this will hardly be enough to entice them to build straight comb throughout the empty box. Or should I fill the super with foundation for them to draw out so I have a 'starter supply' of straight drawn frames that I can rotate out at a later stage?
    Would be very grateful for any advice or suggestions.

    Katerina

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    killen,al
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    My brood frames are drawn out straight,but now they are making a mess with the supper. I cut all of the comb in a few supper's,and told them to get it right. You hope that the comb in the suppers ,are like a investment. Something you could reuse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    I have experienced the same problem last year. This year I did the foundation in the center frames and foundationless on each of the sides. It has not worked out very well. Same problems you described, comb being built up from the bottom. I also ran some supers with drawn comb in the center and foundationless on each of the sides. This worked better, but they still make a mess of things far too often. I haven't quite worked the kinks out.

    Someone on here may have a better option, but if I didn't have any drawn comb I would use foundation in your honey supers until you have some drawn comb to use as ladders.
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    264

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    I have used starter strips of 2" cut foundation with a couple of full size foundation to keep them straight. Sometimes I put fishing line in the frames but not always. No problems and cheaper on the wallet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    killen,al
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    I going to try this. I just got 100 deep sheets of ritecell foundation from Mann lake. I'm going to cut them in half,and put it in medium frames. I can let you know how they build on this set up. I want to be able to extract without a lot of hassle.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    North Wales, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    Thanks for your ideas.
    I think I will leave the more advanced, real messy super as it is, as I just can't get myself to break it all up. If I get to harvest any I wil crush & strain.
    And I will put foundation on the other hive, who haven't really started on their super yet, and hopefully I will be able use these drawn frames next year, alternating with emtpy frames on both hives.

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,119

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    If you wait until a cold night in the fall and that morning pull the super it should be free of bees. Then if you flip it upside down on your kitchen table, you can cut everything around the edges and lift off the box. Then you can cut comb out either for comb honey or to crush and strain for honey.

    Scrape it down well for next year and make sure you have a good comb guide for next year.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    You can also try putting one of your super frames in the brood nest for a few days for them to get it drawn out. If they build comb on the bottom of the frame (because it's shorter than it should be for the box) then just cut it off when you move it up to the super box. I have a video on youtube with some additional tips you can find thru my link in my signature.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    North Wales, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: messy foundationless super

    Thanks for keeping the suggestions coming.
    Michael, I have read your website forwards and backwards several times: All my frames have the wedge put in sideways as a comb guide - this worked really well in the brood box, but isn't working in the super.
    Rod, thanks for the video link, useful! Good idea to get a shallow super frame drawn out in the broodbox first but then I would have to take a deep brood frame out and I wouldn't know where to keep that in the meantime.
    Actually I saw the opposite suggested somewhere else - to pull up a brood frame into the super and just let the longer bit hang down, I'm trying this now in my second slower hive.
    I didn't dare to pull up a frame of brood from the middle (too scared to upset the order of the broodbox) so I pulled up a capped honey frame near the side and I'm getting a bit of a result: in a week they started drawing out a frame next to that, only got a bit on the top done, but it looks nice and straight.

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