Thanks for all the help the lord knows I need it.
I installed a nuc one week ago and inserted foundationless frames with starter sticks in between drawn frames from the nuc. 4.9 plastic foundation frames I put at either end. I made sure the hive was level side to side. Today was my first inspection and I was shocked. The more centered foundationless frames have comb built out almost to all sides! I took an outer frame that just had a couple of inches of comb and measured it---disappointed to find that it was still 5.4 but I will keep at it. They have not touched the plastic frames on either end
I just used my husband's new belt sander and it was terrific at shaving frames to 1 1/4 inches! Safe and very quick
some years ago I started with purchased nucs from a commercial operation. I put them on foundation-less frames. The results were horrible. I succeeded only after acquiring survivor bees. The survivor bees were small and made smaller cells, but I think the reason they survived was not because they made smaller cells, but because they had learned to survive without our help. So I am skeptical of regressing commercial bees. Why not try to trap some swarms away from any beekeepers, or get on your 911 call list. My sister in Thomasville has caught several swarms that way.
This is my first year bee keeping. I wanted to go foundationless but the packages that I bought were not building comb as fast as I had expected so I broke the foundation into fourths and put 1/4 on each side of the frame leaving the center open and they have really gone to town making comb. I wanted the bees to decide what size they wanted.