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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Grand Haven, MI
    Posts
    71

    Default Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    I am not aware if this has been covered or not but I see that Brushy Mountain has foundationn starter strips if you want to go foundationless which I have been thinking seriously of trying since ready Michael
    bush's book. I have a question for those that have gone foundationless if you use or would use wire going across to help with support or do the bees do that just fine? I believe the strips are plastic foundation, but they arre only 3/4" wide so it wouldn't really make to much of a difference. Any advice for someone wanting to go foundationless would be appreciated. Thannks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    822

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    I just looked that up in the catalog because I didn't know they made such a thing. I went foundationless in my 2nd year of beekeeping. I buy wedge top frames and turn down the wedge and staple. It's the same as what you are seeing at BM except it's wood, and it isn't wax coated. The bees do fine with it as long as I have the hive level from side to side. I have back to front elevated a bit because of all the summer rain we get.

    A few weeks ago I got a good price on groove top frames and I am using craft sticks (look like tongue depressors) 3 in the grove glued in with tightbond 2. I hope it goes as well as the wedge top.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Grand Haven, MI
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    Do you have to help them by moving their comb or do they cross comb even though there's a guide for them?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Grand Haven, MI
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    Also I am curious about the best way to start doing foundationless if you already are using foundation? Can you start mixing them in with each other or dedicate a hive?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmyra, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    I've got paint stir sticks in mine.
    asked the woman behind the counter to buy a case, because I couldn't find them on the shelf.
    she asked why so many and I told her my plans for them .
    she gave me near half a box said that should get me started.
    they work great and yes wire the frames.
    fresh wax is soft.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Iona, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    For my foundationless, I have taken wax foundation and cut it into about 3/4" strips. I get around 15 strips per wax foundation. I take the wedge frames with solid bottoms and pin them in. I use to turn the wedge so it stuck down, but have stopped doing that. I now just pin it in normal. I was wiring the deep frames, but not the mediums. I am going to all mediums and have pretty much decided not to wire at all. I do have a mix of foundation and foundationless. I use the foundationed frames to keep the foundationless in line by alternating them and as I get more foundationless filled in, I can use that to guide the new foundationless frames.
    Clay
    BlakelysBees.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    Quote Originally Posted by jsbyers View Post
    Also I am curious about the best way to start doing foundationless if you already are using foundation? Can you start mixing them in with each other or dedicate a hive?
    Michael Bush covers this on his website/book very well, much better than I can.

    If you hive is on foundation, simply pull the two innermost frames out, drop in your FL frames. Next year/when you are ready, pull the outermost frames, push the other frames towards the edge, and drop two new FL frames in the center.

    It is not a good idea to mix and match foundation and FL frames in an empty box. My bees would prefer the FL frames, and pull them out wider, and either ignore the foundation frame, or be very slow to pull it out. You can put your FL frames next to, or between, a pulled out foundation frame and not have any problems.

    Keep your hives level, and you probably will not have any problems. Keep an eye out as they pull the frames out. As someone once said "One good comb leads to another".

    Sane

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,786

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    I prefer wood to wax for starter strips. Wax is temporary. Wood is permanent.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Crestview, Florida
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    Do you put bare wood, or coat with melted wax or does it matter??

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    574

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    A fellow michigander! like everything else in beekeeping, there are lot of ways to do this. The msot common is the wooden wedge, and the popsicle stick glued in the groove. The wax starter strip seems to be a fairly common response to this question. Last year I decided to go mostly foundationless and I used cut strips of plastic foundation. I make sure it is well seated into the groove then I cross nail it in place with 4 or 5 brads. It's a very solid arrangement that the bees can't simply pull out. My strips are about 3/4-1" and span the top bar.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,786

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    I put bare wood. Yes it matters. The wax is never attached as well as the bees will attach it and sometimes falls off on a hot day. I do not wax them and I don't recommend it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    I use the wedge top mounted sideways and never waxed them. Bees always seem to draw straight comb. I wire the frame and the bees build it perfectly around the wires.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    560

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    I glued popsickle sticks into the groove with wood glue. I did not wire the frames. I mixed my foundationless with several with wax foundation. When you pull out a frame you need to keep the plane of the frame vertical unless the honeybees have attached the comb to the sides of the frame. The first time I pulled a foundationless frame fully drawn it was breathtaking.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Leon County, Florida, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    If you use plastic foundation as starter strips, does to matter how large the cells are? The strips that came with my TBH have large cells and I'd rather the bees build the size they want. Once they're off the strip, do they change the cell size? Would these work for honey comb and not brood comb?

    Also, I've heard they may just attach their comb to the bottom of the strip and not to the top bar itself, making the comb weaker.

    I've introduced foundationless frames in my Langs with the wedge strip nailed sideways and this is working well. I'm thinking of scrapping the plastic and going for craft sticks instead in my top bar hive. Am I overthinking it all?
    Kate - since 2013, 4 colonies, 3 8-frame Langs, 1 TBH, mostly TF, zone 8b

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Brushy Mountain foundationless starter strips

    So what's the answer?
    Quote Originally Posted by tallykat View Post
    if you use plastic foundation as starter strips, does to matter how large the cells are? The strips that came with my tbh have large cells and i'd rather the bees build the size they want. Once they're off the strip, do they change the cell size? Would these work for honey comb and not brood comb?

    Also, i've heard they may just attach their comb to the bottom of the strip and not to the top bar itself, making the comb weaker.

    I've introduced foundationless frames in my langs with the wedge strip nailed sideways and this is working well. I'm thinking of scrapping the plastic and going for craft sticks instead in my top bar hive. Am i overthinking it all?

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