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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Gore, VA, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    First, I have no idea where to locate my hives. I've read all the recommended placement tips, but I haven't seen other animals addressed - except for protection from predators and not putting the hives where large livestock can bump it. My issue is with free-range chickens and a dog. Do either of those pose an ongoing threat, or will they learn to leave the bees alone?

    Second, I can't decide whether to go to small/natural size cells. Since I'm just starting, won't it be easier to start the regression (is that the word?) from the start than to change my mind later.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    My chickens don't bother the bees. This time of year the bees are all over the chopped corn. The chickens just eat around them.

    My dogs learned very quickly. When I go to the hives they don't!

    I can't answer the small cell question. I started with plastic went to wax small cell but now Im foundationless. To each his own. Woody

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    871

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    My dog goes inside the house when he sees me put on my beesuit. lol.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,001

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    Dogs and chickens are no problem. Worry about coons and skunks. I would consider starting out with Mann Lake PF foundation of your chosen depth, and draw it a full box at a time. This will regress your bees size in a season and then you can start putting foundationless frames one at a time into your brood nest and they will be drawn as perfect worker cells early in the season. When the bees start feeling they are a going concern, they will start drawing full frames of drone comb and will draw several until they feel they have enough. That is a nutshell. Opinions vary wildly but this method works and is easy on the new beekeeper.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    As long as animals have the freedom to run away, I have never had issues. I have dogs, free range chickens, horses... but I would never tie up or confine an animal anywhere close to the hives. They need to be able to run away.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Gore, VA, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Dogs and chickens are no problem. Worry about coons and skunks. I would consider starting out with Mann Lake PF foundation of your chosen depth, and draw it a full box at a time. This will regress your bees size in a season and then you can start putting foundationless frames one at a time into your brood nest and they will be drawn as perfect worker cells early in the season. When the bees start feeling they are a going concern, they will start drawing full frames of drone comb and will draw several until they feel they have enough. That is a nutshell. Opinions vary wildly but this method works and is easy on the new beekeeper.
    Can you clarify what you mean by draw it a full box at a time? I'm doing a lot of research, but the language of bee keeping is still hard for me to understand sometimes. I'm doing all 8 -frame mediums. Let's say I have my boxes and frames with the foundation you recommended...then what?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Spanish Fort, AL
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    Drawing comb means they make the wax cells, in your case, on the foundation. I think he is saying add a full box of frames and foundation and let them build it out with comb. After that, put foundationless frames in to the brood box. Those bees should build small cells when they draw that comb.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    >Second, I can't decide whether to go to small/natural size cells. Since I'm just starting, won't it be easier to start the regression (is that the word?) from the start than to change my mind later.

    Yes. You will be half way there if you start out that way. If you don't mind plastic, I'd buy the PF100 series of frames/foundation from Mann Lake. (PF100 deep, PF120 medium). It gets drawn small the first try and you will be done regressing. One box full should do it. If you do mind plastic, then just buy the foundationless frames from Walter T. Kelley. They will probably build it about 5.1mm or so the first try. Sometimes they go all the way to 4.9mm or smaller in one try, but usually not. Still you will be half way there.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Gore, VA, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Second, I can't decide whether to go to small/natural size cells. Since I'm just starting, won't it be easier to start the regression (is that the word?) from the start than to change my mind later.

    Yes. You will be half way there if you start out that way. If you don't mind plastic, I'd buy the PF100 series of frames/foundation from Mann Lake. (PF100 deep, PF120 medium). It gets drawn small the first try and you will be done regressing. One box full should do it. If you do mind plastic, then just buy the foundationless frames from Walter T. Kelley. They will probably build it about 5.1mm or so the first try. Sometimes they go all the way to 4.9mm or smaller in one try, but usually not. Still you will be half way there.
    Thank you. I'm a little concerned about offgassing from the plastic. Does anyone know if there is BPA in these frames that will offgas in the heat?

    So let's say I get a box of the plastic frames as you suggested. There's 10 in there. I am using 8-frame mediums for the entire hive - what do I put in the rest of the space? What about small cell wax foundation like Brushy Mountain sells?

    I've also been told that new beekeepers should not start out with small cell. Is there a reason for that? I know it's debated if it really helps control mites, but is there a downside?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    >Thank you. I'm a little concerned about offgassing from the plastic. Does anyone know if there is BPA in these frames that will offgas in the heat?

    I don't know for sure what kind of plastic they use. It appears to be polystyrene.

    >So let's say I get a box of the plastic frames as you suggested. There's 10 in there. I am using 8-frame mediums for the entire hive - what do I put in the rest of the space? What about small cell wax foundation like Brushy Mountain sells?

    Or foundationless frames.

    >I've also been told that new beekeepers should not start out with small cell.

    I'll bet it's not by someone doing small cell...

    > Is there a reason for that?

    Ignorance?

    > I know it's debated if it really helps control mites, but is there a downside?

    None.

    It is much easier to start off on small cell than to try to change over later. If you go with the PF120s, the bees, in my experience, draw them perfectly and after a turn over of brood you'll have small cell bees. They will draw whatever you like. Small cell wax, foundationless, small cell plastic. I'm pretty fond of foundationless. Besides, in the long run, foundationless lets the bees end this whole cell size debate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: Newbie with two important questions about location and foundation.

    One other option that I am going to start trying this year, half foundations.

    I'm going to start using medium wired wax foundation in deep frames, which only fills half the frame with actual foundation, and leaves the other half open. I figure it should hopefully give the best of both worlds, in having foundation there and ready for them to start on, and giving them empty space to keep building whatever kind of comb they actually want to have below it.

    Dunno how well it'll actually work, but I'm giving it a try.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

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