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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
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    57

    Default Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Hello all!

    Back on May 31st I took my hive home from the apiary. This year my step mother and I went in and got a few hives together. The guy took out 5 of our frames in a 10 frame langstroth in which he was very particular to have it built a specific way and replaced them with 5 frames of one of his hives and a new queen. This started the beginning of may.

    I checked on them today after feeding them 1:1 sugar water every day and they have 8.25 frames filled. I moved the partially empty and fully empty frame to the middle of the box since they were on the right side edge and started building my next brood box.

    I know I know it should have already been ready but I have been pretty busy with many projects recently.

    The next 10 frame box is just like the first but I am using foundation-less frames. Last year on a late season swarm I caught I used the same frame method and it seemed to work out. These are simple frames ripped from 1X2X8 that are $1.08 at lowes and employ the simple Popsicle guide. It should have all the paint and glue dry by tomorrow afternoon and I'll add it then.

    Do you think there will be any confusion with mixing one box with bees wax foundation frames and another with the Popsicle stick foundation-less frames?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    I believe that many people have good success with that, and use it as a way to go foundationless after having begun with foundation.

    My own experience is that my bees avoid foundationless frames when given a choice. I've had them in my hives consistently over the past few months (this year and last), and the foundation always gets drawn; the foundationless frames go untouched. Without a choice, I imagine that the foundationless frames would be drawn just fine. Your experience may well be very different from mine.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    303

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    funny you menttoined that chemguy

    I generally dont use foundation. But I have aquired a few boxes for free. when I have used it, my problem is I cannot get bees to draw out foundation. when given the choice they always work on the foundationless bars and ignore the sheets of foundation (i have used duragilt and various plastics)

    In fact the sheets act like more of a hive partition and the bees refuse to work the other sides

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Daleville, AL
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    I have seen the opposite as Chemguy, but bear in mind my beekeeping started this spring. But I have read that many others have seen what I am seeing, and that is if I have a foundationless frame beside foundation, they will draw first and fastest on the bare wood as opposed to the pre-formed wax. In fact, they will often chew holes in the foundation (I reckon to bring wax over to the foundationless frame).

    One thing I would recommend is to pull a couple of frames up from the bottom box to alternate with the foundationless. If you just have 10 empty frames sitting there, you may end up with some wonky comb. Or use foundation frames between the foundationless, in an attempt to keep the frames straighter.
    Three swarms, one queen added to brood from each of two purchased nucs (in deeps) for a total of 6 hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    richland center, wisconsin USA
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    The Good news is with all the hard work the bees are doing next year will be even easier.
    "Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren't."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Brazoria County, Texas
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    I've been cutting a 1" strip of wireless foundation used for comb honey from Kellys and wedging it on all my frames intended for foundationless frames. It works great and gives the bees a "guide" where the comb is straight and attached well. After they start they do whatever they want with cell sizes and the 1" is really just a guide as intended to get them straight. They maintain a nice space in the brood chamber and also the supers. It seems like it is readily accepted compared to foundation and foundationless.
    All my hive bodies are 8 frame mediums so its a pleasant task when switching between brood and/or honey frames using the stripped frames.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeonefarms View Post
    The Good news is with all the hard work the bees are doing next year will be even easier.
    I agree, based on my own limited experience. This year I am better able to pay attention to what is going on and plan accordingly, rather than be in a semi-constant troubleshooting and head-scratching mode. Input I've received from this site has been extremely valuable and so, too, have attending club meetings and working with more experienced beeks.

    Yeah, I know that my bees seem to be oddballs. This year I thought that I'd get them during a good flow, and at a time when the hive was crammed full of bees following a split. I've tried supers of foundationless, sticking a frame in-between drawn comb or on the outside. No luck. I'm not trying to move over to foundationless, but would like to take a shot at having some cut comb honey. I am sure that it is something simple being done/not being done on my part.

    Arpolis, if you haven't heard it yet, if you ask 3 beekeepers one question you will get more than three different answers. Beekeeping is local, and success depends on a number of factors. What is true for my bees in my yard in my area likely will not translate perfectly to your situation. On the bright side, no matter what I've done the bees have made it through despite me. I think that will also be true for you.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,458

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Just as long as your actions are done with realistic expectations you can mix plastic, wax and foundationless. I have all those plus fully drawn plastic (PermaComb) in almost all my hives. Between two brood combs you can put almost anything and it won't usually get too messed up. But given a choice they will build foundationless first, wax foundation next, plastic foundation next... so if that's your expectation things work fine.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    One thing I would recommend is to pull a couple of frames up from the bottom box to alternate with the foundationless. If you just have 10 empty frames sitting there, you may end up with some wonky comb. Or use foundation frames between the foundationless, in an attempt to keep the frames straighter.
    Thank you all for the advice. This makes me feel better about my bees.

    F6Hawk thanks for mentioning this. I have read that tip before but until you said it I had forgotten about it. Here in about 4-5 hours I will check on the painted hive and finish up the frames and get it added. I'll swap out a few drawn frames into the new box. Do you think they only need one in order to get on track or should I stagger 2-3?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Daleville, AL
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Were it me, I would put two solid frames from below in the middle so they can cluster for warmth (though that may be moot if your temps are like mine now; there seems to be more bees on the outside than on the inside, lol), then empty/full/empty/empty on each side, swapping the outside empties to the inside once they start working on them in a week or two. Or if you feel it is warm enough, do empty/full/empty/full all the way across.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arpolis View Post
    Thank you all for the advice. This makes me feel better about my bees.

    F6Hawk thanks for mentioning this. I have read that tip before but until you said it I had forgotten about it. Here in about 4-5 hours I will check on the painted hive and finish up the frames and get it added. I'll swap out a few drawn frames into the new box. Do you think they only need one in order to get on track or should I stagger 2-3?
    Three swarms, one queen added to brood from each of two purchased nucs (in deeps) for a total of 6 hives

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Thanks again. Here are some pics of the new brood box:

    image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg

    You can see it in the pic that I mis measured something. Probably the depth of my cut with the Dado blade to join the box corners. So because of that my frames are about an 1/8 - 3/16 too long and are hard to fit in the lower box. I did not realize this till I had two frames from the bottom in the middle of the top one. So I quickly looked at all the empty frames and two were slightly smaller so I squeezed them in the bottom box and opted to only put in two frames in the new box. Let's cross out fingers and hope for the best.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    If you are using foundationless and letting them draw it out on their own you cannot use an extractor on that can you? Won't it just all break apart if you do?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    I do not know for sure honestly. My experience is limited to one small wild swarm I caught last year that ended up getting robbed and killed before winter and now this hive at only 6ish weeks old. Hopefully someone else can chime in.

    I have heard that foundation-less can't be added to an extractor. But I have also hear that you can use a hand cranked extractor on older comb that has started to brown up. So fresh capped honey would not work.

    Personally I want the cut comb. My wife wants the wax for making lip balms, candles and other stuff while I want the honey for eating and mead making. So when I harvest I will just cut all but an inch strip at the top and drop it in a bucket and mash/crush the honey out.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Daleville, AL
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    It depends on the extractor and the condition of the foundation. If the bees have attached it to the sides, it should be fairly stable. If it's attached to the bottom in several places, it should be almost as strong as a wired frame. Obviously, cooler days make for stronger comb, too. If your extractor has a sort of cage around the frame, all the better.
    Three swarms, one queen added to brood from each of two purchased nucs (in deeps) for a total of 6 hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Searcy, AR, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    If you are using foundationless and letting them draw it out on their own you cannot use an extractor on that can you? Won't it just all break apart if you do?
    Michael Bush has written quite a bit about foundationless beekeeping and says you definitely can extract it. Of course very fresh comb is softer and would have to be treated carefully, but I intend to extract my foundationless frames in about two weeks, so I will let you know what happens. I plan to do some cut comb along with the extracted honey because it sells really great here in Central Ark. I have several hives with foundation comb too, so I figure I'll be okay even if the new foundationless doesn't extract well.
    Rick Brooks: Keeping bees and pastoring a church are similar...I try to keep them both from swarming.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    I wanted to give a little update to document how mixing the frames has gone. On the 16th which was 7 days after adding the second deep hive box there was no comb built on the foundation-less frames. About 4 - 5 days later I noticed about double the bees hanging out at the hive entrance and near twice the bee traffic in the air. Today the 24th just 15 days after adding the box and frames I noticed 5 separate frames (the two placed in box one and 3 around the two already full frames in the top box) all had strait pretty looking comb. Some was attached to the side bars but none all the way to the bottom bar yet and only about 1/3 of the total space filled between the 5 frames.

    I had to make zero corrections for crooked comb. Now I did notice that the two frames around the foundation-less frames in the bottom and the two normal frames in the top had much fatter comb than before. So I moved one of the frames from the top to the bottom and one foundation-less from the bottom back to the top and squeezed the full frames as close as I dared together so there is little to no walking room in between the comb. I did not think I could fit the other full frame from the top back into the bottom without scraping comb bad and possibly hurting bees. The foundation comb that I moved was all honey with about the top 1/3 all capped off. It was beautiful! Do you all think the bees will correct the fat comb themselves so they can move in between those frames and get to the cells?

    With the fat comb issue I think next time I will not move full frames in between the foundationless and just pay attention and make corrections to the comb as necessary.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Butler, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    I haven't extracted any of it yet, but I wired my foundationless frames with a slightly larger gauge wire than your typical frame wire and have been very pleased with the results. They simply incorporated the wire into the comb and even though it isn't attached to the bottom, they're very stable. You can turn them horizontal and there's no sag whatsoever.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Expanding while mixing foundation and foundation-less

    Ok another update today!

    It has been 24 days since adding the 10 new foundationless frames. I opened her up and took a good look at the new box on top. I was a little over confident and built another deep hive body and frames to add on if needed.

    All but 3 of my foundationless frames have some Comb drawn on them. But a good estimate may be there is only 4 1/2 frames worth of fully drawn comb. So just under half way done. I would like to add one more deep body this year in hopes of having 30 frames of drawn comb to work with for possible splits next year. I would like to have 3 hives all together. But that is all up in the air with how well this hive does and if I feel confident that a 3 way split will not hurt things.

    The one frame I still had moved from the bottom to the top had capped and uncapped brood in it still with a little nectar and polen. All the newly drawn comb in the top box had nothing but nectar and capped honey. The one foundationless in the bottom box was filled with uncapped brood all in there and the comb fully drawn out. All my comb looks good with nothing crooked or bad looking.

    One good thing to note was that before the colony population really started to boom and the foundationless really being drawn I was noticing an increased number of SHB! I purchased a batch of beneficial Nematodes and treated the area around the hive and in this inspection I did not notice a single beetle at all! So happy times there! Think I should wait a couple weeks before checking again or check again next Thursday?

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