Should I use foundation or starter strips for small cell? [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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sampa
04-04-2005, 12:37 PM
I want to have small cell bees. I've got two packages coming next week, and I've got some small cell foundation. Should I use the foundation or make start strips and let the bees do what they want? Also, how exactly do I make a starter strip? Just cut off a chunk and hook it to the top of the frame? How big should it be? Should it be a 'V' or straight across the bottom? Do I need to run a wire down the middle? I'm not planning on using an extractor to get honey. I'm just going to crush it and filter out the wax.

Thanks,
sam

Michael Bush
04-04-2005, 12:47 PM
>Should I use the foundation or make start strips and let the bees do what they want?

It's your choice. Both will work. It's just cheaper to do starter strips.

>Also, how exactly do I make a starter strip?

I cut the foundation long ways into 3/4" wide strips.

>Just cut off a chunk and hook it to the top of the frame?

You could nail it in if there is a cleat. You can wax it into the groove if there is a groove or if the cleat is not broken loose yet. I wax mine with a wax tube fastener from Walter T. Kelly.

>How big should it be?

I usually do 3/4" but 1" would work. More doesn't seem to work as well.

>Should it be a 'V' or straight across the bottom?

I go straight across the bottom.

>Do I need to run a wire down the middle?

If you want to. You could run one vertically in the middle if you want. It will make it easier to handle, but if you are careful to keep the comb hanging down while you handle it and not turn it flatways, you won't have to. You could also run one horizontally if you want but the bees are more likely to follow the vertical one.

beaglady
04-11-2005, 10:43 AM
I think this is my 'first' beesource post. 2 years ago, I started 2 packages out on full sheets of small cell foundation. By the end of the summer, I had bees drawing it out pretty decently and went into the winter strong, came out of winter well and started spring strong.

Last year, I got 2 more packages and experimented with starter strips. To be fair, I had a lot of problems with these bees, but I blame them on the packages not arriving til mid May, not on the starter strips. That being said, the bees never seemed to figure out the starter strips, I ended up with huge quantites of drones, mites and was completely bee-less on New Year's day. Not that the bees deserve most of the blame - I did lots things that seem pretty dumb in retrospect and missed a lot of clues that there was trouble.

Anyway, as a relative beginner, using full sheets may be easier than starter strips. I'm planning to use foundation to start with, but will experiment a bit with starter strips once the bees have been on the small cell for a while.

Diane W

Michael Bush
04-11-2005, 11:32 AM
When I find a lot of drone comb in the middle of the brood nest, I move it to the outside edges. That way the bees seem satisfied that they have enough drone comb, so they don't draw more of it, but the queen is less likely to lay in it as much since it's not in the middle of the brood nest.