Trying to go foundationless
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Garner, NC, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Trying to go foundationless

    Im in Garner, NC if anyone near has experience with foundationless. I'm new with 2 hives from packages started in April. The brood comb is being built but is getting merged with adjacent frames or doubled up in spots.

    I put on 2nd bodies last weekend and checked today. I used 2 wax foundations in middle and skipped with foundationless going out. Only one hive has started building on 2nd body and it's already messed up with some comb being merged near bottom between foundation and f-less frame.

    If anyone is near here and can help, I'd love a mentor.

    Thanks,
    Chris

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Bellflower, Montgomery,Mo,USA
    Posts
    629

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    I tried to go all foundationless last year with poor success. They built where ever they pleased if I used an empty box with just starter strips. I had pretty good luck with cutting some of the closer doubled up comb loose and rubber banding it back onto the same frame.

    This year I tried the method that Laury showed this last fall. I used a twist on it to use up my starter strip frames. I alternated a frame of starter strip with a frame of 1/2 wax centered in the frame. This was on all of my supers and they drew them all out great, no doubling and straight to the ends of the same frame.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    hendersonville tn
    Posts
    288

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    I'm using all foundationless. The only exception is the nuc hive that I bought. I current have 13 hives. I don't live near you but my experience so far it's to never be without rubber bands. Not that I need them all the time but its handy. I just use a quarter inch wedge on top and they seem to do well. This is my first year.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    4,869

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    I had them draw deeps perfectly last year, I have them pulling supers perfect this year, then I have the couple that want to draw from the bottom up. I have cut and reattached to the top. I have been advised to give them some drawn as a ladder. It seems to be working. I'm going to try and get some drawn between capped brood while they are still in the mood. I think that is pretty much failsafe for nice straight proper depth combs. G

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Springville, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    I started with all foundationless this year, and have a nearly fully built double comb in the center of my brood nest. The other frames are built correctly however. Will this matter too much? I don't want to cut it out, and will probably move it to the box above and cut it out when there isn't brood.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Pataskala, OH
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    I am also a new beek and started a few weeks ago using foundationless frames - so take my info with a grain of salt...

    What kind of frames are you using? I got the foundationless frames from Beesource with the V-shaped comb guide along the top and my bees have built beautiful, straight comb. I was also careful to make sure hives were pretty level from right-to-left. Not perfect, but pretty darn level.

    I'm going to try to attach a pic of one they had only been working on for about 5-6 days - it (and others) are full now.

    First Hive Frame.jpg
    Last edited by wallyblackburn; 05-25-2015 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Darn auto-correct...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Shelby, NC, USA
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    I haven't had any trouble but you have to be careful with a couple things.

    1. I don't alternate with empty drawn comb particularly if it's in an area they may be inclined to fill with nectar/honey. That's an excuse for them to draw the frames already drawn but not filled, even deeper. 2. Make sure the hive is level side to side. This is probably one of the most important things to consider.
    3. Give them a ladder in the center of the box to use. Simply pull one or two drawn frames, preferably already filled, up from the box below and put them in the center. That will encourage the bees to use the new box and give them a way to get to the top of the frames more easily to draw from the top down. I've had to fix comb they pulled from the bottom up once or twice. Sometimes they get it right from bottom up and sometimes they don't.
    4. Fix anything they are messing up as soon as possible.
    5. If you can put an empty frame between two capped brood frames, they will usually draw nice, neat comb.
    6. We are almost done drawing comb in this area for the year unless they are in build-up (establishment) mode and/or unless you provide a nectar source into the summer.

    Others may have had different experiences, but those have been the things that I had to be careful of. Good luck.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    This is my second season foundation less. I find it very easy. Sometimes you need to fix welded frames - I only had one situation of this kind last year.
    I have 16 hives so far drawing lots of drone comb. Nucs draw beautiful worker comb.
    I don't have enough experience to say weather it helped regarding varroa but I only treat once in Autumn using a dribble of oxalic acid.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Pataskala, OH
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by wallyblackburn View Post
    What kind of frames are you using? I got the foundationless frames from Beesource with the V-shaped comb guide along the top and my bees have built beautiful, straight comb. I was also careful to make sure hives were pretty level from right-to-left. Not perfect, but pretty darn level.
    Beethinking, not Beesource. This is Beesource... They say the mind is the 2nd thing to go...

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    Quote Originally Posted by wallyblackburn View Post
    Beethinking, not Beesource. This is Beesource... They say the mind is the 2nd thing to go...
    I'm thinking those beethinking frames are just marked up Kelley foundationless frames. Maybe I have just got lucky, but my bees have drawn foundationless Lang frames almost flawlessly. I will say that I am not supplementing with syrup feeding unless they were a new package and for newly hived swarms I usually give them a quart of 1:1 just in case weather is bad immediately after hiving. I don't know if that makes much of a difference. If there's a really intense flow if they're more likely to build deeper than normal combs and "combs where ever they can put them"? Also all of my frames are 1.25" spacing so 11 frames in a 10 frame box shaved down from the 1.375" standard spacing.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    This is only my second year but I never had cross comb. I think my bees care about best engineering practices.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Trying to go foundationless

    Forgot to mention in my earlier post. The key is to not tolerate messed up comb when you see it. Pinch ends back straight EVERYTIME you see one. Cut back fat comb before it becomes a huge problem. You have to be vigilant and not afraid to "train" your bees a little. One other thing I've found helpful is scraping off the remnants of the bad comb. So if you pinch back, don't leave the ridge of the comb behind for them to follow and build from...

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