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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    I'm not a fan of foundationless. I have bees that like to draw out frames. They fill it with honey and cap it. Then draw out a 2-1/2" wide balloon off of it. They're able to do that because the next frame isn't drawn out. I have comb where they did just fine for 80 percent of the frame. The 2 ends and bottom were not completed. The next frame over they just make fat balloon right on over into the next frame where the 20 percent wasn't completed. This would mean that instead of taking out 1 frame of honey I have to take out 2 frames. My only guess is a nectar flow occurred and it was easier to be lazy then to draw out a frame for storage of the nectar.

    Bees do what they like. I can't make them draw out frames instead of being lazy.

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  3. #22
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    frusterated
    My bees are doing the start on one end and not finish on the other. They do seem to be doing the first half top to bottom. The last half they start making a curve or just sorta balloon from the top bar with the middle of the balloon into the unfinished part next to it, then that one goes even further into the next one. I did flip one of the frames so that it was up against the strait part but haven't looked since. And they started out so perfect and strait in the beginning, I thought, "man this is easy" Ha Ha.
    Cheers
    gww

    Ps I mentioned that I fliped it somewhere and someone told me I might want to look up the "housen method"
    Geeez, There are lots of things out there to look at.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    FD - bees are a lot of things - but lazy is not one of them

  5. #24
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    May 2016
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    Fayette County, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by sakhoney View Post
    FD - bees are a lot of things - but lazy is not one of them
    Harv - 3 langs, treating as needed

  6. #25
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    Jun 2014
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    frusterated
    My bees are doing the start on one end and not finish on the other. They do seem to be doing the first half top to bottom. The last half they start making a curve or just sorta balloon from the top bar with the middle of the balloon into the unfinished part next to it, then that one goes even further into the next one. I did flip one of the frames so that it was up against the strait part but haven't looked since. And they started out so perfect and strait in the beginning, I thought, "man this is easy" Ha Ha.
    Cheers
    gww

    Ps I mentioned that I fliped it somewhere and someone told me I might want to look up the "housen method"
    Geeez, There are lots of things out there to look at.
    keeping a frame of capped honey on the outside helps with this.

  7. #26
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    The problem in supers is that honey comb can be any depth. The advantage to getting it drawn in the brood nest is that brood comb is only one depth. If you are extracting, once you have drawn comb everything is simpler. I have the same problem with foundation as far as uneven comb in the supers. But the advantage thee is that at least the next comb has a clean start. With foundationless, one good comb leads to another good comb. One bad comb also leads to another bad comb. With foundation you get a clean slate every frame because the foundation reestablishes the line of the comb but they still may reject the foundation and build combs between or fins out. Every method has it's downside.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    colereaper
    I had zero frames and they built about 6 frames on one side and slowly started filling out the rest of the frames. Nothing capped to use and no real way to put the comb in the brood nest between good brood comb. I knocked a couple off and had to rubberband and then became less picky as long as I could get the frames in and out. It will all work out as I learn what, when and how to do things and what works and what doesn't.

    I had a hive full of foundation and pulled up a brood comb with brood and capped honey and they really filled the first few frames on each side of that pretty strait but it started getting a bit worse and then the comb building sorta came to an end and so the expermenting is done till it is comb building time again.
    Cheers
    gww

  9. #28
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    Jun 2014
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    colereaper
    I had zero frames and they built about 6 frames on one side and slowly started filling out the rest of the frames. Nothing capped to use and no real way to put the comb in the brood nest between good brood comb. I knocked a couple off and had to rubberband and then became less picky as long as I could get the frames in and out. It will all work out as I learn what, when and how to do things and what works and what doesn't.

    I had a hive full of foundation and pulled up a brood comb with brood and capped honey and they really filled the first few frames on each side of that pretty strait but it started getting a bit worse and then the comb building sorta came to an end and so the expermenting is done till it is comb building time again.
    Cheers
    gww
    i have not had any luck rubber banding fresh soft comb back in place. can never get it perfectly centered as it kinda sags into the rubber band.
    get some 1:1 on them and they will start drawing again. a first year queen help a lot too. they want to grow.
    i started a completely foundationless hive this spring with a shakedown. they reach a critical mass point where they do start drawing all droner comb. at that point i split them. i now have two nucs with young queens that are drawing perfect worker comb that i will feed into the mother hive with the older queen.
    did you trim your endbars down to 1-1/4"? that has helped me as well.

  10. #29
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by frustrateddrone View Post
    I'm not a fan of foundationless. I have bees that like to draw out frames. They fill it with honey and cap it. Then draw out a 2-1/2" wide balloon off of it. They're able to do that because the next frame isn't drawn out. I have comb where they did just fine for 80 percent of the frame. The 2 ends and bottom were not completed. The next frame over they just make fat balloon right on over into the next frame where the 20 percent wasn't completed. This would mean that instead of taking out 1 frame of honey I have to take out 2 frames. My only guess is a nectar flow occurred and it was easier to be lazy then to draw out a frame for storage of the nectar.

    Bees do what they like. I can't make them draw out frames instead of being lazy.
    I've had some pretty wonky comb. I deal with it by putting it against the wall and isolating it from any new comb being built. Again some plastic frames strategically placed will keep things from getting too haywire. I try not to have too many empty frames in the supers. I'll raise honey/nectar filled frame from the brood nest into the box above. Empty spaces get plastic frames. I'll checkboard in the brood nest in a box where nectar comb was lifted always using the best comb as a guide. Takes lots of intervention.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    I've had some pretty wonky comb. I deal with it by putting it against the wall and isolating it from any new comb being built. Again some plastic frames strategically placed will keep things from getting too haywire. I try not to have too many empty frames in the supers. I'll raise honey/nectar filled frame from the brood nest into the box above. Empty spaces get plastic frames. I'll checkboard in the brood nest in a box where nectar comb was lifted always using the best comb as a guide. Takes lots of intervention.
    Don't you have better things to be doing with your beekeeping time than micromanaging every comb?

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Coler...., Ihar....
    I had three hives I was dealing with (one being two mediums with foundation).

    I did not do well rubberbanding and it will probly cause problims later. One of them was a swarm that I combined with another swarm and had broke the small amount of comb they had while transfering them.

    I fed a little stronger then 1to1 but after about a gal. each I have quit and am going to let them go till late fall just so I can see what happens in a year without feed. On two hives, that have only one medium built out, If they don't build more I will make sure of what they have is full and put them in double 5 frame nuc and see if I can get them to survive winter. It might be a waste of bees trying this but I want to see what happens in fall with out me. If I catch more swarms next year I am going to feed hard in the beginning.

    I am going to stick with the foundationless for awhile cause I have built 250/300 frames so far. I may if I catch more swarms next year try and barter one of them for 10/20 frames with foundation just to get built out and use as guides.

    I have seen the potential for the bees to do really well at times but also to go wonky. I am just playing now and trying to learn what is ok. I have flipped a couple of really fat combs and placed them up against the wall of the hive hoping the bees will cut it down on their own to regain beespace.

    Right now I am just trying to learn to handle problims as they arrive. My very first bees and so I am going to the gun fight unarmed. I am hoping to figure it out.
    gww

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    I've had some pretty wonky comb. I deal with it by putting it against the wall and isolating it from any new comb being built. Again some plastic frames strategically placed will keep things from getting too haywire. I try not to have too many empty frames in the supers. I'll raise honey/nectar filled frame from the brood nest into the box above. Empty spaces get plastic frames. I'll checkboard in the brood nest in a box where nectar comb was lifted always using the best comb as a guide. Takes lots of intervention.
    i have done the isolation thing too. it is hard to cut out wonky comb if there is brood in it. try to time your final removal after isolation to be right after that brood emerges. i have had a queen jump over 3 or 4 bare frames in a one box hive to get to one that frame i isolated against the wall!

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    Don't you have better things to be doing with your beekeeping time than micromanaging every comb?
    it is somewhat time consuming at first. but once you have a dozen or so good combs it becomes much easier. it is a marvel to some, myself included, to see them draw out their own comb.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by COAL REAPER View Post
    it is somewhat time consuming at first. but once you have a dozen or so good combs it becomes much easier. it is a marvel to some, myself included, to see them draw out their own comb.
    I've seen plenty of them drawing their own comb. And I have dozens of foundationless combs. It's still a pain in the rump.
    My bees have drawn over 500 frames and counting this season. I could not keep bees like this going foundationless. I might as well go back to the glass bell days and pull honey that way if I was going to...

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Jwc...
    I have read several answers from you on your position on foundationless. I have to believe you are a better beekeeper having had the experiances that you had starting out foundationless. Even if those experiances were to convince you that there was a better way. I know there were better ways to fasten the frames on a bait hive now that I have had comb collapse while transfering the trap. I also know that I wouldn't know that had I not put a trap out and caught bees. I know some of these things are reinventing the wheel but everybody learns at their own pace and sometimes the motivation is just for the learning of what is possible so that you know what your options are if you decide to take it further. My goal is to get bees a cheap as possible and decide How much I like keeping them. If I see the potential, I may want to stream line but now I am just enjoying the learning.
    Cheers
    gww

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Much of the commentary in this thread has described drawing foundationless by interleaving the brood nest.
    Much of the commentary has declared that comb honey is the reason for struggling to produce foundationless frames.

    Folks, brood leaves behind a cocoon, that cocoon leaves an off taste in comb honey and papery residue in the mouth.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    yeah, i think if i was trying to get 500 frames drawn in a season it wouldnt be foundationless. 50 might be the max.
    i have foundationed comb in use for supers i plan to extract from. havnet messed with any comb honey but i wouldnt allow it to have any brood in that comb if i did.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    One trick you can do is cut your RC foundation in half and install just half a sheet in the middle (thereby allowing you natural comb on the sides). This not only adds rigidity for extraction, but gives them a vertical structure for brood nest almost immediately while allowing them natural cell on the outsides as well as cut comb (just cut out the sides). Best of both worlds and save$ on foundation costs. A great tip learned from Laurie.
    Zone 8a - Elev.~ 1,100 ft. Sandy, OR.
    Apiculture: A culmination of animal husbandry and alchemy.

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    Jwc...
    I have read several answers from you on your position on foundationless. I have to believe you are a better beekeeper having had the experiances that you had starting out foundationless. Even if those experiances were to convince you that there was a better way. I know there were better ways to fasten the frames on a bait hive now that I have had comb collapse while transfering the trap. I also know that I wouldn't know that had I not put a trap out and caught bees. I know some of these things are reinventing the wheel but everybody learns at their own pace and sometimes the motivation is just for the learning of what is possible so that you know what your options are if you decide to take it further. My goal is to get bees a cheap as possible and decide How much I like keeping them. If I see the potential, I may want to stream line but now I am just enjoying the learning.
    Cheers
    gww
    There's nothing wrong with it if you've got the time and small enough apiary to keep up with it. What I found, with limited time, was that nearly 100% of the time I was spending in them was pinching/fixing combs. Always bring rubber bands and masking tape with you when you're inspecting a foundationless colony. Better beekeeper because of it... I don't know about that. I will say that it held me back last year. A lot.

    Life is about tradeoffs. Keeping bees without foundation went, largely, the way of the buggy whip a long long time ago.

    Would anyone who keeps foundationless bees be so bold as to plop on five undrawn supers of frames?

    That's what I did with this one:


    And they drew it without a single, solitary problem. No pinching or feeding them in one at a time. Hell, they were drawing and filling a whole box in a week or less in May. Supposed to visit daily and rotate combs in and out? On one maybe... but on 2, 3, 4, or 10 colonies... Nope.

    Make sure that your goal and your management methods can be scaled together. If your goal is to get to 25 or 50 production colonies I'd highly doubt foundationless is a sound management choice. That's all I'm saying. If all you want is a couple hives in your backyard. Don't mind a jigsaw puzzle of combs to deal with when swapping frames from colony to colony. And don't mind if you get more than whatever honey your family needs to eat... go for it.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Move to foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyLittleSecret View Post
    One trick you can do is cut your RC foundation in half and install just half a sheet in the middle (thereby allowing you natural comb on the sides)...... A great tip learned from Laurie.
    After Laurie presented her experiments, I prepared a case of RiteCell with the following alteration to her technique.
    skitched-20160720-083906.jpg

    I should note she appears to use the half sheets mostly as a drone brood isolation technique, which allows her to manage the drones.

    I cut the RiteCell into trapezoids. The outer two half shapes are nested together in a pair to create a third regular trapezoid. The reason for this cut design was to maximize the top bar length, simulate the half circle pattern of natural comb, and secure 3 foundation pieces per single RC sheet. The long top edge is 7 3/8" and the bottom edge is 3 3/4" in my cut, but any combinations will work. My lengths are derived from the paired equations 1.5 Long + 1.5 short = 16.75" and 2 short = 1 long.

    Result --- they do draw it out (and make giant patches of Drone in the "windows". The Rite Cell rattles in the frame and the smaller pieces slid apart in rough handling. I ended up X-wiring some of the frames to hold everything together -- and that defeated the purpose of the alteration. I glued the top edge on some. I am always loathe to glue foundation, because in the long haul its going to be replaced.

    Thought I had some pix of the result, but don't dig up any. Often time the bees filled in the "windows" before completing the comb on the plastic. Since the windows were "drone" or honey, they often bulbed out well beyond the worker cell on the plastic piece ... which led to wonky comb thickness. Having the fat bulb at the bottom of the frame made for a nightmare clustering the frames, and pulling them up. Beyond that one case, I haven't done this again.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 07-20-2016 at 10:55 AM.

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