Foundationless?
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Thread: Foundationless?

  1. #1
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    Default Foundationless?

    Do you guys have better success against varroa with foundationless frames in your brood boxes? Do bees with good hygiene do better against varroa?

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  3. #2
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    i have a few foundationless frames scattered about here and there, most of them were drawn out as drone comb. almost all of my comb (both brood and honey super) was drawn on mann lake's rite cell plastic foundation.

    i don't know the answer to the hygiene question.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    If you only put in one or two foundationless frames they will certainly be full of drone comb. If the whole hive is foundationless it isn't that way. Most of my frames have a patch of drone comb somewhere, but not too much.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    In my tests, Foundationless had zero statistical effect on total mite count or survival vs. conventional wax foundation or plastic PF126 4.9 foundation.
    Last edited by squarepeg; 02-26-2017 at 06:54 PM. Reason: mama don't allow no name callin' 'round here

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Reef,
    Thanks for sending in your registration fee for my next seminar. I will be holding a snake oil tasting during the intermission. Please remember that video recording and critical thinking are not permitted.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    You couldn't pay me enough to attend your seminar friend. I thank those that gave positive feedback. I asked because I was hoping to hear success or failures regarding the two questions. Also, I don't have much experience using foundationless frames. I have a hygienic hive that I caught at the end of last year. I can't say that I've observed them long enough to know if this would be a good trait to aim for to fight off varroa.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reef Resiner View Post
    Do you guys have better success against varroa with foundationless frames in your brood boxes?
    It's a long game. If you have varroa resistant or virus resistant bees, using foundationless frames in the brood area allows your bees to have a larger genetic footprint by producing more drones without you having to purchase and manipulate drone specific foundation.

    Do bees with good hygiene do better against varroa?
    Yes. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/art...l.pone.0116672
    David Matlock

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    I use foundationless because I'm cheap first of all. Secondly if there is a benefit I want to exploit it.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnwratcliff View Post
    I use foundationless because I'm cheap first of all. Secondly if there is a benefit I want to exploit it.
    Ditto this. All I want to buy is boxes and frames. I did try some all in one plastic frames with built in foundation, though. The bees avoid building on them until they have no choice. Kind of a pain, really. I'm trying them again this year with some extra wax on them.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reef Resiner View Post
    Do you guys have better success against varroa with foundationless frames in your brood boxes? Do bees with good hygiene do better against varroa?
    I am TF and small cell. I have not treated in 5 years. Yes, there are mites out there but they seem under control. The State inspected me in Oct and they were surprised by how few mites I had. It has been over three years since I have lost a production colony. I have been lucky <GG>. I have 4.9 mm wax worker foundation and foundationless.

    What is the core reason you are foundationless?????? What are you trying to achieve with it ??? The two main reasons are clean wax and to shrink bees back to a natural size. I assume you think foundationless will lead to varroa resistance.

    Lets take shrinking back to a natural size. If you take a 5.4 mm colony and let it draw foundationless worker comb, if you are lucky, they will draw 5.1 mm brood comb. After all the 5.4 mm bees have died and the whole hive are 5.1 mm bees, then you have to replace the 5.1 mm comb the next year and let them draw foundationless again and with luck, you may get 4.9 mm brood comb. The point is foundationless is a two step process to natural size bees.

    4.7 to 4.9 mm brood cells in the Deep South are considered natural size according to Lusby.

    If you put a foundationless frame in the brood nest in March/April they will draw drone comb,guaranteed. If you give them a foundationless frame in June they will draw worker comb.

    In my hive body there are 10 foundationed worker frames and one foundationless drone frame.

    My opinion is that there are multiple variables for varroa resistance of which small cell bees are the foundation that varroa resistance is built upon. Small cell in itself is not the smoking gun but it is the first round in the chamber. It doesn't matter if you go foundationless or 4.9 mm foundation to get there, small cell bees are just the first step in a process.

    Let me repeat: What is the core reason you are foundationless or want to go foundationless?????

    Good Luck

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    I'm in the midst of transitioning to foundation-less. Let me correct myself. I'm not throwing away my plastic but all new frames are just frames with no foundation. I'll let the girls work out the details. The evolved without plastic so it should be good enough for me. It amazes me how quick they will fill out a frame.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reef Resiner View Post
    Do you guys have better success against varroa with foundationless frames in your brood boxes? Do bees with good hygiene do better against varroa?

    My belief is that foundationless has nothing (well, maybe just slightly north of nothing) whatsoever to do with success against varroa. Now, if you ask: Do bees prefer making natural comb? Probably, but sometimes their preferences and the beekeeper's are not aligned. So you need to weigh these against each other and decide which direction best suits your management style, but don't chose foundationless to serve as an immunity to varroa, because you'll likely be very disappointed.

    Of course hygienic bees are beneficial on several fronts. Both of these have been the topic of many discussions here.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    In my experience buying bees labeled "hygienic" made no difference at all. Using natural comb was the tipping point.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Looks like i got more studying to do. I normally treat but am planning to dip into TF a bit. Anything that gets a leg up over varroa is something I'm willing to look into. Thanks for the links Michael, it is an interesting read.
    Last edited by Reef Resiner; 02-27-2017 at 05:08 PM.

  16. #15
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  17. #16
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Quote Originally Posted by bentonkb View Post
    Reef,
    Thanks for sending in your registration fee for my next seminar. I will be holding a snake oil tasting during the intermission. Please remember that video recording and critical thinking are not permitted.
    Not sure where this came from. It does not seem to fit in this thread.

    Reef Resiner don't forget the added benefit of cost and time. I'm using frameless because they cost me 1/2 to 1/3 of plastic or wax foundation based frames once everything is together. They also are much quicker for me to assemble and put in the field. Both are huge considerations for me. I do not reinforce the area the bees will draw out due to time considerations and was worried about comb breaking off during inspection. It has never happened. I am careful which axis I rotate it on. I do not expect to use it in honey supers.

    If there is any added bonus such as mite reduction it is just another plus to me. I have also seen it suggested somewhere that the smaller bees might show better ability to fly distance and better economy on what they are able to collect and haul. Don't know if that is a fact, but, also could be a bonus as far as I'm concerned. You would have to beat me to make me use foundation unless there was a compelling reason such as extracting, ect. Good Luck.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    That's interesting to hear dlbrightjr that you have not had trouble with the comb falling out without supports. I have had that experience - a homemade deep foundationless frame (DIY using plastic frame and sawzall - yes I'm a ding-a-ling) filled with honey popped out. Fortunately it didn't land near a populous section of the hive! So I could rescue almost all the honey.

    The honey-filled comb popped out because I dropped a corner and it ended up horizontal - so don't do that and you should be fine.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    One of my hives is all foundationless and it's a combo of all worker, all drone and worker/drone combo with the drone part sort of circular and on the outer vertical edges. I don't notice any difference in mite load.
    Local Carniolan Bees. All medium configuration.

  20. #19
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    Sullivan, MO
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    Here's a video about foundationless. https://youtu.be/38SPvuWvVkc

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Foundationless?

    I've had many hives with no foundation, many with 4.9 foundation, and some with run of the mill foundation.

    I've never used chemical treatments in my hives.

    When I lived in New York, my hives did well, and I was able to grow form a single caught swarm to 1 or 15 hives pretty quick, without buying any bees except for a few queens now and then for their genetics.

    The winters were very long, and very harsh --- subzero temperatures were common in winter...not unlike the environment the author of a popular book on practical beekeeping describes as the one he lives in.

    I had no trouble keeping healthy hives and expanding my apiary to the point I didn't want it any bigger, as it was becoming demanding of hours I preferred to spent not lifting boxes.

    Then I moved back to Washington, where I grew up, but had never kept bees.

    I bought a couple of nucs, made up some foundationless frames, and have, for the last couple years, been getting an education on just how local beekeeping is...

    I have not been successful here at keeping hives healthy without chemicals.

    It's warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, and rains during much of the spring bloom.

    In New York, I thought that my success was due to natural comb, selective queen purchases, and feral bees.

    Here, I've found no better survival with caught swarms than bought nucs, despite never buying foundation, and being very picky about where I get queens, and catching swarms, I'm having a devil of a time.

    i even cooked some OA in the hives last year, but too late.

    But more to the point:

    I found no difference in mortality whether foundation size was large or small cell, not not used at all.

    I think environment and beestock has a lot more to do with success at raising and keeping healthy bees than whether or not one treats their hives with chemicals, or what size and arrangement f boxes one uses.

    I think successful management is more dependent on knowing your bees and how the go through the year where you live, being present and aware of what the bees are doing in apairy has a much greater effect than what you put in your frames.

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