Foundationless Frames
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Fultonville,New York,USA
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    711

    Default Foundationless Frames

    I currently use plastic frames this is because I got them for free. Wanted to switch over to foundationless. Was wondering what is better grooved or wedge? Also can you use foundation less when extracting in a centrifuge extractor ?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    1,809

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I use the wedge but have not tried the grooved, so I can't compare. I do use mine in a centrifuge extractor but found for best results I wire the frames, only use mediums for supers and don't max spin when starting. One note, foundationless isn't a fire and forget operation, specifically with new or when they're drawing comb.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Joliet, il
    Posts
    1,875

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Both type of frames work good. Only difference is you can use a starter strip much easier on a groove frame. Otherwise both equally are good.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Central Alabama, Shelby County
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    If you are using wax for starter strips get the wedge tops.

    All of my honey frames are foundationless. Take it easy on them the first year. Spin slowly.

    I use 4.9 mm foundation in the brood boxes.

    Make sure your hives are level side to side for foundationless.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Verde Valley Arizona
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I inherited some Mann plastic 4.9mm foundation that I cut with tin snips into 4 cell strips. these press fit into the grooves and stay without glue or brads. they are great starter strips and the comb is strongly attached and mostly straight. I inherited 10 of these frames and can get 15 starter strips from each sheet.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    clarksville, virginia usa
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Foundationless can be rigged up and works great. One side of the top of the frame, where foundation would go, can easily be popped off using a screw driver. Attach it back, long side down, with 4 small brads (I use a small hand held brad driver that was about $6 at ACE). "Paint" a little beeswax all the way down the bottom of the strip and hang it in the hive. I've had great success with this and per a lot of folks foundationless is the way to go so that bees will build "natural" comb. A friend that has been raising bees for some time came by and got a swarm from me the other day and the first thing he said when he saw them was how much smaller these bees were compared to his being raised on foundation. I checked one of the hives last week and all of the frames could be taken out without damaging any comb on the other frames. Haven't been into bees that long but foundationless seems to work for me and the bees.530171__24139.1447110914.1280.1280.jpg

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    clarksville, virginia usa
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Picture is the little brad driver that works great for close work. No sore thumbs

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Fayette, IL
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I am working on getting all my brood chambers on foundationless, I don't worry so much about foundation in the supers. Unless you are doing cut comb, I don't see the need to go foundationless in the super. I wanted the foudationless in the brood chamber for natural cell size. I catch swarms, so get hopefully feral genetics.

    I have used regular grooved frames with a wood strip as a guide in the groove. (Popsicle sticks) I have also used the wedge type for wax foundation. Just break out the wedge and reinstall like you would for the foundation. I have a swarm I got a month ago that has built out 10 frames on the wedge type. Thinking about it now, I didn't even rub wax on them because I just got them ready when I got the call for the swarm. I don't think it makes much difference which one you use. I like to alternate foundationless and foundation at first so they build straight comb. That said, I have seen them build on the foundationless and leave the foundation alone. When that happens, they seem to want to build out the honey stores so deep that it sometimes makes pulling the frame difficult because it protrudes into the space of the next frame. Just keep an eye on things and switch frames around so that the undrawn frames are next to a drawn one when possible. If you are accustomed to foundation, you may have a bit of a learning curve on handling the soft frames of natural comb. When it is hot out or you are looking at fresh new white comb, better keep that frame upright.
    -David Zone 6a

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    clarksville, virginia usa
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Sorry, I wasn't very clear. All my boxes are foundationless and I don't use excluders.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Parthenon, Ar,USA
    Posts
    268

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by muskrat View Post
    Foundationless can be rigged up and works great. One side of the top of the frame, where foundation would go, can easily be popped off using a screw driver. Attach it back, long side down, with 4 small brads (I use a small hand held brad driver that was about $6 at ACE). "Paint" a little beeswax all the way down the bottom of the strip and hang it in the hive. I've had great success with this and per a lot of folks foundationless is the way to go so that bees will build "natural" comb. A friend that has been raising bees for some time came by and got a swarm from me the other day and the first thing he said when he saw them was how much smaller these bees were compared to his being raised on foundation. I checked one of the hives last week and all of the frames could be taken out without damaging any comb on the other frames. Haven't been into bees that long but foundationless seems to work for me and the bees.530171__24139.1447110914.1280.1280.jpg
    X2, also the Kelley foundationless work quite well
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm USDA zone 7a

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Either is fine. You need to checkerboard drawn frames with empty frames to avoid crosscomb. Your plastic frames can be used for that purpose.

    If you go foundationless, you may consider comb honey, instead of extracting. People love comb honey.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,765

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Between the two, the wedge would work best. You can use the wedge nailed vertical as a key for comb, or use it to attach strips. You can also use a top bar that's cut in a tapered wedge. Don't alternate foundationless frames and drawn frames in honey storage areas, as they probably will draw out the drawn frames extra wide, going through the empty frames and ignore them. If you have drawn plastic frames already and are patient, you can add a frame or two in the brood nest, then do it again when those are drawn and used, moving plastic frames up a box to eventually use as super frames. One empty frame in between two brood combs will produce a good strait comb. If you do it when there's not a need for drones, they will mostly draw worker brood, like in a swarm or new split hive.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Fultonville,New York,USA
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    711

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    What size nail do you use to assemble them?

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Newtown, CT, USA
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    My experience with foundationless was I got lots and lots of drone brood. Now I am experimenting with 4.9 mm Mann Lake's plastic frames. I really like them and I think the bees are getting smaller and certainly not as many drone brood. How do you guys control drone brood with foundationless?

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    1,809

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    How do you guys control drone brood with foundationless?
    I don't worry about it, they build the drone comb in the outside frames or above only when they're building new comb and back fill with honey when "drone season" is over. Second year or older comb isn't any different than drawn foundation frames.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I have been glueing/stapling a Home Depot paint stir stick in the groove of a standard frame. This has worked well. They make brood comb in early spring but I generally move these to the edge of the second brood box and the end up using it for honey storage. Once swarm season is over the make standard cells. Best part about the sticks is they are free. I grab one every time I shop and as a hobbyist I never run out. I have had to fix one bad start but I placed this frame poorly.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Kirksville, Missouri USA
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    1,765

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    To nail frames together, I use 1 1/2" narrow crown staples, one in each bottom bar end and 2 down from the top in the top bar ends, with titebond II or III all around. I use a brad nailer and 5/8" brads for when I have used wedges on top bar.

    About drones, I have taken out some frames that were mostly drone, and reserve them just for honey supers, but I don't consider the drones to be a giant setback. I suppose it would be better having more workers, and I am looking for opportunities to minimize them, but if they didn't have drone space they'd be building bridge comb and all sorts of messes to get drones made. They're created nature is to make drones, so I let them do some. I have seen them use wax foundation and re form it to drone brood in places. I even have tried 4.9 wax starter strips and they use the strip but ignore the 4.9 and do what cell sizes they want. The drones don't work too hard, so I would guess they don't consume too much, and when they are done with them, they get the boot. I have seen colonies pitch drones in early summer, make more later, and pitch them again.

    I have gone to using plastic acorn foundation this year, and plan to get a lot drawn out for honey supers, but keeping the foundationless I have drawn. I don't think foundationless is a bad deal, but the foundation is more productive and takes less time, which my time is sometimes short to work them. I hope to work in foundationless frames to draw out more worker brood comb in the future again, but I don't know if that's actually a big deal yet.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Fultonville,New York,USA
    Posts
    711

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by gruntworker View Post
    I have been glueing/stapling a Home Depot paint stir stick in the groove of a standard frame. This has worked well. They make brood comb in early spring but I generally move these to the edge of the second brood box and the end up using it for honey storage. Once swarm season is over the make standard cells. Best part about the sticks is they are free. I grab one every time I shop and as a hobbyist I never run out. I have had to fix one bad start but I placed this frame poorly.
    So i take it that the paint stick's act as a starter strip? Do you put wax on the stick?

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    I glue in tongue depressors.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Foundationless Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Sickdog5 View Post
    So i take it that the paint stick's act as a starter strip? Do you put wax on the stick?
    Not a drop. They have no problem using the wooden surface to build wax on. They build down first but eventually they wax around the stick as well. They have always started from the center of the stick as well.

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