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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a new beekeeper this Spring and started with a package on 5/13/14. My hive is an 8 frame all mediums. I started with 2 medium boxes and 8 frames of wax foundation in each. As of 5/22, frames 3 - 6 are very active in both boxes with the bottom box a little ahead of the top box.
My original intention is to have a foundationless hive, but I chickened out and started out with foundation. So this is my plan for next week...I will add a 3rd box right in between the two boxes. I will take frame 3 from my two boxes (if there is no brood in them) and put them in the #4 and 6 positions in the new "foundationless" box and replace them with foundationless frames. Are you confused yet? :) If you are following my logic, does this sound like a good idea? Or should I just plunk a whole box of foundationless in the middle of my two existing boxes and keep it simple? My hive is level side to side.
Thanks for the wonderful help and advise I get from all of you!
Jipsy
 

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A better idea would be to start putting foundationless frames one at a time in between capped frames of brood. The bees will initially build a lot of drone comb. Do not take it out but move it on the outside edge of the brood cluster and when the bees think they have enough drone comb, they will stop building it and go back to worker cells. Do this until all the frames in the bottom box are drawn and continue the process on up til your brood nest is all foundationless. If you want foundationless extraction frames, all I can say is have fun. Plunking a whole box of foundationless in between supers when I wanted to produce some comb honey resulted in a tangled mess of wax and honey and brood only fit for crush and strain. If you are going foundationless, just be aware that you are going to have to be in there often making sure the bees are coloring inside the lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice. If I have any honey to harvest, I plan on crush and strain. But for now, I need to give them another box to expand their brood nest. So if I put in a box of foundationless, how often is often enough to check on them to make sure they are "coloring between the lines"?
 

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I agree with Vance G. I would phase in the foundationless into your existing boxes. You can pull out the frames that have little or no action and put the foundationless frames next to frames where there are a lot of bees. Keep the frames tight together, which will reduce cross-drawing of comb between frames. As Vance hinted the bees don't always "color between the lines". :)

Phil
 
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