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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any tips on how to make bees completely fill out frames that are foundationless. They are filling some out wonderfully and others they are filling about 70 percent. The comb doesn't quite reach the sides and has about 2/3 of the bottom of the comb not quite reaching the bottom bar. Then they stopped building on them.

This has become more of a problem recently? Is it because a heavy flow has started?

Thoughts or Ideas?
 

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That is one of the reason some wire foundationless frames. Bees often don't build out the bottom of the frame, especially if the bottom of the box is cool. Often areas near the entrance or huge gaping cold air holes in the bottom of the hive cause a problem for bees needing warmth to draw comb. Consider moving the frame to an upper box and seeing if the bees will finish it.
 

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Move the partially drawn frames around if you need to, placing them between fully drawn frames of capped brood. Eventually they will fill out the frame. The best time would be during a flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mike - that is what I originally did, trying the checker board method. A foundationless frame between two frames of brood. Would place no more than 3 new frames at once in the brood box, moved the old filled out frames up to the new box and would place 2 empty frames between the three frames of brood I moved up.

New medium EEEBEBEBEE
Brood Box medium BBEBBEBEBB

Or something like that on the bottom. They did well in March and April, but now are acting as if we are not making much nectar here.
 

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They'll finish building them out closer to the fall. They like more ventilation in warmer weather than colder weather. With foundationless you'll see more closely what bees do in a natural hive.
 

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If there is not a nectar flow, or the colony is not being fed, the bees will not produce wax. To start the wax production the bee must be of the proper age, the temperature of the hive must be warm, and the bee must be forced to hold the nectar or syrup in it's honey stomach for over 24 hours due to lack of storage space.

Bees 5 to 15 days old are wax makers, if they are not present in sufficient numbers production will be slow. Old bees can revert to wax production, but they are not as efficient as the young bees.

In my area there is only a spring flow, so any comb drawn must be done before the middle of June, unless feeding of syrup is started when the flow tapers off.
 

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New medium EEEBEBEBEE
Brood Box medium BBEBBEBEBB

Or something like that on the bottom. They did well in March and April, but now are acting as if we are not making much nectar here.
Has your flow slowed down? If incoming nectar drops off they will be more conservative in burning up the nectar to build new comb.

Also, that's a lot of empty frames when you look at both boxes combined - 10 of 20 empty. They will be more likely to skip to the next empty frame and start new comb on that frame before filling out the prior one completely. If you had a more crowded set up, say 3 empty frames total in both boxes, they would be more likely to fill the frames out completely. Not suggesting you do that right now, just offering an explanation as to why they might be hesitant to fill out the frames.

In your immediate situation I might rearrange things differently. The top box would have all three brood frames together in the center of the box with empty frames on each side. The bottom box would only have 2 empty frames in between brood frames. As they continue to fill out the frames in the bottom box I would move brood frames up and replace with more empty frames. That's just the way I do it. I like to keep the brood nest more consolidated and not as spread out as your current configuration.

Something more like this

EEEEBBEEEE
BBBEBBEBBB

Then move them up, centered

EEEBBBBEEE
BBBEBBEBBB

Typically the two outside frames in the bottom box will be honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank makes sense, guess i will scramble them up that way as see how it goes. Thanks
 

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I think it might work better for you.

Checkerboarding the brood nest can be a risky move. It could spread the brood out too far for the bees to cover it thoroughly, and you can end up with chilled brood. It can actually stunt their expansion if they are spread out too much, too quickly.

Go to Michael Bush's link below and scroll down to "Opening the Broodnest". He has a great explanation on how to do it correctly. I've been following his advice on this for years and it works great.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm#opening
 

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Bees usually fill it down to the last 1/4" quickly. That last 1/4" takes the longest. If you want to speed up that connections, pull the bottom bar out of it's socket but leave it connected (move it down 1/4") and after they get within 1/4" you can push it the rest of the way back in (or tap it in with a tack hammer).
 
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