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Discussion Starter #1
I have two hives currently and am thinking of transitioning to foundationless. I have read that it is important to have the hives level so the comb gets built straight. I am wondering though, if I transition just a couple of frames at a time, is it still important to be level? So, if I remove one frame and replace it with an empty foundationless frame - won't the bees build straight comb simply because there is already straight comb on both sides, even if the hive is not level?

Also - once all the frames are full of comb - is there any continuing need to keep the hives level?

Thanks!
 

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if you have drawn out frames and you are sort of "checkerboarding" with foundationless frames, it is less important (or at least that is what my experience has been.)

If they start to screw up the comb (perpendicular to the frame bar), twist it, mash it back on and get them back n the correct direction right away. I have done this several times and they finished the frame correctly.
 

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With my frames, they have the side pieces that generally will hold them all the same and flat once they are propolized in (dadant), or heavy with wax/dron brood honey pollen.

i.e. you would need to either:
1. not push the frames together after inspecting
2. have a majorly unlevel situation causing all the rframes in the box to tilt the same pitch. \\\\\\\\\\
 

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With my frames, they have the side pieces that generally will hold them all the same and flat once they are propolized in (dadant), or heavy with wax/dron brood honey pollen.

i.e. you would need to either:
1. not push the frames together after inspecting
2. have a majorly unlevel situation causing all the rframes in the box to tilt the same pitch. \\\\\\\\\\
I should have said: Your comb will look like this: ||||\||||| while the frames are tilted to the same pitch.
 

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When bees build foundationless comb, the comb's orientation in the verticle direction is simply in-line with gravity. A tilted hive will mean tilted comb, regardless of the presence of guide comb on either side.

It is pretty easy to at least slide a wooden wedge under the low corner and thereby level your hive.
 

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If you're going the foundationless route, you may as well do it right to start with. Yes, get some shims and level out your hive. It will make your life a happier one.
 

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The side to side level is important if doing any foundation-less due to the nature of the festooning. The bees are hanging down from the top of the frame to build comb and gravity will determine where the bottom ends up getting attached. If I need a level adjustment I use shims. Make sure the frames have a starter guide and push the frames tight together and you'll be fine. I've even installed package bees into 100% foundation-less frames with good success.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the feedback. Clearly I need to stop being lazy and just level off the hives!
 
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