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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings again!!

Having absorbed more knowledge over the past couple months, I have some more specific questions to ask about foundationless beekeeping.

1: To start foundationless, you initially checkerboard foundationless with foundation, correct?

2: If this is the case, how do you get the foundation frames removed?? If, once the foundationless combs are drawn, you replace the foundation combs with empty frames, won't the bees just keep drawing the wax and cause a gummy mess?

3: To add deeps, I am planning on adding them below the drawn box (as Mr. bush suggests). When I do this, won't it be more stressful on the bees when I make frame checks?? In order to repair any screwed up comb I'd have to pull the top box off…

4: When I hear people refer to "repairing" ill-formed comb on a foundationless hive, nobody every says how it's done…how does that all work??

Thanks all…really appreciate it

Meph
 

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1) I find checkerboarding helps to ensure moderately straight comb lines on the foundationless frames. I have gone without checkerboarding but it takes more monitoring.

2) Over time you cycle out the foundation frames and replace with foundationless. Think checkerboard except now you are using drawn foundationless frames between foundationless frames.

3) I always add on top but if you chose to add below you don't really get the bees agitated if you pull a box and set it aside; It's just more work. Some people here start inspections by removing all boxes and starting low and working up; I don't but the theory works for them. You decide what YOU want.

4) Cut and pinch - cut the ill-formed comb lines and pinch it into place; the bees will build the comb out again at the pinch locations. Look for information on "comb manipulation", it's especially used in top-bar hives.
 

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>1: To start foundationless, you initially checkerboard foundationless with foundation, correct?

I wouldn't. At most I would put one frame of foundation in and at least I would put none.

>2: If this is the case, how do you get the foundation frames removed?? If, once the foundationless combs are drawn, you replace the foundation combs with empty frames, won't the bees just keep drawing the wax and cause a gummy mess?

There is a distinct difference between supers and brood nest. In the brood nest if they had no frames they would build combs that are on about 1 1/4" centers that are slightly under 1" thick. They are consistent because the size cell required to raise worker brood is consistent. In the honey supers combs can be as thick as 2" or more. If you feed empty frames between two straight brood combs they will be perfect. If you feed empty frames between two uncapped honey combs, they will fatten the existing combs and ignore your frames. If you feed foundation between two uncapped honey combs, the results will be the same.

>3: To add deeps, I am planning on adding them below the drawn box (as Mr. bush suggests). When I do this, won't it be more stressful on the bees when I make frame checks??

You lift off the top box and examine the bottom one. You don't even need to remove the cover on the top box...

> In order to repair any screwed up comb I'd have to pull the top box off…

Not a problem.

>4: When I hear people refer to "repairing" ill-formed comb on a foundationless hive, nobody every says how it's done…how does that all work??

If it's wandering off a little, you push it back in line. If it's off altogether you cut it out and rubber band it into the frames. If you have a good comb guide they are usually in the frames and don't require any work at all. The real issue is that bees build parallel combs and because of this, one bad comb leads to another. But by the same token, one good comb leads to another...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There is a distinct difference between supers and brood nest. In the brood nest if they had no frames they would build combs that are on about 1 1/4" centers that are slightly under 1" thick. They are consistent because the size cell required to raise worker brood is consistent. In the honey supers combs can be as thick as 2" or more. If you feed empty frames between two straight brood combs they will be perfect. If you feed empty frames between two uncapped honey combs, they will fatten the existing combs and ignore your frames. If you feed foundation between two uncapped honey combs, the results will be the same.
So how do you get them to build honey frames properly?

If you have a good comb guide they are usually in the frames and don't require any work at all.
By Comb Guide, you mean the starting point for the comb building, right? I'm planning on using the popsicle stick method on GTB frames.
 

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