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A few weeks ago I caught a swarm in a bait hive. Following the advice of the youtube experts I put 5 frames in the swarm trap, 1 with drawn comb, 2 empty, foundationless frames on either side of that and 2 with foundation on the outside of that. The foundationless frames were old wired wax frames that that wax moths had gotten into, I did not put any kind of starter strip on them.

When I moved the swarm into the permanent 10 frame deep I found that they had nearly filled the empty frame with comb and it had quite a bit of brood in it so I just moved it into the 10 frame deep.
When I inspected the hive today I found that they had pretty well finished drawing out the foundationless frame and was covered with capped brood on both sides.

The problem I noticed is that is is not very stable. I want to do something to stabilize the comb in the frame. My thought is to push wooden toothpicks or wooden kabob skewers in through the holes in the sides of the frame.
Anyone have a better idea?

 

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Wooden skewers will work, but keep in mind since you are not going to be extracting that frame you could just mark it and be extra careful. The more the frame is used the stronger and more stable the comb will get.
 

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In my swarm traps I have 2 layers of medium frames with an empty space underneath.Top layer is one comb and 5 foundation and next layer is foundationless.I try to relocate the swarm to standard equipment before much comb is built on the foundationless frames for exactly the reason you describe.I run wires through the holes in the frame side holes on either side of the loose wonky comb and pull the wires tight while gently straightening out the warm comb with my fingers.The frame gets marked and is rotated down and out through the season.
 

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I use all medium equipment. I buy frames made for foundation. I don't use foundation. I just insert 1 gal. Paint stick in top groove. Now wax dipping or anything. 99 % of the time they draw perfect comb. Generally the bees pick the cell size, I'd think according to what they need. Sometimes get a drone frame, but is used for honey supers down the road. Mostly i get brood cells/frames drawn. Its weak when new wax. Once they attach it on all sides its pretty strong. I extracted from it, dis like 6 boxes of honey frames. Not one blow out. Tou just have to let the wax age, from white to yellow wax. When it turns yellow and attached, it will be strong enough for most anything. Good luck, Rich
 

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larry
The bees will attach honey combs on the bottom but normally don't the brood comb. You can trick them by putting a small piece of wax at the bottom of brood comb but I don't find I need to. I do carry rubber bands in my pocket for mistakes I make or comb I straiten out. The brood comb does get harder as it gets older. I have made many mistakes and broken brood comb full of brood and in the end the bees seem to do well even when I cause them loss. It does get easier after you have done it for some time and learn what to worry about and what not to worry about.
Cheers
gww
 

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This frame is an example of why I now use fishing lines to keep the brood on the frames and not on the ground. Be careful with his frame and rotate it out as soon as possible. Just keep moving it to the outside of the brood nest until the brood hatches out.

I recently saw that we need experience to be good. We make mistakes to get experience.

Good luck
 

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You can use foundationless deeps. I wire mine if I am going to do that. The wires give it a little more stability if you extract. Once they have raised brood in it, it is plenty strong especially if wired. I did the foundationless thing around 2009 with a couple of hives, and as luck would have it, the foundationless ones ended up with the best bees. Yes they make a whole lot of drones. Despite all the drone brood, they do not get overrun with mites and they still make a decent amount of honey. I should probably rotate some of that old comb out. I do mostly foundation now, but in that colony, I may just throw some empty wired ones in and let them roll.

When I do use foundation I use small cell. I am not convinced it is magic, but I started with it and kept using it.
 

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I'm not thrilled with foundationless beekeeping. Works OK if you have plenty of time to open hives every few days while they are drawing comb and getting it properly aligned, but if you don't stay on it you can get a real mess. My buddy has four hives with a deep full of tangled mess, they decided they want comb at 45 degrees to the frames.

I can't get my bees to fill in a partial sheet of comb this year without a mess --had some chewed wax I tossed in, plus some wax moth damaged frames, and darned if they didn't try to turn it all into cross comb.

The best way to get foundationless frames drawn well is to put them in the middle of the brood nest between frames of capped brood during build-up and honey season. Usually get fully drawn brood comb that way.

Left to their own devices, the bees usually decide the center three or four frames of a deep are for brood and the rest is for drones, and build at least a third of each frame outside those center frames in drones.
 

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It appears they failed to attach the comb all the way down the side bars and across the bottom bar. Short term help is to push a little wax between the comb and bars, they get the hint and will make a better attachment. Not a perfect fix but helps.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The bees will eventually attach the comb to the sides and it will be as strong as any other comb. Unfortunantly, this often occurs in year two. Foundationless must be sandwiched between already drawn straight comb, preferably brood comb, if you want worker sized cells in flat combs. Place them on the outside of the broodnest and you are rolling the dice. I have a bunch of beautiful new foundationless frames being completed right now. It is a learning process and I am removing a bunch of last year's comb that did not get drawn as worker cells or is not flat.
 
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