Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking into trying foundationless in my deep brood boxes. However I recently read some research which used a control group set up with wax foundation frames and another group(called 2007) set up with foundationless frames allowing the bees to build natural cell.

their conclusion was the control group hives(with foundation)produced more honey than the foundationless hives. They noted the bees in the foundationless hives built as much as 30% more drone comb than the bees in the control group. They attributed the difference in honey production to the larger amount of drone comb in the hives of the foundationless group. They also indicated a greater occurance of varroa in the foundationless group which they attributed to the higher amount of drone comb.

On Randy Olivers' Scientific Beekeeping site, he talks about similiar issues with foundationless citing a larger amount of drone comb produced and the varroa mites preference for drone larva. He attributes the disappearance of feral bees to the large amount of drone comb they naturally build thus facilitating lethal varroa infestations.

Those of you who have tried or use foundationless in the brood boxes, how do you manage drone comb? Do you experience more varroa? Do you see a difference in honey production between foundationless hives and hives with foundation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
contrary to wacko beliefs humans had good reasons for moving bees into a box with frames and foundation.

if you are just playing around in the backyard foundationless might be fun but if you want to maximize honey production you need a crap load of bees and providing foundation is a good way to get them going sooner.

i concur that extra drone comb is a gold mine for the mites.

i run a drone comb in my bees that gets removed once in july and aug and it keeps me from treating since I also run resistant bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,613 Posts
contrary to wacko human beliefs, God had good reason for having bees build honeycomb their way........

Believe what you want, foundationless work for me. My bees are healthy, they make honey, and it makes life easier. I run hives side by side with a beekeeper on foundation and I make more honey and have more hives survive. Oh, and foundationless frames get drawn faster than foundation, and way faster than plastic. Drone comb stores honey just fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Not trying to make this ugly, just trying to learn. Ross, what about your experiences with varroa on foundationless since natural cell will have more drone comb than foundation? By the way, your frame jig works great. I built one and it speeds up the process tremendously.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,613 Posts
Hasn't been an issue. I haven't treated a hive since I've been foundationless, probably 8-10 years. I'm on SBBs. That's it. I lose a hive to starvation occasionally when I don't pay attention, but mites haven't been a problem. I move drone comb to the outside or up to a super. The bees will find a way to make drones, foundation or not. And yes, this can be a religious issue for some. I would try it in a hive or two, give it a fair shot, and see what you think.

Oh, and what does Randy attribute the re-emergence of feral bees to? They haven't stopped making drones that I am aware of. The ferals around here seem to be doing quite well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
The area I have been keeping bees is gaining in it's feral population also. I need to do a better job of swarm control.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Ross, what kind of bees are you running? Do they exhibit hygienic behavior? But, Randy Oliver says hygienic bees only practice this trait on brood larva, not drone larva. Why do you think you don't have varroa problems and are able to not treat? I would like to get to that point and stay there with my bees. I also tried SBB's on half my existing hives. Interesting thing, the hives I lost this winter were all on solid bottom boards. SBB's definitely help with ventilation. I've learned bees generally die from starvation, not cold.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,613 Posts
I attribute my success first to listening to Michael Bush when I was starting out. Second, I think putting nothing in the hive other than wooden frames is better for the bees. I think commercial foundation carries accumulated toxins from commercial beekeeping operations, I feed sugar or sugar syrup when necessary, but nothing else. SHB can be a problem in a really weak nuc, but not much else seems to bother them. This may not work for everyone and every location, but it works for me.

My bees are largely Italian, My first were decendents of Weaver bees. I capture swarms, breed a few queens of my own, and I have bought a very few queens. I have bought NWC that didn't last long but likely contributed some genetics, Minn. hygenics that do ok, and queens from Tincobee on this board.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top