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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

We are off to our first year with bees on our farm. We started two Langstroth hives with foundationless frames from BeeThinking.com. I got off to a rough start installing the bees but all went well overall. Today (4 days later), I checked to see if the queen was released from the cage and found that to be the case.

So with things going ok, when should I go back in and check the status of the comb or hive overall? I hear and see many different opinions but would like to know from people who start a hive with foundationless frames.

More to come as our journey begins… Stay Safe!;)
 

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7 days.That way they will not have built more than can be correct with little difficulty.Most important is a level hive side to side front to back isn't as important but will also eliminate the thought of it being a problem.Good,sounds like you remved the queen cage.Biggest mistake most tend to make.Michael Bush has a web site that I feel is very helpful for those going foundationless!Good luck and enjoy:applause:
 

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>I checked to see if the queen was released from the cage and found that to be the case.

I hope they didn't start comb on the cage and mess up all of the first combs... one bad comb leads to another...

>when should I go back in and check the status of the comb or hive overall?

Assuming the first combs were in the middle of the frames and straight, they should be ok for a week or so. If not, you need to fix it NOW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well it has been a week and I inspected the Bee Hives today. All is good! Both hives have three frames started each and they are straight. The bees look healthy and very active. I guess it is time to leave them alone for a while.

But for how long? Do I set up a monthly schedule? What works best for Foundationless Frames when it comes to hive management?

Stay Safe.
 

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The best insurance for straight comb is an empty one between two straight brood combs. About once a week works well for this...
So come back every seven days to move an empty frame to middle of two drawn?

Until they are all drawn?

Partially drawn?

Sorry so vague I get my bees tomorrow so I do not know exactly what to expect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, today we check our bees to see how the combs were and we noticed a few items.

Hive “A” had nice and straight comb BUT the hive seemed small in numbers. We did see capped brood and eggs but are concerned about the small number of bees in the hive. They only had three to four frames being worked on.

Hive “B” had nice comb overall with one frame with what I would call a double comb. We fixed it! BUT the hive population seemed twice the size as hive “A” and had twice as many frames with comb being built.

We noticed that Hive “B” goes through more sugar water than the other hive by half a jar.

Should we be concerns about Hive “A”?

Note. Bees were installed 19 days ago and Hive A was very active as compared to hive B at the start.

Stay Safe!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
First, I want to thank you Michael for responding all the time to my questions. We are trying hard to do this right by going the natural way. Most of the individuals I have come in contact with do not understand why we went the foundationless frame way of beekeeping.

So, you say the Hive "A" package drifted to Hive "B" which makes sense as to why Hive "B" heavily populated. Should we be worried about Hive "A"? I guess as long as there is a queen and bees in Hive "A" it should be fine.

Stay Safe!
 

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I also have 2 new hives started this year from packages, all foundationless 8 frame mediums. One of the hives is booming with new bees and draws comb very efficiently. The other hive, although raising young too, are not as industrious and have a notable smaller population that seem reluctant to draw comb. I attribute this lopsided progress to the fact that there was clear signs of drifting when the packages were settling down. Both continue to progress, just one hive is further along than the other. I have also had some interesting comb set back that needed fixed, but they are much better off now they have templates of good comb to build off of.

If they get too far out of balance, you can always add drawn frames with brood and stores from the busy hive and add it the slower hive. The food stores and extra brood will help give them a boost with the younger bees being the comb builders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well it has been a while! Hive A is somewhat ok, there is a small number of bees and we believe they re-queen the hive. We saw two queen cells and now they are gone. As for hive B, well it is strong, health, and busy.

We are wondering what is the best way to put a second box on top with foundationless frames. Do we place the empty box on top? Or pull some frames below and add them to the top box with a empty frame in the middle?

Stay Safe!
 

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The best place for the second box is below the first one. When you put the third on, I would pull a drawn comb or two (one if honey, two if brood) up to the third box for a ladder and to bait them up to work it. Put empty frames in the places you took these "ladders" from.
 

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I started a hive this year but had the first box started with foundation and the second added box is foundationless. I just moved a couple frames from the bottom box to the empty box on top. The bees started drawing comb just fine. But the foundationless frames next to the drawn brood frames are being drawn super fast and other frames going much slower. So I think next box I add I will evenly staggar 1 drawn//1 foundationless//1 drawn// so on and so forth for the whole box.
 

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>So I think next box I add I will evenly staggar 1 drawn//1 foundationless//1 drawn// so on and so forth for the whole box.

If they are all brood this spreads the bees who are trying to heat that brood very thin. If it's not brood, it can result in a complete mess as they will draw the honey out thicker and never draw the ones between.
 

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Careful placing empty foundationless frames between drawn but uncapped honey frames. Like Michael said, they may draw the comb thicker on the honey frames and lock in that empty frame where it can't come out without making a real mess. Ask me how I learned the hard way. ;)
 
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