I have searched the archives on foundationless frames and still have a few questions.
How many are using a starter strip in the brood chambers with good results?
Is anyone out there using just foundationless?
Thanks in advance for any answers.
I have tried full foundation (wax and plastic), strips, and now completely foundationless. I think foundationless is the way to go. I rub bees wax from an old comb on the center guide and that's it. I think the bees draw a foundationless frame faster than any foundation I have used. They are fragile while being drawn, but once attached, they seem to hold up fine.
I have used foundationless frames (with a bevel on the top bar), starter strips (cut from small cell foundation), blank starter strips (cut from homade wax sheets) and empty standard frames inserted between two drawn combs. All of them work fine for me.
I spent some time today with the friend that started me in beekeeping. We got on the topic of why bees seem so slow to draw plastic, even when heavily coated. A couple of thoughts cropped up.
One, in the bare frames, you get these nice long chains of bees all working together. At times, they fill practically the whole frame, all chained together. I don't see much of that on plastic.
The second, could the plastic act as a big heat sink, keeping the wax from being as maleable?
>If one uses a 4.9 2" starter strip in the frames(Lang. hive), with bees that have NOT been regressed will they continue drawing the smaller cell size or should they already be regressed before hand?
2" is a bit wide for a starter strip. I'd just do 1" or even 3/4". Starter strips are how I did my first regressions. They draw about 5.1mm same as they do with a full sheet. It saves a lot of foundation to just do the starter strip. At about $1 a sheet that helps.
>The second, could the plastic act as a big heat
sink, keeping the wax from being as maleable?
I've wondered about the heat sink issue, more from a wintering point of view, but I wish there was some research on the thermal properties of plastic foundation and plastic comb and how it affects the bees.
If one were to simply place a regular empty with no modifications between 2 drawn frames of comb, will that work? If so...if one did this periodically until "all" the frames were foundationless, would this result in the regression I've been reading about?
>If one were to simply place a regular empty with no modifications between 2 drawn frames of comb, will that work?
> If so...if one did this periodically until "all" the frames were foundationless, would this result in the regression I've been reading about?
After a second turnover of comb, yes. The first set will be a "partial" regression and the second should be close enough to call it a full regression.
It's easy enough to monitor your progress. Measure the comb with a metric tape. Measure across 10 cells. Odds are the first regression the worker brood cells will be about 5.1mm. The second will probably be between 4.6mm and 5.0mm.
Try to keep the smallest in the center of the brood nest and the larger on the outside edges.
I have had better results getting smaller cells by trimming the end bars down to 1 1/4" instead of 1 3/8".
If one were to simply place a regular empty with no modifications between 2 drawn frames of comb, will that work?>
I am not MB but I did just that. As I made nucs up last spring I gave them foundationless frames(pointed top bar). The first frames given to the parent colonies ended up having alot of dron comb but the nucs made good worker combs. The larger cell size near the top bar of the frame was like 5.1mm average. By the time the bees got to the bottom bar the first frame had 4.6mm cell size being used to raise workers. I rotated the large cell frames out once the bees where in full mediums(10 frames). After the second frames drawn away from the large cell the bees were drawing 5.0mm at the top of the frame or smaller and cell size down to 4.5 being used to raise brood.
<If so...if one did this periodically until "all" the frames were foundationless, would this result in the regression I've been reading about?
With the parent hives, I had my best luck incerting a frame in the middle and kept doing this all summer until the large cell was out. I told above of the problem with the first frame being nearly all drone. Leave this drone comb in until you have enough comb drawn to fill the box just keep moving it to the out side of the box. If you cut or remove this comb the bees will rebuild it as drone comb again.
>If you cut or remove this comb the bees will rebuild it as drone comb again.
That's been my experience as well. They WANT some and much of the problems we have with them drawing more drone is because we keep taking it away. I think this is also one of the keys to running without an excluder. If you keep all the drone comb out of the brood nest and you don't have an excluder the queen is wandering the hive looking for drone cells. She'll find a few in the corners of some comb in the supers and lay some drones. When I have found brood in my supers, it's always been mostly drones.
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