Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 20 of 60 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm running my own experiment but curious if any of you with more experience have noticed a difference in the rate they'll draw comb on a traditional foundationless frame (old Kelly's 9- f style if I remember correctly) vs. a grooved frame with a wax foundation starter strip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
I started going foundationless last year, when I decided to produce all of my own equipment. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that my wife put her foot down on any additional cash investment in beekeeping. Such a sensible woman.

I was surprised to find that bees prefer foundationless. If you give them a new box of foundations, but forget one frame? They will draw out the empty space first. Yep, that’s the wisdom that comes from experience. I don’t have enough experience to say for sure, but it seems to me that bees draw foundationless faster than waxed plastic foundation.

It’s probably easier for you to use foundation, but probably not for the bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,606 Posts
I have no experience with any other frame. I just cut the top bar into a 45 degree wedge before I assemble. I love foundationless but admit to having no real experience with anything else. I looked for a picture in my gallery but apparently that did not get saved when the site went to this new format. Member grozze2 did some experimenting and posted that bees did not draw out foundationless faster.
Cheers
gww
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
I think that bees do prefer to be foundationless because they are able to work BOTH sides at the same time. Having the foundation in the way screws with their natural building methods. But, I don't think the style of frame or even a starter strip makes much difference. Like Cobbler noted, they will build a nice piece of comb right on the flat surface of the inner cover in the spot where you forgot to replace a frame.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gino45

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,030 Posts
I built some top bars with an integral starter strip but it is way too much work. What gww describes would be much easier to do. I make them now similar to the Mann Lake wedge top and just stand the wedge on its edge and they follow it.
62254
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Yes, that looks like a lot of work. I cut my top bars with a kerf groove. I make my starter strips out of thin plywood strips. I also used the sheet metal that I use for telescoping covers to make a long, narrow, shallow pan. I use that to melt some beeswax and dip the bottom half of the strips. Then, I use 2 to 3 drops of hot glue in the kerf to secure the strip. I have learned from sad experience not to trust beeswax to hold the starter strip in place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,606 Posts
I sometimes, not always, take little hard balls of wax and just rub it on the bottom of the v of my top bar. The bees did fine with out doing that but I thought it might keep those very few that like to start curving to the other frame near the end bars. I do not see this too often anyway but figured what can it hurt and it is easy to do.
Cheers
gww
 

·
Registered
4ish langstrom hives
Joined
·
1,541 Posts
I think that bees do prefer to be foundationless because they are able to work BOTH sides at the same time. Having the foundation in the way screws with their natural building methods. But, I don't think the style of frame or even a starter strip makes much difference. Like Cobbler noted, they will build a nice piece of comb right on the flat surface of the inner cover in the spot where you forgot to replace a frame.
hmm, I wonder how the bees would draw out frames of foundation if you drill holes thru the middle of the plastic foundation. I might try this with a frame or 2 this spring


I have run both plastic foundation in frames and foundationless (F style or paint stick stapled into foundation frame), and the bees seem to like the foundationless a bit more. If you are running frames thru a spinning extractor the plastic foundation makes extraction much easier though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I started out foundationless but bought a few more colonies last year that were all foundation with some plastic frames as well. A few months ago I decided to run a few frames with new wax foundation in some new splits to see if they'd build them out quicker than a foundationless frame. It seems like they take to wax foundation quicker than a wooden wedge but I think once they start on a foundationless frame they build comb much quicker. Thus the idea was born to try waxed foundation starter strips. I've also noticed how they aren't real quick about connecting to the bottom bar so I thought to install a bottom tab as well. I considered the popsicle stick/tongue depressor method, and that would have been much easier, but seeing how fast they started checking out new waxed foundation I thought I'd give the starter strip a try.

My mistake was thinking the cut strips would fit in the grooves. It looked like they would before I cut 20 sheets into 1 inch strips but they are just a hair to wide. I wasn't going to throw away $40 bucks worth of foundation so I widened the grooves a little but still had to hammer the strips into place. They good news is they're secure but I used a strip of glue for good measure. It was a bit laborious but once I got my technique down it wasn't complete hell. I'm not sure if I'm up for the same chore for the remaining 380 frames though. I think I'll try a few with popsicle sticks and paint them with wax. I know they'll build on bare wood but it just seems like wax gets them interested quicker.



Paint Rectangle Wood Shelving Shelf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,606 Posts
htb
They seem to attach the honey frames just not the brood frame. I use to cut a notch and bend it down or stick a piece of wax on bottom but now just use rubber bands during extraction and after the bees use the comb it gets tougher on its own. I destroy a few but don't worry about it but am also pure hobby.
Cheers
gww
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,030 Posts
I sometimes, not always, take little hard balls of wax and just rub it on the bottom of the v of my top bar. The bees did fine with out doing that but I thought it might keep those very few that like to start curving to the other frame near the end bars. I do not see this too often anyway but figured what can it hurt and it is easy to do.
Cheers
gww
Curving near the ends of the frame is quite common. I have not done huge amounts of foundationless but have had to gently break loose the curved section and push it back in line and they attach it where I want it. The curve is bracing for what the bees see as shaky design!:)

Scott Hendricks drills 1 1/2" holes through the center of his brood frames. Look up his YT web site; some good ideas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I failed to mention that cost was my main motivator for not using pre-fab foundationless frames. The only ones I can find are upwards of $2/piece once you factor in shipping. I'm in these for about $1.35 each. I support small family owned businesses as much as possible and got my grooved frames as well as all my other wooden ware and supplies from one such local outfit, but if a big national supplier was to start making foundationless frames again and include shipping on bulk orders I'd go that route.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
I failed to mention that cost was my main motivator for not using pre-fab foundationless frames. The only ones I can find are upwards of $2/piece once you factor in shipping. I'm in these for about $1.35 each. I support small family owned businesses as much as possible and got my grooved frames as well as all my other wooden ware and supplies from one such local outfit, but if a big national supplier was to start making foundationless frames again and include shipping on bulk orders I'd go that route.
I build my frames out of scrap wood that I get for free at the lumber yard or construction site, so I have less than $.02 for staples and fishing string in a frame. However, it takes me about a day just to cut 100 frames. I’d be better off working a job and buying the frames, but I do enjoy the woodworking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
HTB, does that starter strip at the bottom work pretty well to get the bees to draw all the way down to the bottom bar?
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
Foundationless is an ancient Latvian phrase meaning too much time on your hands! Just not worth the trouble at any level.
Ouch!:) I was buying grooved top grooved bottom deep frames with holes for $.89 each from ML, but see that they have gone up since then. My starter strips are ripped from a piece of yellow pine and cost $.10 each to make. I figure wax, glue and fishing line add another few cents to the finished cost. Roughly $1.05 per frame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,030 Posts
I have a couple of hives I may populate with these frames that fit in two stacked mediums. Since they certainly wont fit my extractor and I dont begrudge some drone brood taking up space I will see how they develop foundationless. I have a few ready to go like the one below where I spliced a partial sheet with a full depth sheet of deep plastic. Once you have a bunch of tops and bottoms cut ahead, sidebars of different lengths are easy.
62273
62274
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
HTB, does that starter strip at the bottom work pretty well to get the bees to draw all the way down to the bottom bar?
I'm about to find out! When they fill out a frame it it seems they leave about a half inch gap along the bottom edge for a while. Side bracing is hit or miss at first but they do connect it eventually. I have some frames with old comb they've never connected (to the bottom bar)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
I'm about to find out! When they fill out a frame it it seems they leave about a half inch gap along the bottom edge for a while. Side bracing is hit or miss at first but they do connect it eventually. I have some frames with old comb they've never connected.
Right. They try to preserve bee space as long as they can - longer than I would like.
 
1 - 20 of 60 Posts
Top