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Hey all,

Ordering my beekeeping equipment next week and I am very excited. I am going to start off with one hive (all I can afford right now!) and my plan is to go foundationless. I am planning on two deeps for the hive bodies and adding medium honey supers as needed. My question is, if I go foundationless in the deep (brood) supers, will I have to somehow wire in the comb so it doesn't break? Are the "deep" frames too "deep" for foundationless? Or maybe I should go with foundation in the brood boxes, and foundationless in the honey supers? I just worry that comb on the foundationless in the deep supers will be too unstable and I don't want it breaking all the time when moving frames around etc..

Any ideas would be appreciated.. Thanks!
 

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Well, I don't actually run foundationless, but from my understanding the main reason to go foundationless is for the natural cell size, so there's no reason that I can think of to have foundation in the brood nest and none in the supers. Also, I think that most people do wire the frames first, but I'm not sure if it's neccesary.
 

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I installed a package last year in a deep and went foundationless. They did well except you need to keep an eye on them if they make a mess out of a frame you can cut it out and let them do it again. Make sure you hive is level if the hive is leaning they will draw the wax crooked on the frame. Make sure to you use some type of starter strip. I used paint sir sticks in the grooves of my top bars. When funds are limited you can save on the foundation. You will only need to be carefull when tilting the frames until they attach at least three sides. Once the three sides are attached you can turn them any way you want.
 

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When going foundationless what do the bees do when the build down to the next box below? Does the honeycomb then become attached to the top of the frame below? Seems like they should keep their bee space somehow?
 

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bee space will be maintained by standard boxes and frames. they wont make more "burr" comb between boxes than if you used foundation.
 

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I use the same frame that you use with foundation grooved top wit a paint stir for a starter strip. The frames have 4 sides and the bees will draw the wax down to the bottom side of the frame. Once filled in it is almost like you had foundation.
 

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BTW foundationless is not strictly for natural cell size, but also for clean, untainted combs, combs built with new, fresh wax, wax that hasn't been exposed to pesticides (bee "treatments"), which are said to cause fertility problems with queens and drones.

I have two hives that still use deep frames, one is a long hive with twenty-two frames, the other is a regular 10-frame deep with side-wall slatted racks, so this deep super holds only 9-frames with 1-3/8" wide end bars or 10-frames with 1-1/4" wide end bars. Anyway, some of the frames in these hives are foundationless, one of these deep foundationless frames, which I horizontally wired and it is now a complete comb, had the bees start comb on this frame across the top comb guide and they also started one segment of comb on the second wire down near one side and they started it on the wire and built it up and down from the wire, it is now just part of the complete comb, but it was fascinating to see how that happened.
 

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The important thing is to make sure your hive is level so they draw the comb hanging straight down.

Wiring the frame is a matter of personal preference. If you do not wire, you have to be careful how you handle combs before they are attached to the sides and bottom of the frame. I do not wire mine.

I cut my end bars to 1 1/4 inches, and the bees drew very little drone comb.

If starting a package on all foundationless frames, feed as much as you can. The bees have to draw comb before the queen can lay, and a package starts dwindling bee population from day 1, and it is about one month minimum before the population starts improving again.
 
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