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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering if some of the frames I have that were originally meant to hold foundation would do well foundationless with skewers, one or two, going from the top to bottom. Medium frames to be spun out. Whatcha think? Help keep comb straight and strong?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Heather, there has been a lot of discussion on this topic in the past. I wanted to run the bamboo skewers horizontally, but 3mm x 40cm skewers are difficult to find. Personally, I don't think a foundationless frame will hold up in the extractor, heck, even the wired wax ones have problems. That is why I am switching to all plastic for my honey supers but switching to foundationless for my deep brood frames. Getting fast at running fishing line through the holes and tying it off. :)
 

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Hi Heather..
I do mostly foundationless. I use the same style frames also. I use a 1 gallon paint stir stick inserted in top groove
Held in by 3 drops of latex caulk. Nomadded wax ect. They draw mine out nicely. Havnt had but 1 frame crossed. My fault though, as hive wasn't totally level. I dp like foundarion in honey supers, as i bought 50 of them and had to use em up. All my honey supers will be totally foundationless from here out, except the original 50. Hope this helps... I'm sure you could use skewers, but I like the paint stir sticks.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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One of the frames I did tonight.

20190223_222700.jpg

3/4" starter strip glued in place and waxed. 20# monofilament run through all four holes and tied. When you pluck the strings, it sounds like a toy guitar.
 

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One of the frames I did tonight.

View attachment 46263

3/4" starter strip glued in place and waxed. 20# monofilament run through all four holes and tied. When you pluck the strings, it sounds like a toy guitar.
why is the fishing line needed? i start all my swarm trap frames with a little wood starter strip as you have and i dont bother with the fishing line. So far no issues although as you have rightly said all of these foundationless frames remain in the brood chambers.
Much easier to cut out QCs from these frames than the ones with plastic foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I ran some foundationless honey through the extractor last year and they were fine. It is a hand crank. I may have just gotten lucky. I have a bunch of unused skewers and wanted to use them up. Maybe i'll try a few just for the heck of it. The frames I have issues with when checking hives are the ones they don't draw all the way down. Those fully drawn seem to stay in the mediums well. I want to use Squarepegs pyramid method of moving the brood nest up for swarm prevention so the frames will be much more user friendly if interchangeable.

JW, you could put a cereal box behind the frame to amplify the sound and have a jam session southern style.
 

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I made it a point to try every new idea I heard about.
So yes, I used some vertical & some angled skewers, which worked ok, I guess. the bees didnt really want to attach to them, but eventually did. (not 100% failure, probably 100% success with a little edge prompting, & time.)
I also cut strips on my table saw , Similar to Rich's paint stir sticks, but not as wide, for the top, & going forward, I will be adding a little filler strip in the bottom groove to try to reduce hidy-holes for shb, or other varments. I just shoot about 3 staples in from the side to make sure the top strip doesnt fall out. friction holds the bottom strip.
I am sure I am doing something wrong with my waxed foundation frames, the wax sags out in the summer heat if the bees dont draw them quick enough. especially the deep frames, which I swear I will get rid of this year. ( fishing line on both sides of the wax seems to hold it in OK)
All my frames are Dadants "wedge type" economy, made so they would hold foundation, but very versatile, & cheap.
I will attempt more cut combs this year, so I will try more " unsupported" foundationless this year. ( this may change as the season cranks up)
if I had 10,000 hives, I would have to do something less labor intensive, but I have closer 10 hives, so all this is doable for me.
Good Luck !!! CE
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Tech, the wavey foundation is a problem for me too and I use the metal pins, two on each side. Doesn't stop the wax from bowing out between the wires. When the bees do finally draw it, the comb follows the waves. For the foundationless frames, my starter strips are cut from a syp 1x8. I cut the board 16-15/16" long and then rip 23 strips from each piece. The planer is set to get the thickness exactly right so the strips have to be tapped into the topbar groove after I apply a little glue. Avoids the need to nail and no worries the strip will fall out.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Aran, the fishing line is new for me this year. Last year I had a few foundationless frames mixed in with my wax foundation ones. Handling the frames is different and on more than one occasion I almost lost the comb when I was flipping it over. The fishing line serves the same purpose as wires for reinforcing the comb. I also now mark the tops of the frames NF to let me know it is foundationless before I pull it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I just had my plans ruined. The 200 medium frames I ordered some how turned into 200 deep frames that I can't use. Mann Lake calls go directly to an answering service. What am I to do with 200 deeps!?! I've reached out to the local club in hopes someone can trade, but that probably won't happen fast enough to keep the hives from swarming.
 

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I have 10 boxes of the FR-831 sitting in the bee room, still unassembled. Could ship Monday UPS. Swap for 100 of your deeps.
 

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Wedge top bars turned sideways and tacked in make good foundationless guides.

I use 3/4 western frames (getting hard to find) successfully with no support.
These frames can extract successfully; however, some combs will break even if you are careful. That's the tradeoff.

My experience is deep foundationless frames need some support. Two runs of wire will work. I prefer wire to monofilament, fwiw.
 

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I have had great results with what I now call, "Lauri frames," after Lauri Miller who used to post here. She explains the many benefits in this thread.

If you don't feel like reading the whole thread, I can type up the key points that I have personally experienced, if you are interested, but the thread probably does a better job, if you have the time to read it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
palmer, I found a local to trade one box and maybe the second. Thank you for the offer. If he doesn't want the second box, how much do you think shipping will cost?

I lucked out and found a forgotten box of medium unassembled frames. We made about 35ish of them with paint stirs and painted on wax

c-bees I've been playing with the idea of a 1/4 or 1/5 width strip in the center for strength.

I'm hearing a lot of mixed opinions on extracting foundationless mediums. My extractor is a hand crank. I only had a few last year, but extraction went fine. Anyone fully medium foundationless and extracting them that can chime in?

I really wished a frame I saw today had been foundationless as it had three clusters of capped queen cells.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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No idea on freight. Hope your guy takes both boxes. Buying 100 at a time sure saves a bunch of $$$.

As far as the queen cells, how bad do you want them? Plastic foundation cuts pretty easy with tin snips. Does not do the foundation much good but hey, they are only a buck each. I value a good queen cell at more than that.

Got to play with the bees today after the weather cleared. Yay! Took four stings. Only the ones on the ankles are a bother.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
No idea on freight. Hope your guy takes both boxes. Buying 100 at a time sure saves a bunch of $$$.

As far as the queen cells, how bad do you want them? Plastic foundation cuts pretty easy with tin snips. Does not do the foundation much good but hey, they are only a buck each. I value a good queen cell at more than that.

Got to play with the bees today after the weather cleared. Yay! Took four stings. Only the ones on the ankles are a bother.
4 stings. Oh my! That is why I switched to a full suit. Well, that and a bad reaction to a sting last year.

Have you ever tried a solder iron to cut through the foundation? I'm thinking you are right, those cells are worth destroying a frame. I think I have tin snips around here somewhere. Did you manage to pop out the frame first or just stab and cut?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Never cut them for the purpose of harvesting queen cells, other reasons I needed pieces and found tin snips worked well. I would take it out of the frame first, trying to disassemble the bottom bar to slide the foundation out. Mediums do not pop in and out all that easily. Even using a saw and cutting the frame apart is an option, another $1 item.

I should know by Tuesday if my walk away splits are going to make queen cells, or if I moved one or more queens with the splits. Never saw the queens in the hives I split but found the one in a hive that was not yet strong enough with no problem. Figures.
No swarm cells in any of the hives I looked at, but nice brood patterns in all but one. Love seeing a half frame or better of capped brood with a 3" hole in the middle of new uncapped larvae and eggs all the way to the edges.
It is interesting to note that the bees are brooding on the west facing half of each frame and the east end is still solid capped syrup. Not the typical football shape with honey to the outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Never cut them for the purpose of harvesting queen cells, other reasons I needed pieces and found tin snips worked well. I would take it out of the frame first, trying to disassemble the bottom bar to slide the foundation out. Mediums do not pop in and out all that easily. Even using a saw and cutting the frame apart is an option, another $1 item.

I should know by Tuesday if my walk away splits are going to make queen cells, or if I moved one or more queens with the splits. Never saw the queens in the hives I split but found the one in a hive that was not yet strong enough with no problem. Figures.
No swarm cells in any of the hives I looked at, but nice brood patterns in all but one. Love seeing a half frame or better of capped brood with a 3" hole in the middle of new uncapped larvae and eggs all the way to the edges.
Cutting the bottom of the frame off is probably what I will need to do. After that the problem is having enough nucs. Wow, it is February and I'm worrying about that. :D

I haven't see a single queen today. I feel your frustration. We both shall wait and see...
 

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We have a 4-frame hand crank, and we routinely extract completely foundationless deeps with very, very few blow outs. We find the key is to start slow and only gradually speed up as the honey weights empties out of the cells. If you go full speed with full cells, you'll have blow outs.

Also, I have detached a queen cell from plastic foundation with a teaspoon and she emerged fine. I say that to whomever up there had a QC and wished it was on foundationless....
 
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