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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going foundationless to move towards small cell. I ordered the frames from mannlake that are the wedge type frames. I've seen where you should put a wedge piece pointing down for the bees to attach the comb to. I was wondering if taking the wedge piece that is almost cut loss from frame, turning it 90%(glueing it in place) so that it's pointing down about a couple centmeters from the other side of the frame would be good way to go about it???

P.S. I did one already and painted it with wax.
 

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You can experiment with many things and many of them will work. I have not tried what you describe.

What I have done is cut a bevel on the bottom of the top bar of wedge type, grooved type and solid (no groove) type. I've also added a triangular piece to the bottom of the top bar. I've also used starter strips. I've also put plain frames between drawn combs. All of these worked fine. Others have put wood starter strips in and have reported success with that.

In any experiment I would do small samples before you do a lot.
 

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Ok have a question that may sound silly . Has anyone that went foundationless ever left in the imbedded wire in the frame ? Seems if they would work it and form around it would make the comb stronger for extraction .

Drifter
 

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> have the one made and plan on putting in the hive tomorrow between 2 frames that are drawn.

You don't need anything special to put it between two drawn frames. Just put an empty regular frame in.

> Is it ok to separate 2 frames of brood with this foundationless frame? Temps during the day mostly in the 70s, 50s at night.

It has more to do with the strength of the hive than the temperatures. My rule of thumb is that I need to be able to remove a frame of brood and in a matter of minutes the bees have filled the gap with festooning bees. If they do it's strong enough to have a foundationless frame there. If they don't, it's not strong enough to put them under that kind of stress.

>Ok have a question that may sound silly . Has anyone that went foundationless ever left in the imbedded wire in the frame ? Seems if they would work it and form around it would make the comb stronger for extraction .

Yes some have. L.L. Langstroth invented the idea of the comb guide and he put a piece of wood vertically in the center of the frame to support it. His was a square piece of wood turned to make a diamond. A vertical wire will get followed better than a horizontal wire. A horizontal wire may not end up in the center rib, especially if the hive isn't perfectly level. I have not tried the wire. I have put a horizontal 1/16" welding rod in the center of a Dadant Deep and it seemed to work ok. I made up several of them. If I do it again, I think I'll go vertically instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I got the foundationless frame installed today and didn't even get stung.(and on a cloudy, rainy day that is an accomplishment)
What I want to know is who told the queen she could go anywhere in the hive she wanted. She was on the 2nd frame from the edge about a frame or 2 away from any brood. Glad I saw her before I sat the frame on the ground. Should be interesting to see what they do with that frame.
 

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Queens go all over. They just usally lay in the brood nest.
I pulled a miller feeder off of a hive one day since it has some supers and the feeder had been empty for some time, and just set it aside figuring the few bees on it would find their way back in. I came out several hours later and notices a small cluster of bees on the feeder. I looked closer and found the queen there on the feeder.
 

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Jedi you will find this first frame to contain alot of drone cells. If you move it to the outer edge of the actual brood nest(once mostly drawn) and insert another frame the bees will be more content to draw worker cells which will be smaller than the foundation cell size. You slowly keep moving this drone comb to the outside edge of the box and finally out. One thing I like about foundationless frames is the brood nest structure. The bees make a few drone cells on the outer edge of each frame. Most of the time these have honey in them. But if a hive has few drone cells the first comb they draw foundationless will be mostly drone. My foundationless hives have the same number if not fewer drones than the regular foundation hives do. A hive only wants so many drones and no matter what you do they will find somewhere to make them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That was pretty much what I had in mind hillbilly
Although I hadn't thought about the first one being mostly drone brood. My plan was to just move the bigger stuff up into the honey supers. Yeah I'm nuts enough to think I can handle a deep full of honey. I'm sure at some point the bees or age will change my mind, but for now that's the plan. Not to mention I have 2 deeps worth of frames with foundation that still needs to be drawn out. The frame I took out to make room for this frame I plan on sticking in one of the hives for my packages that will arrive soon. If I can get 2 frames out before the packages arrive I'll set the package up with a foundationless between the 2 drawn frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well I took a peak today to see what they were doing. They are drawing out the frame pretty nice. Can't tell exactly where they attached it to on the frame with out disturbing them more than I want to, but they do appear to be drawing straight comb. Funny how they start in a couple 2 or 3 places and draw down and wider until they touch the one next to it. I had always thought before seeing some foundationless frames they they would draw it straight across and then down in rows. That's what I get for thinking.
 

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RW - did you put the foundationless into an established hive, or a package or split? I just put in two packages and decided to go with starter strips on one and foundation in the other as a comparison. Just wondering if after two days I should expect to see anything interesting given all I have on it is a package.

-Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well Pete I answered your question in the chat room, but for anyone else that might be lurking. I put 1 foundationless frame in a single deep hive that is just about ready for another deep. The frame was placed between 2 frames of fully drawn out comb that was filled with brood. As each foundationless frame that I put in gets fully drawn out I'll will put another 1 in and pull out 1 frame of the stuff with foundation.
 

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A 3 frame split given 2 foundationless frames takes about a month to get them both drawn. But the bees have to take care of the brrod given and raise a new queen for themselves. So until the new queen is laying they do not start the new combs as they are not needed.

I finally found a point where I totally disagree with MB. I would check on the package weekly. To many disruptions are a bad thing. But you need to make sure the queen is out of the cage at the end of a week. By the end of the second week you should have larva. The only other point is with you putting the bees on foundationless frames with no drawn comb. It is easier and less wasted effort of the bees if you make corrections to the comb(if they are not drawn straight) earlier than later.

Good luck
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, I'll be checking on them again wednesday I think. If they've got it mostly drawn, which I think they probably will (as long as I keep their feeder full they will probably draw pretty quick) yank another that has foundation, and stick another foundationless next to this one. Eventually I'll move the first one towards the outer edge. Will they draw the drone comb, huge like they would on the edges of foundation?
 

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Well it is drone comb, normal size as found on other frames. Drone comb is normally a little thicker and much bigger cell size. If the hive has enough drone comb in the corners of other frames it may draw you a good comb which is partly regressed.
 

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>I finally found a point where I totally disagree with MB. I would check on the package weekly.

If I was doing a candy release, I'd check on them sooner. I usually do a direct release on packages. And, of course, I'd look at them every night.
If they were handy of course.
 

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FWIW I did an open-cage release on both - tore off the screen, let her out, and watched her walk down onto the frames. They'd been in the package one week (long story) so the queens were both looking pretty well accepted. I've been good and haven't reopened the hive yet. Since I released the queen directly, there's no real need for me to check in until later - I'll probably check in this coming Saturday which'll be 9 days.

-Pete
 
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