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I am about to checkerboard my hive brood chambers with foundationless frames. I read that I should put popsicle sticks in the grooves to give the bees a starting point to make the comb. I read on a thread on here that I should use the wide popsicle sticks. I tried that and they stick out about half an inch beyond the edge of the top of the frame. It seems too high and that I should use the standard sticks. Is the wide stick the right one? Also, do I need to put sticks in the bottom grooves as well or can I fill those with wax? I have some wax and not enough sticks. And what sort of glue should I use? Any assistance would be appreciated.
 

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I've never used guides (like popsicle sticks) for foundationless; the old wax where the comb was cut out works fine. For a brand-new frame it certainly can't hurt, but I don't think the bees' rulers are very discriminating. Either size should be fine I would think.
 

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I have used popsicle sticks, paint sticks, a piece of sting waxed down the center if there is no groove. I have used wax and glue for the sticks. It all work fine the bees do not seem to care.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the info. I put the frames in today. Now I just have to avoid the temptation to peek in there every day to see what they are doing with them. My son and nephew and I spent about an hour last night wiring up 20 frames and putting in the popsicle sticks. The wire probably wasn't necessary, but I am new and wanted to be thorough. Spending the time together working on something is a huge bonus to keeping the bees.

I split my hive a few weeks ago and have not been happy with how the new hive was coming along. I am pleased that it looked better today, two frames of brood, some nectar, honey and pollen. I am hoping they will draw these frames out and I can put a super on in two weeks. I am behind schedule because I did not do the split right and our weather has not cooperated. I hope they can build up well enough to produce some before the nectar flow ends.
 

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Walter T. Kelley sells a foundationless frame. I am setting up a standard lang hive this spring that will use these for the deeps and supers.

I think the hard part will be getting the brood off the nuc foundations and onto the foundationless frames. Should I put some foundationless frames between the nuc frames when I install the bees or should I rotate the frames into the nuc frames over the course of the season?
 

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:s Which is better, a stright thin piece or a triangle shape guide or does it make any difference? I tryed simple bars with a wax filled grove. They worked fine, the bees drew srtight comb on the first few bars, then they drew comb across several bars. What a mess!! Lost the hive this winter (too long and cold, they starved), I don't know weather to try again with a different type bar or sell the thing.:scratch:
 

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Thought I would share a few pictures of my foundation less frames.


This frame was between 2 frames already drawn out, can you spot the queen?


This frame also between frames in different hive and I also saw the queen on the new comb.


This is a frame that was on the outside of the drawn frames and same age as the foundation less ones. This was also my strongest hive.
Tim Adams
 

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Walter T. Kelley sells a foundationless frame. I am setting up a standard lang hive this spring that will use these for the deeps and supers.

I think the hard part will be getting the brood off the nuc foundations and onto the foundationless frames. Should I put some foundationless frames between the nuc frames when I install the bees or should I rotate the frames into the nuc frames over the course of the season?
$0.95 a frame that Kelley offers isn't too bad, but you don't need it. I just use these https://millerbeesupply.com/frames/slotted-frame-9-1/8-inch-grade-2/prod_164.html and save $0.27 a frame. In the end it really adds up to a savings.

Mr. Bush wrote up alot about doing this. He says you don't need any kind of guide. Just take the wedge that you would use for the foundation and flip it on it's side. He did say he preferred the beveled top over the wood strip, but I prefer to go with the most cost effective method.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#howdoyougofoundationless
 

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Actually they are wedged top bar's turned edge ways and nailed in. These are my first foundation less and the wires didn't seem to bother them they did all of that in 4 days.
Tim Adams
 

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I was taking a look at my foundation less frames yesterday (the ones pictured on the first page) and I'm sorry to say 1 is all drone cells... Now that it's caped you can see. My questions is should I cull it and have them start over? This queen is laying well on other frames guess they thought they need more drones.
Tim Adams
 

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Bees will always have want drone comb. Are you disliking it for Varroa reasons? If you cull it they'll just build more, and if there isn't space (all the frames are worker cells) then they'll make in between boxes and make a mess. Since you have a full frame of it, keep it in the 3 or seven position in the brood nest and you'll always know where your drones are :).

If you're considering an IPM strategy (and you should), I'd keep it and either freeze-and-return, cut it out every 20 days and let them draw it again, or at least uncap and examine drone pupae with each examination to monitor your varroa counts.
 
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