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Can you put starter strips in every frame in the box and get all good straight comb built? No konky wonky oompa loompa comb? I have been putting a frame of foundationless in between a frame with foundation....

I'm guessing the answer is yes based off of top bar hives, but these are production hives that are not perfectly level, although I can level them up.
 

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I have been using Dadant frames with the top wedge bar broken off and left off. They actually center the comb better. I tested some frames with wax strips, but the strips were too deep and the bottoms curled. Which of your frames are being drawn first? The ones with or without foundation?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've just started using foundationless and have been putting it in the top brood box between frames of drawn comb so I can't say. I am going to have to add some supers today so that's the reason for the question of whether to go all foundationless or stagger foundation and FL frames...
 

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They just need to be leveled side to side for the most part, front to back doesn't matter so much. I gave a swarm all foundationless frames, did ok for the most part except a couple combs away from the cluster they started lobes on each edge of the top bar.
 

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Depends on the bees. My buddy collected a large swarm a couple years ago that built at a 45 degree angle to the frames even with some foundation in there, and generally made a huge mess, still trouble a couple years later. He had a top bar hive and they build perfect comb, but that was different bees.

You get what you get. I stick foundationless frames between drawn and capped ones, keeps them on the straight and narrow, mostly. If they aren't capped, and are filling with stores, they will draw the existing comb into the empty space and make a mess, every time. Works great for honey supers (which reminds me to pull a frame from each of my supers today and spread them out) since fat comb is easier to uncap, but in the brood nest or when the comb extends past the top bar of the next frame, not.

Peter
 

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>Can you put starter strips in every frame in the box and get all good straight comb built? No konky wonky oompa loompa comb? I have been putting a frame of foundationless in between a frame with foundation....

You can put full sheets of wax foundation in, wired and late so they don't get hot and sag and the bees may build all "konky wonky oompa loompa comb". Then if they sag it's worse. Bees do what they want. But I have put bees in all foundationless hives (sometimes starter strips, which I don't use anymore and sometimes other kinds of guides) and had them build it all perfectly the majority of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies. I wanted to be inspecting hives by 1PM but my swarming split slowed me down. I hope to get some foundationless frames installed this afternoon.
 

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I went completely foundationless on 2 package hives. Literally empty boxes with empty frames and just the little wedged glued into place. For the most part, they get it right, but I have a few false starts that I had to cut out. The key, I found, is leveling the box so that it hangs straight and keep an eye on them until they get going. After the brood started hatching, they slowed/stopped building out thick comb for syrup storage and got the idea. Soon as the brood are capped, I plan to keep the factory of comb development going by exchanging frames in between 2 capped brood frames to draw out some more nice and straight.
 

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I have been using Dadant frames with the top wedge bar broken off and left off. They actually center the comb better. I tested some frames with wax strips, but the strips were too deep and the bottoms curled. Which of your frames are being drawn first? The ones with or without foundation?
My foundation less frames drawn first, then wax and lastly wax coated plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So far the frames with the most narrow piece of starter strip have the most comb. I made some starter strips that were 2" wide. Most of those are completely drawn, but only the starter strip. Not one of them had any comb hanging below the starter strip yet. The frames with 1/2" starter strips have more comb, but not evenly drawn. They are building it exactly like they would if no foundation strip had been used. The comb starts in the middle of the frame, with less towards the ends of the frames.
 
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