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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As of now, the only hive boxes and frames in my possession are the two deeps I ordered to get things going, the "N style" frames from kelley, and the standard deep foundation for the frames. I've been shopping around and looking to go ahead and get some mediums ordered to have ready well ahead of time for supers. The question though, if I decide to go foundationless will the bees move on up and take to drawing out the empty frames without a fuss? I've read quite a few posts with people talking about placing foundationless frames between drawn frames, but more so to keep the comb straight. I'm assuming the bees will do their thing and make use of any open space given, and that drawing straight comb will be the dice roll. Hive is level side to side. Was also considering cutting my losses on the extra N frames and foundation, ordering foundationless frames for the other deep, and working them in once its time to add the second brood box.

Another question with foundationless supers, I've seen people talk about using chicken wire wrapped around the full frames to keep from blowing them out in extractors. Would using mono fishing line or foundation wire and letting the bees draw comb around them be sufficient to support the frames in an extractor? I used 12lb mono on my deep frames, "fatbeeman" style, which I've heard others enjoy. Advantages over wire being its cheaper and easier to cut out should you wish to take some queen cells. I considered just doing comb honey or crush extraction and not fooling with the wires... little patience will save some money on an extractor and provides more wax is my thinking. Just looking to economical methods and habits to develop early on, also have the ultimate goal of self sufficiency. Not having to fool with foundation or its costs fits both agendas. I don't expect to be doing any extracting this first year regardless, just wanting to plan ahead :) Wish I had found these forums before reading the books I have, lol
 

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I use foundationless in my supers and I use mono or wire in them. I have had only one occasion of a "blow out" and it was caused by my then 8 year old son cranking up the speed in the extractor to "tornado" speed. I should note that I use shallow frames for my supers.
 

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As of now, the only hive boxes and frames in my possession are the two deeps I ordered to get things going, the "N style" frames from kelley, and the standard deep foundation for the frames. I've been shopping around and looking to go ahead and get some mediums ordered to have ready well ahead of time for supers. The question though, if I decide to go foundationless will the bees move on up and take to drawing out the empty frames without a fuss? I've read quite a few posts with people talking about placing foundationless frames between drawn frames, but more so to keep the comb straight. I'm assuming the bees will do their thing and make use of any open space given, and that drawing straight comb will be the dice roll. Hive is level side to side. Was also considering cutting my losses on the extra N frames and foundation, ordering foundationless frames for the other deep, and working them in once its time to add the second brood box.

Another question with foundationless supers, I've seen people talk about using chicken wire wrapped around the full frames to keep from blowing them out in extractors. Would using mono fishing line or foundation wire and letting the bees draw comb around them be sufficient to support the frames in an extractor? I used 12lb mono on my deep frames, "fatbeeman" style, which I've heard others enjoy. Advantages over wire being its cheaper and easier to cut out should you wish to take some queen cells. I considered just doing comb honey or crush extraction and not fooling with the wires... little patience will save some money on an extractor and provides more wax is my thinking. Just looking to economical methods and habits to develop early on, also have the ultimate goal of self sufficiency. Not having to fool with foundation or its costs fits both agendas. I don't expect to be doing any extracting this first year regardless, just wanting to plan ahead :) Wish I had found these forums before reading the books I have, lol
1. I would recommend against a foundation frame between two foundationless frames. My bees will show a preference for the FL frame and pull it wide. This is more true in the supers. A piece of drawn comb is a different story.

2. I would not put chicken wire on my FL frames in my supers. I have spun out many FL frames and have not had any blowouts. Our centrifugal extractor "flips" the frames. So we spin about half a side out, flip it, spin the other side out, flip it back and finish the first side. We may convert it to a radial which will hold more frames and be less prone to blowouts.

3. You don't need special frames to go FL. Most people just flip the wedge down and go on. If you use deep FL frames, you may want to wire them for support. I do not wire mediums.

Shane
 

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3. You don't need special frames to go FL. Most people just flip the wedge down and go on. If you use deep FL frames, you may want to wire them for support. I do not wire mediums.

I just broke off the wedge and placed the frames in the hive without the wedge. These frames were drawn more on center than the frames that I had nailed the wedges into place. (foundationless)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The "N Style" frames from Kelley don't use a wedge. The top bar has a slot cut through the center that is used to slide your foundation into the frame. I'm curious how the girls would start the comb on one of these empty or with a small strip of wood glued through the slots. I've seen similar designs used for top bars in TBHs.

Edit: Actually... going foundationless I'll have some foundation to salvage wax from to fill the slots
 

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I have been using foundationless only on all my hives. I use Kelly F frames, I buy in 100 lots for eighty cents each when they have free shipping. I use at least fifty pound test (cheap) mono, I find the greater diameter keeps it from cutting through the comb if mishandled and the bees accept it better, they will chew on the thinner mono. I use only deeps because of ease of interchanging them, but am thinking of going to medium supers, because they don't need any mono reinforcement, and are lighter to handle, a real plus since I'm 73.
In getting them to draw it out, I hang one frame with comb in the center, or I just put them in empty and check to see if they are starting out straight.
I like the F frames because they don't give the SHB a place to hide, like the standard frames do, makes a world of difference.
 

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I use all mediums. No wire. Extract all the time. I do nothing special. Just uncap, start slow, work up in speed until they are done, the same as I would do for wired wax foundation. If it's brand new soft white wax, I cut it up for cut comb.
 

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I've not had a problem adding a full foundationless box on top of a completely drawn box and getting wacky comb. The bees seem to just follow direction of the comb below. I have glued popsicle sticks in my frames, but when those run out I will try just turning the wedge on the side. I am also experimenting with running fishing line through the frame to support it. The bees haven't seemed to mind but the comb isn't lining up perfectly so I think it will be something I only do with supers going forward and just leave the brood frames unsupported. I am running all mediums. The only issue is occasionally the bees want to make a massive comb so I have to harvest that comb to get them to draw on the foundationless frames on either side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have been using foundationless only on all my hives. I use Kelly F frames, I buy in 100 lots for eighty cents each when they have free shipping. I use at least fifty pound test (cheap) mono, I find the greater diameter keeps it from cutting through the comb if mishandled and the bees accept it better, they will chew on the thinner mono. I use only deeps because of ease of interchanging them, but am thinking of going to medium supers, because they don't need any mono reinforcement, and are lighter to handle, a real plus since I'm 73.
In getting them to draw it out, I hang one frame with comb in the center, or I just put them in empty and check to see if they are starting out straight.
I like the F frames because they don't give the SHB a place to hide, like the standard frames do, makes a world of difference.
I hadn't taken into consideration the cracks and crevices in the frames. Wish i'd thought about that before hand, even with the foundation the slot in these N style frames seems like a downfall from that perspective. I believe i'll look into the FL frames and the F style you mentioned.

Appreciate all the feedback, I believe i'll pickup some heavier test mono and go with some better suited frames for FL. Cheaper, and allows the bees to build comb how they see fit. Based upon everyone's feedback it doesn't seem to cause any major inconveniences. Win win in my book and going to give it a go. Thanks again everyone : )
 
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