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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after reading everything and anything, I have decided to go foundationless.
Well, almost. A coworker gave me four frames of drawn comb. My intentions are to put two in each hive with a foundationless frame in the middle. There will be foundationless frames on each side from there on out. Do you all think this will work? I have packages coming the middle of april and am running out or time. all my woodwork is built and all is left is deciding how to start them. Any and all responses are needed.
 

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I like foundationless, but sometimes it takes awhile before you see many combs like this foundationless one:


Many of my foundationless combs have been predominantly drone comb, but it is most likely my fault for having them built in the honey supers during a nectar flow. The best ones seem to be built between combs of brood with plenty of empty space in the honey supers during a strong flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm sitting here over coffee trying to get woke up and it dawns on me...do I use foundationless in the honey supers also or brood boxes only?
Also, this being my first year and not gonna buy an extractor this year, how do I get any honey from the foundationless frames (assuming they're used in the honey supers and assuming/hoping to get a little) without ruining the comb?
There sure are a lot of decisions to be made!!:doh:
 

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The my earlier post, instead of saying, "The best ones", I should have actually said, "The best ones for worker brood". Even though many of the foundationless combs built in the honey supers are of drone-sized cells, they are still quite serviceable combs, perhaps even more serviceable for honey than worker-sized cells or even small cell worker comb would be.

I have done "crush and strain", it should be a good way to harvest honey and beeswax together.
 

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Putting a frame between two frames of brood is a good trick to get them started, whether you have foundation or not. It requires careful supervision. If left unsupervised, they will continue to extend out any uncapped cells of nectar. When you take the new frame out the two frames on either side may actually touch each other, killing any bees between them. Because the bee-space has been lost, they often "glue" the two frames together with brace comb. Of course, they will eventually straighten it all out. It makes a REAL MESS !
To avoid the problem, check daily and segregate "new" combs after they begin drawing them, either on the outside ( frames 1,2 or 9,10 ) of the brood nest, or in the center of a new super. This is REALLY URGENT if there is no foundation as the bees have their own idea about how the combs should run. They often jump from frame to frame. It is a lot more "fun" if you head them off when they get off-track.
It is good for them to have a little drone comb. I work them to the outside ( 1,2 or 9,10 ). They will fill them with honey and pollen. They will clean them out in a flash if they get swarming on their mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies. I had thought of crush and strain but would lose all that drawn comb. Is it not that big of deal for them to have to rebuild it every year?
 

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YES ! It's a big deal because it takes a pound of honey to make a pound of beeswax ! You may be able to live with that but you are definitely cutting your honey crop. Also, they will store nectar in drawn comb when they will not draw comb ( on a light honeyflow ). If you get BOOMING super-in-three-days honeyflows maybe it doesn't matter that much.
Our flows are more likely to be a super-in-10-days-or-two-weeks around here.
I am going with top-bar hives and I understand the price in honey. I may use Langstroth supers for surplus honey, we'el see.
 
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