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Discussion Starter #1
has anybody mixed 1 box drawn comb and added another foundationless?
just wondering if you start with regular cell comb and add a box of foundationless has anyone noticed a difference in the queen laying pattern or will she lay in reg cell and natural cell? if you start with one size, should you stick with it or can you mix it up with good results?
thanks
 

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I just did this, with a lot of help from folks on another list. My cell size proved highly variable. A lot of smaller cells, larger cells, random exuberance. But it was all nice and straight and pretty.

Don't be surprized if they build drone comb first. When on worker foundation they get starved for drone brood and will react by producing that first. Let them. They will start on worker when they like the balance they've reached. If you cut out the drone they will react by devoting themselves to building more.

Don't put a whole frame of foundationless on top of a whole frame of drawn foundation. Set the two boxes side by side, pull roughly half the drawn brood from the old box into the new box, set them in groups of two, and back-fill both boxes with foundationless. Be sure to keep at least two brood frames together (no singles) for thermal efficiency, but other than that try to surround each foundationless frame with drawn frames. This will encourage the bees to work the foundationless and help them draw straight combs. As foundationless gets drawn out, move the newly drawn frame to surround other foundationless frames that haven't been drawn (i.e., at the sides) thus helping to guide them in turn.

Also think in terms of a pyramid: you want brood toward the center and more in the bottom box than in the top box, but some in each.
 

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not sure if I am following. I'm first year beek, on deep brood boxes, read Fruitless Fall, and am considering going foundationless next year. Is there some way to accomplish a split from my conventional 10 frame Langstronth to a top bar system, don't want to keep investing in deeps, feel like foundationless is healthier for the bees?
 

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If you want to go foundationless, then just stop using foundation. It's that simple.

What jt9610 was referring to is that if you put a foundationless frame between two frames of nice straight comb they will always draw the foundationless nice and straight. If you put a whole box of undrawn foundationless on it is quite likely (absolutely for sure with my bees) that it will not be drawn all that straight. So since you have nice straight comb from your foundation days use it to get your foundationless started right - if you can.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Draw comb is always mixed with whatever you are using. If you couldn't mix in drawn comb how would you ever add anything? Yes, you can add a box of drawn comb anytime you like to any hive that is in buildup mode. You can also add foundationless frames (a frame with some kind of guide).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
when i started this last month, i made a split into a deep with drawn comb. since i've added 2 medium with foundationless, 1 at a time of course. queen is laying in all three very nicely. i wasn't sure about the drawn from large cell foundation. and the foundationless, natural cell, being in the same brood chamber. wasn't sure if the queen would prefer to lay in one over the other. makes no difference, she likes both, and doing a good job. thanks
 
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