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Discussion Starter #1
First I apologize if this has been gone over. I've looked and searched and although I've found bits and pieces of what I'm looking for below no posts covering everything. If such a posts exists feel free to redirect me to it.

My brother and I have decided we'd like to try and raise a few hives of bees.

I've been doing research on equipment, bees, hives etc etc etc. However the more I research on frames the more options I'm running into and the more confused I'm getting.

If I'm understanding correctly I have the following options in frames.

Wood, groove
Wood, wedge
Plastic.

Also if I'm understanding correctly I have the following options in foundation.
Wax thin, surplus
Wax, surplus
Wax, with vertical wires.
Plastic core, wax cell (Duragilt)
Plastic core & cell
Plastic Core & cell wax coated.

To compound my confusion there are several different cell sizes.

Again if I'm on the right track if I use wood frames with a grove I have to match that with a foundation that has a plastic core of some sort. The wedge wooden frames are for wax and especially wax wire foundations.

I've also read several articles and posts here with many varied opinions on the various frames and foundation combination's, which of course adds to some of the confusion.

All other things aside, much of which I'm only beginning to comprehend, I like the idea of complete plastic frames from the aspect of ease of use and less labor, not to mention possibly cheaper. However there is a nostalgic part of me that likes the wood...besides who wants to live in a plastic house?

What I guess I'm really looking for is a "DON'T DO THAT" type of answer.

Seems to me that most of the combination's will "Work", each with their drawbacks and bonuses. But what should a person DEFINATELY not buy. What cell sizes to completely avoid, what frame/foundation combos to avoid and so on.

The goal for the first year is to start with 3-4 hives, deep and medium combo, and just see if I can get them to live and thrive.

Any help would be appreciated.

Suggestions on a book or two that would cover much of this stuff as well as "General bee knowledge" would be very helpful as well.

Thanks

~Matt
 

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Im new to beekeeping but you did miss a few. There is also fully drawn plastic small cell foundation called honey super cell. There are also foundationless frames from Walter Kelly you can also buy small cell wax foundation as well as plastic to put in wooden frames. The small cell is to my understanding more along the size the bees were before we started putting our greedy minds to making bigger is better bees. You can check out some more info online at organic beekeepers its a yahoo group. Dee Lusby could teach you anything that you could ever possibly want to know about beekeeping and then some.
I keep bees here in North Alabama I started in Nov 09 and now have 9 hives. Its addicting and loads of fun. You can reach me at 205-492-0458 if you wanna talk bees. William
 

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As you will see form reading this thread:

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=243246

The question you are asking is very subjective so I can not answer this question, all I can do is share how I do it. I mainly use wedge top, divided bottom wooden frames with wired small cell foundation, however I also have some HSC which is fully drawn 4.9 (small cell) plastic frames. I am going to start trying some foundationless next spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I actually read that thread. It was part of what I was referring to by it seems most things will work. There seems to be a lot of "Preference" which is fine but confusing.

I'm just trying to avoid any major mistakes and or "Uh-Oh" moments.

Thanks for the input.

~Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh, I'd get over that quick if I were you. ;) You're going to have them regardless of what equipment you buy. Ask me how I know. :rolleyes:
I think I read your thread about your adventures. It made me realize whoever said you should have plenty of extra gear laying around was probably right, if I have the right person in mind :)

I just don't want to go out buy all the equipment, bees and then end up killing or loosing them all.

I'm reading about cell size right now and it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Is there really a difference between 5.4mm and 4.9mm? Is it big enough to worry about? Maybe a hive should have a few frames of them all or is that a mistake?

~Matt
 

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I started beekeeping this year and I'm happy with the frames I have. I made my own supers (10 frame, deeps and mediums) and frames with top groove and bottom groove. I bought Dadant wax coated Plasticell foundation to put in the frames. My colony seems to like the arrangement. I've subsequently been making foundationless frames by gluing a thin strip in the top groove but haven't started inserting them between the ones with foundation yet.
 

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What I was trying to say was any and all of the frame/foundation combos will work...it is all what you decide you like. Do a little experiment and buy some of each of the ones you are most interested in and see how they do for you.


Is there really a difference between 5.4mm and 4.9mm?
That question is a can of worms....:)
 

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MJuric,

Are you going to get bees very soon, or wait until spring? If you are looking to get bees now, I would speak with the supplier and follow their recomendations, and then experiment next spring. My bees are 4.9, and we are following the instructions of the beek who sold them to us. Will we stay 4.9, maybe, maybe not I don't know what is ahead, but I know to be flexable.

Bryn
 

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MJuric

These are all good suggestions and they all work. Now my suggestion is to pick up a catalog (who ever you want to buy from). First decide on your hive configurations for the boxes you need such as deep, medium, shallow or a combination. Check with local Bkeeps to see what they use in your area. Then decide on what frame you want, then match the frame with the foundation. As far as small cell vs. large cell wait until you have some experience before you get into that can of worms.:lookout: Just keep in mind it all works. Also keep in mind the foundation needs to match the frame as far as which combination to use keep it simple for now until you get some experience. And remember to have fun with this very addicting hobby!
 

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Mjuric; out of all the frame combos the wood frame with grooved top and bottom bars will end up being your most versatile. You can use crimp wired foundation, unwired, or plastic (wax coated) foundation with them. The foundation pops right in to the grooves by bending it a little. If extracting deep frames with wax foundation you'll need to cross wire it. Otherwise no cross wires needed. I've tried every combination and brand of plastic frame and have to say I hate the things. I've never been able to get the bees to draw them out, or, many times they draw out only one side. Plus, the frames are flimsy and flex a lot while inspecting them. Others love them. Try some of both after you get started.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mjuric; out of all the frame combos the wood frame with grooved top and bottom bars will end up being your most versatile. You can use crimp wired foundation, unwired, or plastic (wax coated) foundation with them.
Ok that's something I hadn't gleaned or learned or improperly. I was under the impression that you could only use the wedge type with wax foundations that did not have plastic cores. Is that incorrect? Can you use no cored wax foundation with groove type frame? For some reason I was thinking the wedge held onto anything without a core and you could only use the groove type for plastic core foundations.

~Matt
 

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No. We use crimp wired wax foundation (no hooks) with the grooved top and bottom bars. We cross wire deep frames but not the mediums. The foundation fits right in to the grooves and the vertical crimp wires keep it from sagging. You can use the wedge frames with hook wired foundation but we don't as it takes more time and hassle to mess with the wedge and it doesn't work any better. Additionally, when you eventually have to clean the frames in 5 years or so, all it takes is a frame cleaner to scrape out the grooves and the frame is ready to go again. With wedge type frames you have to remove the wedge to clean them and usually have to buy new wedges as they don't come out in one piece, but come out as toothpicks (splinters)! :D
 
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