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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I plan on starting beekeeping next season. I've purchased one complete hive set up (10 frame mediums) and plan on acquiring another before the start of next season. I want to go foundation-less (for many reasons) and would like to know if I've correctly set my frames up to be used foundation-less. I followed the instructions on Michael Bush's website for using wedge style frames. I popped the wedge out and turned it 90 degrees and glued it back in place (used Titebond II). My questions are - does this look correct? Should I add nails/staples or will the glue be enough to secure the wedge in place (the glue has long since dried.. not sure if that'll make a difference adding nails/staples)? I also don't have any wax to use and don't want to use commercial or another beekeepers wax to coat the wedge with- but according to several sites I've read it's stated that waxing the wedge isn't necessary (I'm trying my best to keep chemicals out of the hive, hope to catch a couple swarms from feral bee trees I've located near my house- I figure they have the genetics to survive and be TF)- so I'm hoping it's ok to not put wax on the wedge. I already understand I have my work cut out for me with wanting to go foundation-less and TF.. but I'm looking forward to the rewards! Thanks in advance for any advice! Sorry for the quality, I kept the image size small to speed up emailing from my phone to my macbook. If needed I can post better quality photos (hopefully...) image-2.jpeg image-3.jpeg image-4.jpeg image-5.jpeg
 

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Looks good; just keep an eye on how they build out the frames and be prepared for a bit of comb manipulation if they don't build within the lines. Waxing the wedge, in my experience, doesn't make a difference. Having done it both ways I've never seen one better than the other; the bees will do what they want.

What I teach new keepers is to alternate foundation with foundationless as this nearly guarantees the bees will build correctly. After the bees pull the foundationless you can remove the foundation combs and put in more foundationless, using the older foundationless frames as guides.

One thing to remember when working foundationless is that you MUST rotate your frames to view them during inspection and not flip them. Flipping a frame will of honey, unless the foundation is fully attached will results in comb on the ground or breaking off into the hive.

Another important part if levelness of the hive; the more level the hive the more likely the bees will built comb straight as they use gravity to set their plumb lines.

Enjoy, it is amazing to see them build fresh comb!
 

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I started this past spring with four nucs that are now in double deeps. I went mostly foundation less. If I had to start over I would have used a few more frames of foundation maybe all foundation. When you start out you need to inspect often to learn. It is hard to see eggs and really hard with unsupported comb. I had several deep frames of honey collapse on their own inside the hive. A real mess for sure. The foundation less comb gets stronger after some time.
 

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I'm new this year, and I'd like to be foundationless in my honey supers first, then eventually work to full foundationless. I alternated plastic foundation with Kelly F style frames with the big V on the top bar. The bees have taken to them well. I put no wax on them, just a sugar water spray.

As for TF, I hope to do that this year also. We'll see how it goes.

Good luck to you!
 

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I am also new this year but have learned many (hard) lessons. I too, am foundationless. It is wonderful what these girls are capable of. I have had the "old-timers" tell me that we new keepers are dreaming about foundationless and we'll end up with too many drones. I say the bees have been doing this in the wild for thousands of years without my help lets see if they still can. As far as introducing chemicals to your hive, that is a dream. As soon as the bees leave your property, and they will, you have no control. They will pick up herbicides and pesticides from everyone around you, I wish it wasn't true but it is. Your top bars do not need any other anchoring,the glue will be fine. Good luck in starting many new hives
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you to everyone that replied! I'm glad to know that my frames look correct and that the glue is enough. I do know that I'm doing this the "hard way" but I just like for things to be as close to as nature intended as possible (with the exception of a human poking around and intervening ;-) ). Loghousebees- You have a good point with the chemicals they'll pick up within their foraging area that I have no control over. I guess what I should've said is that I don't want to introduce any harsh chemicals into the hive. I truly believe in "survival of the fittest" and that's why I'm hoping to catch a swarm or two from a feral bee tree near my home. Again, thank you to everyone that has replied! Be prepared for MANY questions to come next season. I might actually start off with a local nuc if I can find one and then hope to catch a swarm to make up my second hive with. Though I don't know if I'll be able to find any medium nucs for sale. I suppose I could cut the comb out from a deep nuc and rubber band it into medium frames, is this feasible?
 

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I am foundationless as well and have found adding a small strip (I use craft sticks) at the bottom of the frame for them to anchor the comb to helps ensure the comb is secure.... Other than that everything I have found important (leveling, alternating frames etc) has been already mentioned.....
 

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I ... Have found adding a small strip (I use craft sticks) at the bottom of the frame for them to anchor the comb to helps ensure the comb is secure
How do you make sure the craft stick is straight? I am using GTB frames, and the groove is about 2 Popsicle sticks thick (I'd have to double stack them to fill the groove) and there would be rounded depressions where the ends of the sticks are...would it be better to cut the sticks exactly to fit?
 

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I overlap the edges of 3 sticks and secure with a half inch long set of crown staples . It doesn't have to be as strong as the top as long as there is something they can secure the comb to.,..
 

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I already understand I have my work cut out for me with wanting to go foundation-less and TF.. but I'm looking forward to the rewards!
I'm new this year too. When I started I had all wax foundation, then I read about foundation less on Michael Bushes site. So while waiting for the bee's to arrive, (we were late getting our bee packages (6/15) because of the Georgia weather). I got set to go all foundation less. In the mean time I was at my mentors place helping with his bee's one day. The state inspector was there and we got to talking. She advised that I shouldn't go foundation less because I have deep frames and plus the bee's would be under stress and it was just not a good idea. So I go back to wax foundation. But I did stick 2 foundation less frames in the hive's, one on each end. I got to thinking and doing more reading and I just couldn't see why I need wax foundation. It really made know sense to me because they have to draw it out any way. What I did do was ran mono filament fishing line through all four holes on the frame so the comb would be stronger. Just about 2 weeks ago I moved those frames between to brood frames and this past Sunday when I was in the hive's those frames were 100% drawn and looked better than any of the wax foundation comb. I then took another frame and put it between brood frames. So far I can't say its much more work, but then again I haven't had to deal with bad comb. What have I learned from all this is that the professionals know a lot but don't know everything. I feel they don't look at things logically and some just have done it one way for so long that they don't want to change. The why I have decided whats best for me is read all the thoughts and sort out what makes sense. Nature most of the time can take care of itself, if its not broke don't fix it. Anyway I'm moving toward being all foundation less. Sorry if I sort of rambled on.

Greg
 

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If comparing stress of foundationless vs foundation, the bees are less stressed doing foundationless. It's what they do. Foundation is foreign and they have to figure it out. It's like damaged comb and they have to figure out how to fix it...
 

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Started a couple hives all foundationless this year. No strips or wax, no nails, nothing but how you have it set up - all doing remarkably well. I have all mediums and do not use deeps (highly recommended for simplicity purposes of having one type of woodenware), so the shorter stature frames allow you to manipulate the virgin comb with less risk of breaking. Comb gets harder as the bees polish it and reuse.

From your picture, I cannot tell if you are putting the wedge INTO the groove or even if you have a groove, or just gluing it to the wall where the wedge was. I take the added time to clean up the edges and sand one side of the wedge slimmer so I can seat it down into the frame with glue on the bottom and side. I also add a bead of glue along the outside where the wedge and frame come together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Again, thanks to everyone that has been replying. I may not always reply to new posts ( I work full time and stay busy) but I do read every reply! Rod- I've watched your video several times prior (and including the day I assembled my frames)- thank you for taking the time to make the video I've enjoyed it numerous times! Zbee- When I broke the wedge out there really wasn't a groove. Prior to breaking the wedge there was of course an opening- I originally was going to use popsicle sticks but once I put some in the groove they didn't stick out far enough. Sure I could've bought the bigger craft sticks used in Dr's offices as tongue depressors but I try to be frugal and use what I already have ;-) And since I had wedge-style (the only kind sold at my local store that has beekeeping equipment) I thought I'd just do as Rod & Michael Bush suggest. So once I break the wedge out the only thing remaining is the "other" side of the original groove- perhaps that's the wall you're referring to? But yes, I ran a bead of glue (after scraping off the bits of remaining wood from breaking the wedge) and then affixed the wedge piece and held it there for a few seconds pressing tightly on the ends and trying my best to have it secured well. They feel pretty well secured to me. They won't go into use until next season and currently remain indoors out of any elements and likely will until they're put into use. I'm very excited to see what my future bees will build- sure it may be more work having to do some comb manipulations but I only plan on keeping 2-5 hives here at my home (perhaps more if I can locate some friendly farmers near by). But I think the end result will be more satisfying to me than if I used all foundation (I may have to use some foundation to achieve nicely drawn comb and that's ok. I'll rotate them out asap as suggested by others). Again, thank you to everyone for taking the time to reply and give your experience & insight :)
 
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