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the 4.9 mm plunge

1305 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BULLSEYE BILL
OK, I've decided to take the plunge into the 4.9mm arena. Planning to give the bees starter strips and wondering if I can use my surplus of leftover standard wooden frames. Will a standard wooden frame securely hold a starter strip of 4.9 mm foundation or do I have to purchase some other type?

Also, with the starter strip strategy, is there something to do to reinforce the comb once they've built it or do you just handle carefully?

Many thanks,

David in Baltimore
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I tried starter strips last year. The technique I used was to wire the frames as usual, install starter strip (about a 1/2 inch of foundation exposed). The bees built the new comb around the wires and everything worked fine.

One word of caution: be careful to not swap the location of the frames built from starter strips. That is, don't take some of the outer frames and move them to the center of the brood chamber. The cell sizes the bees build is dependent upon the frame's location in the hive. I made that mistake this year, which resulted in a lot of drones produced from the queen laying in honey-sized cells.

Other than that word of caution, I fully recommend starter strips.
Thanks, AstroBee. I've never used anything other than duragilt. Wiring should be pretty easy to pick up, right?

Also, if I understand you correctly, you're wiring the open space below the starter strip and the bees are building comb over the wires (as if the wires aren't there at all)?
I just use any old frames. If the cleat is loose I nail the strip in. If it's still attached or it's a grooved top bar, I use a wax tube fastener to wax the strip in (Walter T. Kelly has these).

If you don't use wire (and I don't) just be careful until the comb is attached on three sides. You just can't turn them sideways until then. Just keep them upright and not flat ways.

Otherwise if you DO use wire you still need to be careful until the comb is attached to the wire.

As mentioned, don't mix up the location of the comb since it won't all be the same size.
To regress a hive gradually as opposed to shaking the bees into a new hive every regression step you are required to move combs around. What is required is a sound strategy to do so.

When you bees have started a small brood nest, you may want to spread the center apart by two frames and stick two fres frames of foundatoin in the center. Continue moving the frames outward thusly because the bees will build more small cell in the center of the nest. After you have a well developed brood nest that fills the first story, add a second brood chamber. Cull combs from the bottom taking the 4 worst of the culled combs, move the remaining frames outward, place 4 frames of fresh foundation in the center of the first story. Place 2 fresh frames of undrawn foundation in the center of the 2nd story, and place the culled comb from the first story to the outside of that. Conitue until full and start again with a 3rd story if you want to do a ULBN hive. You continue culling combs in the same manner regardless of whether using 1,2 3 or even 4 brood chambers. Move the new combs outward and upward, place fresh frames of foundatoin in the center of the nest and you can finally cull the worst comb from the hive completely by removing it from the outside of the top story of your brood nest.

I am going to draw a simple ascii art drawing of how to place fresh comb in a hive. Each line is a story, and the vertical lines show the brood nest core where you place new undrawn foundation. Place the fresh foundation inside this core, moving old comb outward and upward and finally out of the hive completely when you cull from the top brood nest story. If the brood nest is only 1 story, only use the top line for example, if 2 stories, use the top two lines for example.

| . . . . | | . . . . |
| . . . | | | | . . . |
| . . | | | | | | . . |

It should further be noted that the bees apparently more readily draw small cells in the spring, and larger cells as the season progresses.

Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda

[This message has been edited by Scot Mc Pherson (edited May 13, 2004).]
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Sounds like Astrobee and Scott are giving opposing advise about putting undrawn frames in the center. I have had bad experiances adding undrawn into the center. It works kinda, but I get poorly drawn (wierd) comb.

I don't have that problem with Permacomb.
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