I started beekeeping in Spring 2012 with all frames with foundation. Last year, I replaced about 1/4 of my frames with foundationless. I'll continue this until I am totally foundationless in my brood chambers.
Is there any data out there that shows less drones= more productivity? I have never seen it. Well mated queens with good genetics are the most important factor in productivity in my opinion.>Is foundation just a marketing brain-washing idea?
Pretty much. One that started in the late 1800s and had convinced a significant number of people by the 1940s. The main selling point was promising less drones...
I use one frame of foundationless in my production hives. Bees draw mostly drone foundation and I cut it out periodically to help with mites. I use a special frame which is more stable and drawn easier and easier to cut pieces out of it.
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Do any of you wire the frames before putting them in. I put in two empty frames last year with no wire and it took about nine months before I could turn those frames over during inspections without the comb almost breaking off. Those foundation less frames were drawn beautifully with all worker cells and always had a perfect laying pattern. I'm hoping to get the brood nests to be all foundation less or close to it by the end of the season.
That's why I put my foundationless frame on the outside. I want them to draw it full of drone comb.They will maker worker cells on it if it is in the right position in the brood nest at the right time of the year.
I haven't found this to be the case at all. When I pop in an empty frame in the brood nest, I get perfect worker cell comb on the entire frame. They do crown, which can make it crowded. That said, the crown of honey and pollen is smaller in relation to the frame size. But I have also seen the bees also crown in the 2nd medium and not the first in the core of the brood nest. They are extending the brood nest without a break all the way to the 2nd. I will say I am jealous of a solid brood pattern in full deeps when I see a money shot. My god that's a sweet looking sight.My experience is different. The bees draw worker-cell comb in the core brood area, and giant "honey storage - drone" comb in all other areas, including a crown on the top and sides of the brood area.
This results in a brood oval that is cramped and fragile. You cannot checkerboard and open the brood unless you have the right sized comb. This results in the requirement to individual grade all frames -- a huge investment. Despite the claim that going all-medium, foundationless results in broadly interchangeable equipment, the frames are actually less interchangeable than in other systems.
Foundationless is often equivalent to the "all medium" credo, and an all-medium brood nest is awkward due to the crown constructed across the top of the comb. Foundation yields more interchangeable and usable brood comb -- as it avoids the multi-size issue of self constructed brood comb. For honey storage, it doesn't matter. I look with interest at the "trophy" pix of comb enthusiasts post -- and this is invariably capped honey comb with perfectly formed and large storage cells.
Invariably?I look with interest at the "trophy" pix of comb enthusiasts post -- and this is invariably capped honey comb with perfectly formed and large storage cells.