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In an attempt to not try too many things too quickly with my colonies I've avoided changing anything I don't have to.

You don't really know what works if you make a new change every few days...right...

But, I'm enjoying all the foundationless info. I have Rite Cell foundation in my wood frames. All medium frames. Can I just pull the plastic foundation out and set the wood frame into the colonies or do I have to put a guide of some sort in there?

Where would you put it? My colonies have 6-7 frames drawn, not all are full drawn. On the outside of the brood nest, like space 3 or 8? Or the ends of the boxes, 1 or 10? Dead center?

They aren't drawing the plastic anywhere near as quickly as I expected even though I'm offering 5:3 syrup and pollen patties. So, I'm pretty curious if they will draw their own comb. My frames from my original nucs (5 frames) are foundationless. So, I could put the empty frame inbetween two fully drawn doundationless comb frames. Thoughts?
 

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When I switched over I put them between brood frames they drew them fast and straight, however I would not do that in a colony with only 6-7 drawn frames unless it was 8 frame equipment and fairly packed with bees.
 

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I started my first purchased hive this year myself and I switched to foundationless. I started with 10 frames of wax foundation frames. I waited till 8 of the frames was drawn. Then I moved two brood comb into a new deep hive box and added two foundationless frames into the bottom box that now had 6 fully drawn comb. I moved all the empty frames to the middle of the bottom box and staggered the foundation and foundationless. After 15 days I checked on the hive and about 1/4 of the foundationless frames had all been drawn with all of the bottom Vic's frames drawn and all comb looked strait and pretty. Today is day 23 and I will check on them later today.
 

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But, I'm enjoying all the foundationless info. I have Rite Cell foundation in my wood frames. All medium frames. Can I just pull the plastic foundation out and set the wood frame into the colonies or do I have to put a guide of some sort in there?

I provide an edge at both the top and bottom of my foundationless frames to fully secure the comb..... The top edge is the breakout piece turned sideways and the bottom edge is craft sticks secured in the bottom groove.... The only other consideration in replacing any of my frames with foundationless is to checkerboard the foundationless in between two filled out frames to ensure they build it straight.... Also worth mentioning that you need to make sure that your hives are leveled side to side....

Where would you put it? My colonies have 6-7 frames drawn, not all are full drawn. On the outside of the brood nest, like space 3 or 8? Or the ends of the boxes, 1 or 10? Dead center?

See above note..... I put them pretty much anywhere with the usual caveats about not breaking up the brood nest too much.... I use plastic PF100 along with my foundationless and if I don't have fully drawn frames I put the foundationless between two undrawn PF100.... Most of the time this does ok but occasionally the bees get creative so it's not as good as between full drawn but better than leaving them lots of open space....

They aren't drawing the plastic anywhere near as quickly as I expected even though I'm offering 5:3 syrup and pollen patties. So, I'm pretty curious if they will draw their own comb. My frames from my original nucs (5 frames) are foundationless. So, I could put the empty frame inbetween two fully drawn doundationless comb frames. Thoughts?

My bees seem to have no distinct preference either way and build both out pretty much equally..... Others have posted that their bees have a preference.... Guess it depends on your bees....;- )
 

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Using some kind of guide at the top helps a lot to keep things straight. I like to use a thin strip of wood glued into the top groove. Here's a couple of pictures of what happened recently on one of my frames that had no guide- the comb construction crew working on the middle section apparently didn't get the memo on which direction to work. To be fair, this was drawn in an upper super- they're a whole lot more consistent drawing foundationless in the midst of the brood nest. I use a few foundationless frames for cut comb, and I don't want cocoons in them, so I take my chances with what they do in the upper supers. With a good flow, it works OK, but in a slow flow, they tend to ignore the empty foundationless frame and draw the adjacent frames wider and wider into the empty space, so not advisable without a good flow on.

The last picture shows what they are supposed to do (and shows the wooden comb guide)

IMG_3005.jpg
IMG_3006.jpg
IMG_2725.jpg

Good luck!
 

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Here's a couple of pictures of what happened recently on one of my frames that had no guide- the comb construction crew working on the middle section apparently didn't get the memo on which direction to work.
So did you cut out that middle piece of wonky comb? If yes, did you re-attach it somehow? Wonky or not, natural comb is a beautiful thing. :applause:
 

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>Can I just pull the plastic foundation out and set the wood frame into the colonies or do I have to put a guide of some sort in there?

If you put it between two drawn brood combs in the brood nest, those combs act as a guide. But it's a good plan to put a guide on all of your foundationless frames. If it's wood, it will last and you won't have to do it again if the wax moths eat the comb or you have some reason you want to start over. You just scrape things down to the wood and put it wherever you need it.
 

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This is along the same lines as this thread....I just saw yesterday that the NUCS I put in this week have foundationless comb. Not realizing that I added 5 frames of foundation. Can I go back and replace them with just frames and keep this hive foundationless? They have not started drawing the foundation out yet.
 

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I'm completely foundationless using comb guide top bar frames and I haven't had a problem with them building any cross frame comb (maybe just lucky). Had a swarm move into a bait box that I couldn't move for approx three weeks. The box had 2 old frames of comb and 4 foundationless on either side. They built textbook comb on all eight frames. They suprised me by filling the single deep 85-90% in a touch over three weeks.
 

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I take ritecell foundation and cut it into small strips with my table saw. I secure the strips into the top bar of a wooden frame with small nails. This starting strip seems to help the bees get going easier. I use steel wire or fishing line to support the combs, as they are especially easy to break off and must be handled very gently without the extra support.
 

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When going foundation-less, does the hive need to be level all the way around? My book told me to tip it slightly forward so any captured rain can drain out, which sound wise. We have heavy thunderstorms spring and fall, blowing in from the south-west. The locals club say the hive must face south.
 

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When going foundation-less, does the hive need to be level all the way around? My book told me to tip it slightly forward so any captured rain can drain out, which sound wise.
As long as it's level side to side, you should be fine. The key issue is that the festooning bees act like a plumb line to draw the comb vertically straight, and if the hive is tipped to the side, then the comb is mis-aligned by the time they reach the bottom of the frame. Front/rear level doesn't cause that problem. (My hives are tipped slightly forward for the same reasons you mention)
 

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Facing south has more to do with "solar gain" for the cool morning start; most of mine face east, catch the moring sun and do fine. Winter north winds are also a consideration but not this month.
 
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