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Discussion Starter #1
Any idea why they are drawing the comb out this way? Should I scrape it or leave it?

This is on one side of the nuc frames installed in a ten frame deep. On the other side of the nuc frames they are drawing out the comb normally.


image.jpg image.jpg
 

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I find they do some wierd things on plastic, sometimes they build perfectly and sometimes they build wildly. I would scrape it and let them try again, maybe coat some sugar water or wax on it. I find this more with plastic than wax foundation, funny, the best wax I get comes with no foundation at all...:D......G............
 

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Wait wait... doesn't JWChestnut say that foundation is man's gift to bees and is flawless? ;) I wonder if his online measuring doohicky works on burr comb
 

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I still have some scattered but will phase them out. Just dont have enough drawn frames to outright replace them yet. Like I said, sometimes normal, sometimes wonky.:waiting:
 

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Yup, burr comb on the face of plastic is a constant reinforcement to not use that stuff except in swarm traps where you worry about wax moth attack. I am old skool "medium brood wax" or sometimes "thin surplus" character myself, settling into a rut after 40 years of weaving wire.

Thanks, Jake for sending me the gloating msg, I would have otherwise skipped over the thread. I thought you had me on ignore.

The BigGraham610 pix again shows bees drawing drone/honey storage comb when freed of the foundation straightjacket. I annotated his pix with the regions. Foundationless generates wonderful comb for storing honey, but tends to complicate the broodnest, by introducing big areas of unsuitable sizing. This requires a culling at box makeup. The BigGraham comb is <50% worker brood suitable, and is going to cramp a rapidly laying new queen during the vital spring buildup.

Jake, I run lots of foundationless, because folks want to pay a premium for that option (no contamination). I know the strengths and the drawbacks.

 

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JW, forgive me if this is a stupid question, I am new at this, second year. How is bees drawing what they naturally want to draw, when and how they see fit, a drawback unless you want to force brood rearing for splitting or packaging. Ive been told that drones are a very neccessary part of the bee world. This year was my first attempt at rearing my own queens, and thanks to a healthy drone population I wound up 6 for 6. Bees never had foundation in trees, and have been around for millions of years. I am just losing intrest in Forcing them to do what I want instead of what they see fit. That being said, I am a hobbiest. I dont earn a living with the bees, to each his own. G
 

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I run a lot of plastic is that side up against the side of the hivewall ? If so scrape it off and spin it around next to straight comb in the brood box they typically figure it out then
 

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Jake,
The easiest way to measure comb is to stick the short edge of a business card directly on the pix. Beautiful over/under gauge of 5.2 mm cells. 5.2 mm cells are sort of a natural break between "natural comb" and the foundation pattern. You could download and print my millimeter rule page (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3H7Ru-k1dP3RXVCem9HRG5tdjA/edit?usp=sharing)

The first plastic (ugly burr comb pix) is oblique and would be impossible to measure accurately. The second pix of evenly drawn cells follows the foundation pattern (which we can assume is about 5.4 mm. Plastic foundation tends to generate thick walled comb, on account of the thicker guide ridges on the form. A plastic 5.4 mm pattern yields a free cell volume about equal to 5.2 on wax or natural (foundationless).

Brood comb tends to shrink in volume over time, as cocoons are left behind and polished into the wax walls before another clutch is laid.
 

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How is bees drawing what they naturally want to draw, when and how they see fit, a drawback unless you want to force brood rearing for splitting or packaging.
You are going to use the comb repeatedly for 4-5 years. It will be moved about into various boxes. If it is not uniform, it will disrupt the brood pattern. Especially on "all mediums" it can cramp the brood sufficiently that the swarm impulse is triggered. Having non-uniform comb is a management issue for any type of keeper -- nuc producer to hobbyist. Because the cell depth in brood and honey and drone are different, you tend to get comb that is lumpy and swells -- and this tendency increases over time. This can be managed by cutting back the wide areas, but it is a further management step.

In my observation, the incident that repeatedly destroys hobbyists is uncontrolled swarming. It irritates the neighbors, and results in an over-swarmed virgin hive that declines and dies in a not-inconsiderable fraction of the time.

It is part of the foundationless credo that "hives know how many drones they need". Bush has a cite to a paper that shows drone fraction converging on some value in an experiment.

Hives undershoot and overshoot rational order all the time. Bees are insects that make poor decisions at many times. Italian bees in my county are a prime example, our climate is Mediterranean, which means after a wet winter, all the summer is dry and rainless. Italian race bees don't stop or manage their brood and drone production, and will breed themselves into starvation by mid-summer. The hive is not a perfectly attuned organism -- it makes mistakes. The beekeeper must guide these simple insects with his own intelligence and craft.
 

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Very interesting, thanks for your input. How do we explain this?

Bees never had foundation in trees, and have been around for millions of years.
 

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Nature produces an abundance of sports, and many die. Nature is messy and thoughtless. Beekeeping is husbandry designed to improve the odds for the benefit of the keeper using our thoughtful intelligence.
 

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Thanks again for your input. Duly noted. Time will tell, but for now, I am going to continue feeding foundationless frames. My best hive swarmed at least twice this spring with 2 deeps and a medium all on foundation. I stole frames for nucs a little too late I suppose. At least I caught the secondary. G

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Discussion Starter #17
I run a lot of plastic is that side up against the side of the hivewall ? If so scrape it off and spin it around next to straight comb in the brood box they typically figure it out then
It's not up against the wall, the burr comb side is up against a full frame of brood (part of the nuc). The second picture I posted is on the inner from other side of the nuc frames.

I will scrape is off and start researching other foundation...although I've had good luck with plastic....this is the first problem.
 

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I find they do some wierd things on plastic, sometimes they build perfectly and sometimes they build wildly.
It is probably more difficult for the bees to build what they want on plastic so they treat it as any other flat surface in the hive. Personally, I would leave it. What harm does it do? Where else do you want them to build burr come? I would love it if all the burr comb was on one frame.

Have you ever built a house? How long does it take to complete if you keep changing things instead of letting the contractors build to the original prints? Let them finish and change it next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What harm does it do? Where else do you want them to build burr come? I would love it if all the burr comb was on one frame..
This may sound stupid, I'm new....but what is the purpose of burr comb? Why do they need to build it....I was under the impression that they were just filling as much space as possible?
 
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