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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In past years, I've placed a nuc (with 5 frames in it) atop another nuc (ditto) to serve as a bait box. I've had good luck with it. I'm wondering now though: should I -- as another beek told me he is trying -- only put the frames in the top box and leave the bottom one empty? If bees move in, I would only leave the amalgam together for a week before moving the inhabited box to my hive.

Last year I made the mistake of putting out a 10-frame deep with only 8 frames (I'd run out); when I checked the box 2 weeks later ... the bees had made 2 big, beautiful combs, full of brood, but .... attached to under the box lid. A helluva mess, and ultimately a disaster (I rolled the queen via the fresh comb folding in on itself!).

Any ideas, anecdotes, etc would be appreciated .....

Mitch
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hey Mitch, put both frames in the top box. The bees will start there. I use the plans from Horizontal Hives for my swarm traps, six frame double deep equivalent. One or two drawn frames is all you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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A starter strip is like a very short piece of foundation that hangs from the top of the frame, like 1/2-3/4 inch long. It gives them place to start building their foundationless comb, otherwise they will build anywhere they want. I am doing foundationless in my bait hives this year as last year the swarms I caught all built on the bottom rails of the frames and didn't care about he foundation at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey Mitch, put both frames in the top box. The bees will start there. I use the plans from Horizontal Hives for my swarm traps, six frame double deep equivalent. One or two drawn frames is all you need.
Howdy, JW -- so you're saying that in the top nuc, I should only place a frame or 2 of old comb, and no other frames? There's no chance bees'd start comb from under the nuc's lid? Last year, when I used a deep with 8 frames (and open space where 2 frames would've been), the bees drew massive combs where the open space was, but did nothing to the 8 frames I used. Total disaster..... I've heard some old-time beeks say that bees would rather draw comb in open space than within the confines of a frame.

ML
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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No, fill the top box with empty foundationless frames after you put in one or two old brood combs. Never leave empty spaces, you will have a mess if you do.
 

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Hi -- not sure what a "starter strip" is ...? What I've done in the past is have 1 frame with old comb in it, and the other 4 frames are foundationless ...

Mitch
I use one frame of old comb. Then I use empty frames with fishing line in them for support.
 

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Do you place that single old brood frame on the side or in the middle? On the side would leave more empty space, but if they want to use it, perhaps it would be better to have it in the middle?
 

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Old frame in middle. I caught 20 swarms last year and a couple would not have fit into a double five over five box full of frames. If you decide to go foundation-less ? Level your trap or at least level as possible !!! And wire or fishing string is almost mandatory. New white comb is so so fragile.So the more brood cycles the darker it gets and becomes more rigid.
,
 

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When I placed the one trap I have out right now, I used this pattern: FFFBFB, where F is a foundationless frame (used and re-strung with fishing line) and B is a straight brood comb with worker sized cells. The next traps will be with just one frame of brood comb next to the sidewall of the trap. I really don't think it matters where the comb is, as long as the bees have something to cluster on.
 

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I agree that you definitely want to have foundationless frames in all of the top spots - other than the 1 frame of black comb. If you are stacking nucs, then you don’t need frames in the bottom box. Bees don’t really see foundation as building space unless they are forced to - as in an occupied hive with diminishing vacant comb space. When a swarm moves in, it is ready to draw comb and will choose the spot at the top cover with no frame first. Use foundationless frames in a trap, because that will give the scouts a sense of space and the swarm a place to build. Use starter strips so the bees draw where you want them to.

Does anyone have data on which spot to put the old comb in. I find that the bees prefer to start laying in fresh comb, but will lay in the old comb after some fresh comb is drawn on either side. I prefer that they not lay in the black comb, because I want to take that out as soon as I can and reuse it in another trap. I cal also imagine that putting the black comb on the sunny edge of the box would help warm it and create attractive smells.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Last year I used a frame from a deadout that still had dead bees still in it. As soon as the swarm moved in, maybe even before while it was just scouts, I saw those dead bees being removed. I assume it was because the bees wanted to use the comb I had provided. By the time I brought the swarm home (this past weekend) all the frames were drawn out and therw was honey and pollen in that original frame.
 
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