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Would the bee build out good quality comb on a flat wax foundation without a template to follow? I would assume yes but someone has probably already tried and maybe it did not work. Is that why they do not sell flat foundation? Thanks
 

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yes, but they will make cell sizes according to their ways and not yours.

Big Bear
 

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Like bigbearomaha said, they will more easily make comb how they want it. Heck, they will sometimes do whatever they want even with appropriately embossed cell base foundation. A few months ago I made a nuc with four frames of small-cell foundation and one of drone foundation. I shook enough young bees that they built all the foundation into comb in a few days (all the bees I used had been raised on small-cell comb) - but they refused to make drone comb, they actually reworked the drone foundation into a weirdly bastardized kinda worker comb.
 

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They will draw it. But not with much enthusiasm. They will draw comb in foundationless frames (no foundation at all but some kind of comb guide) with more enthusiasm than anything. In other words, they do not appreciate your foundation at all, and the flat kind even less. When you dip your own, the flat kind is rather hard and brittle and difficult for them to work it.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
 

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Would the bee build out good quality comb on a flat wax foundation without a template to follow?
You don't say if you are planning on producing comb in sections, standard boxes, or what? That will affect what we recommend.

The simplest comb honey is free comb built by bees in just about any cavity and cut to size or just sold in chunks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You don't say if you are planning on producing comb in sections, standard boxes, or what? That will affect what we recommend.

The simplest comb honey is free comb built by bees in just about any cavity and cut to size or just sold in chunks.
Here is the context of the question. I have 4 packages coming in April. I have enough drawn deeps to start them all out in the spring in one drawn standard frame box. I have been doing searches on this site because I want to go as natural as possible. I plan on no chemicals and take what I get death wise.

Ideas so far (which changes the more I read this site).
SBB for sure and have three deeps for their hive and no queen excluder. What ever they store above that I will take for my use. I do not plan on reversing the deeps in the furure.

I have to buy about 10 deeps so I can put two deeps on each of the drawn out comb I place the packages in. I am just not sure what the best route is. I am a beginner. I can get either standard frames and go that route but I like the idea of letting them build what size cells they want. The fact they draw smaller comb when they do it on their own tells me the standard frames are not ideal. I would like to make the conditions for the bees as ideal as possible. Any ideas are welcome. I just was trying to save myself of second guessing and wishing I had bought different equipment later.

I plan to top out at 6-8 hives. Hobby only. I am not so concerned about honey production. I seem to get a lot of advise geared for driving the bees to produce the most honey in a season. I am fine with suggestions that will have less honey if it is better for the bees.
Hope that helps.

Thanks for all the suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry forgot to say I plan on taking honey comb from some of the hives. I was thinking about getting those supra kits and putting them on top of the deeps. I was going to do this for my honey this year so I will put off getting the extraction equipment for next year.
 

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Sounds as if you are off to a good start. You have enough drawn comb for the packages to get a good beginning. Hopefully the combs have some feed.

If you are drawing new combs, your bees should do fine in the boxes you have in mind.

Personally, I used to sell wood frames with plastic foundation at the market and people scooped the honey off, then returned them to get have them reused.

You can also go with wax foundation or empty frames, but the bees may build across in the latter case unless there are drawn frames on either side.

As for the cell size, frankly, I would not worry about it except for brood comb, and even then, not so much.

> I was thinking about getting those supra kits and putting them on top of the deeps.

I'm not familiar with them, but have made plenty of Ross Rounds.
 

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A friend of mine who also started last year, wired empty frames with a Popsicle stick guide. He used the wire to make the wax more stable. The bees did a good job drawing them out.
 

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beginnerhives, you have a good plan going, did you say you are using 3 deeps total for brood on each hive? That would be one too many for me. The standard deep frames will work fine without foundation, just use a starter strip (comb guide) of some type on each frame, are you familiar with starter strips? Just insert one foundationless frame between two drawn combs that you already have, then they will draw it out straight the first time. When each foundationless gets 3/4 of the way drawn straight, you can put in another foundationless between two drawn and repeat the process until all frames are drawn. Obviously, you will have to keep adding more deep boxes to hold all the drawn combs. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
beginnerhives, you have a good plan going, did you say you are using 3 deeps total for brood on each hive? That would be one too many for me. The standard deep frames will work fine without foundation, just use a starter strip (comb guide) of some type on each frame, are you familiar with starter strips? Just insert one foundationless frame between two drawn combs that you already have, then they will draw it out straight the first time. When each foundationless gets 3/4 of the way drawn straight, you can put in another foundationless between two drawn and repeat the process until all frames are drawn. Obviously, you will have to keep adding more deep boxes to hold all the drawn combs. Good Luck!
This year was my first year. My best hives drew out three deeps of comb plus the top deep was full of honey. I did not take the hive apart to see how far up from the bottom contained brood. I figure these 3 deeps will more than support their needs of both brood and honey. We have really bad winters up here.
I am not familiar with starter strips. Do they draw the comb all the way down to the bottom and attach it to the frame? Good thing I asked I would have put a deep full of empty frames no foundation and wondered why they did not draw. :doh: That seems like a good idea to put them inbetween drawn comb. Thanks
Will they draw the comb faster if they make the foundation themselves? Given putting the open frame between two drawn frames.
 

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>I am not familiar with starter strips. Do they draw the comb all the way down to the bottom and attach it to the frame?

Eventually.

> Good thing I asked I would have put a deep full of empty frames no foundation and wondered why they did not draw.

Oh, they would have drawn it, but you might not like where. They need a guide. I'd turn the wedge sideways instead of a starter strip...

> That seems like a good idea to put them inbetween drawn comb.

In the brood nest, it is. In the supers, it's not.

>Thanks
Will they draw the comb faster if they make the foundation themselves?

They don't make foundation. They make comb. And yes, in my observation they will build it noticably faster without foundation.

> Given putting the open frame between two drawn frames.

If you do this in the brood nest they build it even faster as they hate that space in the brood nest.
 

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>I am not familiar with starter strips. Do they draw the comb all the way down to the bottom and attach it to the frame?

Eventually.

> Good thing I asked I would have put a deep full of empty frames no foundation and wondered why they did not draw.

Oh, they would have drawn it, but you might not like where. They need a guide. I'd turn the wedge sideways instead of a starter strip...

> That seems like a good idea to put them inbetween drawn comb.

In the brood nest, it is. In the supers, it's not.

>Thanks
Will they draw the comb faster if they make the foundation themselves?

They don't make foundation. They make comb. And yes, in my observation they will build it noticably faster without foundation.

> Given putting the open frame between two drawn frames.

If you do this in the brood nest they build it even faster as they hate that space in the brood nest.
Great info, it has really helped. I have some questions?

You said turn the wedge sideways. I assume that is an extra piece that is used in holding in a wax foundation? I have not put together a wax foundation. I only have only used the plastic foundation and snaped them in the groves in the top and bottom of the wood frame. If I do not have a wedge can I take a regular plastic foundation and cut it into 1 inch strips and glue it in the top grove of the frame?

I like your suggestion about the supra. If I add a supra with 10 frames which are lacking foundation but have a starter strip of some kind the bees will draw out comb in that frame? If they will do it in the supra why not in the deeps?

I plan to start my 4 bee packages in deeps that have the comb already built. Then why not in the second deep I add frames with a stater strip of some type and let them draw it out. Will that work or will they not draw it out correctly? I am under the assumption they will draw it in the supra without comb next door but will not in the deep? Please clarify.

Lets say the bees draw out perfect comb in the supra's without a foundation. I assume that would be strong enough to withstand the force of the extractor. Is that correct.
Thanks for the help.
 

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>You said turn the wedge sideways. I assume that is an extra piece that is used in holding in a wax foundation?

Yes.

> I have not put together a wax foundation. I only have only used the plastic foundation and snaped them in the groves in the top and bottom of the wood frame. If I do not have a wedge can I take a regular plastic foundation and cut it into 1 inch strips and glue it in the top grove of the frame?

I would use popscicle sticks or cut down a paint stirring stick. But yes you could do that. I'd probably do about 3/4".

>I like your suggestion about the supra. If I add a supra with 10 frames which are lacking foundation but have a starter strip of some kind the bees will draw out comb in that frame?

When they need comb, yes. Same as foundation.

> If they will do it in the supra why not in the deeps?

They will do it anywherer.

>I plan to start my 4 bee packages in deeps that have the comb already built. Then why not in the second deep I add frames with a stater strip of some type and let them draw it out.

That will work fine. Better if you put one of the drawn comb in that box and one of the empty ones in the bottom box.

> Will that work or will they not draw it out correctly? I am under the assumption they will draw it in the supra without comb next door but will not in the deep? Please clarify.

They will draw either fine.

>Lets say the bees draw out perfect comb in the supra's without a foundation. I assume that would be strong enough to withstand the force of the extractor.

If it's attached at least a little on all sides and it's not brand new, yes it extracts fine.
 
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