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Author Topic: Foundationless Hive  (Read 3076 times)

Offline agodin01

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2017, 12:26:25 am »
It's just my opinion, but when I hear a new beek saying "I want to go foundationless in 8 frame mediums, I hear:


""I want to learn to fly. I want to start as a fighter jet test pilot. Don't bother me with a Piper.""

I suggest learning the basics first, then try the peripherals.


Have you ever taken flight lessons?  How do you know what a Piper is?

Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2017, 09:41:31 am »
Have you ever taken flight lessons?  How do you know what a Piper is?
I got my private pilot certificate in June of 2001 in a SkyHawk. Since then I have flown a Piper Warrior and a Citabria. Unfortunately if got wanted us to fly he would have given us more money. I haven't flown in almost 10 years :cry: I love flying the Citabria and I have to say that learning to fly the tail dragger was a big change from the tricycle.

I can't speak for iddee. But somewhat disagree with his analogy learning to fly in an F16 verses of starting beekeeping foundation-less. If you start foundation-less you learn very quickly to keep frames vertical. If you started with foundation it takes longer to break the habit of not allowing the frame to be near horizontal. People talk about cross comb but you can have that with foundation as well. From everything I can tell, foundation is just more work installing and an unneeded expense. I went 3 years before I had any issue with cross comb. Now I have to fix it. No big deal.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2017, 05:50:59 pm »
People who act like bees don't mess up foundation are not being honest with themselves.  Bees are no more or less likely to make a mess with or without foundation if you have a comb guide.  I've seen many a new beekeeper with a mess in their hive that used wax foundation and it buckled, or plastic and the bees built fins on it and combs out from the surface.  If you keep bees, you will get messed up comb from time to time.  You should learn to deal with it.

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Offline erbs honey

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2017, 01:38:41 am »
I am still with foundationless.  I can't say it is all perfect but good enough and I am going to stick with it a while.  I would say that I did not spend much time making my hive perfectly level but they are pretty good side to side but I have them leaning at a good clip forward cause I think it helps get rid of moister plus I am a slob.  I found with the wedge that they still sometimes don't center the drawing of comb with the point of the bevel.  I had some real thick and kinda wonky honey comb and I flip them and smash them against each other or the wall and they seem to cut them back down some.  Some want to curl near the end and when they are brand new it is dangerous to move them but as they age you can get pretty rough.  I had that and then they were going off the side of the bottom of the frame and today I took my putty knife hive tool and justs smashed them back strait.
I did that once with brand new comb and the whole comb fell. I now only have 9 frames in that box but must say that I can pull frames with out killing bees and over all I am happy with the foundationless for the price.  I don't really have experiance with foundation except for a double medium that I bought and it does have the straitest foundationless comb in it when I used the drawn capped foundation frames for guides.

I don't know if it is because the bees are trained or the guide was better or both.  But I am for now ok with the pure foundationless hive.

I think if you are into perfection they could cause you heart ache but if you only care if it works good enough, it aint been too bad.  Only my first spring though with over wintered hives.
Good luck
gww
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Offline little john

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2017, 02:53:24 am »
One of the frequently heard criticisms of running foundationless is that wonky combs will invariably result.  Well, yes, it does happen from time to time, but in my experience not very often - and it's easy enough to straighten them, providing you catch 'em in the early days.
I've never bought so much as a single sheet of foundation in my life, and can see no persuasive reason to change.  Maybe there's a case for using it in honey supers (which I don't use) ... but brood frames really don't need to have foundation installed.

Two years ago in mis-season, a two-legged fox stole my remaining stock of flat-pack frames - and I only discovered this when I needed them urgently - so - it was a case of 'making-do' with whatever I could coble-up on the spur of the moment.  The solution was to make 50-60 top-bars from thin laths and some lengths of triangular-section moulding I found in the shed.  These were quickly cut to length and glued together, and I was able to chequer-board these into some congested hives on the same day.
 
Here's a shot taken yesterday of some of the resulting combs on their way to the melter, and by the time you read this, they'll have been melted down and the bars cleaned-up:



These combs are very typical, and as you can see they're not 'perfect'.  But those bars were simply inserted between foundationless frames and never touched again, other than pulling them for inspection. Sure, there's a little waving along the comb bottom edges - but I don't have much of a problem with that.

In the foregound are a couple of top bars which appear to have been unused - they're not identical, and have different widths - but that's a result of using whatever material I had available on that particular morning.

Doubt I'll ever use these top bars again, as I'm not really a top-bar person - so if anyone's passing by, drop in and you're welcome to them.
LJ
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Offline gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2017, 08:12:31 am »
little john
My biggest issue once in a while is when the bees store a big honey portion on a brood frame and they go really fat on one portion of the comb into the other frame.  I have really been hard on the bees by moving frames around all over the place and smashing them against each other and the bees then cut the comb back down on their own to get thier bee space back.  I am sure it takes them some time and maby cuts into prodution a bit but seems to work pretty good.  I get some that try and curl off the ends or the frame is not hanging strait and the bottom part of the comb is heading to a differrent frame.  These are very easy to fix if it is not too hot out and the comb has any age at all to it.  I have broke whole brood combs full of brood off a couple of times but every time it is because I was not paying attention or being rough when I should know better. 

I have about 20 foundation frames in one hive because it was the one hive I have bought.

I also have never bought foundation yet.  I think if I ever started selling a bunch of nucs or something that I would like to buy at least the frames, cause I am a slow wood worker and would not be able to keep up.  What I am doing now though while just getting more hives for myself and not haveing a lot of turn over of frames but keeping them all, then building them myself is best.
Cheers
gww

Online Acebird

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2017, 09:22:18 am »
I think the wonky factor comes from the queen.  If it is a feral queen your chances of wonky is greater.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline little john

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2017, 04:36:56 am »
Just a bit of an update on the use of vertical skewers with foundationless combs.

The weather here has been bitterly cold recently, but despite this the girls have managed to partially draw out a few frames fitted with skewers that I managed to chequer-board just prior to the start of the cold spell.

As you can see, there is less building towards the right - as there's a strip OMF (Open Mesh Floor) running along the right-hand side of the box (a 32" Long Hive), so that area will have been somewhat colder than elsewhere.
The combs themselves are dead straight, a feature I put down partly to the presence of skewers, but also to the combs on either side being straight.









The weather over here has just turned more favourable, with warm air coming up from the South, so no doubt the girls will be able to finish off building these combs in a day or two.
LJ
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Offline gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2017, 09:11:38 am »
LJ
That is pretty drawn comb.
Cheers
gww

Offline swflcpl

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2017, 04:24:00 pm »
I've done foundation less since day 1 of my first swarm and also my first cutout. Don't let anybody scare you into not doing it. It's not rocket science and it certainly doesn't require years of experience. I used 1 inch strips of wood glued into the top groove and it wasn't even the entire length of the frame. Never had one issue as long as the frames were spaced properly.


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Offline erbs honey

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2017, 01:29:47 am »
Well, good luck to you.  Bees can be very unforgiving when it comes to making wonky comb.  Things have to be just right for them.
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Offline MT Bee Girl

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2017, 11:05:37 am »
It's just my opinion, but when I hear a new beek saying "I want to go foundationless in 8 frame mediums, I hear:


""I want to learn to fly. I want to start as a fighter jet test pilot. Don't bother me with a Piper.""

I suggest learning the basics first, then try the peripherals.

HAHAHA iddee! That exacTly describes me. lol That's how I learn any new thing. I read and read and learn and learn and then dive right in and do the hardest things first. Then I go back and learn the other steps imbetween. lol I've always done that. With everything. Lol

I haven't read the rest of the thread but for myself, I'm into my third spring and started off foundationless with one hive. They built everything like they were supposed to. I made sure the hive was level and tilted forward. There was nothing to guide them except popcycle sticks. They drew beautiful new comb. I've even hand extracted fl frames with a little modification inmy extractor basket.

It's not that difficult. Just guide the bees and they'll do the rest.
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Offline Captain776

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2017, 06:31:31 am »
I have tried them all.
Full plastic foundation, waxed and sprayed with syrup, very slow to get on it.
Full waxed n wired, easy to build out, just a bit slow to start.
Foundationless, they got on this right away, built straight but 60% Drone 40% worker
Starter Strip, got right on it, building very straight, no Drone comb that I see yet.

I am using 2 compartment plastic frame feeders, one of the hives went crazy building comb from bottom of feeder down to the bottom of hive but not attached at the bottom.
That is what got me to try foundationless when I saw how fast they built of the flat bottom of the feeder, but too much Drone comb.

For me, so far, it us starterstrip.
Bought my first NUC April 7, 2016.
Like all you when you first started, I am fascinated with beginning Beekeeping and trying to learn all I can.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2017, 06:58:03 am »
Captain,
Once the bees have enough drone comb, they will stop building it. If you have all plastic or wax foundation and then give them foundation less, they need and build drone comb. If you remove the drone comb because you want worker comb, and add more foundation less, they will build more drone comb. If you leave the drone comb, they will now build worker comb.
Jim
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 11:36:40 pm by sawdstmakr »
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Offline little john

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2017, 03:42:52 am »
Jim - do you want to edit that last line ... ?   :grin:

Jim's absolutely right of course, in essentially saying that if you intend to run foundationless successfully, then you need to develop a strategy of working with the bee's natural behaviour - rather than just plonking the frames in with the expectation of them building what you would like to see drawn, as opposed to what their immediate requirements are.

There are times when bees are simply not interested in raising drones and thus won't draw drone comb - such as when a colony is only nuc-sized, or towards the end of the season when drones have been evicted.  If you want combs drawn-out at other times, then you need to adopt a similar strategy to that which Jim has just described.

I recently divided a very large colony into 3 nucleus colonies (in order to locate the queen, and remove her genetics), and gave each one a couple of empty frames to draw out.  This is what resulted - 100% worker comb (not quite finished yet, but you get the idea):



Even though each nuc still has it's resident drones and existing drone comb, they now consider themselves 'under threat', due to their abruptly diminished size ... and so they draw worker comb - because that's what they need right now - to increase their numbers of workers.
LJ
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Offline Captain776

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2017, 09:57:48 pm »
Captain,
Once the bees have enough drone comb, they will stop building it. If you have all plastic or wax foundation and then give them foundation less, they need and build drone comb. If you remove the drone comb because you want worker comb, and add more foundation less, they will build more drone comb. If you leave the drone comb, they will now build drone comb.
Jim

I haven't removed any, I support letting them manage the population, they know more about it than I ever will

Thanks
Bruce
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Like all you when you first started, I am fascinated with beginning Beekeeping and trying to learn all I can.
I retired May 2015 and have added this to my short list of hobbies.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2017, 11:40:25 pm »
Thanks LJ, I corrected it.
It took a while. I went to correct it but I couldn't. I also could not answer any other threads, write new threads nor send PM's. I just now turned cookies back on and it is now working.
Jim
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Offline Captain776

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2017, 07:19:52 am »
WOW-----Nice to know I am not the only one

HAHAHA iddee! That exacTly describes me. lol That's how I learn any new thing. I read and read and learn and learn and then dive right in and do the hardest things first. Then I go back and learn the other steps imbetween. lol I've always done that. With everything. Lol

Bought my first NUC April 7, 2016.
Like all you when you first started, I am fascinated with beginning Beekeeping and trying to learn all I can.
I retired May 2015 and have added this to my short list of hobbies.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2017, 10:09:30 am »
Right now the bees are drawing fins and parallel half combs on my plastic foundation and perfect combs in my foundationless frames...  I think I'm going to have to coat the plastic...
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
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Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #39 on: August 24, 2017, 01:45:41 pm »
There is definitely a learning curve to foundationless but not that big. Foundation might have it's place to give a queen an immediate place to lay to build of a colony quickly. If I ever get a big enough operation where that is an issue I might try it but until then foundation is just more work.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 03:27:04 pm by Eric Bosworth »
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