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Author Topic: Foundationless beekeeping  (Read 483 times)

Online Michael Bush

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Foundationless beekeeping
« on: March 08, 2023, 10:10:43 am »

How about no chemical contamination of the combs and natural Varroa control from natural cell size?  Details on the linked page above.

How do you go foundationless?

Bees need some kind of guide to get them to draw straight comb. Any beekeeper has seen them skip the foundation and build combs between or out from the face of the comb, so we know that sometimes they ignore those clues. But a simple clue like a beveled top bar or a strip of wax or wood or even a drawn comb on each side of an empty frame will work most of the time. You can just break out the wedge on a top bar, turn it sideways and glue and nail it on to make a guide. Or put Popsicle sticks or paint sticks in the groove. Or just cut out the old comb in a drawn wax comb and leave a row at the top or all the way around. The main thing is that there is an edge that protrudes, preferably at least 1/4". Waxing wood guides is not only not necessary but I don't recommend it. The wax you put on won't be attached as well as the bees will attach it.

     "Foundation, even composed of pure beeswax, is not intrinsically attractive to bees. Swarming bees offered the opportunity to cluster on foundation or some branch, show no preference for foundation." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor

    "...swarms hived in June would fill their hives full of nice straight worker combs, and the combs would be filled with brood during the first two weeks after hiving...nor would a swarm having a full set of combs given them, or the frames filled with foundation, be a whit better off at the end of two weeks. Mr. P.H. Elwood has noted the same thing; thus proving that the theory that it takes 20 pounds of honey to produce one pound of comb, will not hold good in cases where bees desire comb..."--G.M. Doolittle ABJ Vol 20 No 18 pg 276

    "...yet foundation is far from being a success, when compared with natural worker comb. In the first place it has sagged badly, unless built out in cool weather, and even in cool weather it sags so that the cells in the upper part of the combs measures 4 1/2 cells to the inch (5.6mm), while natural comb for brood purposes measures 5 (5.08mm); also some of this built out in cool weather, when filled with honey and sealed over, sagged so as to tear the cells apart and set the honey to running, with the mercury at 90 degrees in the shade, while not a natural comb stirred a particle. In the second place, it requires twice as much fussing and looking after, to get it built out into half-way decent combs, that it takes to get natural comb built; and thirdly, it costs more than natural comb, where you have to pay more than 50 cents per lb... I have said nothing of its use for comb honey, as I have discarded it from the boxes altogether, for the reasons that when honey is plenty and the bees are secreting wax, they simply add their wax to the foundation, never touching it to draw it out a particle. By scraping the wax off we have the foundation just as it was given to them, and nobody likes to eat such stuff. My advice would be, discard it from the boxes altogether"--G.M. Doolittle, ABJ Vol 15 No 1 pg 11
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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