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Author Topic: Foundationless Hive  (Read 2796 times)

Offline ME0505

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Foundationless Hive
« on: February 12, 2016, 07:28:42 pm »
Hello from Ohio, USA!

I am a "one year newbie" so please forgive me if anything I say is off base, crazy, etc....  I'm still learning. 

Having said that I am a newbie, I started last year with two hives (two deeps each) and two packages of bees.  One hive swarmed mid-summer, and limped by the rest of the year.  The other hive seemed pretty good all year.  Being new, I was afraid to open the hives up when it got cold, so I haven't been in the hives in a while.  I talked to a local beekeeper and he said it was okay to open.  As soon as we get a decent day, I'm going in.

With all that, I am pretty sure the swarmed hive is gone, just need to confirm.

I want to keep learning and trying, so I have ordered more packages for this spring.  I also have been reading "The Practical Beekeeper" and want to try Mr. Bush's approach.  I am looking at 10 frame Supers with a top entrance.  I also want to try foundationless frames so as to have natural size comb/bees.  One thing I noticed in my hives was Varroa, want to work on eliminating this occurrence...like everyone else

Going foundationless, is there anything "special" I need to know/do before I install the bees?  I know I need to put strips or some starter to keep the comb aligned in the frame.  Is there anything else, or do I just "dump them in" and let them do their thing?

Thanks for any help!
Eric


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Offline cao

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2016, 09:28:34 pm »
Welcome.  The main advise that I have for people wanting to go foundationless is the bees need a guide to build straight comb.  Starter strips are good but not foolproof.  I've had them build at a 45 degree angle across 5 foundationless frames before I caught them.  What a mess.  If you have at least one frame of drawn comb for them to use as a guide, that would be ideal.  Even one frame with foundation would help.  I would put it in the center when you install your packages.  Good luck.

Offline KPF

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2016, 09:51:56 am »
Hello from Ohio, USA!

I am a "one year newbie" so please forgive me if anything I say is off base, crazy, etc....  I'm still learning. 

Having said that I am a newbie, I started last year with two hives (two deeps each) and two packages of bees.  One hive swarmed mid-summer, and limped by the rest of the year.  The other hive seemed pretty good all year.  Being new, I was afraid to open the hives up when it got cold, so I haven't been in the hives in a while.  I talked to a local beekeeper and he said it was okay to open.  As soon as we get a decent day, I'm going in.

With all that, I am pretty sure the swarmed hive is gone, just need to confirm.

I want to keep learning and trying, so I have ordered more packages for this spring.  I also have been reading "The Practical Beekeeper" and want to try Mr. Bush's approach.  I am looking at 10 frame Supers with a top entrance.  I also want to try foundationless frames so as to have natural size comb/bees.  One thing I noticed in my hives was Varroa, want to work on eliminating this occurrence...like everyone else

Going foundationless, is there anything "special" I need to know/do before I install the bees?  I know I need to put strips or some starter to keep the comb aligned in the frame.  Is there anything else, or do I just "dump them in" and let them do their thing?

Thanks for any help!
Eric


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Eric, I'm the last person in the world to give you advice on this, since I have no experience with foundationless frames, but like you I am a 1-year newbie and I also have 50 Kelley Foundationless Frames in my garage that have yet to be used (though they will be eventually).  I also had two hives, one of which swarmed and peetered out and 1 of which absconded in early winter.  All I can tell you is reports I've heard from other members in my club, and some members find they have one hot mess in their hands when they first try foundationless. Now this may be largely due to beekeeper inexperience, and maybe you have to dive in and experience a few hot messes before you get it right, but if I were you, I'd hedge my bets. Maybe go partly foundationless (ie, put a few foundationless frames in between foundation frames) and maybe see if a local beek with experience in this area can be your mentor. You've already got Michael Bush's book, so that's a great place to start. In my opinion, which I reiterate, is an uninformed opinion of a 1-year beek, is that there is so much to learn about good beekeeping that going foundationless might be something you defer til a little later in your beekeeping career.  Then again, life is for the bold. The worst that can happen is you learn something, and that ain't so bad. Good luck!
"Sprinkles are for winners."

Offline iddee

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2016, 10:15:34 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.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Online gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2016, 01:57:43 pm »
iddee
To your point, I have seen it pointed out that starting with foundationless is easier then having a long term foundation user go foundationless due to the habit formed while working with foundation forming habits that are hard to break after doing for so long.

I plan on going foundationless first but my motivation is that I can build everthing without buying stuff.  I don't have enough experiance to say I am smart for doing this as I still haven't got bees and have had the equipment for 2 years.  I tried trapping and am still trying though I do have a nuc supposed to come in spring.

I hope it works but many times take the long road to learn what I need to know.
Cheers
gww

Offline iddee

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2016, 02:17:10 pm »
gww, there are always pros and cons. In my 40 years of beekeeping, I am convinced the pros outweigh the cons when the basics are learned first.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Online gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2016, 04:59:37 pm »
iddee
I believe you.  I also think that my last two years of trying to learn as much as I can doesn't mean much but is better then not trying.  I was lost the very few times I have looked in a hive and reading still had not prepared me for those times.  I am going to jump in and take my lumps and hope to get better. 
But, I do believe you.
gww

Offline little john

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2016, 05:14:20 pm »
As I keep trying to tell people on here - we really do need to get away from this Aristotelean EITHER/OR stuff. There are quite often much better alternatives.

There is Foundation - or more correctly: EMBOSSED Foundation.

Then there is NO Foundation: wax starter strips, popsicle sticks, wedge-shaped top bars and so on ...


But there is a third option: Plain, or Unembossed 'foundation'. These are thin, plain wax sheets which can be installed instead of the embossed foundation sold by all the beekeeping suppliers. Bees will draw those wax sheets into whatever they want (in terms of cell size), but will also draw-out those combs as flat as they would with conventional foundation.

And - if you read the following:
http://www.planbee.org.uk/uploads/Low cost Foundation _21_.pdf
you'll see that this type of 'foundation' is actually preferred by bees above either embossed foundation, or the use of starter strips.

However, there IS a downside to this - if you want to use this stuff, you'll have to make it yourself. Here's how one of the FatBeeMan's friends makes it:


 
And here's another good demonstration. These sheets are eventually cut up to make starter strips - BUT - they could just as easily be installed 'as is' as full sheets:



Hope you find this of interest ...

LJ
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2016, 10:03:57 am »
I've done that.  The bees will draw it, but they hesitate a lot.  I think because it is very tough.  If it was run through a smooth roller I think it would be more workable instead of being tough and almost brittle.  They will drawn foundationless faster in my experience.
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Offline Rurification

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2016, 09:29:17 am »
Hi, ME0505.   Welcome to the forum.   Please know that there are plenty of other beeks who started foundationless, just like you.   It's a different learning curve - but not a bad one.   The size of the box is less important than whether you are comfortable with it.   I wish I had started with 8 frame mediums.   Or all mediums.     I got sucked into the New Beek Setup Deal and got some deeps, which we are now phasing out.   

It does help to have one frame of straight comb.   You can try starter strips, or insert a thin wood skewer in from top to bottom or wire, etc.   You can even use 1 frame of foundation to get them started - you don't ever have to use it again if you don't want to.   

Enjoy your bees.  Keep asking questions.   There are a lot of us who do foundationless bees.   Usually you will get a lot of interesting opinions and then you can choose from several options what to try next. 
Robin Edmundson
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Offline Oblio13

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 10:09:22 am »
I try (and fail miserably, but I try) to keep things simple. 8-frame mediums for everything - nucs, brood chambers, supers - and foundationless frames.

The bees will often make a mess with cross-combs, combs that are three-frames-thick, etc.

When they do, I deal with them "by the box" rather than "by the frame".

To split, I'll deal a hive's boxes like a deck of cards: boxes one and three for you, boxes two and four for you.

To harvest, I'll turn a whole box upside down on a cookie sheet, cut around the perimeter, lift it off the frames, then crush-and-strain.




Offline Steampunked

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2016, 11:30:37 pm »
I started with foundationless.  I've had one frame go wonky in my now three-box-high setup - the bees squeezed an extra half-wall of comb down between two frames somehow.  The orientation is still the same way, so it's probably less of a worry for me.  I cut out the wonky frame and straightened the one under it gently on a warmish day to correct the orientation.  It's probably back to being wonky.

The conditions I am in appear to be forgiving for learning (gentle bees, strong nectar flow, quiet environment, spent a lot of time ensuring base would be perfectly level and oriented correctly), so it's almost certainly got very little to do with me.

I am only using Warre-style boxes, which means that a box is smaller - the advantage there is that if something goes odd, it's less work to correct.

I have considered unprinted sheets, or making them, but so far haven't needed them.  I expect that will probably change at some point, but for now it's been nearly effortless.  I coat popsicle sticks in wax, and affix them into a little run with more wax, so they protrude about 7mm.  The bees do draw comb very, very quickly - I've been told that they'd be even faster with foundation.

It's probably more luck than anything else, for me, but they seem to do their own thing in a fairly orderly fashion.  Because I have half-frames I can lift them easily for inspection, because they're shorter, in a Warre box, the combs don't get so heavy they break off when examined.  I never inspect once the temp gets above 30C, to avoid the wax being too sloppy/fragile, but I have literally no experience to tell me this - it's just a guess.

The wonky frame I went in when slightly warmer, so I could adjust things with my fingers.  It worked quite well, just required internal silent screaming as I'm new and the bees were walking all over my hands.  I don't have heavy gloves, so I just wear the thin latex ones.  My wonky frame had a wonky paddle pop stick  :cry:
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Offline erbs honey

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2017, 10:23:35 pm »
Hello from Ohio, USA!

I am a "one year newbie" so please forgive me if anything I say is off base, crazy, etc....  I'm still learning. 

Having said that I am a newbie, I started last year with two hives (two deeps each) and two packages of bees.  One hive swarmed mid-summer, and limped by the rest of the year.  The other hive seemed pretty good all year.  Being new, I was afraid to open the hives up when it got cold, so I haven't been in the hives in a while.  I talked to a local beekeeper and he said it was okay to open.  As soon as we get a decent day, I'm going in.

With all that, I am pretty sure the swarmed hive is gone, just need to confirm.

I want to keep learning and trying, so I have ordered more packages for this spring.  I also have been reading "The Practical Beekeeper" and want to try Mr. Bush's approach.  I am looking at 10 frame Supers with a top entrance.  I also want to try foundationless frames so as to have natural size comb/bees.  One thing I noticed in my hives was Varroa, want to work on eliminating this occurrence...like everyone else

Going foundationless, is there anything "special" I need to know/do before I install the bees?  I know I need to put strips or some starter to keep the comb aligned in the frame.  Is there anything else, or do I just "dump them in" and let them do their thing?

Thanks for any help!
Eric


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Eric, I'm the last person in the world to give you advice on this, since I have no experience with foundationless frames, but like you I am a 1-year newbie and I also have 50 Kelley Foundationless Frames in my garage that have yet to be used (though they will be eventually).  I also had two hives, one of which swarmed and peetered out and 1 of which absconded in early winter.  All I can tell you is reports I've heard from other members in my club, and some members find they have one hot mess in their hands when they first try foundationless. Now this may be largely due to beekeeper inexperience, and maybe you have to dive in and experience a few hot messes before you get it right, but if I were you, I'd hedge my bets. Maybe go partly foundationless (ie, put a few foundationless frames in between foundation frames) and maybe see if a local beek with experience in this area can be your mentor. You've already got Michael Bush's book, so that's a great place to start. In my opinion, which I reiterate, is an uninformed opinion of a 1-year beek, is that there is so much to learn about good beekeeping that going foundationless might be something you defer til a little later in your beekeeping career.  Then again, life is for the bold. The worst that can happen is you learn something, and that ain't so bad. Good luck!
making a lot of sense.  If  a newbie ends up with a bur comb mess on his hands, IMO, the newbie may be more likely to give up beekeeping, and we don't want that.  Perhaps try checkerboarding with foundation frames first.
When you come to a fork in the road.....take it.

Online gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2017, 12:44:22 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

Offline erbs honey

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2017, 02:21:23 pm »
Hello from Ohio, USA!

I am a "one year newbie" so please forgive me if anything I say is off base, crazy, etc....  I'm still learning. 

Having said that I am a newbie, I started last year with two hives (two deeps each) and two packages of bees.  One hive swarmed mid-summer, and limped by the rest of the year.  The other hive seemed pretty good all year.  Being new, I was afraid to open the hives up when it got cold, so I haven't been in the hives in a while.  I talked to a local beekeeper and he said it was okay to open.  As soon as we get a decent day, I'm going in.

With all that, I am pretty sure the swarmed hive is gone, just need to confirm.

I want to keep learning and trying, so I have ordered more packages for this spring.  I also have been reading "The Practical Beekeeper" and want to try Mr. Bush's approach.  I am looking at 10 frame Supers with a top entrance.  I also want to try foundationless frames so as to have natural size comb/bees.  One thing I noticed in my hives was Varroa, want to work on eliminating this occurrence...like everyone else

Going foundationless, is there anything "special" I need to know/do before I install the bees?  I know I need to put strips or some starter to keep the comb aligned in the frame.  Is there anything else, or do I just "dump them in" and let them do their thing?

Thanks for any help!
Eric


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Eric, I'm the last person in the world to give you advice on this, since I have no experience with foundationless frames, but like you I am a 1-year newbie and I also have 50 Kelley Foundationless Frames in my garage that have yet to be used (though they will be eventually).  I also had two hives, one of which swarmed and peetered out and 1 of which absconded in early winter.  All I can tell you is reports I've heard from other members in my club, and some members find they have one hot mess in their hands when they first try foundationless. Now this may be largely due to beekeeper inexperience, and maybe you have to dive in and experience a few hot messes before you get it right, but if I were you, I'd hedge my bets. Maybe go partly foundationless (ie, put a few foundationless frames in between foundation frames) and maybe see if a local beek with experience in this area can be your mentor. You've already got Michael Bush's book, so that's a great place to start. In my opinion, which I reiterate, is an uninformed opinion of a 1-year beek, is that there is so much to learn about good beekeeping that going foundationless might be something you defer til a little later in your beekeeping career.  Then again, life is for the bold. The worst that can happen is you learn something, and that ain't so bad. Good luck!
making a lot of sense.  If  a newbie ends up with a bur comb mess on his hands, IMO, the newbie may be more likely to give up beekeeping, and we don't want that.  Perhaps try checkerboarding with foundation frames first.
  Sorry, checkerboarding=alternating a frame with drawn foundation with a foundationless frame with drawn foundation, etc.. etc.
When you come to a fork in the road.....take it.

Online gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2017, 02:53:36 pm »
Quote
Sorry, checkerboarding=alternating a frame with drawn foundation with a foundationless frame with drawn foundation, etc.. etc.
Sort of.  You can still get bad comb putting a foundationless frame next to a foundation frame if they are storing nector.  It is much better if you wait till they are capped and then put empties between them.  You lessen the risk that they just keep drawing the foundation frame thicker and thicker in to the empty space of the foundationless frame.  In the brood nest it might work better and one thing that helps is if you have the frames pushed tight up against each other.  Put any extra space at each wall of the hive.  I did mine by just throwing the bees into an empty hive full of foundationess frames.  I can not say what would happen if you were starting a hive with the frames like  EFEFEFEF with e for foundationless and f for foundation.  I just don't know.  My view is that if you had enough foundation to fill a box, I would put all foundation in and after it was 80 to 90 percent drawn out, I would put the next box on and put a few of my best drawn frames up and put them in the middle of the new box and put empty foundationless frames where I move the ones I pulled up and also put one in the middle of the two I pulled up and then fill that box with empties and then every time you inspect, you can pick good drawn frames to slip empties between though if they are putting honey in them it works better after it is capped.

Clear as mud right?
Good luck
gww

Offline Acebird

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2017, 09:57:21 pm »
I think if I wanted to go foundationless I would start a bunch of nucs and once a week pull out capped brood and put it in the supers of my other hives.  The comb is stronger because of the cocoons and you can space them so the bees draw them deeper for honey.  I wouldn't try to get the bees to draw comb in the supers.
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Online gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2017, 10:52:20 pm »
One other plus to ace's suggestion is that bees in nucs don't feel the need to draw drone brood and so most would be worker brood. 
Cheers
gww

Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2017, 12:48:41 pm »
When I was a kid my parents used foundation. They got out of beekeeping when I was in college. When I got back into it a few years ago I went foundationless. Here are the issues that I have had. I don't recommend deeps. Especially if you are used to foundation. It is real easy to break the comb by not keeping the frame vertical. With mediums first they fill the frame quicker and when the comb is attached on all four sides it is much less likely to break out. Second because they are smaller they don't have nearly the weight to break off. I make all my own wooden ware. I find that if I cut the top bar to 7/8" wide it is a lot quicker because then I don't need to cut the notches for the end bars. As far as cross comb, for the most part I have not had an issue. I do have one box that is a mess and I plan to take it off, let the bees rob the honey and then take the comb out and give them back to the bees empty.
Just my $0.02
Eric
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Online gww

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Re: Foundationless Hive
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2017, 06:18:09 pm »
eric
Quote
I make all my own wooden ware. I find that if I cut the top bar to 7/8" wide it is a lot quicker because then I don't need to cut the notches for the end bars

I think I might try this my next time out.  I bevel my top bar to make a "V" for a guide and will have to see how that works with what you do.  Easy that works is good.
gww

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.
All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns; that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party. ---Mao Tse Tung

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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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Online 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

Offline 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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Online 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.
When you come to a fork in the road.....take it.

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.
Yvonne
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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.
I retired May 2015 and have added this to my short list of hobbies.

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 »
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

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
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 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
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

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...
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