Author Topic: frames with no foundation  (Read 4184 times)

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Offline mohawkny

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frames with no foundation
« on: December 15, 2015, 08:43:53 am »
I'm thinking of buying frames for my new supers that have no foundation.  There is a 1/4 by 1/4 guide that you coat with wax on the top bar. 

Pros, Cons
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 10:32:12 am by mohawkny »

Offline brooksbeefarm

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2015, 10:41:56 am »
I would think that you would have to put one foundation less frame between two drawn frames to get them drawn straight, or you might end up with comb drawn ever which way >:(. Of course i've never tried doing it any other way. ??? Jack

Offline tedh

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2015, 05:07:29 pm »
My buddy uses foundationless frames as much as he can.  What can I say?  He's Lazy and cheap!  Ahahahah!  Man, that was fun!

  He also places one foundationless frame between two, either drawn, or frames with foundation, to avoid cross comb.  I'm not trying to speak for my buddy, just what I've witnessed.  Ted
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Offline Riverrat

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2015, 05:48:54 pm »
Going foundationless is a challenge even for a seasoned beekeeper.  If you got a few years in with the bees I say go for it.  If your new to beekeeping save yourself from getting discouraged and start with foundation and work your way up.  I had 5 to 6 years in beekeeping before I went  foundationless. I haven't bought foundation in over 5 years and it still a  struggle  at times to get them to pull  wax straight
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2015, 08:06:30 pm »
Lazy and cheap!!??   I guess I cant argue with that!

  Issues that will arise...
   As already stated.. Cross comb.. If your OK with fixing cross comb its not so bad, but its wasted effort for the bees and you so it can get annoying.
   Deep drawn comb..   This can happen with foundation or with foundation less.. rather than build new comb in the empty frame, they draw the opposing frame deeper. Not as much of a problem in the brood area, but a big problem in honey supers. They may still pull out the outer ring wher ehtey store honey and pollen in the brood area.

   To fix cross comb, it needs to be cut out, and or re glued/waxed correctly in a frame and they will fix it up from there.
   To fix the deeper drawn comb, there is little option but to shave it back, and that can get ugly if they have honey in it already.

    When i start a "new" box that needs drawn, I use two foundation less, one with foundation, two foundation less, one with foundation, etc... and you will end up with a single on the outside wall. But it means you can use three pieces of foundation instead of ten..  If they decide to cross comb it, the mess is limited to the four frames and easier to fix. Checking every week in the spring usually means I catch it while still attaching to only the two foundation less frames.
   I have a few hives I know I can drop an entire box of foundation less frames on, and they will start it straight, and I have hives that I run every other frame because I KNOW they are going to make a mess.
   Rotating frames through your hive, and dropping in foundation less one or two at a time in the brood chamber works the best if you have the patience. Shaving/fixing a frame with brood in it, even just eggs has a tendency to put the bees into war mode, so thats something else you need to be ready for.
   It all comes down to what you consider your time and effort to be worth. If your as cheap as I am, fixing messes is less painful than buying foundation.
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Offline mohawkny

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2015, 09:16:38 am »
thanks all,  may or may not try it, will see

Offline riverbee

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2015, 06:54:57 pm »
mohawkny,
i will echo what riverrat said...............
"Going foundationless is a challenge even for a seasoned beekeeper.  If you got a few years in with the bees I say go for it.  If your new to beekeeping save yourself from getting discouraged and start with foundation and work your way up."

i am not foundationless, but do use foundtionless frames for comb honey in the supers.........good luck to you!
i keep wild things in a box..........™
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Offline efmesch

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2015, 01:59:10 am »
Foundationless building, in addition to the problems mentioned above, has the difficulty of getting the bees to build worker-sized cells.  If built in the brood nest when there is a good flow going, it's not so problematic, but in the supers, and when the nectar is coming in slowly, the bees will build drone cells.  If you want your new foundation for honey only, that's no problem.  But if you want to be able to place these new foundationless frames in the brood box for raisng workers, you can be in trouble.  Like it or not, the bees have a mind of their own and if we want to be sure to get worker cells, we have to "force them" to do it by using foundation.

They are really pretty smart---drone cells, being larger, use less wax per area of construction and so that is their preferred building size.  We have to outsmart them.

Offline Lburou

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2015, 11:24:37 am »
There are times when you will put an empty frame in the brood chamber to give overcrowded bees, heading toward a reproductive swarm, a place to work and (hopefully) delay the swarm.  You can go all foundationless (careful that the comb does not fall out of the frame while inspecting).  But, like everyone has said, there is wisdom in waiting until you've been around the calendar a few times with your bees to go all foundationless.  Foundationless frames can separate from the combs in an extractor.  Foundation (wax coated plastic) is an important part of my setups.  :-)
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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2015, 12:07:23 pm »
Fill your box with plasticell 7 or 8 frames to 3 or 2 of the foundationless with the wax coated wedge. If deep frames use 20 lb or higher fishing line or wire between the holes to help support the comb in the heat, particularly when it is full.  After the first 2 or 3 frames are built out straight you can swap out a couple of plasticells and put in more empty frames with wire/line support. I use wax coated plasticell because it is easy to see which frames are foundation and which are not.  The bees work it too

I have never installed a sheet of foundation in my almost 5 years beekeeping and I never intend to. I live in Texas, it gets hot.  The comb doesn't collapse as long as you have either fishing line or wire support. I even decap and run my full frames through a hand extractor and the comb is usable for next year unless I cut it out and harvest for comb honey. I like the fishing line best because I do a lot of comb honey without the fancy little frames for it.

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2015, 01:35:16 am »
Ef has a good point. There are ways to get worker comb, like putting foundationless frames into a newly created hive that is just getting started.. they dont WANT drones yet, they want to grow, so usually build very nice worker cells.
   In most cases, dropping a couple pieces of foundationless into an established hive will yield a couple frames of drone comb. They will make drone comb until they think they have enough. In most of my hives that averages two frames. A few hives will do as many as three frames. I mark those frames and keep them to the outside of the brood nest and they backfill them with honey during the fall flow.
   I have painful and vivid memories of lifting that FIRST piece of beautiful foundationless comb out of a hive and lifting it up to look at it..... and watching it fall off the frame and land on my boot..  WOW were the girls MAD about that!
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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2015, 02:02:45 am »
I only get excessive drone comb if  I have a queen problem. But I do need to renew my fishing line on some frames. Because it is heartbreaking if it is a frame of brood with the queen on it that starts to fall out of the frame

Offline brooksbeefarm

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2015, 09:40:46 am »
You can also learn some new dance moves when that happens. :yes: Anyway, that's what i've heard. ;D Jack

Gypsi

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2015, 11:09:30 am »
managed to keep the frame together that time but all deep foundationless without line or needing new line are now in the shed awaiting my time to restring them

Offline btg

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2015, 09:02:42 pm »
Going foundationless is a challenge even for a seasoned beekeeper.  If you got a few years in with the bees I say go for it.  If your new to beekeeping save yourself from getting discouraged and start with foundation and work your way up.  I had 5 to 6 years in beekeeping before I went  foundationless. I haven't bought foundation in over 5 years and it still a  struggle  at times to get them to pull  wax straight
It is?  I have never used foundation. My parents did when I was a kid but they have not had bees in about 20 years. I have never had comb messed up what is so hard about not using foundation?

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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2015, 09:07:06 pm »
Bees will even mess up foundation if you deal with them long enough/have enough hives. There is always one or two that refuse to follow the rules. So if you have never had foundation, or foundation less frames messed up, count your blessings, and stand by!
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Gypsi

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2015, 09:33:48 pm »
Trouble with bees - they don't read the rule-books.

Offline rookie2531

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2016, 07:01:25 pm »
I say, if you listen to people that say, wait until you have more experience, then your knowledge will grow as slow as theirs did.

Try different things and come up with what you like. What's the worst that can happen? You learn something?

Things I have done wrong... Split a first year package, twice. They all came out strong in the spring. Going foundation less on those splits. Comb looks awesome.  Grafting during season two. I made enough queens to sell nucs and give an extra queen to every nuc buyer, to say thanks for the start. Make winter quilts and use them, even though, locals say "our winters aren't cold enough for those". -20 last winter. 100% survival while hearing about their loses in the spring.

I could go on and on.... Live and try new things. You will be glad you did.

Offline brooksbeefarm

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2016, 07:22:20 pm »
Can't argue with success  :no:, that's the way we learn, But what worked one year will rarely work the next, at least it hasn't for me. Keep up the good work. Jack

Offline efmesch

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Re: frames with no foundation
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2016, 12:27:42 pm »
If I wanted to be not nice, I would say, "Heck, it's just beginner's (=rookie's) luck".  But, not only don't I want to be not nice, I admire you for what you did.  I'm sure you learned a lot of things in making those "risky" steps.  Success is a very good teacher and my "fear" is that before we realize it, you'll have to change your moniker from "rookie" to "professional".
 
Keep on making bold moves and I wish you full success every step along the way.  Just don't get disheartened when something goes wrong at some point.  We all have our mis-steps, and from them too we learn.

So long as you are not in beekeeping to make money, you can allow yourself the pleasure and the challenge of trying out ideas that others would be unwiling to attempt.  When you meet success with those bold moves, you can feel the real satisfaction of beekeeping.  I think you are justifiably basking in your successes so far.

Carry on!  :goodjob:
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