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BjornBee
Jan 13th 2010, 08:47 AM
Here is a few tips for those going foundationless in one form or another. Some of these tips may apply to only one type foundationless system, while other tips may apply across the board.

* Consider using medium frames or what would be the equivalent of medium comb for frameless foundation system. The deeper frames/comb may have a tendency to "curve" a bit, while the mediums seem to limit this.

* Start with a starter strip is possible. This gives the basis of a pattern that bees follow better than something such as a Popsicle stick. And if you do use a stick, coat the edge with beeswax. I like to use about 1/2 inch of wax foundation, or a strip of plastic foundation cut on the table saw. I know I get better attachment this way. In cutting out wax (honeycomb), it allows you to leave the half inch to get the bees going again with little problems.

* Bees love drawing new comb on the most southern exposed side of the box. This is especially true in northern areas. So position the box so the comb will be built parallel to the southern sun. If you place the box facing east southeast, this seems to do the trick. If you place the hive where the bars/frames run north/south, the bees may start cross comb near the front of the box facing south. This is their natural way of taking advantage of the sun's warmth.

* When first starting out, check your box every few days. Correct IMMEDIATELY any problems with bent/curved comb, by cutting it out. It will only get worse if allowed to continue. Foundationless systems allow you to "start over" if needed.

*Comb spacing is very important. (Even for those using full foundation sheets), any extra space between the frames may cause burr/cross comb. Always push your frames tight together as the last thing you do before putting on the top. Most cross and bad comb can be directly related to space issues. And if you make your top bars for a TBH system, you must be very specific for bar width.

* After you have a number of brood combs drawn, rotate in and draw new comb in between them. The bee space between two brood frames is almost always correct. NEVER place foundationless (or foundation) between frames with open cells of nectar. You can however draw new comb between full frames of CAPPED comb.

* Foundationless does not mean having to give up frames. Although Warre hives, various TBH systems, and other framesless hives are popular, you can acheive the same clean, more natural comb, by simply not using foundation, but still using the frames. It is by far the simplest way of having foundationless comb.

I hope this helps.

Iddee
Jan 13th 2010, 09:57 AM
:goodpost:

I would add that wiring the frames horizontally will prevent a few fallouts, which are no fun for beek or bees. A frame turned toward the sun to see it better can easily wind up with the comb and bees on your feet. The wires will give it support.

phillybees
Jan 13th 2010, 05:42 PM
For nice straight comb - also important to make sure the hive is level.

SlickMick
Jan 24th 2010, 04:48 PM
I am using foundationless in the supers and do have an issue with comb being built bridging the shallow frames even though they have all been provided with starter strips of either foundation or timber strips. As you say it can all end up in a heck of a mess and I am reluctant to go poking my nose into the hives continuously to see if I have to do some manipulation.

I would like to go foundationless in the brood boxes but I am reluctant to do this because of my experience in the shallow supers. Any suggestions for this. I suppose I could rotate out the old frames and place new foundationless frames between a couple of capped brood frames but is there another way?

Mick

Monie
May 12th 2010, 02:14 PM
I'm going foundationless, however, I found that putting a frame of foundation between foundationless, keeps things in order until the new comb is all drawn. That's when I add another foundationless frame for working.

Hobie
May 12th 2010, 04:34 PM
I have read that, if you do find the bees building comb crosswise to your frames, you should not only cut it out, but re-orient your hive such that the frames are now aligned with the direction they built the comb. This goes along with a lot of what Bjorn said about positioning the hive.

JL_COG
May 13th 2010, 12:45 AM
"Beekeeping for All"

Much to be learned from this publication. Available in French and English. A worthwhile read, JL.

Fuzzystuff
Jun 6th 2010, 09:35 PM
I just noticed that I am getting some cross comb action going on and that my TBH are north and south. 2 weeks ago they were looking great but yesterday it was looking kind of ugly. I plan to shift them in a southeast direction. I'm in Kansas and southern sun is cookin'.

milapostol
Feb 1st 2011, 08:08 PM
We tried to go foundationless last year, but it was a mess even with the wax starter strip.

How did you get the wax strip to stay? We tried dribbling some heated wax into the groove, but the strip would still fall out. Are the popsicle sticks better?

Thanks for all these tips.

Joe
Feb 2nd 2011, 06:03 PM
We tried to go foundationless last year, but it was a mess even with the wax starter strip.

How did you get the wax strip to stay? We tried dribbling some heated wax into the groove, but the strip would still fall out. Are the popsicle sticks better?

Thanks for all these tips.

Mil,

You need more than "a dribble" of wax. Watch Linda's video on using a "wax tube fastener":

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 5472500744 (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2006702455472500744)

milapostol
Feb 3rd 2011, 09:58 PM
Joe,
Just watched the video. Linda had a lot of good tips in that video. Many thanks for that info as I've found it very helpful.

Mil :)

Iddee
Feb 3rd 2011, 10:10 PM
Linda has a great blog with tons of info on it. Spend some time on it and you'll see what I mean.

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/

Hobie
Feb 5th 2011, 07:17 AM
:goodpost:
I second that! I gleaned very useful information about comb honey and "poor man's" solar wax melters here.

Omie
Feb 5th 2011, 11:56 AM
I like Michael Bush's site too- tons of valuable info and insight.

Crofter
Jun 27th 2011, 10:25 PM
If you cross wire an empty Lang wooden frame with a starter strip on top bar will the bees build onto the cross wire and incorporate it in the comb or will they studiously avoid it?

Iddee
Jun 27th 2011, 10:28 PM
They will build right down over it and you won't even know you didn't have foundation.

Bigwig
Jul 11th 2011, 09:12 PM
Here's a post on my approach to starter strips....

http://allonehive.blogspot.com/2011/07/starter-strips-versus-foundation.html

Omie
Sep 17th 2011, 03:43 PM
I had a couple of 5 frame nucs going all summer and they kept building deep frames of comb for me about a full frame per week each- I'd just keep feeding them empties and they kept building. End of summer I just let them keep what they had. This had the added advantage of them not outgrowing their nucs and swarming. I plan to try overwintering them as nucs now. They have young queens and are now quite vigorous.
I used only a line of popsicle sticks nothing more, but next year I'll run a wire or two across in the frames for a little added strength, since in the summertime the wax can be awfully soft and heavy and it's often not much attached along the bottom- like the bees like to build it!

Crofter
Sep 23rd 2011, 04:02 PM
I used only a line of popsicle sticks nothing more, but next year I'll run a wire or two across in the frames for a little added strength, since in the summertime the wax can be awfully soft and heavy and it's often not much attached along the bottom- like the bees like to build it!

Just wondering if the bees would fasten the sides and bottom of the comb better if we put the same starter strip on sides and bottom as well as the top.

I like your idea of having some boxes of bees just making bees and drawing comb. Boxes of bees you can tinker with and not worry about affecting honey production. Nice to have those nucs overwinter and not have to spend the $200 that it costs us here to buy a nuc.

Omie
Sep 23rd 2011, 04:47 PM
Just wondering if the bees would fasten the sides and bottom of the comb better if we put the same starter strip on sides and bottom as well as the top.

That sounds like too much trouble for me. Since the frame sides come with holes already, I'm just going to run heavy fishing line once or twice horizontally in my next deep foundationless frames (with popsicle sticks glued along the top again). I have a few frames where Don (FatBeeMan) of Georgia had run fishing line in an 'X' -and the nylon line is still in there and just fine after a couple of years now. After a year brood comb tends to get a little more rigid and I'm guessing warm weather 'fallout' is not as much of an issue by then.

tecumseh
Oct 23rd 2011, 06:34 AM
Omie writes:
After a year brood comb tends to get a little more rigid and I'm guessing warm weather 'fallout' is not as much of an issue by then.

tecumseh:
the results of numerous cycles of brood make the comb leathery and less subject to collapsing. most time comb collapse is created by a combination of factors... new wax, the weight of honey and high heat. elimination any one of these three factors limits the problem significantly.

Gypsi
Feb 12th 2012, 04:38 PM
I have empty deep frames that I used paint stirrers for starters on, and I just emptied last year's super frames - I was going to use a strip of the plastic foundation for starter strip on them. (once I figure out what will cut it).

And I bought 20 lb test weight monofilament fishing line yesterday. Wondered whether to string horizontally or in an X. These frames are going in bait hives right now, swarm trapping. Guess I'll wait and hope to see a reply!

Gypsi

PerryBee
Feb 12th 2012, 05:44 PM
I haven't tried foundationles so I am hesitant to advise on how to run your line. I know there are others on the forum that will be able to help you with an answer in short order.

LetMBee
Feb 12th 2012, 09:36 PM
I have seen people use mono, but I use normal tinned wire for mine. I run 4 lines through. I don't use a starter strip, just paint the top bar with wax. It works WELL. I don't have it as a closeup, but you can see some of my frames being utilized by bees

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBUd7D7LWP8)

In my swarm traps I only use 1 frame of old brood comb so all of the others are drawn out by the swarm.
I also have a video of some of the frames being prepped (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0PKII2kt-Q).
I have only been using foundationless for 1 year, but I am a believer. I think bees should know how to make comb so I don't use foundation. I have several videos on my youtube channel covering swarm traps. I will be putting a "how to" on my blog within the next couple of weeks.

Two final things. You must make sure your swarm traps as well as your hives are level when you are using foundation-less frames or you will have a mess on your hands. I carry a bullet level with me and always check both traps and hives. I made shims out of coil stock. I make them several different thicknesses 1 fold, 2 folds, and 3 folds. You can use them to level your hives on the stand. As far as the traps, just make sure they are level where hanging or setting.

Secondly, when you take your trapped swarm to put it on a hive put a deep of foundation-less frames UNDER the deep you move your swarm trap contents into. I had major trouble trying to get the bees to build up in the foundation-less frames, but they built well when allowed to build down.

Gypsi
Jan 17th 2013, 04:29 PM
I crosswire with 20 lb test fishing line and they just start at the top and work their way down. But I use 10 frame equipment and start with 8 plasticell, 2 foundationless wood frames, the wedge type from dadant. Doesn't seem to matter whether I dribble wax on the wedge. matters whether there is sugarwater or flow. They like the foundationles better than the plasticell but they do a nice job of building both out. My hives face east, so my frames are running true east west. Except for one hive which faces south, and that one is going gang-busters compared to the rest this winter. Hives are level side to side, slight tip toward front to handle rain, etc.

Ray
Jan 30th 2013, 10:18 PM
It looks like someone needs to draw me a picture.
How are the FRAMES (not the box) oriented????
Does the top bar run from ESE to WNW? Does the foundation face ESE?

Thanks in advance.

Gypsi
Jan 30th 2013, 10:31 PM
My hives face East. As in pretty close to true east. Frames run from east to west, but I use frames with fishing line, not top bar. Lang.

Omie
Jan 31st 2013, 09:29 AM
My hives face whichever way is convenient for me, but I try to have them partially facing the sun and an open flight path.

Once you have a few hives' worth of drawn comb, it's really easy to put foundationless frames in between the fully drawn frames and they will draw nice and straight almost all the time then. I like to do that now and then whether I need to or not just to get an additional drawn frame made. Store any empty drawn frame that you remove, or use it when making nucs. Over time, you'll have more and more drawn brood frames to work with.

Nucs especially will draw comb fast in the Spring, so you can take advantage of that- keeping a spare nuc small as a 'donor' hive. If they have a good young queen, keep removing frames of drawn comb/brood about once every 10 days or so if they are on a roll, and give them a new foundationless frame to draw and lay in. you can do this several times and they'll keep building and laying. You can get 5 or 6 frames from them and boost other hives with them. By mid Summer, move them to a 10 frame box and let them grow. They were a spare nuc to begin with, so you may even combine them with another hive in the Fall, or leave them if they grow well on their own.

Isabelle
Aug 1st 2013, 08:16 PM
My hives were started foundationless. The guide used was just a small strip of cut foundation. (cut one piece into 6 strips for 6 wired deep frames). Never had any problems with comb going weird ways. The bees also incorporated the wire into the wax so no problems there.

8932

PerryBee
Aug 2nd 2013, 05:56 AM
Hello Isabelle :hi:
I see this is your first post, thanks for jumping in (and with a photo no less, it takes some of us months to figure that one out :lol:)
If you get a chance, post in the introduction forum and tell us a bit about yourself (you obviously have some experience with bees) :wink:

Isabelle
Aug 2nd 2013, 07:28 AM
OK. I put something on there about me this morn after some coffee. picture was just image insertion. hard part was looking through all my colony pictures. :eek:

hlhart2001
Aug 17th 2013, 07:04 AM
Hi there, I have an hive that is made up of 8 frame deep boxes(3 right now). I am experimenting with foundationless and it seems to be going quite well. I used wooden dowels as starter strips and did not wire the frames. I put foundationless between foundation which helped to keep things straight. Occasionally I would find a wonky piece of foundation(the bees were just being really creative;)...would either straighten or take out. As I go on I will replace the foundation with foundationless. Here are a few pics...903990409041This hive is very strong(I think they like making their own foundation:)) I plan on leaving the 3 brood boxes for the winter. We'll see how they do. Halley