Installing nuc with foundationless frames

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by DLMKA, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    I'm a new beek with 2, 5-frame nucs coming in April. I'm planning on using foundationless frames in the brood box (deeps) as well as in medium honey supers. I'm wondering what exactly the process would look like. The nucs are on foundation and are obviously fully drawn. Since this is a new hobby I don't have extra drawn frames. I'm thinking that I can place the frames with brood from the nuc in the center and put one, maybe 2 empty foundationless frames on either side of the brood frames and put the outer drawn frames of honey and pollen next to those then fill any remaining spaces with empty frames. That should provide a good guide for the bees to draw the empty frames. When I add the second deep I'll move the frames from the nuc to the upper box with a similar pattern. Come the following spring I can pull the original nuc frames out and replace with empty frames. Can I give a hive a full super of foundationless frames or should I put a few frames with foundation in to act as a guide and provide a ladder? Everything here make sense?
     
  2. Joseph Clemens

    Joseph Clemens New Member

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    I'm already doing what you are thinking about. I have a couple of customers who are asking for deep frame Nucs, I decided to see if I can accommodate them, so I moved several medium frame colonies into deep supers (or used expansion rims so my medium supers can fit deep frames), then I began placing deep foundationless frames between my existing medium frames of brood -- the bees have been very accommodating, so far, they have quickly built combs in the foundationless deep frames and filled them with brood. It is when you place new, foundationless frames between frames of brood that you get the best results. Eventually I will harvest the finished frames to populate the Nucs, then replace them with more empty foundationless frames, for the bees to continue the process.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    Everything here make sense?

    tecumseh:
    to us old guys likely no... which is one good reason to have a diverse crowd here that can understand and answer these kinds of questions.

    obviously I have no idea what you are doing here... or why. and that perfectly ok.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I hear you tec :lol:

    The one thing I might have noticed in the first post is that putting 2 foundationless frames between the "brood' frames and the "food" frames could be dicey. With that much open space (2 foundationless frames side by side) you may get some creative comb building. Like Joseph suggests, keep your foundationless frames between drawn frames to give the bees a guide as to the comb building.
     
  5. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    I've read not to split frames of brood so I should keep those all together in the middle and put one empty frame between the brood and full honey frames. It should look like this then after installing the nuc into the first deep

    EEHEBBBEHE

    where,
    B = brood
    H = honey
    E = empty foundationless frame

    After the first box is nearing full I'll add the second deep. I can't imagine I can just give them a box of empty frames so can I move drawn frames from the bottom box to the top or should I just give them 5 frames with foundation and 5 without and alternate them? Am I just better off as a total newb to just use foundation in everything and start switching everything over to foundationless after I have plenty of straight, drawn comb.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""Don't break up the brood nest"" is a general recommendation for all weather. You can put an empty in the center of the broodnest if there is no chance of chilling.

    I recommend newbies start with foundation and then if they want foundationless, work them in a few at a time. It will save a lot of wasted comb being cut out, along with the brood and supplies it contains. And that isn't even considering the heartache that goes along with it.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as to be expected us old guys (myself and Iddee) largely see eye to eye on this one.

    there is nothing wrong with trying other 'ways' of keeping bees. I myself do quite like to see folks show up to our bee club with some interest in alternatives to lang type hives.. it gives us all something to discuss and an opportunity to throughly discuss the positive and negative aspects of each. for someone just starting out there is likely much more expertise (local and not) on lang type hives than any other alternative form of bee keeping. for folks very new to beekeeping starting with a lang and then attempting a top bar hive after they have acquired some experience might make more sense.
     
  8. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    This is going to be in a Langstroth hive.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

    Bees have been drawing comb without foundation forever, let them decide what cell sizes should be. Just give them an outline of where "I" want the comb to be. If you're careful in making sure the hives are level they should draw comb vertically straight right into a removable frame.
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    DLMKA,
    I have been doing exactly what you are planning to do for a couple of years now.
    I started with 5 frame nucs on drawn foundation. Slowly I add foundationless deep frames and phase out old foundation frames- using the old frames for swarm traps or to start other temporary nucs with. In another year or two I will have at least 6 full hives of almost all naturally drawn comb. I believe in the same goals you have.
    BUT....you have plenty of time to grow and phase out the foundation frames. Don't hurt your brand new colonies by being in a rush to 'help' them. Your new nucs need time to adjust and get established. I suggest you do NOT place empty frames within their original 5 frame arrangement. Keep those 5 frames in the same position as they arrive in. You do not want to put a strain on your new colonies or put a big empty space between the brood and the pollen and honey. Please, no empty frames alongside the brood! The bees will be trying to keep the brood warm and they also need to keep their food stores right next to the brood nursery. They will build outwards as they need to, and the combs that now store their food will then be full of brood as the brood nest (hopefully) enlarges. They know what to do and how to expand.
    I suggest you place your 5 frames right in the middle of your new brood box, and alternate bare foundation and no-foundation frames to the outside. Even so you will need to check every week for wild comb.
    Believe me, once you get two strong hives each with a full box of 10 drawn frames, you will have plenty of opportunities to sneak in foundationless frames here and there without worry. Before you know it, you will have plenty of naturally drawn comb and almost no foundation frames left. But trying to rush the production of foundationless drawn frames by breaking up the young fragile nuc's brood area is not the best way to go. Let your bees get established for at least a month, make sure the queen is laying well, and then begin to tuck in empty frames here and there once you have more drawn foundation frames to surround the new empty frames. Keep in mind also that the bees will naturally slow down on comb building as summer wears on and by Fall there won't be much of anything you can do to force them to build more comb. Have fun!!
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    omie's the man here! did I really say that? :oops:
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    She is - my nucs are supposed to come tomorrow, I too want to go foundationless. Have a hive stand to put together in the morning. I ordered wax coated pierco (last years bees built on it - figure these will too.) and a couple of hundred edge frames for foundationless. Sounds like Omie's got the plan....

    Gypsi
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    One more detail- I've found it helps to have just a bit of support on DEEP frames if they are completely foundation-free. I just made 20 new deep frames, and they are empty in the middel except that I ran some medium wieght nylon fishing line in an 'X' shape across the frame, using the side pin holes to thread the fishing line through. I learned this trick from Don 'FatBeeMan'.
    Simple, cheap and quick, and the bees just build their comb around it. It keeps the comb from bending out on hot days if the comb is not attached along the bottom, like some natural comb is made. I do this for the deep brood frames. I don't find the medium honey frames need any support, but then I'm harvesting by the crush/strain method, or just cut/chunk honey comb, not using an extractor machine.

    Make sure your hive is level from side to side when asking your bees to build their own comb straight down from the top. Front to back hive leveling is not critical.
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    Some great posts and advice on this subject. i am old fashioned and not as adventurous as those who desire to use foundation-less frames or TBH’s but liked this discussion. I have used foundation-less frames to place in an 8 frame honey super for comb honey, but the empty frame (1 or 2) is placed off center and between 2 fully drawn frames. the bees draw this out almost to perfection and is the prettiest work I have ever seen, and rarely experience anything less. i did say 'rarely' :grin:

    DLKMA said:
    “Bees have been drawing comb without foundation forever, let them decide what cell sizes should be. Just give them an outline of where "I" want the comb to be.â€

    The cells will be larger, and as far as the “Just give them an outline of where "I" want the comb to be.â€

    well, on the "I" part.....:lol: yamaybeno!
     
  14. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    What Omie said, for sure,
    As for the first year we didn't attempt the foundationless. Time was full just getting used to all the other beginner things (and still only in our 2nd year). But we are incorporating a few foundationless somewhat successfully, because we are able to take advantage of the springtime and the nature of a new split to establish comb quite quickly... (Working out much better, now that both are laying well).
    It was suggested by a more experienced beek to run thin wire horizontally in the holes and also run a bead of was at the very top to start them out... I took some of our own wax and cut little slivers and melted them into the top groove - Gave them something to start with. It was amazing to see them work this all festooned in a beard.
    After two weeks, we had 3 thumb size pulls, a week later they had nearly pulled it to the bottom. We added a frame on each side, but they only pull one at a time. In this case, we are only adding one as they finish the previous...
    Not an expert by any means, but this is just what we did lately.
    Our mistakes...when the experienced beek checked it out, we did have the wires a bit loose and he showed us how to pull them "banjo string" tighter with a nail. and because we added too many frames at first, they could have made a mess (WE were lucky they didn't) - we are now adding one at a time in the brood chamber, for now and see how it goes... I have pics!
    P1010428.jpg the keepers hand 2.jpg P1010017.jpg P4200057.jpg P4200055.jpg

    In the rearranging, and combining we did last week, we pulled this frame to trim off the larger bottom cells. It was suggested to make 3 upside down points at the level where the worker sized cells changed to the larger cells, since it was going back into the brood chamber...it was trimmed and put back into the brood chamber of the nuc, two days ago. We will see what they do with it.
    We are looking for a natural(er) alternative, but it is A LOT! of work. I do this sitting by the TV building and stringing frames...and got the callouses to prove it:wink:
     

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  15. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Oh have no idea why to other two pics posted ???? but one shows a pollen full bee coming in with cool barrel roll landing! lol
     
  16. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I did ten foundationless deep frames for my swarm traps this year (only one caught anything). I did 3 or 4 horizontal strands of 20 lb test fishing line, then on the other side ran an x from top to bottom across. Made it very easy to tuck old comb between the lines and inspire visiting bees. The swarm I did catch was a small afterswarm in a nuc and not strong enough to fight off robbers, even with a robber screen, so I don't know what they'd have built had they made it.

    Gypsi