No Foundation Frames

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by volt, May 7, 2013.

  1. volt

    volt New Member

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    I will hopefully be adding a shallow super to my hive this weekend. I'd like to use frames without a foundation. Two questions for the pros out there. :thumbsup:

    Are the frames really empty or do you have to give the bees a guide?

    If I have a queen excluder on the box will the bees build the comb?

    Thanks!
     
  2. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    each foundationless frame needs to be placed between two fully drawn frames. Then they will build it nice and straight. many people recommend stringing an "X" of fishing line in the frame to help support the comb. A small spline of wood along the top of the frame in the foundation slot will help them get started (or a thin little strip of foundation).

    If you just put on a box or empty frames things will look pretty wild in there.

    if you have an excluder on, you might have to bait the bees up there with a couple of frames of brood or honey.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am elated (thank ya' very very much pistolpete) that someone has a bit more information and experience on this kind of thing than myself.

    I am very old school and still can not really understand why folks do this... don't really mind that you do, but just can not understand this kind of thinking.

    when I add new supers (very much with foundation) I always add these a bit ahead of adding excluders. most times this means I add a box and two weeks later add an excluder.
     
  4. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I am moving toward all foundationless. foundation so far as I can tell is an item that doubles the cost of a frame and that is supposed to keep the drawn comb in line. I don't' find that it does. the wax foundation sags and actually causes comb to be miss aligned. plastic foundation is better in the alignment. is even more expensive and has problems of it's own resulting in no comb drawn at all. I will see if I am still against foundation after I extract some frames though.
     
  5. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    I use foundation, but only a small strip in each frame as a starter. I cut deep wax foundation into ~1" strips then pinch them under the wedge bar (~1/2" exposed). Bees usually draw these nice and straight. They'll drift off the bar ends if you have too many next to each other, but this is pretty easy to correct. Once corrected, it tends to stay that way.
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Volt, look for member Riverbees' excellent thread here on using foundationless shallow supers- i think it's titled something with 'comb honey'.
    Yes you will need 'some sort' of small guide edge (i use either popsicle sticks or I just flip the wedge when making the frame). Don't put the excluder on until the bees have started drawing comb already in the super.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    my method is here in 2 threads, there is another with paul's method, but i can't find it right now:

    cut comb honey production
    making comb honey

    volt, are you using a shallow or a medium? are you using this for comb honey? i don't use entire empty frames in a box, and the frames i do use, i don't add anything to it, except a bead of bees wax to fill in the grooves. i will say as well, that if you use a full box of empty frames, you will have some wonky wax building, if not total ignoring of them. how nice do you want your comb honey/or drawn frames to look? :grin:

    placing drawn frames, not foundation, in between the empties, will achieve better results as paul said. i would not use an excluder with any frame/foundation that the bees have to draw out, until drawn. so in your case, if you decide to leave a box of frames for them to draw out, like omie said, don't use an excluder.

    additional comment*
    i would also give your girls a top entrance, don't make them take a field trip from a bottom entrance all the way up. about the drawn frames on either side of the empty, this also serves to give the bees 'ladder's to get around....they draw from the top of the frame down.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a riverbee snip..
    additional comment*
    i would also give your girls a top entrance, don't make them take a field trip from a bottom entrance all the way up. about the drawn frames on either side of the empty, this also serves to give the bees 'ladder's to get around....they draw from the top of the frame down.

    tecumseh...
    a much overlooked and undervalued but simple thing almost any beekeeper can do at little or no expense. I myself suspect that this can have a large effect of reducing swarming... likely more so than any other thing you might consider doing.​
     
  9. volt

    volt New Member

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    Thanks, I'll check out those links. Not 100% what I want but the idea of comb honey sounds appealing.

    .. How do I put in a top entrance? Where would I place it? Any special equip. to do this?
     
  10. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    A lot of inner covers have a notch that is on one end of the cover. You place it usually to the front and then place the top on it slid all the way forward so that the notch is accessible to them under the cover. If the lid was pushed back it would close it off.
    If your inner covers dont have a notch you can add it.
    There are other ways also.
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    "How do I put in a top entrance? Where would I place it? Any special equip. to do this?"

    on the inner cover. most of them come with a small notch, i think 1". i would widen this notch to no less than 3 inches. special equipment? no, what do you have? any hand tool will work fine to widen this with. where do you place the upper entrance? with the notch or notch/widened inner cover opening, to the front of your hive.
     
  12. volt

    volt New Member

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    Excellent. Flipped the lid and opened the top this morning. I'll expand the hole a few inches this weekend. There were alot of bees in the honey super so that was pretty cool to see. When I put the new super on, should I move a frame from the current super to help draw them up to it?
     
  13. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    If the boxes are both the same depth? Certainly.
     
  14. volt

    volt New Member

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    Thanks for all the help everyone. Yes, it will be the same frame size. I was going to go for a shallow but based on what I've read here keeping everything the same size just makes things easier.
     
  15. Minz

    Minz Member

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    If you are thinking of going for cut comb and looking for support use wire, not mono. The wire you cut, touch a battery charger to the opposite ends and the wire will pull right out. I don’t think anybody wants fishing line in their comb honey. Unless somebody knows how to get it out easy?
    After reading this and the other thread I am going to cut down some deep wax foundation and put starter strips into my shallow frames since I do not have enough shallow boxes.
    I cut strips of wood and made a center entrance between my deeps and supers. So far these are the best, strongest hives of any experiment so far. I will post some pictures tonight when I slow down.
    Yes keep all the same gear! I did not. I have 6 boxes of mediums without frames and 20 or 30 shallow frames without boxes and my list of mismatched homemade equipment goes on and on!
     
  16. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If you use shallow frames for making cut comb honey, you don't need foundation, wire, or fishing line- no support at all needed. People probably wouldn't really want to eat commercial wax foundation in their comb honey if they had a choice. I recommend just creating a 1/4" hanging edge like a 90degree flipped frame wedge or some popsicle sticks along the top bar for the bees to build off of. You can easily skirt that small edge when cutting the comb, and your comb honey will contain only natural fresh made comb wax and honey.
     
  17. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    what omie said, especially the wire or fishing line, this is not needed, and as i have said before, i don't use any starter strips, just a wax bead in the grooves. these girls have been building comb for eons. :grin:
     
  18. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    Hi there, I am experimenting with foundationless in my 8 frame hive(I have a 10 frame as well)...I started out with putting a foundationless frame on each end of my 1st deep...and right before I left for a week's vacation I threw all caution to the wind and because another beekeeper on the LetMeBee blog suggested to do it this way--I took the 2nd deep with all foundationless frames and put it on the bottom(with the 1st deep on top)...well I checked today and here is a picture of one of the deep end frames in the 1st deep(I checked the other end frame and they were just starting(they were festooning...very cute)...they have done a beautiful job...I peeked at the bottom deep with all the foundationless frames and they are just starting in the middle frame. I made sure the hive was level, used wooden dowels for the frame guide and no wires and they seem to be doing fine...I lifted very carefully so as not to break the wax. I would like to go foundationless in the brood chambers first. I am contemplating on whether to go foundationless in the supers only because I got a new extractor and worry about the wax breaking...but that is something for later to worry about. IMG_1658.jpg IMG_1659.jpg It looks like they are filling it with honey/pollen(these are end frames). Anyway thought I'd share.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Real nice looking!
     
  20. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    very nice looking frames, if you notice, the cells in foundationless are built a little larger than our traditional wax or plastic frames.

    "I am contemplating on whether to go foundationless in the supers only because I got a new extractor and worry about the wax breaking...but that is something for later to worry about."

    well actually hL you should be thinking about that now, if you use foundationless frames in supers that you will harvest honey from, you will not be able to place these frames in an extractor, the wax will break free and you will have a mess.