Monday, June 15, 2015
Empty Frames in Full Use
Up to this point I have only used wood frames with foundation of embossed black plastic that is wax coated. This works for a lot of beekeepers. However, some bees hate this kind, but I have been lucky so far. I eventually want to transition to wax foundation or just all natural comb - good for comb honey. So, I decided to install two empty foundationless frames, one in each box - upper & lower.
Now the results:
So, I inserted open frames that I had bought/assembled from Mann Lake. They were actually the type for adding foundation, however, I had no foundation and I'm deciding to not go that route. So, I modified them by inserted wood strips into the top groves where the foundation would normally snap into. This trick is known to encourage them to start the comb in the right direction. I also inserted them between fully drawn-out frames. This also insures they build the new comb straight. So, one week has past and this is what it looks like (two photos above). Nice fresh comb that they started building - in two "droops". The lower box was busier and they had drawn out the comb faster (right photo) than the top.
Two weeks later:
As you can see (lower two photos) they're going well! The Upper frame has brood and looks like they may be using it soon for honey. However, the lower frame is being used for raising some drones exclusively. Also, it seemed they did not want to build out comb all-the-way down to the bottom of the frame - my guess is this lower location has a lot of traffic, being near the entrance, and they wanted more space.
I think eventually I will pull some drone larvae out to inspect for mites. Mites almost exclusively infest drone cells to breed...