Monday, April 25, 2011

The Rhode Island Apiary, New Foundationless Frames

We traveled as a family to Rhode Island, me to get the house ready for Spring, and for family to visit their relatives.  I took the opportunity to introduce some of our Russian stock to a new hive and to try out some northern stock...which wasn't yet.

These hives ended up on a flat portion of roof over the kitchen and easily accessible through a window.  You can see the activity at the front of each hive as they get acclimated.  The Italians are on the left and the Russians are on the right.  The Italians came from Beehavin Apiary in Smithfield, Rhode Island, a nuc they had imported from Florida.  Nice bees, but not as populous as our 4 lb Russian package that was already building lots of comb and laying eggs.  I put a hive top feeder on each, and an extra super as I will not be revisiting these hives until late May.  I can't wait to see their progress.  My tenants, perhaps less so.

My experiments with foundationless have been both fruitful and frustrating.  My theory that the friction of a craft stick would keep the wax strips in place by itself proved incorrect as the hive temperature rose and the wax softened.  I have now begun super-gluing the craft sticks in place.

Michael Bush has proposed an even easier method so I was keen to give it a go with these hives.  He simply takes a wedged top bar frame:
and removes the wedge piece:

and turns it 90 degrees and staples it in place:
This gives the same profile along the wax attachment point of the top bar as when craft sticks are inserted into the groove:

Get it?  Of importance in this configuration is that the hives are level side to side.

We will see upon my return if I end up with good straight comb or whether I am tearing out a bunch of frames.

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