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Transition to foundationless?


I am brand new to beekeeping. A neighbor who keeps bees found a swarm (he thinks it is feral) and offered them to me just over a week ago. I ordered my hives from beethinking and they arrived yesterday. I have 2 mediums and 2 deeps with foundationless frames. Currently, the bees are living in a single medium box with 10 foundation frames courtesy of my neighbor. I can’t really figure out how to transition the bees from his equipment to mine. He’s letting me keep the frames so I assume I can just move those to one of my mediums. Past that I am confused. Can I put an empty deep with foundationless frames on top of a filled medium with foundation frames and just assume it will all work out? Or should I use my other medium instead so that I can transfer some filled frames to lure them up? Do I need to order regular foundation frames? Am I going to have issues with cell size regression?

Any help is appreciated!

Ethan from Ohio



You have a number of options. The frames can be used interchangeably. You can put that medium box with bees on top of two of the foundationless medium boxes. You can add the empty foundationless medium boxes on top of the box with bees. Or you can add the medium on top or the bottom of the deeps. The only issue with adding foundationless boxes on top of a box full of bees is that sometimes they are inclined to build up from the bottom of the frames, thus bypassing the guide. This can lead to crooked combs. To avoid any chance of crosscomb, you can also alternate the foundation frames with the foundationless frames. This way the bees MUST build straight combs in your foundationless frames.

I wouldn’t worry about regression issues, etc.