Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.
For the last six years I have been using 100% Deep Langstroth hive boxes (9 5/8"). Over a year ago I went to a New Mexico Beekeepers Association meeting and listened to Michael Bush talk about his method of beekeeping (use of 100% Medium Langstroth hive boxes, treatment free, foundationless, eight frame, etc.)
I was really interested in his recommendation of using all Medium hive boxes because I discovered that a Deep Langstroth box full of honey was very heavy (over 90 lbs).
I was also interested in his use of foundationless frames. Last year I started my first Top Bar hive and quickly came to appreciate naturally created comb.
This year I bought a table saw and began cutting down my deep Langstroth hive boxes from 9 5/8” to 6 5/8”. I purchased 6 ¼” wood frames and glued a strip of wood in the top grove and I applied hot wax to encourage the bees to build straight, uniform comb within the frame.
On April 4th I picked up a package of bees from Craig Noorlander and installed them in my newly configured medium hive.
The bees are doing great and building natural comb. I see lots of larva, nectar and pollen. In a few weeks I will get another package of bees from Megan Mahoney and install them in another Medium, foundationless box.
I would be interested in hearing from other beekeepers who are using all medium, Langstroth, foundationless hives. Here are a few photos from my new hive.
We too were lured by Mr. Bush's foundationless promise... after a season, our boxes were a mess! If you think of it as a reconfigured top bar, you'll probably be happy, but you can't extract frames like normal and you get a lot of joined frames and burr comb. We now have gone back to mostly foundation. We tend to put a few foundationless ones in each box (mostly for comb honey)- but that is about it.
If you find the magic key to making it work, please let us know- but the whole reason we run Lang is to give them back the comb, and that just didn't work out with the foundationless idea...
Seah and Josh, Thanks for sharing your experiences. Sorry to hear about the mess. Did you use foundationless medium or Deep frames? Micheal Bush says that it is difficult to extract a frame with fresh white comb. He says that it is too soft. He recommends that you extract from frames with older comb that is more rigid (Link to YouTube Video of Micheal Bush). At about the 2:50 min. mark he discusses extracting foundationless frames. Thanks again for your input.
This is my first year beekeeping. I too will be using all foundationless 8 frame medium supers. The reason I'm going with the mediums is I'm assuming that they are lighter than deeps and it will be easier on my back. For extracting honey I'm going to use the crush and strain method that top bar hive beekeepers use. But then I'm not beekeeping for the honey but for the bees.
I got my frames from Walter T. Kelley because they sell foundationless frames with a comb guide built in.