Albuquerque Beekeepers

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Randy Elliott

Foundationless Langstroth Hives


Foundationless Langstroth Hives

A group for those using foundationless Langstroth hives to share their experiences and knowledge.

Members: 9
Latest Activity: Mar 27, 2022

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Comment by Raymond Espinoza on October 2, 2016 at 3:51pm

Nice, excellent design improvement, minor suggestion, might want to place the feeder jars opposite the bee entrance.  I have noticed bees recognize and inspect jars when they are feed from boardman type feeders. the further their placement away from an entrance the better at least from my observation. it would also facilitate refilling by avoiding bee entrance traffic.

Comment by Rhett Renoud on October 2, 2016 at 1:43pm

Chris, I like it!  Good job!  I like this idea because it prevents yellow jackets and other robber bees from entering easily into the hive.  Keep up the good work.  Let us know how it works and what revisions you decide to make.  Thanks for showing. 

Comment by Chris on October 2, 2016 at 12:49pm

A few weeks ago, I designed and built a modified Boardman Feeder for my Langstroth hive that allows for easy feeding of newly installed packages.  I thought I would share some pictures with the community to see what everyone thinks.  I prefer to let the bees forage for their own food, but I want a convenient way to feed when necessary.

A traditional Boardman Feeder is typically made out of plastic and fits in the opening of the hive on the bottom board.  I don't like that approach because the feeder hangs precariously off the front end of the hive and it interferes with the opening.  So, I built a longer bottom board with the feeders integrated in the back and created a top entrance with a slanted top cover.  I also added some wire mesh to prevent the bees from coming out when changing the mason jar.  The bottom board and top cover are made out of melamine and the rest is made out of No. 2 pine.  I primed and painted all externally exposed surfaces.  Here are some pictures:

Comment by Rhett Renoud on April 13, 2016 at 9:31pm

Hanaa, we use 8 frame Langstroth hives and Warre hives.  We have great success with both hives, but I love the Warre.  You are welcome to visit our apiary at anytime if you want to see a few Warre hives.  We are located two hours outside of ABQ, but I promise it's worth the drive.  ;)  We're about to launch a new website.  It's not ready yet, but you can check it out here:

Comment by Randy S. on April 13, 2016 at 10:49am

I use regular med. lang frames and insert a 1/2 inch strip of wood in the top bar groove.  I paint the strip of wood with melted bees wax.  This attracts the bees to build comb on the strip or wedge.  I have had pretty good success with the bees building straight comb in my medium foundationless lang hive.  Just like a top bar hive, it is also important in a foundationless lang to go in the hive (at least once every two weeks - may every week at first) and check to see that the bees are building straight comb.  I have had to help them make a few minor corrections but overall, the bees cooperate and appear to be reading the same books I do :-).  One of my hives had a few frames with plastic foundation.  I did not like that because it makes it hard to harvest (crush and strain).  On the plus side it helps the bees keep build straight comb.  It is also nice to have a strong nectar flow.  The bees build comb quickly and attach comb to sides and bottoms of frames - which adds to durability and strength.

Comment by Rhett Renoud on April 12, 2016 at 10:28pm

Hanaa, there are several ways to answer this.  To be honest, I use foundation in the brood box and foundationless in the honey super.  You can checkerboard foundation and foundationless frames.  I have had success doing that as well.  I just don't think there is a lot to gain by doing this, especially if you plan on making splits in the future.  If you truly want to go foundationless, I think the Warre hive is your best bet.   

Comment by Rhett Renoud on June 26, 2015 at 12:48pm

Generally speaking, the queen lays where there is space.  A Russian queen can lay all over the place (this why queen excluders are sometimes used).  The bees try to store honey above the brood nest, so I'm not sure what is going on.  Are you using deep, medium, or super boxes? 

Comment by Rhett Renoud on April 1, 2015 at 11:24am

Thanks Raymond for the feedback.  I'm going to apply wax to the top bar guide of each frame to see if that will encourage the bees to build straight.  The plan is to go 100% foundationless in at least one 8 frame and one 10 frame Lang.     

Comment by Raymond Espinoza on April 1, 2015 at 10:41am

I thought I would pipe in, I have been experimenting over the last two years with foundation less deeps, I ocassionally use starter strips out of wax foundation works better than a wood starter bar, some of my colonies build them perfectly on any open frame inserted between two drawn out frames. I place a drawn out comb next to the foundationless frames, serves as a guide, so does a frame with plastic foundation. The process is time consuming especially when using 9 frames instead of 10. Since the 9 frame is nice for increased yield of honey, but it leaves incorrect bee space and the frames are not transferable in most cases to a 10 frame setup. I continue to find that cutouts and swarms in general prefer foundationless in most cases. I have seen bees build comb off wood, and metal and rarely on plastic in wild colonies, 

Comment by Rhett Renoud on April 1, 2015 at 9:26am

Do you think follower boards are needed if 4 sided frames are being used?  I would think that a follower board would only be needed if a top bar was being used with no side bars.  I'm about to switch over to foundationless, hence the questions.  Any help would be appreciated?   


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