Albuquerque Beekeepers

Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.

Foundationless Langstroth Hives


Foundationless Langstroth Hives

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

Members: 24
Latest Activity: May 12, 2017

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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 Hanaa Benhalim on April 13, 2016 at 9:14pm

Thanks Rhett!  Thanks Randy!  Really appreciate the feedback, feeling less anxiety, phew!  Glad to know about your specific approaches and successes.  Randy- I'll have to give my bees required reading once they arrive :-)  Rhett- you've definitely piqued my interest in much to learn!

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 Hanaa Benhalim on April 12, 2016 at 9:42pm

Hi All!

I'm just getting started this year with my first hive.  I’ve decided on a Langstroth hive, specifically 8 frame mediums.  I decided I would go foundation-less, I prefer not to use plastic.  The Lang frames I’m using have a wedge comb guide on the top bar (from Beethinking).  So here are my questions- 1.  Since I'm starting totally fresh, so no foundation, no existing comb, am I taking a big risk that I’ll have comb issues?  2.  Should I consider alternating foundation-less frames with frames with foundation just to get started?  Maybe I'm worrying too much!  If any of you have used or are using frames from Bee thinking I would love to hear about your experiences, thanks!

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 Mary Lee Moeny on June 26, 2015 at 12:32pm

I have a question:  I am using foundationless Langstroths hives (8-frame).  Because I had them, I used leftover comb from my TBHs.  That was a partial success.  I also had a super on top (w/ comb).  The queen went to the super and used that as her brood chamber.  I switched the order of the boxes and when I checked my hive last night, the queen was in the upper box.  [Because of a fast-moving storm las night I did not complete the check of the lower chamber - it is full - honey and brood??  That is today's project.]  If the lowest chamber is full - where do I add - top?  bottom?  


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