wired vs unwired brood foundation

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New Bee
Feb 6, 2009
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Hi, Does anyone have any ideas about foundation wiring. I was thinking of putting in strips at the top of the brood frame and letting the bees build thier own to fill the frame. Would this work or be too weak in manipulation?
Hi Mike

I tried this a couple of years ago using Thorne's '4.9mm' foundation which is really nearer 5.1 I think. I was hoping that starter strips of smallish cell might encourage them to build small cell comb, and that that might affect Varroa. Most of the comb built was 5.1, and any effect on Varroa wasn't noticeable.

However, I still have these combs and they are perfectly serviceable. With starter strips you might have to gently bend the comb as it is being drawn to keep it flat, and another thing to watch is that you need young queens and early-season vigour otherwise the resulting comb might have a little too many drone cells in it.

best wishes

Thanks, It may be something I do just for interests sake. Mike
Try for fun but maybe not do manipulations on a warm/hot day, it's amazing how soft/saggy comb can get esp when carrying a load of brood + honey. Not light ye ken!

hi Mike,

If 4.9mm is what you are after then keep going until your bees are drawing it to a good standard, 5.1 is one of the stages the bees will build but keep at it until you have your 4.9mm. use any thing you can that isn't harmful to your bees and doesn't leave residue in your new wax to keep Varroa as low as you can as you are regressing, rotate the old wax out but leave the drone in the hive but move it to the out side frames.
i did wire with foundation-less frames but find it easier to run one of the bottom bars down the centre of the frame, i think it depends how much time you have but both work.
you can't make a conclusion about 4.9mm working/helping if you give up at the 5.1mm stage of the regression, so keep at it and best of luck.

Hi Tony

I was curious to see if I could repeat the findings of Dennis Murrell who used TBHs and found that they made a small cell nest core when allowed to build comb freely (no forced regression required).

How would we get them down to 4.9mm - do you buy foundation of that size from somewhere?

all the best

Did I read on the forum someone posting that Thornes 4.9 foundation is a bit out at times regarding cell size?

What about plastic 4.9,do Dadant sell it?