I got into the whole foundationless “natural beekeeping” kick mostly for aesthetic reasons, not necessarily well thought out reasons. Iâ€™m fascinated by the behaviour of honey bees, especially how they build and organize their hives when they’re given free reign to do whatever they want on foundationless frames. But had I known that the large number of honey-hungry drones produced by foundationless colonies could result in little or no honey harvest during the first year, I would have passed on the whole thing.
Itâ€™s like spending a year and a half working and saving up to go on the fishing trip of a lifetime, and then not catching any fish once you get there. The season isn’t over yet and anything could happen (I’ll be overjoyed to get even a single medium super full of honey), but if I could go back and do it right the first time, I would follow the example of what works for beekeepers in Newfoundland (instead of trying to follow beekeepers out of California), and I would save the foundationless hives for another year after I’d already had some success with conventional hives.
Okay then. Lesson learned. But I still love the look of natural comb. That’s one of those aesthetic reasons I was talking about. I had to cut off a few strips of week-old comb from some frames yesterday — which is another story I don’t have time for now — but brothers and sisters, I love natural comb. If I can ever make foundationless hives work in the cold wet climate of St. John’s, Newfoundland, it’ll be great. I don’t know what it is, but when I look at natural comb, as opposed to comb built off plastic foundation, it inspires me.
That’s all I’ve got to say.