I got into the whole foundationless “natural beekeeping” kick mostly for aesthetic reasons, not necessarily well thought out reasons. I’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.
It’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.