I went bottomless in the bee yard last season. And I liked it. But first, here’s why. I kept noticing that my foundationless frames were being drawn out nicely on the top (of course), and the sides, but a space was always being left straight across the bottom without attaching to the bottom bar. This didn’t really bother me for any other reason than that it just seemed like a waste of space. The bottom bar just kind of “existed” there serving no real purpose (at least for me). So I decided to leave the bottom bar off of about a dozen frames to see what would happen.
The few people I mentioned my “experiment” to warned me of the impending doom to come in the form of attachments to lower frames, and in one case, possible loss of vision and death. But I soldiered on. This was the result:
I only took a picture of one frame because they all looked virtually identical. Not one attachment to a frame below. I’m not saying they will never attach it, but so far they have not. So here are a few reasons I’ll be going bottomless for the most part from here on out:
- On each frame, the bees now have about an extra inch of space to build comb downward. Multiply that by ten frames, and its like an extra frame in every box for brood or honey.
- With each bottomless frame, there are now four fewer surfaces for beetles, mites, moths, or yellow jackets to walk around on and for the bees to protect. Again, multiply that by frames in your box.
- It takes half the time to put together bottomless frames.
I can’t think of any downsides for the bees, only the beekeeper (if any). Topbar hive beekeepers have been doing it forever. If you’ve already done this in a Langstroth, or can think of any downsides to bottomless frames, please comment below.