PDA

View Full Version : Is "Plasticell" foundation 4.9 mm?



Da Yooper
02-01-2009, 09:23 AM
Good morning everyone.

This my first post and I am a true new-bee. Over the past few weeks I have done hours and hours of reading (including this forum), surfing and speaking to a few keepers (long distance). This hobby is very exciting to me and my wife and we are determined to start keeping bees this year.

We live in Menominee Michigan on 13 acres (mostly wooded with evergreens) with a pond. Menominee is in the very most south eastern part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which is located on the bay of Green Bay and only minutes from the Wisconsin border town of Marinette. To put it in perspective we are a one hour drive to the north of Green Bay, WI.

I have ordered 3 five frame "nucs" that will be available for pick up the first part of May in Germantown, WI which is a 3 hour drive. I ordered quickly because most of the sites that sell bees say to order early because there is the possibility of suppliers running out. Indian Summer Honey winters their hives in Florida and summers them in Wisconsin. I'm convinced we would get excellent "nucs" from them but am now concerned they are not "used to" the hard winters we have here.

After doing a lot more reading (especially Bush's website) I/we are second guessing our plan of attack. What he presents in his site is mostly common sense which is the way we tend to lead our lives. I'm sure there are many on this site that would debate his methods and I respect that.

We're leaning towards small cell foundation. We have considered no foundation but I am fearful of it especially first starting out. My main question for this post: Is the "Plasticell" foundation sold by Dadant "small cell" foundation (4.9 mm)? If so, is this the best way to start out? If not, what are our other options to obtain small cell operation within our hives?

Beyond that question we are now also considering using medium (10 frame) supers as our hives instead of deep. We realize we will have to cancel our existing order and are willing to make them "whole" to do so. We believe we are at a critical point and want to make the right decisions on these issues. Having interchangeable frames makes a lot of sense to us.

My secondary question for this post is then: what are our options for obtaining bees from our type of climate? I have had a hard time locating bees for sale that are from our region. There are plenty of suppliers around that order them from the south but we would like to have queens that come from a line that have endured (actually excelled) in our climate.

Sorry this is so long winded...but from reading through the forum I know you all like as much detail as possible to help out. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this and I look forward to your thoughts.

Thank you.

In His Peace,
Fred

Sundance
02-01-2009, 09:54 AM
This my first post and I am a true new-bee.

Welcome........... you've come to the right spot. There
is a wealth of information on this site. Hands down the
best bee site going.


I have ordered 3 five frame "nucs" that will be available for pick up the first part of May in Germantown, WI which is a 3 hour drive.

Ask the supplier if he/she can provide medium Nucs.
Many run 1 1/2 story colonies and will be able to help
you. As to the hardiness.......... what type of queens
come with it?? The supplier will likely have options as
well. I like Minnesota Hygenic, Russian, or NWC for
the north.



We're leaning towards small cell foundation.

That changes the equation radically. If I were in your shoes
I'd cancel the Nucs (unless they have SC) and see if they
offer package bees.

Then order HoneySuperCell fully drawn foundation. Install
the package bees directly onto it keeping them confined in
the box for a couple days. Plenty of info here on that
process. For mediums you have to cut down the HSC
and that is outlined here as well. You may want to
consider 8 frame deeps for brood??


My secondary question for this post is then: what are our options for obtaining bees from our type of climate?

Again the important part is the queen. As I said I really
like Minnesota Hygenics, Russians, and NWC in that
order. All work well in colder climates.

Good luck and have a blast.

Sundance
02-01-2009, 10:02 AM
Another option for mediums would be PermaComb
which is fully drawn but larger cell. I think it is
like 5.1mm. But there is a process of wax dipping
that reduces the cell size. M Bush has that on
his site I think.

Personall the HoneySuperCell is hard to beat though,
even cutting it down.

Barry
02-01-2009, 12:22 PM
we are now also considering using medium (10 frame) supers as our hives instead of deep.

This is perfectly fine. I made the switch to all mediums years ago and don't regret it one bit.


Having interchangeable frames makes a lot of sense to us.

I agree.


My secondary question for this post is then: what are our options for obtaining bees from our type of climate? I have had a hard time locating bees for sale that are from our region. There are plenty of suppliers around that order them from the south but we would like to have queens that come from a line that have endured (actually excelled) in our climate.

I would get bees from any place that closest resembles your climate. No matter where you get your bees, it will take some generations for them to acclimate to your area, unless you decide to always keep buying new queens from elsewhere. You should decide up front what route you plan to take regarding queens. Buy or let bees raise their own.

Welcome!

Da Yooper
02-01-2009, 04:57 PM
Ask the supplier if he/she can provide medium Nucs.
Many run 1 1/2 story colonies and will be able to help
you. As to the hardiness.......... what type of queens
come with it?? The supplier will likely have options as
well. I like Minnesota Hygenic, Russian, or NWC for
the north.

I plan on calling them tomorrow. They supply Carniolan queens and sell only nucs; no packages.

We are still wondering what to do about foundation. Should we go with small cell or not? We just want to start out right and I would appreciate any feed back on to what to start with.

Thanks for your input.

In His Peace,
Fred

Da Yooper
02-01-2009, 05:05 PM
I would get bees from any place that closest resembles your climate.

I plan on contacting a supplier in central Illinois tomorrow to see if they have any available. It's not quite the same climate as here but they do get cold there.


You should decide up front what route you plan to take regarding queens. Buy or let bees raise their own.

I'd really like to let the bees raise their own. It makes sense to me that a good strong hive that makes it through the winter here will bring forth a queen that will be of benefit. I'm really, really a newbie but that seems to make sense. Please tell me if this is reasonable:s:s:s

Thanks for your help.

Fred

Sundance
02-01-2009, 05:10 PM
I plan on calling them tomorrow. They supply Carniolan queens and sell only nucs; no packages.

NWC = New World Carniolan. This is likely what they have.
A good queen for you to start with. Gentle enough, and
will form a smaller cluster in fall.


Should we go with small cell or not?

That is a question only you can answer. If you are, then
get some small cell foundation. They can make a mess of
it as you probably already read. When you expand the Nuc
try to place the foundation between fully drawn comb.



We just want to start out right and I would appreciate any feed back on to what to start with.

Best advise, relax and have fun. Don't fret on the small
cell. You can start now, or later.

Allen Dick
02-01-2009, 05:24 PM
We're leaning towards small cell foundation. We have considered no foundation but I am fearful of it especially first starting out. My main question for this post: Is the "Plasticell" foundation sold by Dadant "small cell" foundation (4.9 mm)? If so, is this the best way to start out? If not, what are our other options to obtain small cell operation within our hives


What are your goals in keeping bees? That, more than anything else will determine your choice between the good suggestions you have received and perhaps bring out more ideas. If you truly want to go natural, forget cell size and go without foundation. Let the bees decide. Small cell is no more natural than any other dictated cell size.

Do you want honey production? Or will honey be a nuisance? If you want to make honey (and not everyone does -- I don't), do you want it for sale, for personal use, or for gifts? That will determine whether you go with comb honey or extracted, or splitting and selling nucs annually or even an observation hive.

Do you plant to stay small, or develop a sideline? Do you want to go commercial someday?

Answer these questions and the path ahead will become much cleare.

Da Yooper
02-01-2009, 05:27 PM
Best advise, relax and have fun. Don't fret on the small cell. You can start now, or later.

Great advice!!!! My wife has been telling me that a long time. We are in this for enjoyment so you are right I need to relax.... At least I'll try.

Sundance do you sell bees. Devils Lake North Dakota can't be further than a days car ride. :)

Renee is making hot wings for the game. Time to do a little relaxing. Thanks much for your help.

In His Peace,
Fred

Da Yooper
02-01-2009, 05:38 PM
Small cell is no more natural than any other dictated cell size.

Great point.


Do you want honey production? Or will honey be a nuisance? If you want to make honey (and not everyone does -- I don't), do you want it for sale, for personal use, or for gifts? That will determine whether you go with comb honey or extracted, or splitting and selling nucs annually or even an observation hive.

Good questions. We do want honey. If we get enough for ourselves that would be a good start but we would really like to give it as gifts as well. We'd also like to experiment with mead. If we have any left over from there we'd sell it.


Do you plant to stay small, or develop a sideline? Do you want to go commercial someday?

Don't know the answer to this one at this time. Who knows what could happen......

Thanks,
Fred

Allen Dick
02-01-2009, 05:53 PM
Comb honey is the easiest to produce and handle if you are starting out and are not fussy about getting perfect combs (That takes a pro, or good beginners luck). No extracting, and no panic. You just cut what you want when you want.

You can put comb chunks into special cases or wrap with plastic, or just scrape or crumble it into a bucket. People love being given a chunk of comb.

I won't go into all the options that eliminate the need to extract, but they are often discussed here and elsewhere. Of course, you can buy Ross Rounds boxes or Hogg Half Sections, but that is a bit more technical than just having normal combs drawn then scraping or cutting them.

We sold entire frames of honey on wired brood foundation and customers scraped the honey off and brought back the frame and midrib for a refund. That was popular.

As for mead, well I am drinking some right now. Can you tell? (It is fantastic, simple to make, and cheap). 12lbs of honey makes five gallons.

12 lbs honey + 75 g nutrient + good clean water to fill the pail + one pkg Lalvin EC1118 + a few weeks = Wow!



Don't know the answer to this one at this time. Who knows what could happen......


Yup. Who knows? I started with two and wound up with 4,500. Whoda guessed?

Anyhow, it does not matter much what you do now. You are bound to change your mind. Maybe not every year like many beekeepers, but probably a few times.

Barry
02-01-2009, 06:23 PM
I'd really like to let the bees raise their own. It makes sense to me that a good strong hive that makes it through the winter here will bring forth a queen that will be of benefit. I'm really, really a newbie but that seems to make sense. Please tell me if this is reasonable:s:s:s

I guess I'm a little bias, as this is what I do, but I think it's reasonable. :)

I would pick a plan that meets with your interest right now, SC vs. LC, extract vs. comb, wax foundation vs. plastic, treat vs. non-treat, nuc vs. package, etc., as Allen has said, and just get started. Things will have a way of coming into focus for you in a short time and you can adjust as you go.

Michael Bush
02-01-2009, 06:56 PM
>We're leaning towards small cell foundation. We have considered no foundation but I am fearful of it especially first starting out. My main question for this post: Is the "Plasticell" foundation sold by Dadant "small cell" foundation (4.9 mm)?

No.

>If so, is this the best way to start out? If not, what are our other options to obtain small cell operation within our hives?

If you want plastic small cell, buy the PF100s (deep) or PF120s (medium) from Mann Lake. They are 4.95mm.

>what are our options for obtaining bees from our type of climate?

If you can find a northern bee breeder you'll have bees that do well in the cold. If you can find one close you can get bees adapted to your flows as well.

>I have had a hard time locating bees for sale that are from our region.

If you buy any bees, breed your own queens without outside sources, you'll end up with bees adapted to your climate.

>There are plenty of suppliers around that order them from the south but we would like to have queens that come from a line that have endured (actually excelled) in our climate.

That is best. And the best source for them in the long run is yourself. In the shorter run, there are some northern queen breeders. Bjorn and Michael Palmer to name just a couple.