Plastic Frame Experiment
If anyone is curious.
I was curious about cutting out some of the foundation out of plastic frames. I like to let the bees build their own size comb, but I like plastic frames. In my humid weather plastic does not warp. So far so good, the bees are doing a great job blending in they natural comb with the plastic ones. Hopefully the experiment will end good. The queen even expanded the brood nest - larva in last picture
How they begin
close up of flp side of above frame
Very cool. What are the other frames? Drawn? Foundation? More plastic? More plastic with holes cut in them? Just trying to get a feel for what the rest of the colony's environment is like as they do this.
This was a very well establish NUC I purchased last year from a local beekeeper. It was a 5 frame Nuc with all plastic foundation.
Below is a picture of the NUC when I moved it into a ten frame box.(late January)
From left to right. Frames 1, 2, 3- My cut out plastic frames. Frames 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Original Nuc Frames, all fully drawn out. All plastic foundation, even the wooden ones (inserts), Frames 9, 10- cut out plastic frames.
As of last weekend, the only frames that have no been touch are the outside ones (1 and 10). Frames 2 and 8 look like the 1st picture in the original post, and frame 3 is the second picture in my original post.
I was feeding them till last week, fed them about 48 ounces 1:1 sugar water. Spring in Florida is pretty much here, so they are on their own now.
Two reasons for my experiment: The wooden frames my Nuc source uses, usually warp. My original hive (2 years old) has badly warped frames.
I have to control the Small hive beetle problem or they get out of hand. Any weak colony will get them bad. I noticed that when I move Nucs to larger hives. The bees will cluster/live/work on one side of a plastic frame, and the beetles on the other side. Is a race to see who multiplies faster. With the frames cut out, the bees see the beetles, the beetles have no place to cluster in peace and their numbers are manageable.
This looks really great! I understand what you are saying about having to use plastic b/c of humidity. but one can really see here how much the bees hate plastic. They will go and try everything first before they use the plastic. I knew a guy last year that insisted on using plastic foundation (against my advice and much to my chagrin...I give them only a strip of wax and let them build their own). He called me and said, hey my bees are doing so well they already moved to the top of the upper deep. I stated this was unusual as they had only been in there for a couple of days. He put another deep on etc...soon enough he called me to come and look at them with him...when we went in to check I noticed, the girls kept moving up and up through each deep trying to get away from the plastic until they were finally in the top super and could go no higher. They had completely bipassed the plastic in the bottom two deeps and started building in the top of the 3rd box (when they finally had no other options.
They hate plastic! I really like letting them decide where they go and where they need to build paths. Great Job! It's a neat idea.
Oh absolutely!!! Given the choice they always pick natural over anything. If you notice in the last picture, they don't start drawing out on the plastic until what I cut out is used up.
I'm afraid if I cut out more plastic, the bottom bar of the frame will begin to sag. I wish the plastic was a little stiffer