Just wondering what results people have gotten using those molded plastic frame/foundation pieces... obviously, it won't rot over time, but do the bees take to them well?
Bees always prefer wood and wax to plastic, but I haven't had a lot of trouble with plastic and as long as it's wax coated I have even less.
I've used rite cell (which is just foundation). I'm using PermaComb, which is fully drawn plastic foundation and frame in one peice. I am wax coating the PermaComb to get smaller cells and am having no problems with acceptance. The problem I have and the problem I have heard of with Peirco frames, is that the bees fill in the gap between one level and the next. In other words they build comb hanging down from the bottom of one frame to the top of the one below it. This isn't a huge problem but is a bit frustrating when you have to break the comb every time you inspect a frame and there is usually brood in the gap. Also, it's a common place for them to build queen cells and I often destroy one when I don't want to.
The advantages of the PermaComb far outweigh any frustration I have about this. The Perico frames wouldn't have as many advantages (not fully drawn) but you don't have to assemble frames and it has some of the same problems as the PermaComb. I think the wax coating and the skinny top and bottom bar space causes them to not leave a bee space. The PermaComb has cells all the way to the top and bottom so this effect is even more. Also PermaComb had a bigger space (5/8" of an inch which is 1/4" too much) at the bottom of the frames.
Personally, I'd recommend the PermaComb.
Michael. You just threw me a curve again.. I am always finding something new here that I don't understand.
Perma Comb. Aparently the entire frame and "wax" is plastic. All the way out. Do they make it in medium deep size? Do the bees leave it as is and therefore no drone cells? How do you uncap it to get at the honey? You mentioned "waxing" the plastic. How do you do that? Is it made deep enough for 9 frame spacing or will the bees add on to it?
Under the equipment forum there is a section that talks about the honey hackler punch for use on perma comb. I find bees like wood and wax best. But I have used 100's if not 1000's of pierco frames/ or foundations (mostly wood with pierco foundation)and find if wax coated the bees work them just fine. One thing to consider however is that if you wish to utilize small cell methods in the future (???) with full plastic frames you suddenly are stuck with these and must start from scratch. With wood you can remove the comb and add any foundation you want.
[This message has been edited by Clayton (edited July 13, 2003).]
>Perma Comb. Aparently the entire frame and "wax" is plastic. All the way out.
Yes. It is fully drawn comb. For brood the bees just cap it.
>Do they make it in medium deep size?
The only size it's made in is theoretically medium. Actually it's 1/4" short.
>Do the bees leave it as is and therefore no drone cells?
They build some drone between the boxes, but they don't mess up the plastic fully drawn cells.
>How do you uncap it to get at the honey?
The recommended method is the hacler honey punch. If you use 9 or 8 frames you can use a cold knife if you are careful not to cut the plastic.
>You mentioned "waxing" the plastic. How do you do that?
I heat the permacomb in a 200 degree oven. Then I dip it in 212 degree wax and then I shake and knock as much of the wax back out as I can. It's a lot of trouble but I end up with the equivelant of 4.95mm cells.
>Is it made deep enough for 9 frame spacing or will the bees add on to it?
Yes they do and 9 frames is recommended for supers.
I'm using the Pierco frames (all plastic w/ foundation in 1 molded piece). Nothing else. They took to it very nicely (w/ no other option, of course), but seemed a bit slow to draw out the outer frames which I think was just their timing as it is all drawn now. Pierco suggests that you can improve the bees acceptance of the plastic by spraying the frames w/ sugar water (I added honeyBHealthy). You should NOT try to mix woox / wax w/ plastic as they will prefer the wood.