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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Question

    Michael,
    I am going into winter with only (at best) 10 small cell frames drawn. I would like to get a jump on regressing.
    Golden rod is blooming and I don't mind feeding honey to the bees, is it too late to try the wax coated PermaComb method?

    How do I coat the plastic? I don't have enough wax for dipping, I am sure.

    WayaCoyote


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    952

    Post

    There was a huge 15 page thread (sometime last year I think) about permacomb including wax coating it to get the cells a little smaller. It sounded like a tedious messy process. I think someone measured the uncoated cells at 5.1mm. I wonder if you could use uncoated PC as a tool for regression if you didn't intend to leave it in the hive -- it's very expensive. I thought it might work something like this:

    1. Put a QE on top of your large cell brood boxes and 2 supers of PC on top of that. Move the queen into the PC -- maybe spray it with syrup/HBH for better acceptance.

    2. Wait 6 weeks. 3 weeks to let all the large cell bees emerge from the lower brood boxes and 3 more weeks to let all the large cell bees get beyond prime comb building age.

    3. Put the 2 PC supers of brood on the bottom board with a QE on top. Then put a super with 4.9 foundation on top of the QE. Move the queen above the QE and on to the foundation. Presumably only the bees that emerged from the 5.1 PC will draw out the 4.9 foundation.

    4. Add another super of 4.9 foundation as required. Remove the 2 PC supers after 3 weeks after all the brood has emerged. Take these supers to the next hive you want to regress.

    This process makes a couple of assumptions:

    1. PC is indeed 5.1mm.
    2. Queens will lay in uncoated PC.
    3. Bees that emerge from the 5.1 PC will readily draw out 4.9 foundation correctly.
    4. The older large cell bees won't significantly contribute to the small cell comb building.

    If it worked, it would save a lot of comb culling and stressful shakedowns. But you may have to feed constantly to keep up brood building and wax production.

    Would it work?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    >This process makes a couple of assumptions:

    >1. PC is indeed 5.1mm.

    By all of our measurements, it is.

    >2. Queens will lay in uncoated PC.

    Having 99% of my sixty hives entirely PC, I can attest that she will lay in uncoated PC. Hives that are 100% PC do much better than those hives that are mixed with wax.



    [This message has been edited by BULLSEYE BILL (edited September 17, 2004).]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    The problem with measuring the PermaComb is the differences in the thickness of the walls has to be taken into account.

    The way I measured was to take the measurement across ten cells of PC. Then I took the measurement of the thickness of ten cell walls on the PC and averaged them. Then I measured the thickness of ten natural cell walls and averaged them.

    I subtracted ten times the thickness of the PermaComb walls from the measurement across ten cells of PermaComb and added ten times the average thickness of a natural cell wall to come up with the "equivelant" to measuring across 10 cells of comb with natural cell wals. In other words, I accounted for the differences in wall thickenss to come up with an equivelant kind of measurement for the cell size of PermaComb. I don't have all of those measurments in front of me at the moment, but the result was 5.1mm.

    I have posted this several times before. The problem I had coating the insides of the cells with wax is if the PermaComb is cold and the was is hot the wax clumps up on the PermaComb and makes a mess. I had to heat the PermaComb to 200 degrees and THEN dip it in the wax. The next problem is getting the wax all the way into every cell. You have to wait a bit for the air to all bubble out and sometimes swish it around a bit. Then the next problem is getting the wax OUT of the cells so they are just coated and not full of wax. This reqires a lot of shaking, banging etc. But here's a step by step method:

    Wax coating PermaComb

    Here’s what I have for equipment to do this and where I do it. I have an old gas stove with an oven set up outside. I have a table next to that with a “turkey roaster” pan. The pan is thermostatically controlled and has a double boiler/steam table kind of arrangement. Meaning it has a roaster pan inside of the roaster. I can put water in the outside part and a little water in the inside roaster with the wax. This keeps the wax from getting too hot. I set the thermostat to about 250 degrees F which boils the water which keeps the wax about 212 degrees F. I have some rubber dishwashing gloves and a frame grip. I set the oven, using an oven thermometer, so that it is about 200 to 210 degrees F. I put a piece of cardboard on the rack (with a fold so it runs up the back of the oven) and put PermaComb in the oven. If you want something as feedback until you get the hang of it, you can put a small piece of wax in one of the cells of the front PermaComb so you can look and check if it has melted yet. When the PermaComb gets up to temp (about 20 to 30 minutes) and the wax is up to temp (the wax is melted and the water in it is bubbling a bit) you pull one comb and dip it. My pan isn’t quite deep enough and I have to lay on one side and wait for the bubbles to stop, then the other side and wait for the bubbles to stop, and then because the pan isn’t quite long enough, I have to put the opposite end in and repeat the process. Now that every cell is full of wax, I have to shake as much of the wax back out as I can. I start by holding it upside down with the frame grip and shaking it over the pan. Then I shake it horizontally to shake one side out more and then flip it and shake the other side out more. Then I hit the top of it on the table several times to knock some more wax out and then I move to a spot beside that spot and slam it flat ways a few times on each side. Then I put the comb in a Langstroth box upside down on the frame rests so it can drain more if it will. Then I do the next comb. After a few combs I go back to the first few combs in the rack and hit them a couple of more times to knock out some more wax and then I put them in a regular box right side up.
    I know this sounds complicated, and it is a bit. But mostly it is very messy and very hot. You will have wax all over your clothes and your shoes. The concept is that the comb needs to be hot enough to melt wax so that the wax won’t clump up in the cells. The wax should be hot enough to run well, but not too hot so it doesn’t melt the PermaComb. PermaComb melts at temps over 220 degrees F. Then you get all of the insides of the cells coated and then you try to get all of the excess off so it doesn’t make clumps and drips and fill up the bottoms of the cells.

    I would like to have a system where I could dip 18 at a time and put them in an extractor to get the wax out. But then you have to heat the extractor so the wax doesn't build up on the walls.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    johnston city ill usa
    Posts
    79

    Post

    Michael; how much wax do you start with in the broiler (pounds)? Ron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    I have no idea. I fill up the water in the double boiler section. I put a small amount of water in with the wax and I add chunks of wax as it melts until it's almost full, leaving enough space that it doesn't overflow when I dip the PermaComb. If I have dark wax it works nicer because I can tell if I missed any spots and how thick and even the wax is. If I have white wax with no color I'll add some Beta Carotene (which is the source of the yellow color in the pollen, carrots, corn and egg yolks, which is an oil soluable natural coloring) to make the wax more yellow so I can see it. I buy the Beta Carotene at the drug store or Health food store.

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