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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    San Miguel, CA. USA
    Posts
    14

    Post

    About 5 weeks ago I took an old hive box I found with bees and set it up on a new bottom and with a new hive body on top w/ placticell foundation. I am hoping they will move up into the new box. I can not get the old frames out to inspect for the queen. I went a couple days ago to take a look in the hive to see how they were liking the new hive body and they are still all down in the old box completely ignoring the nice new quarters. I plan to leave it through the winter this way. shouldn't they expand up to the new box? Could this indicate a weak hive? If I can get the queen out of the old box should I try to requeen? I case its helpful, the days here are still very hot in day, sunny, dry, not a lot of forage. They are calm bees and do not get agressive(yet).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,119

    Post

    I would consider one deep box of bees a weak hive going into winter. I don't know how winter goes in your part of the country. When do you get another nectar flow? How much of that box is stores and how much is brood and how much is empty? I know you think you can't get into it (you probably can if you pry and cut a bit) but you can heft the weight and get a feel for how much stores there is. A deep (9 5/8") box full of honey will weigh 90 pounds or so.

    If the top box is empty I would take it off until spring. It's just extra space to heat and if the cluster moves up, there is nothing to eat there. They will probably not move into the new box until spring comes and they fill the bottom box with brood and honey, and then the queen may not move into the top box until the end of the next winter. Odds are HERE (in Nebraska) if you had the top box full of honey (which you wil probably get in the spring) going into winter, then the cluster would have moved into the top box to eat the stores by the next spring and you could pull the bottom box. The queen will never move into an empty box and the bees will not do anything with it unless there is a flow on or you are feeding heavily.

  3. #3
    BILLY BOB Guest

    Post

    One deep box going into winter may or may not be week. It's a common practice here in Ga. I would recomend that you try and find a local beekeeper that can give you advice on weather or not the hive will survive the winter or not in a single deep.

    I agree with Michael on finding out how much stores are in the hive. It's something that you will have to do. If the stores are low you may need to feed. The amount of stores will be the biggest factor in what you do to overwinter the hive.

    BB

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,881

    Post

    Judging from where San Miguel is, Heidi's bees probably have Eucalyptus trees for winter forage.
    My advice if there is eucalyptus forage: leave it as a single, throw the plastic combs in a debris box, and add a super of wax foundation in February.
    If there is no winter forage: throw the plastic combs in a debris box, feed thru winter if needed, add a suyper of wax foundation in February.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    South Mississippi
    Posts
    128

    Big Grin

    Odfrank

    You don't like plastic I take it. LOL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,881

    Post

    I tryed them all, except permacomb, over the last 33 years, and still use wax for my hives.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    San Miguel, CA. USA
    Posts
    14

    Post

    Thanks for the ideas. I would not say the one hive box weighs 90lbs. I picked it up to put it on a new bottom and I would say it was about 50-60lbs. Next time I go to the hive I will take off the new box and leave it off for the winter. I guess plasticell foundation is not the best. I may get some wax. I am feeding them plain sugar water,sugar and water in equal measures, is this ok?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,881

    Post

    Sixty pounds for a single brood chamber indicates it is fairly full of stores. Don't feed too much or you will make it honey bound. Don't you have eucalyptus trees around your bees ? They will start to bloom soon.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,119

    Post

    Lot's of people use plastic with good success.

    I've used everthing except Peirco (and I have a couple of frames of it, but haven't had the chance to use it). I LIKE plastic. I don't like wiring. I don't like sagging combs. I don't like warped foundation. It's probably true that bees seem to like wax a bit better, but all the complaints and problems I've seen on plastic, I've also seen on wax. I HAVEN'T seen plastic sag, warp or get torn up by the bees. I do like prewired wax ok. It still get's warped if the bees don't draw it and it gets too hot, but not as bad as unwired foundation does.

    Any foundation get's ignored when there isn't a flow on. Any foundation gets misdrawn when the spacing is wrong of when the bees get a wild hair.

    I am getting more interested in trying foundationless frames and letting the bees build what they want. But, if it was me, I wouldn't throw away the plastic.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,881

    Post

    What I have experienced:
    The plastic centered wax foundations, the bees often eat away the wax after a while, and you get areas of just exposed plastic, and I just feel that the bees don't over thrive on it.
    The plastic frames with plastic foundatons, the drawing out problem is huge, I rarely saw perfect combs, I also don't think the bees super thrive on it, the frame lugs break too easily and are not repairable. a solar melter totals the frame.

    I always ask myself in regards to bes and plants, how would I feel about it if it were me? Would I want to eat only off plastic plates, with plastic utensils? Would I want to sleep on plastic sheets? Would I want my babies sleeping in plastic cribs on plastic blankets ? Would I want to live in a plastic home ? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, plastic frames and foundation are for you.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,119

    Post

    Once you get a bare spot on DuraComb or DuraGilt the bees never rebuild it. But they do build on other kinds of plastic and repair comb on it.

    I probably won't buy anymore plastic except for the PermaComb because the only stuff availabe in small cell is from Dadant and, although i have bought some, it's very expensive.

    Also, I'm begining to think we beekeepers are causing a lot of our problems not just because of plastic, but because of the whole concept of foundation. We lead the bees to build comb in different sizes than they would naturally for their uses. But even with embossed wax this is a problem.

    The bees do always seem more willing to work wax. I don't blame them.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    I only use black Pierco frames- deeps. I use black so that light doesn't reflect around in the hive when I open it, and so I can see eggs easy. The bees, when not given an option, draw out comb well on Pierco (I'm sure they'd choose wax before plastic if given a choice). I scrape off the honey, so plastic works great for that. When brood comb gets old, I just put it in a wax moth hive that I keep around just for that reason... I have a fondness for those moths now because they spit shine those old frames for me. I pressure wash the old frames after the moths have done their work and presto, new frames.

  13. #13
    BILLY BOB Guest

    Post

    Curry,

    Now I can say, that I have found a beekeeper that has a use for wax moths!

    BB


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    San Miguel, CA. USA
    Posts
    14

    Post

    I will have to use the plasticell for now and from reading all your discussion on foudation I will try some others and see how they work. Anyway, no, there is not a lot of eucalyptus here in San Miguel. A lot of dry weeds and oak trees. The only thing I can see with blooms on it is what is called Vinegar Weed (Blue Curl). I am going to leave this old hive alone until spring. But I am thinking about taking the new boxes I have and getting them all painted and ready then buying a queen and bees from a good source and starting out with a new hive. Get to know more about bees before I try to get into an old hive which I don't know what is going on inside as far as quality of queen or brood.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Big Grin

    Personally, I've noticed no acceptance problems with Pierco, even when mixed with wax, and nothing can handle a beginners abuse like plastic.

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