After spending several hours cleaning comb (plus wax moth webs) out of frames for two supers, I have to ask the question... What do commercial beekeepers do? Do they clean out old comb and reuse the frames? With as time consuming as this is, I can't imagine justifying the time it would take to do a comercial quantity. Even if you melt the wax off, it would still take a long time! Or do most commercial people just replace frames and foundation at the same time?
I can't say what "most" do, since I haven't taken any scientific poll. I can say that some people clean them up, usually by boiling them off and then cleaning them up, and some just start over with new frames.
It's more or less work depending on if they are plastic or wired and how full of moth webs they are. Plastic is easy to boil off and start over (when it's embossed plastic) The duragilt and duracomb is easy to just rip out and replace it, although I have problems with split bottom bars breaking when I pry them apart. The wires are the hard part to me. When you have wired foundation it's difficult to get it out without getting cut on the wires. Also, things like how much wax moths are in the wax etc. determine if it's worth salvaging the wax.
You just have to figure how much money and time it's taking you in your particular circumstances to decide which is worth doing.
Many commercial operations are going to Pierco frames/foundation. This is one piece, may need occasional touch up scraping, but no extensive labor. There is no assembly to do. Others go with the wooden frame and add Plastic foundation, Pierco, Permadent, or Plasticell.
Depends. Some commerical people clean recycle frames as the don't waste anything. Others just replace. I find cleaning plastic foundation to be hard to scrape down on brood combs and just tires me out after a few hrs. I now no longer use plastic foundation at all but wired frames with wax (converted to 4.9mm cell sizing). I process combs in 15 gallon barrel w/ immersion heater set at 200 deg. F. Combs are tossed in and wax and all renders out in just a few minutes including a flip of the frames. So you can do a deep supers in at most 20 minutes a little more if you scrape the frame down while wax is still warm. I then use a wire crimper to re-tighten the wires (no rewiring here), clean the grooves and frames are ready again.
>I then use a wire crimper to re-tighten the wires (no rewiring here), clean the grooves and frames are ready again.
So you put the foundation on one side and embedd all the wires from the other side? The wires are part of what frustrates me because it seems like I need to remove them. Maybe I don't need to.
So you put the foundation on one side and embedd all the wires from the other side?
Yes. Unless I use X pattern which foundation goes in the middle and embed from each side by flipping frame but don't set up frames to much like this anymore. Also I use wedge top and the wedge pushes the foundation towards wires. When embedding I have wax on top of wires doing one wire at a time (get better seating)and use my pinkies to press wax into wire from center out to control depth. Its all a very quick fluid motion that goes very fast for me after lots of practice :> ) .
The wires are part of what frustrates me because it seems like I need to remove them. Maybe I don't need to.
Well with this method no need to remove wires. Saves all that time rewiring. You just recrimp with crimpers that cost around $10. Thats pretty cheap to save all that work re-wiring (especially on 100 or 1000's of frames). I get 15 gallon barrels (plastic) free from dairies which were used as a teat dip or metal ones from car garages (but need heavy cleaning). Most expensive part is immersion heater, but could use hot water tank heater. Once set up you can roll pretty quick. Must be done outside though as it can be messy when working fast. Some use foil bubble wrap insulation around barrel but I don't at this point but I should.