Last Spring I ordered two sets of permacomb just to try. Put them on for the spring honeyflow; wet them down with honey-b-healthy as suggested. By midseason one of them showed some activity, the other nothing. I was late extracting, did not get around to looking again until last week. The first was semi-full, the other showed some "tracks" where the bees had begun to draw a bit of comb, but nothing else.
I carried the "empty" out to a hive in the melon patch, one which had been showing results on alfalfa early in the summer and now apparently on soybeans. There were two of these hives and I had split them, making a nuc from the two. They had already filled the new frames I had given them in place of the bees I took.
I extracted yesterday; the semi-full permacomb super was the easiest uncapping I had ever done. The knife just glides up the edge of the plastic. A few low spots were opened with an ordinary table fork.
Today I took more supers to the soybean bees and had a look at the permacomb I took them last week. I had put one frame in a nuc super atop one hive, using a full frame from that nuc super to bait the permacomb. The frame in the nuc super was full and almost all capped, well drawn out past the plastic. The super with the other 8 frames and the bait frame was almost full and the bees are building the comb out as a 9-frame comb should be. I restored the bait frame to its place and put the 9th permacomb frame back in its own super.
I am just about sold on permacomb. With the price of foundation and frames, the tedium and work of assembling frames and then the attention stored wax frames demand I think permacomb may abe an economic attraction.
I'll concede that they are heavy and that they result in messy burr comb when used in medium supers, but they are perfectly square, fit into the extractor perfectly and are so well balanced that extracting them in a hand driven extractor is a snap. Once the first few turns equalize the residual honey in any one frame you can crank the extractor up as fast as you want and it stays put.
Now: Has anyone measured the depth of a super cut down to fit permacomb?
>Now: Has anyone measured the depth of a super cut down to fit permacomb?
I have cut some boxes down but I don't recomend it. Instead of bridging the gap with comb they propolize it and it makes it extremely hard to get them apart.
The main issue in the box depth is the frame spacers. If you use the plastic ones that come with the PC, they set the frames higher than the rests. If you buy the metal nine frame spacers they will set lower, almost on the rests. This changes the bottom of the frame to bottom of the box relationship to a more tolerable dimention.
The comb buildt between the frames is a bonus really. It is a quick and easy way to monitor mites in drone cells when you split the boxes. And it allows the bees to make a continious slab of comb vertically, making travel up and down easier for both the bees and the queen.
For seperating the boxes, start with prying up both ends of all the frames with the hook on the end of your tool. Once all frames are loosened pry the box apart and slide it over 3/4 of an inch and wait a few minutes for the bees to clean up the honey.
Two things that I do that makes it easier and faster for both the bees an you are:
Trim the little tabs off the bottom on the table saw before useing them. When extracting, it will make it easier to scrape and remove the brood/drone cells.
And when scraping the frames leave as much of the bridge wax on as possible. It allows them to rebuild the bridge faster making travel from lower to upper frames easier, therby making it reuseable quicker.
Buy a two inch Hackler honey punch.
I think they will connect them no matter what you do. I think it's because there is no "top bar" gap in the comb. It has been observed since CC Miller's time that thinner top bars have more burr between the boxes. So what will no top bar have?
I have not cut any boxes down, but others have and they have reported that it does not work.
I try to cut the tabs off and would recommend it, but I often don't get it done. It does make it much easier to scrape off the burr when you need to. I do try to keep it scraped off the top bars of the top box so they don't connect the "frames" too well to the lid. But I don't mess with it otherwise. I just break it apart to open and leave it on when I put it back together.
The same burr comb problem exists with the Pierco plastic frames. During a good flow, the bees will burr the frames so tightly together it's very hard to break the boxes apart.
There must be some distance of seperation between the actual comb in the frames that deters the bees from trying to connect them.
When pulling lots of supers it can get to be a real mess with honey stringing out all over the beeyard, beekeeper and equipment.
Thanks for the heads-up, Topbar. I was considering trying a few Pierco frames along with the permacomb. I destest burr comb.
And here I always thought of honey burrcomb as a good snack in the bee yard. LOL