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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    I've got a shed full of frames that need to be scraped and cleaned of wax moth detritus. Some of the foundation is salvagable, some isn't. I'm so tired of cleaning frames that have been slammed by wax moths, I'm thinking about switching over to Permacomb. I searched out "pros and cons" in this department and started reading the January 3, 2003, 15-page (!) thread entitled, "Permacomb." There are a lot of interesting points brought up, but here we are two years later. Most of those initial statements were speculation, and I'm wondering if anybody now has any experienced, definitive advice as to whether I should make the switch.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,734

    Post

    I tried a couple of supers of PC for the first time last year. Overall I like it, but I'm not sure that I'll fully convert to it. The cons as far as I'm concerned are: 1) bees are very reluctant to start using it (particularly if they have conventional foundation to use). 2) I've found that it has a tendency to warp if the end bar spacing in not adequate (keep frame rests clean!). 3) if you don't use the provided spacers it’s a pain to get the correct spacing between frames (easily avoided using the supplied spacers). 4) harder to extract (hackler honey punch a must) since bees don't always draw comb past plastic cells.

    Pros: 1) impervious to SHB larva and wax moth damage. 2) once accepted by bees, you'll always have drawn comb. 3) its just darn cool...just wish it was cheaper.

    Hope this helps.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159
    Astrobee was right on with every point he made. What it really boils down to is your particular style of beekeeping. Every different type of equipment requires a little tweek in the way you handle your bees and PC is no different.

    If you can adapt to the points he made, you will love it. If not you will rue the day you bought it.

    Start a package or swarm out on it and they take off like gangbusters. Add it to a wax and wood hive and they are reluctant, spraying with sugar syrup and HBH helps acceptance.

    Keeping the end bars clean will eliminate warping. If they do warp, stacking them in the sun or oven at 200 with a couple of bricks flatens them back out.

    Extracting is a breeze IF you use the honey punch, as Astro said, it's a must, buy the 2 inch model. You will never blow out a PC, and extraction time is faster as the speed can be twisted WAY up.

    Yeah the cost sucks, but my time is money, and I can make more money in the time it takes to make up a frame than buying a frame of PC, and I only have to do it once. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Cool

    1. I tried 10 supers of PC last spring (before the main flow started). Each PC comb was dipped in a sugar-syrup + HBH mix. The supers were put on strong clonies. I did everything I could to get the bees to use it. To this day only the center 4 or 5 combs are being used by the bees for storage and/or brood.

    2. My experience is that the bees will fill up the brood nest with honey and pollen before they are forced to use the PC. So, if you go with PC it might be best to use ALL PC and not give the bees any wax combs.

    3. My extractor is a hand crank model - PC is very heavy and hard on the equipment including the power source (me!). I don't believe a frame of PC holds as much honey as a equal sized frame of wax.

    4. PC is impervious to wax moths, etc. On the other hand, a light spraying of CERTAN on frames is also very effective against the moths.

    I plan on using the PC that I have to make up hives with nothing but PC for brood only and using feral swarms to populate. Most likely I'll need a queen includer for a few days to keep them from absconding, but hopefully they will do well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    I use a lot of it but I wax coat it to get small cell. I'm sure that also is why I have no acceptance problems. I like it a lot, but it does take some getting used to. You get rid of a lot of problems and you get a few new ones. You have to adjust your style of management, like any other change in the way you keep bees, or you'll hate it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    Tia, can I ask what perhaps is causing the loss of comb to wax moths. Its hard to pinpoint but there are perhaps management practices being missed or something else. And believe me I lost alot of comb, I'm not saying anything bad about you, we all have that problem, but is yours maybe more than average?

    Comb is sometimes called the most valuable item to a beekeeper. Whether you use crystals or not, or some other moth deterrant, there are many tricks of the trade to keep your comb protected. Can you say what you have done in the past ot what you like and are opposed too?

    There is a spray that you can use on comb and it protects it from damage. I know MB passed the name on several times. (It elludes me at the moment.) I will also get you the name of the same type treatment (alot cheaper)that is sold in some garden centers. A beekeeper has told me where to buy it and what the name is but I have not been to the store yet. I'll check it out this weekend.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    The brand name of the product sold for bees is Certan.

    Here's the link, but Davaid Eyre (the proprioter) had gone to England for a while and may not respond right away.
    http://www.beeworks.com/uspage5.asp

    The active ingredient is a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis. This bacteria is also sold in the US for control of mosquito larvae and some other pests. I don't know how effective the strains sold for those purposes are on wax moths. Hopefully Bjorn will keep us all posted as to it's effectiveness for preserving comb.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    MB, Thats the stuff. He mentioned the full name several times, and during the conversation he kept referring it as "BT". He has used it for years and is very heavy into the organic gardening and nature things. He was introdueced to it years ago and says that the stuff in the gardening centers is just as good as anything he could buy from antwhere else.

    I will let you know about effectiveness. Hopefully the strain and concentration is as good.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    tulsa, ok usa
    Posts
    2,264

    Post

    Regarding BT you need to get the correct variety. There are two easily obtainable varieties and they are Kurstaki ,and Israelensis. For wax moths you need aizawai.


    There are different strains of B.t., each with specific toxicity to particular types of insects: B.t. aizawai (B.t.a.) is used against wax moth larvae in honeycombs; B.t. israelensis (B.t.i.) is effective against mosquitoes, blackflies and some midges; B.t. kurstaki (B.t.k.) controls various types of lepidopterous insects, including the gypsy moth and cabbage looper. A new strain, B.t. san diego, has been found to be effective against certain beetle species and the boll weevil. Source: (http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles...an/bt-ext.html)

    I have found only one other B.t.a. product and it is also mixed with B.t.k. but it is only sold in bulk. The kurstaki strain is found in DIPEL and “CATERPILLAR KILLER” by Safer Brand and it does have a petroleum product in it.


    [This message has been edited by magnet-man (edited November 23, 2004).]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    I bought two supers and I hate it. It's heavy, It's the wrong size resulting in much burr comb, It won't space without a spacer; then you can't scrape the frame rest. The bees will work anything else before using it. I started a package on one super of PC and one of foundation. They ignored the PC and moved up to the foundation and drew it out. It's tough to extract. Suggest you solve the wax moth problem.

    dickm


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    Jeez, you guys are sooooo helpful! Thanks for all the info. I try to keep things with my bees as simple as possible and I've been fighting putting plastic in my hives. The permacomb was a thought I had after all of this year's disasters, but I'm sure this year was the exception to the rule, so I think I'm going to stick with good ole crimp wire. I don't even know what a honey punch is(?) Bjornbee, I don't normally have a problem with wax moths, but if you look at my posts over the past few months, this was just a bad, bad year. I learned a lot (this is only my second year). I won't make the same stupid mistakes again next year, and things will get better.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Wink

    Tia, those mistakes are stupid for one reason. Its because we all made them. Now how stupid are all of us together for making the same mistakes?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    623

    Post

    Hi All;
    Wax Moths!!!!!!! I think that I might of had a wax moth problem this fall but it didn't turn out that way. I noticed early this fall that I had a lot of brown moth [millers] flying around one of my hives. [Especially one of them] so I carried a fly swatter with me every day when I went by I would kill all the millers that I could. I should of been checking my hives sooner but when I checked them this one that the millers were flying around was a deadout. When I opened it up there was no Wax Moth damage but a lot of dead bees. I think that they lost their Queen and it was to late in the season for them to make another. This was a swarm that I picked up about the middle of June. Maybe the millers sinced this and would of taken over if I hadn't killed a couple a hundred, what do youi think??????? Dale

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,992

    Post

    How to prevent wax moth damage:
    Use excluders and do not permit brood in your extracting supers. Wax moth only destroy brood comb. I have stored my white extracting supers without protection for 30 years.
    Watch carefully for deadouts and immediately stack them on top of strong colonies.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    I know this is only my second year but I had 4 frames of fresh white wax(the 4 I took to a friends to extract). I lhad them in the trunk of the car in a nuc and wife needed the trunk for groceries, so it got brought into the house. I asked where it was after going to the farm and finding it missing. We started having alot of mothes in the house. We was cleaning out the closet for a yard sale and I found it in the back of the closet under some other boxes. It was full of mothes and had not usable comb left. So if the mothes will not eat comb that has not been used for brood why did they eat this?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    I don't usually consider it a problem, but I've seen them eat parts of and attached cocoons to solid blocks of clean wax.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,992

    Post

    Maybe they ate it because it was burried in a dark closet, maybe in a plastic bag ? They were enclosed with it. Most of my extractng supers are circa 1977 or earlier, and some were hit with brood way back then. I leave them on the hives for weeks in fall to get cleaned, and then store them my extracting room, or garage, which are not moth tight. The blocks of wax in my extracting room get hit a bit.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Texarkana, TX
    Posts
    166

    Post


    Howdy dickm ---

    If you'd like to rid yourself of the Permacomb, send it me. I'll pay the shipping cost plus two bits per frame for your trouble.

    Doc

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    Here’s another site on Bt:
    http://filebox.vt.edu/cals/cses/chagedor/btprimer.html

    Am I mistaken? I thought Certan was taken off the market here in the U.S.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    It was approved for use in beehives, but apparently the cost of to maintain that certification was high enough and the market small enough to not warrant keeping it on the market. I buy it from Canada.

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