My 2 cents for what its worth:
I noticed on an ealier post that it was conjectured that the PermaComb does not hold as much honey as an "equal size wax frame". I beg to differ here simply because just this past summer, I weighed numerous frames before and after extraction just to get some idea of just how much honey the PC holds.
Referencing the picture of the "honey-laden" PermaComb super at the link:http://www.bee-l.com/bulletinboard/seets/permacomb.htm
The two end-frames averaged approxiamtely 6- 3/4 pounds (sample size: 30). Lightest was 6-1/4. Heaviest was 7-1/2.
The center frames (where the wax is drawn 1/4 to 3/8" above the plastic surface - no ribs showing) ranged between 5-1/4 to 6 pounds (sample size (69).
Frames (not pictured) where there was sub-surface cappings averaged ~4 pounds (sample size: 17).
I thought I recalled reading that the average for full-depth wax combs was around 5 pounds and 3 for mediums.
I think part of the reason that the PermaComb holds more honey than a comparable wax frame is beacause there are cells that the bees fill with honey where the top, bottom and "side" bars are on "standard" frames.
Additionally, I would like to add that in all the years I've been using the PC, I have yet to have an absconding.
Tia, your situation with the wax moth is exactly what got me started with the PC so many years ago. At the time, it was standard to use paradichlorobenzene (PDB) for protection against the moth larvae. One year, I was away on travel and could not renew the PDB in my stored stacked supers for qutie awhile. When I finally came home, the mess and destruction was ungodly. I was devesated. A couple hundred full-depth, fully-drawn out supers wiped out. I came very close to bagging the whole beekeeping thing. On top of everything else, I REALLY hated using the PDB in any case because it is a poison that ends up in the honey I was eating and selling.
One evening shortly thereafter when I was in a deep dark depression and considering honorable hari-kari (for beekeeping), I stumbled on a PermaComb ad in "Gleanings in BeeCulture" (now "BeeCulture"). I knew then that this was the answer. My first purchase was 1000 combs and I haven't regretted it at all. I'm still using the same comb I bought 25 years ago.
I'm not going to blow smoke and say that bees LOVE brand new plastic. They don't. It takes some management changes to optimize their initial acceptance of it. Similar in many respects to unwaxed foundation. However, once over the acceptance hump, the bees will use it as readily as drawn wax comb without the all-wax disadvantages. This stuff lasts forever and now I don't use ANY chemicals for wax moth control.
Hope some of this info is usefull and if not, maybe a bit entertaining.
Thanks, John. Now you've reconfused me! I was thinking I'd stick with crimp wire because the issues of warping and acceptance bother me. But you make it sound like I could, with a little effort, make my job easier in the long run. Hmmmm. Think I'm going to have to contemplate the issue further. . .
I'm still a little confused about using PermaComb in the brood box. How do you clean out the cocoon lining from the cells? After about four years you probably need to do something, to clean them up, right? Is this where the wax moths activity can be used in a beneficial way? ...or do you use a power sprayer or dishwasher?
Second question I have is regarding the overwintering in PermaComb. Permacomb is heavier than wood and wax combs. Heavier materials generally transmits heat or cold more easily. Does the heavier materials require more effort for the bees in keeping the hive cool or warm?
>I'm still a little confused about using PermaComb in the brood box. How do you clean out the cocoon lining from the cells?
I wouldn't. The bees will chew them out when the cell gets too small. Until then it's just adding to the regression back to normal size. But you CAN boil PermaComb and John has been known to clean his out with a power washer.
>After about four years you probably need to do something, to clean them up, right?
No. The bees will chew them out if the cell is too small.
>Is this where the wax moths activity can be used in a beneficial way?
Not really. The moths don't do much on PermaComb. They go along the outside and occasionally go into a cell, but they can't really do much to it.
> ...or do you use a power sprayer or dishwasher?
A power washer would be a good choice.
>Second question I have is regarding the overwintering in PermaComb. Permacomb is heavier than wood and wax combs. Heavier materials generally transmits heat or cold more easily. Does the heavier materials require more effort for the bees in keeping the hive cool or warm?
I've been overwintering on PermaComb and haven't noticed any problems. But I would be curious as to the differences in thermal qualities with PermaComb, Plastic foundation and wax in a cold hive in winter. Unfortunately no one has done any studies that I know of on the subject.
Since you brought up the observation about no absconding with PC, can you explain how PC has curbed this from happening. As a seller(you) of PC, I am interested in how this works, or was this a casual observation that anyone who never had a hive abscond could make, and you just happen to be a seller, thus making this casual oservation work in your interest? (some beekeepers have never had a hive abscond)
Is this in the PC hand-outs or information distributed by the company?
In making the measurments of the wieght of honey with PC, you made the measurement yourself. No problem there. But then you make a vague reference to "thought I recalled reading" to some wieght for a wax comb. Is this correct or not. Are you sure, and if your going to make a comparision, would it not be in you best interest to know exactly how much honey is held by a wax foundation comb frame? Again if this is true, is it part of the literature and sales promotional material?
(Could you also say, was it 9 frame or ten frame comparisions you are mentioning?)
[This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited November 27, 2004).]
[This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited November 27, 2004).]
Tia, the last thing I want to do is "reconfuse" you. PermaComb is simply an alternative to the standard drawn wax frames and controversial since more and more beekeepers are now using it. More expensive initally but pays for itself many times over in the long run. Tell you what, contact me via private email with your address and I'll send you a case to try out - my nickel (email@example.com). After all - it IS the Christmas season!
Shoefly; What Mike said. He has the right of it. Let me add that only once did I pressure wash PC. I had left supers out for the bees to clean up after extracting. Unfortunatley it rained on the comb and mold eventually started to grow on the frames. I didn't clean it thinking the bees would do that next season. Well, they not only didn't, they would not use it at all. And this was comb that they had been filling with honey for years. After pressure washing it, they used it again (next season).
Mike / Shoefly, I broached this subject some years ago with the originator of PermaComb. The only thing I could get from him is that thermal transmission is "comparable" to wax comb. That is all I could get. However, I didn't press the issue as my intersted was soley practical at the time. A study would be interesting.
BjornBeee: Allow me to address your post piecemeal...
<Since you brought up the observation about no absconding with PC, can you explain how PC has curbed this from happening.
This sounds like it is a somewhat common occurrance. I cannot make any claim that PermaComb prevents absconding.
<As a seller(you) of PC, I am interested in how this works, or was this a casual observation that anyone who never had a hive abscond could make, and you just happen to be a seller, thus making this casual oservation work in your interest? (some beekeepers have never had a hive abscond)
The Hive and the HoneyBee, p:94 defines absconding as "the abandoning of a nest by a colony which forms a swarm and presumably reestablishes itself elsewhere, and is generally due to either disturbance or lack of resources." In my own case, I can say that just last year, I believe I had 2 hives abscond due to lack of resources (honey stores). It was a cold, wet spring here on the east coast and the bees just could not collect. Honey-take-wise, the worst year I can remember. The hives which absconded showed no dead at all. Just empty hives devoid of all stores (about July). I can't positively rule out robbing or starvation -in-place death but I would have expected to see dead and the hives were medium strong 3 weeks prior. My conclusion was absconding.
Furthermore, being a "seller" of PermaComb in no way affects my observations or reporting thereof. I don't believe I was "making" anything work in my favor. I tell it like it is. I was simply and honestly responding to an earlier post with my own observations.
< Is this in the PC hand-outs or information distributed by the company?
No, I do not address absconding at all in the literature that I distribute as I do not consider it an issue.
<In making the measurments of the wieght of honey with PC, you made the measurement yourself. No problem there. But then you make a vague reference to "thought I recalled reading" to some wieght for a wax comb. Is this correct or not. Are you sure, and if your going to make a comparision, would it not be in you best interest to know exactly how much honey is held by a wax foundation comb frame?
Its been a very long time since I have used all wax comb in honey supers. When I did, I did not weigh them. However, most standard published beekeeping texts DO state that FD wax frames run 5 pounds and mediums 3. I checked and I invite you to do the same. Perhaps it would be to my advantage to know the exact amount in the wax combs and include it in my literature for comparison. However, if I listed ALL the advantages of PermaComb and sent it to those who request info, the postage alone would bankrupt me!
<Again if this is true,...
It is. I do not fabricate data. That would be a sin. I encourage you to try some. See for yourself.
<Could you also say, was it 9 frame or ten frame comparisions you are mentioning?
Definitely 9 frame as the picture at the link I referenced shows. I recommend that all PC users use 9 frame configurations. The bees usually draw the comb out a bit above the plastic "surface" easing uncapping. However, using a punch makes this distinction inconsequential.
John Seets, Thank you. Right/wrong, good/bad, slanted/unslanted, just wants the facts. I speak to alot of people and many are looking for answers in this fragmented bee stuff. Even if I do not use the stuff, its in my best interest to know what I'm talking about.
I have personally passed this site onto many beekeepers and only hope everyone can be up front with details, and do whats best for the industry.
I did meet you several years ago at a maryland beekeeping meeting.(If I remember correctly) I was with a Jack Utter, who maybe you know(?) He goes down to Maryland a bit more than me.
As for absconding, one area that many need to look at is the Kashmir virus. It can cause a hive to leave, with not one bee left behind. It is mite transmitted. Usually you will see robbing afterwards, but no dead bees and no bees left on the frame.
John, what a generous offer! Due to the fact that I have no pride and am not ashamed to accept charity, I'll be emailing you my contact information. Since I had so much trouble this year (still battling the YJs), I'll undoubtedly be starting some new hives in the spring and it'll be interesting to see how a total PC hive does compared to one on crimp wire. I'll be printing out this thread, too. Such a wealth of information; it needs to go into my notebook for reading & rereading. Thanks to all of you experienced beekeepers out there. Don't know what I'd do without your sage advice.
Ooops! I forgot to ask again, since no one answered the first time, what's a honey punch?
Thanks, Michael. Couldn't find it at Brushy Mountain. What a cool tool. Expensive though. I can understand, though, how much easier it would make uncapping/extracting PC would be. Thanks for your help.
I think I read in some PC post several months ago that some are cutting the tabs off the bottom of the PC and some aren't. What have some of you found out on this?
>I think I read in some PC post several months ago that some are cutting the tabs off the bottom of the PC and some aren't. What have some of you found out on this?
That was probably me. If it is used exclusivly for brood there is no reason to trim the tabs off. If it is used for honey supers it is MUCH easier to scrape the wax off the frames if they are trimmed off.
But there is also good reason to leave the wax attached to the bottom of the frames. Bees in their natural environment make their comb in long verticle unbroken sheets. For them to accomplish this in a man made hive, they need to fill between each frame with comb. This is for them to be able to travel both up and down the hive and it gives them a place to lay drone and queen cells.
The bees need the wax 'ladder' to be able to move up into the next box of frames, and they won't start using the next box of PC until the bridge is built. Once that bridge is built or the frames were used the year before, they take to it like a duck to water.
I trim the tabs off of about half of them. I wish I had the time to do them all, but they aren't that big of a problem. It's just easier, if you want to clean up a "frame" to be able to scrape the bottom of the PermaComb without the tabs being in the way.
As far as burr ect. it makes no difference.
My vote is to leave the tabs on.