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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    So, I got a call from a friend who started off
    with 100% Perico frames last spring. Two
    problems that seemed to me to be serious:

    </font>
    1. Sloooow drawing of frames. A well fed
      package drew less than 2 mediums of frames
      from hiving until last fall.</font>
    2. Burr Comb for days. It appears that the
      frame top bars are very thin, and boxes are
      joined by burr comb in which drone brood is
      raised, making separation of boxes a serious
      and messy problem.</font>

    What do others do to get Perico frames to be
    "bee space compliant"? Add shims to the top
    bars?

    What do others do to get bees to draw these
    frames out? Must the comb be "baited" with
    wax and/or sugar syrup?

    The Perico here is the black version, the
    woodenware is all from Brushy Mountain, all
    mediums. I've never used the stuff, but after
    looking at some photos, I'm inclined to suggest
    "making the top-bars thicker" as a solution to
    what appears to be a clear and compelling
    bee-space violation inherent in the design of
    the Perico frame.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clayton Indiana
    Posts
    348

    Post

    Jim,
    I have had the same circumstances as you describe with the top bar bee space. I have not had any problems with them drawing it out, as long as they are taking feed or there is a flow on. Spraying with sugar water has not seemed to make a difference. With the Pierco forcing them to draw worker cells, I make sure to put a green drone frame in every hive so they have a place to put drones. I believe the bee space is violated with these frames, but I won't be going back to wood and wax because of it.
    Todd Zeiner

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,205

    Post

    They are much slower to draw than wax or empty frames in my experience. I don't use any foundation anymore, just beveled top bars in my frames.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,624

    Post

    &gt;I'm inclined to suggest "making the top-bars thicker" as a solution to what appears to be a clear and compelling bee-space violation inherent in the design of the Perico frame.

    What size is the frame now? I'm betting it is correct (6 1/4"). I don't think there is a bee-space violation, just a very thin top bar that causes the issue. If you add anything I think you WILL be in violation of beespace.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clayton Indiana
    Posts
    348

    Post

    I just measured one. 6 1/4" overall 5 13/16" from under top bar to bottom of frame. Top bar thickness with dial caliper measures .423" (Just under 7/16")
    Todd Zeiner

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,069

    Post

    I have had absolutely no problem with my bees drawing out the all Pierco frames. All of mine were waxed from the factory. I did nothing extra to them. I also haven't noticed a difference between spraying with sugar syrup or not. As long as they have nectar of some sort they draw it. I've put nucs in hives of 100% plastic pierco frames and I've put them on strong colonies. I have never put a package on Pierco.

    I had one strong hive last June draw out and cap 5 meds full of 100% Pierco (black and white) during the flow. They do seem to work plastic less than wax when the flow is light especially if it is not directly above the broodnest.

    I guess I haven't noticed a huge issue with burr comb.

    That said I did have a problem getting a case full of plastic frames that had warped so I decided to use wood frames with Pierco snap in this year. I also had difficulty with the ears but only in colder weather. I wouldn't hesitate to buy more if I didn't have time to put together frames.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    I was just ready to buy some of these...... thanks for the info on the downside.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    san antonio.texas USA
    Posts
    488

    Post

    I have seen/had the same problem with burr comb. The few boxes I have were drawn OK on a strong flow. In addition to bee space, I wonder if the bees just really like to burr up the plastic as if they are trying to cover it up.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,624

    Post

    Cut some top and bottom bars down really thin and make some wooden frames like this. You'll see it's just the thickness of the top and bottom bar that are the cause. I've done it before.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,503

    Post

    Wow, I never complain about bur comb between my supers. It means you have full supers of honey!! Wood and plastic,

    [size="1"][ April 19, 2006, 05:19 PM: Message edited by: Ian ][/size]
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    The problem is not with supers, the problem here
    is that the Perico is being used in the brood
    chamber, and it makes a mess at every attempt
    to inspect the hive.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Schenectady, NY, USA
    Posts
    244

    Post

    What Jim is reporting is THE problem with Pierco...and why I am almost through getting rid of 700 frames I bought and foolishly installed.

    The only real solution is to cut the BOX. It is easy to do with a table saw. By doing so correct bee space will be restored. How much you have to cut, whether you have to cut both top and bottom or just one or the other, etc. depends on who made your boxes. Do the measurements. You need no more than 3/8th from the top of the Pierco frame to the top of the box, and then no more than 3/8th from the bottom of the Pierco frame to the TOP OF THE PIERCO FRAME beneath.

    But if you want to 'mix' wood and Pierco, forget it! The Pierco frame top bars are poorly designed and it is clear they are not about to buy new molds.

    As far as drawing them out goes...most try 'too soon' in the season. Don't even think about trying until sweet clover or basswood bloom. Then put them directly over a brood nest AND FEED SYRUP. They will be drawn just fine.

    Good luck,
    Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clayton Indiana
    Posts
    348

    Post

    I have woodenware and frames that are 1/8 off on beespace tolerance from the same supplier. Mix that in with a few without frame rest's and some with frame spacers and you still get the same problem. In a perfect world, the Pierco has room for improvement. I'm getting ready to buy 1000 more. I'll take yours Lloyd

    [size="1"][ April 19, 2006, 07:43 PM: Message edited by: Todd Zeiner ][/size]
    Todd Zeiner

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    &gt; The only real solution is to cut the BOX.

    Why not add shims to the top bars if they are
    too thin? Yes, it would be a pain, but less
    pain than screwing up one's mediums.

    But I'm confused:
    </font>
    1. Todd said above that the top bar thickness
      was 0.423" (Just under 7/16") This, if correct,
      should be a perfectly good top bar thickness if
      the overall height of the frame is 6.25", as
      Todd said it was.</font>
    2. Lloyd's observations match mine. I did
      not measure the frames at issue, but they sure
      seemed "thin" to me.</font>

    Does this mean that there are two versions of
    Perico frames out there?

    Why is it that all these plastic products
    seem to have been designed without regard to
    bee space? Perico, with the too-thin top bars,
    and Permacomb, with the "too short" overall
    height? Who the heck invests so much money in
    tooling for a mold and makes such basic errors?

    On the other hand, one must cut down a shallow
    super to get Ross Rounds to strictly obey bee
    space, but I'm not going to beat up Lloyd, as
    he merely bought the company, and is unlikely
    to ever have the revenue stream to justify a
    redesign of the basic tooling.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,624

    Post

    &gt;Perico, with the too-thin top bars,
    and Permacomb, with the "too short" overall
    height? Who the heck invests so much money in
    tooling for a mold and makes such basic errors?

    I think both were done intentionally. Pierco was trying to get more cells on a frame and save plastic and weight. PermaComb was trying to leave somehwere for drones (since it can't be reworked).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Schenectady, NY, USA
    Posts
    244

    Post

    Well they both (Pierco and PermaComb) were crazy. The 'problem' was that neither products were designed by 'real' beekeepers. Both were essentially hobbyists that thought (correctly) that they had a great new idea, but neither had the depth of experience as beekeepers that led them to a 'correct' design.

    BTW, we see that today in the instance of Bee O Pac. Two guys are behind this. One is, at best, a hobbyist beekeeper and the other knows nothing about bees and a lot about marketing. A poorly designed product that does not fit supers or be otherwise attractive to bees. Two of the four US dealers who carry it have told me they will drop it as soon as they manage to sell their inventory (how would you like to be one of those buying that inventory?).

    I am told that a 'successful' super of Bee O pac will yield 65% saleable products. If you divide the total cost of a load for that super by 65% of the number of 'possible' saleable units one gets a horrific cost per unit! Actually, the 65% is more than I have ever managed to get, but I probably have a lot to learn in this regard (and little motivation).

    Regardless, my understanding is that the depth of the Ross Round frame was dictated by the desire to have a 4 inch diameter section. Why the 4" was deemed so important in the mid-60's, I can't imagine. But that designer was also a hobbyist beekeeper, at best he had 15 hives, who also happened to be a superb engineer. I would not even know how to approach determination of the diameter of circle needed to be produced from a frame that was inside a 4 3/4" super (the then 'proper' size for a section frame super) AND respect bee space, so I am glad I was not involved.
    Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    &gt; BTW, we see that today in the instance of Bee O Pac.

    Don't get me started on Bee-O-Pac!
    If you want some propaganda, Lloyd, when I tried
    the Bee-O-Pac, I put 2 supers of the stuff on 6
    hives that I compressed down from 3 mediums of
    brood chamber to 2 mediums when deploying my
    Ross Rounds. Dozens of colonies around them
    drew and filled 2 Ross Round Supers each with
    ease, but the colonies with the Bee-O-Pac supers
    did not even fill one super completely by the
    end of the main flows. Hives were randomly
    assigned to Bee-O-Pac versus Ross Rounds, and
    all hives were NWCs, fed since early Feb with
    HFCS and pure trapped pollen, with no "hamburger
    helper" added. These were not weak colonies at
    all.

    What a waste of time and money. I figure I lost
    6.5 * 32 * $4 = $832 on that little experiment,
    as I got about 1/2 super of saleable product
    from each 2 supers of Bee-O-Pac deployed, when
    I could have slapped the Ross Rounds on those
    sale colonies and harvested full supers.
    (But I just gotta try new toys, don't I?)

    &gt; does not fit supers

    Fred Rossman pointed that out first to my
    knowledge, even though he was offering them for
    sale. I forget which meeting he had them on
    a table, in a medium, bearing mute witness to
    an inability to fit in standard woodenware.

    &gt; Why the 4" was deemed so important

    Well, they do weigh out to about 4oz, which
    makes the math easy for labeling and such.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    &gt;What a waste of time and money.

    Now how can that be a waste of money? I've used the same two for the last two years. Will probably use them again this year too. They always come off the hive clean as a whistle and ready for reuse!
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cooperstown,N.Y.
    Posts
    474

    Post

    Well I ALMOST have gotten all the burr comb cleaned up.
    I also have a little more than $2,000 worth of new Pierco sitting here in boxes....
    Was setting the tablesaw up to cut down some deep boxes to get(I think)a 5/16" beespace.
    But I am a little hesitant,because the beespace on my wooden frames seems to be just as screwed up....some frames are 9 1/8"...some 9 3/16"...neither which seems to add up(or subtract,depending on how you look at it)to the correct beespace.I figured at least THOSE should be right.
    So,I thought I would see what you all thought,before I muck up my new 9 5/8" deeps.
    Thanks
    Mark Johnson

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,624

    Post

    I think if you cut down the boxes you will still get burr comb. It's the thickness of the top bar that is the reason for the burr, not the spacing between the boxes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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