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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    FYI

    Somone posted that Miller's Honey Company had 5.2mm foundation. I called them and the lady I talked to was very helpful and got some out and measured it. It was 52mm for 10 cells across horizontally, so I ordered some. I got it today, I'm afraid I've misplaced my metric ruler, but there are less cells per inch than the rite cell I have, which was 5.4mm, so it's at least 5.5mm or 5.6mm. (I will post the exact measurement when I find my metric ruler) I assume they must have some different kinds of foundation in stock. Just thought I'd save someone else the trouble. So, I'm just using starter strips of 4.9 for my regression.

    It sure would be nice if someone had some in between sizes to make the process quicker.


  2. #2
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    Dec 1999
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    Hello Michael -

    I contacted Miller's back in 2000 and had them send me a sheet of their foundation. It measured 52mm per ten cells. Please verify the cell size on the piece they sent you. If it is bigger, it may be an issue of quality control and their cell size does not remain consistant in their manufacturing process. I will contact them once you post your measurement if it is not 5.2 cell size as I have made a point to advertise based on this point of cell size.

    Regards,
    Barry

  3. #3
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    I finally found my metric ruler and measured several sheets and it was pretty consistenly 5.4mm. I'm thinking maybe they get foundation from different manufacturers? When I talked to them they indicated that they buy it from someone else. It was very nice foundation (other than I was hoping for 5.2mm) it was nice and thick and well formed. Anyway, what I got is 5.4mm.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2002
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    BTW I heard that Pierco frames are 5.2mm and am getting a couple to confirm this. The Pierco foundation I heard was 5.25. I think it would be awsome if someone would build some extruded plastic version of drawn comb that could be dipped in wax and end up with the appropriate inside size of cell that would be equivelant to 4.9mm on centers. (the walls I'm sure would end up thicker than regular foundation). That way the bees can't tear it up and maybe the queen from a bunch of 5.4mm bees would lay in it. I wonder what tooling up to do such a thing would cost? Also the wax moths wouldn't stand a chance in it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
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    Michael

    You wrote:
    I think it would be awsome if someone would build some extruded plastic version of drawn comb that could be dipped in wax and end up with the appropriate inside size of cell that would be equivelant to 4.9mm on centers.

    Reply:
    This is already being done, but will take a short while to get on market as patents had to be applied for and distributorships set up.

    Reply:

    (the walls I'm sure would end up thicker than regular foundation). That way the bees can't tear it up and maybe the queen from a bunch of 5.4mm bees would lay in it.

    Reply:
    The walls will not be thicker, and the foundation will definitely match wild comb, but the walls will be minimum to allow for slight varialability for drawing the combs.Certain guildelines will have to be used with the new plastic frames and foundation coming in 4.9mm size to make usage as close to natural wild comb as possible. So far the bees like it exceptionally well when used with wild parameters of usage/insertation.

    reply:
    I wonder what tooling up to do such a thing would cost? Also the wax moths wouldn't stand a chance in it

    Reply:
    Tooling for moulds and set up in the USA start at $60,000 to $70,000 and few can afford it for trials, let alone multiple setups for manufacturing.

    You will get wax moths just like in other colonies, but the base is permanent for reuse.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby

  6. #6
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    Aug 2002
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    Thanks for your response. How exciting! Please keep me (all of us?) posted on when and where this becomes avaialable.

    I still don't think the wax moths could do much, since they mostly burrow through the combs. I don't think the normal modus operandi will work if they run into plastic walls every 4.9mm. Maybe one could dig into one cell, but they couldn't turn around and they'd have to back up. I just don't think it would work for them.

  7. #7
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    I found a Pierco frame today. It was a medium depth and it measured just a hair under 5.4 (a hair over 5.3)cm for 10 cells. I am measuring across 10 cells starting from the left side of the left wall of the first cell and ending on the left side of the right wall of the last one. In other words it's across the width of 10 cells but the equivelant of being from the center of the thickness of the first cell wall to the center of the thickness of the last cell wall. Is this the correct method? I measure my 4.9mm foundation this way and it is exactly 4.9cm for 10 cells.

    FYI I also I measured the drone foundation I have and it is 6.6mm per cell.

    I have started my observation hive with 4.9mm starter strips and they are drawing it out nicely, but I can't measure it very well yet, because they are clustered all over what little bit they have. I'll let you know what they draw out.

    I will shake down one of my hives Saturday. I'm going to keep some full boxes of honey to give back for the winter if they don't store enough, but I would like to get the first generation of regression done this fall, so I can go another in the spring.

    Thank you, Dee for sharing what you've learned with us. I've had bees for 30 years and although I noticed that some were different sizes, I always just assumed it was genetics and not cell size. Even though there are different sized from the same queen.

    Now that I think back, the ones I got out of trees that had been there a while were smaller and I never thought about why.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    Here is the URL to see some of the trials on plastic.
    http://www.bee-l.com/biobeefiles/4.9plastic/index.htm

    -Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
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    Michael and All:

    I am so glad that Barry posted the url for looking at pictures and information on the plastic 4.9mm foundation.

    Study it hard, especially the misdrawn parts, and then also compare to how you yourself have had combs misdrawn in your colonies either recently or over the years.

    Much breaking news is coming out of a special Florida experiment set-up using 4.9mm plastic and also 4.9mm wax foundation.

    Publishing of data will be coming soon in ABJ for industry for debate and usage. Also the data will be updated periodically as strict observation guidelines have been put in place concerning the 4.9mm foundation usage in an area infested with parasitic mites, wax worms, ants, and beetles, to mention a few.

    So again, Compare the pictures closely for I am sure more will be posted and this is information is desperately needed so beekeepers can compare the 4.9mm usage vs wild comb building in open spaces of Nature.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby


  10. #10
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    Apr 2000
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    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
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    Thanks for posting the pictures. I've had no nasty-looking comb like that at all, it's all gone very smoothly. I'm trying to borrow a camera to provide pictures of my own.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  11. #11
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    Where is the 4.9mm plastic coming from? Is it available to the public somewhere?


  12. #12
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    Oct 2000
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    Tucson, Arizona, United States
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    Michael:

    You wrote:Where is the 4.9mm plastic coming from? Is it available to the public somewhere?

    Reply:
    Right now the Plastic 4.9mm foundation is is trials in various parts of the world with beekeepres putting it in and seeing how the bees themselves react to it.

    Some of the individuals trying the foundation are doing it very simply using practices any given beekeepers would use. This is good, for we need to know results this way pro or con.

    Other beekeepers in more sophicasticated field trials are then taking this basic knowledge further and applying it to natural wild settings with honeybees and it is here much new insite is being gained!

    This information like I have mentioned, will then set the parameters for better field usage of both plastic 4.9mm foundation and also beeswax milled 4.9mm foundation, for the correction of a multitude of field management problems for both commercial and hobbyists alike.

    So watch the American Bee Journal in coming months as what data is being gathered is published hopefully in continuing segments for industry usage by the beekeeper doing the field trials in Florida.

    From the trials, since they will be going good by 2003, a distributor will hopefully be selling it in catalog in 2003 throughout North America.

    As to the manufacturer, they are in S. Korea where much technology is made today on the market including many computers parts and accessories like IBM, etc.

    Patents have been obtained in S. Korea and applied for in USA and internationally.


    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby


  13. #13
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    Dee wrote:
    "So again, Compare the pictures closely for I am sure more will be posted and this is information is desperately needed so beekeepers can compare the 4.9mm usage vs wild comb building in open spaces of Nature."

    What exactly are we to be comparing? Cell size? Frame size? What wild comb is made of .... [wax]? An attempt has been made to be purely unbias in this trial. Foundation of both wax and plastic were put into the same hive during a time when all frames are needed for brood, and the bees decided for themselves on what frame to start broodrearing. If any frame should be axpected to get enlarged cells, it would be the wax foundation that was put in the second brood chamber as some honey storage would be expected there. Odd that both sides of the wax foundation frame had very even cell building while only one side of the plastic had halfway decent cells.

    I still stand by my observations that the unwaxed plastic foundation was not well received compared to the wax. Wax coating the plastic may prove to be the answer.

    Regards,
    Barry

  14. #14
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    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
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    Barry Birkey wrote:
    What exactly are we to be comparing? Cell size? Frame size? What wild comb is made of .... [wax]? An attempt has been made to be purely unbias in this trial.

    Reply:
    Trials are being conducted in conjunction with patent applications around the world.

    Beekeepers were hand selected for the trials to use the foundation to see what information could be gathered.

    It was anticipated that some would just simply put the foundation in and use it by field methodology as has always been applied.

    It was also anticipated that others selected would want advanced formal trials and would report accordingly.

    Out of the group of beekeepers hand selected field trial breakouts have occurred as anticipated.

    Also it was discussed and permission give that some information could be released publically in discussion and some could not due to the nature of patent laws in the USA and elsewhere for what could be discussed in private during the filing process vs in the open.

    No foundation is on the market and all plastic foundation in the trials is from private therefore usage no afforeded to beekeepers publically for availability.

    Now since all foundation in the beginning was patterned after wild feral combs, its relativity is therefore part of the trials and the advanced participants are taking advantage of this aspect for information being reported back on a weekly/biweekly basis.

    Barry Birkey Also wrote:

    Foundation of both wax and plastic were put into the same hive during a time when all frames are needed for brood, and the bees decided for themselves on what frame to start broodrearing. If any frame should be axpected to get enlarged cells, it would be the wax foundation that was put in the second brood chamber as some honey storage would be expected there. Odd that both sides of the wax foundation frame had very even cell building while only one side of the plastic had halfway decent cells.

    Reply:
    This is good you are seeing this and reporting accordingly. It is great information that is being gathered with this type of reporting with the drawing of combs as beekeepers have traditionally be doing for close to a century.

    It certainly helps to add weight to the new information being learned in the advance studies that will be published shortly! with information coming out of Florida.

    Barry Birkey further wrote:
    I still stand by my observations that the unwaxed plastic foundation was not well received compared to the wax. Wax coating the plastic may prove to be the answer.

    Reply:
    Again, this is great the information you are posting on Biobee and the current discussion going on for the way beekeepers traditionally draw/have drawn out combs for over 100 years now.

    It will serve to give much creditability to new information being learned in Florida and validated by observation in others regions as to how honeybees actually draw out combs domestically vs naturally, that will be available to industry as soon as publication is accomplished, which is certain to generate much more heated and deeper debate, as well as, field management changes by beekeepers worldwide!

    Very Best Regards
    And keep up the good work posting traditional comb drawing scenarios.

    Dee A. Lusby


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
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    I waxed all my plastic, which probably explains why they were so willing to pull it; they were more reluctant to pull the wax as it happened. One frame of that is still only pulled on one side. I now have an extremely strong hive - a total contrast to the situation in early June, when I was wondering whether the hive would make it at all. They're now badly honeybound - again a total contrast with last year; I hadn't reckoned on getting so much more honey and miscalculated badly - and I need to go down and finish sorting them out before they swarm.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  16. #16
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    Dec 1999
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    Dee wrote:
    "Now since all foundation in the beginning was patterned after wild feral combs, its relativity is therefore part of the trials"

    So are you saying that the plastic foundation is somehow different, or more 'natural' in its design than all other foundation? Even different than your 4.9 hand mill that milled the wax foundation I used in this trial?

    Regards,
    Barry

  17. #17
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    Oct 2000
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    Barry Birkey wrote:
    So are you saying that the plastic foundation is somehow different, or more 'natural' in its design than all other foundation? Even different than your 4.9 hand mill that milled the wax foundation I used in this trial?

    Reply:
    No I am not saying that, though it is slightly different from Dadant's version.

    We are having no problems, but then our trial might be slightly different from yours.

    Will now wait until publication for more discussion.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby (thinking Barry likes puzzles.)


  18. #18
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    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
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    Hello Everyone,

    I had hoped to be able to report more on the small cell plastic foundation trials this. However the extreme drought in my area has curtailed any hope of drawing additional foundation this year. Nothing has been available for the bees to work since the first week in July.

    I have pulled the foundation out and have reduced my hives for winter. Some feeding will be necessary. Hoping for the best.

    Dennis
    Hoping for a late summer flow and

  19. #19
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I finally got some deep Pierco frames today. They are 5.25mm! I was not feeling optimistic after measuring some medium piercos that were 5.35mm. I think I may use the 5.25mm deep Pieroco frames for a first retrogression. At least they will be somewhat smaller than the 5.4 my bees are on. Unfortunately I only got a couple to see what size they were. Now I'll have to order some more.

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