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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Traverse City, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Foundation preferences

    Hello All,
    This is a topic that I am sure has been covered before, but I will ask it again. What are your preferences for foundation for brood and extracting supers? I am new to beekeeping but I have a beekeeper friend who is going to help me get going.
    I have never heard anything good about plastic, so that is not an option. I am trying to decide between Rite-Cell (Mann Lake) and wired foundation. I have 500+ wedge top frames (deeps and mediums) that I bought new off of another beekeeper and the thought of wiring them all is overwhelming. I am willing to do it if it means greater bee acceptance. Had thought about using wired for the brood and Rite-Cell for the extracting supers. I also have a few new 7 5/8 boxes and can only seem to find Rite-Cell foundation to fit. Is it a problem mixing foundation?
    Any thoughts would be helpful.
    Jason

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    261

    Default

    i use wire foundation as i plan on extracting my frames. you will probably get mixed opinions on whether you need to crosswire wired foundation frames. i started out by not cross wiring but am now using two cross wires to give it that extra insurance. i guess it really depends on how you are going to harvest your honey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,072

    Default

    I use sc foundation, which I make myself, for everything that I put foundation in, which isn't much anymore. Plastic frames work ok, I haven't had any problem with the Mann Lake pf100s that I am using. You will want to wire your frames, all of them. If you use an extractor to harvest your honey, the wire will help prevent blowouts of comb during the process.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,540

    Default

    Well I use plastic "Rite-Cell" "Pierco black" "Permident" I am to lazy to wire frames
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,407

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jjallday View Post
    ...I have never heard anything good about plastic, so that is not an option. I am trying to decide between Rite-Cell (Mann Lake) and wired foundation...
    Jason
    I am confused, Rite-Cell is all plastic.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,397

    Default

    None in several years, just foundationless frames.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

    Default

    I have never heard anything good about plastic, so that is not an option.

    Well then let me be the first.... I love plastic. I don't use anything but plastic. I have no problems with plastic. The only time I use wax is for comb honey.

    I prefer the plastic foundation in a wood frame. I probably have close to 3000 frames with plastic foundation....

    I will NEVER use wax foundation for brood or extracting supers again!

    Its all in the management.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    South Kingstown, RI
    Posts
    134

    Default Startet strips

    I use all medium equipment and now find that using a starter strip of an inch or so works great in the brood boxes. I used wired small cell foundation last year and that worked great also but the strips are cheaper and the bees draw out nice small cell frames in no time at all. I use wired foundation in my medium supers as it holds up a little better when extracting especially when the wax is new. I have also extracted frames that were drawn out on the starter strips when it was new you just have to be a little more gentle with it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Columbia, South Carolina USA
    Posts
    2,598

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jjallday View Post
    I have never heard anything good about plastic, so that is not an option.
    I really like plastic too. Plastic foundation in a wood frame. My bees seem to like it a lot. For my SC hives I use wired wax though. I wish there was a small cell plastic that was truely equivalent.

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default

    Foundationless wood frames in brood nest and Kelley's 7/11 wax foundation in honey supers is BEST

    All-natural, "bee-made" comb insures "no contaminates" in brood nest, and the 7/11 is shunned by the queen, so no brood is raised in honey supers (produces good clean, wholesome honey).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default

    Have used Plasticell (wax coated) for 5 years now. Both for brood and honey supers. Love it. Never had a "blowout" during extraction.

    Am now moving to foundationless with starter strips waxed into place. The first attempts went very well. The bees filled the frames completely in a couple of months both in the brood chamber and the honey super.

    Regards -- Fuzzy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
    Posts
    2,139

    Default

    Call me old fashioned, but I use crimp wire foundation in wedge top frames. I use small cell 5.1 and 4.9, depending on where in the regression I am on a particular hive. I also use crimp wire 5.4 foundation in honey boxes because I have a ton of 5.4 foundation left over.

    I personally am not a fan of any plastic, since I think it is harmful to the environment and to people that use it (in certain circumstances). My understanding is that petroleum products are used in the manufacture of it and I have read a few reports over the years which have explained the negative effects it has on people.......

    So, I try to use as little plastic as possible in my day to day life...

  13. #13

    Default

    Plastic foundation either rite cell, or plasticell in wood frames. I hate the all plastic frames. Bees will work an all wax foundation quicker/faster, however the extractor seems to blow out those frames quicker/faster. Plus I hate wiring all those frames when using a wax foundation, it just seems like a huge waste of time.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Traverse City, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Foundation

    Thanks All,
    Great info! I had wanted to use the Rite-Cell, but had heard that the bees would not work it well etc. It is great to get some different viewpoints to help me decide what i want to do. I knew that this was plastic based but had heard it was better than Plasticell, especially the waxed version.
    If I still wanted to use the wax foundation I was thinking of using the support pins instead of wire. Any thoughts.
    Thanks,
    Jason

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jjallday View Post
    Thanks All,

    If I still wanted to use the wax foundation I was thinking of using the support pins instead of wire. Any thoughts.
    Thanks,
    Jason
    I used the pins my first year. They are expensive. I would not use them for wax foundation.

    I use crimp wire with the hook, all medium, and cross wire it. The wiring doesn't take that long once you get the hand of it. Build a little rack for the wire spool like the one in the Kelly catalogue, with a strip of metal to keep some tension on it. Make a loop of wire between two tacks to act as a guide for the end of the wire to keep it where you can grab it.

    As for the eyelets, I can put in four eyelets per frame in less than 40 seconds per frame. I chuck the punch into the drill press, adjust the press table so there is only a little clearance, and let her rip.

    I like to do the ends before assembly, but if you forget it doesn;t take too much time.

    If you build yourself a frame jig it is easy to line up the ends with the eyelets out all at once. If you just did 30 frames a night you would be done in 17 nights. Personally I enjoy doing them.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default

    The biggest issue for me is cell size, so that limits things. I'm enjoying the Mann Lake PF120's I bought. The bees are accepting it very well and it's 4.95mm. I also enjoy the foundationless and I've used the 4.9mm wax. The bees like the wax, I just don't like working that hard.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    546

    Default

    I'm still deciding. The Mann Lake PF120's my bees have accepted well, and, next year will be drawn out saving on honey production. I have also used Pierco black deep in my brood boxes (Wood frames, plastic foundation), or whenever I catch swarms with great luck. I do have some deeps and mediums mixed, but am converting to all medium. Also, I have recently installed some regular surplus foundation as well as starter strips to see what I like. I only have 6 hives and am in process of deciding:

    1) How much comb honey and extracted do I want/need at the end of the year.

    2) Wax moth and mice resistance.

    3) Bee acceptance.

    4) Overall cost.

    5) Reusability. (Will I be able to reuse plastic if it does get wax moths)?

    6) Future needs. (Will I want to eventually regress to SC). I am in the process of "phasing out" the deeps in favor of all mediums.

    7) Durability in the extractor vs labor and cost.

    Frames are very cheap, but again exspensive. I'm a small hobbiest (6 hives) and when you figure $1.50 to $2.25 per frame, its not a big deal. But the initial investment since I have grown 4 hives this year (swarm captures), thats quite a few frames. (Minimum 2 supers per hive at 10 frames each, plus, with any luck, I'll need honey supers next year). I'd still like to try some foundationless as well. I know there are alot of large beekeepers on this site, and this may seem petty, but the hobbiest can find cheap old frames and foundation exspensive. I beleive I pay around $8.00 for 10 thin surplus, and about $1.25 - $1.50 each for the PF-120's. And dont forget UPS's cut either.
    Find A Beekeeper - Swarm List
    "There's nothing wrong with me, it's the rest of the world that has a problem"

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,397

    Default

    Wait until you have a 100 boxes deployed. That's 1000 frames. Plus shipping in the case of PF-120's.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    GA, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default

    I've gone to almost all plastic. Anything else has proven to be a waste of money (except for free foundationless) since it's destroyed by pest larvae.

    I only had one blowout in an extractor, however, that was my first extraction with plastic and entirely my fault.

    IMO plastic is integrated into our food supply too much, however, once it's coated in wax it doesn't actually come into contact with honey, brood, or pollen. I think that by the time it's placed in the hive most volatile compounds that are going to come out already have.

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