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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS, U.S.
    Posts
    7

    synthetic or wood

    It seems the more I look at these equipment catalogs/sites the more questions I have. So here are just a few. The book I'm reading suggests traditional woodenware and wax foundation, for the beginner. I've pretty much decided to go with that. But, I was just wondering what are the pros & cons of these plastic frames or plastic foundation. And what about those all foam hives? And one more question. What is the purpose of the 8 frame hives, I wouldn't have considered these, until I read some where that they're much lighter and easy to handle. Hope my questions aren't too elementary.

    Thanks Much,

    Kat
    It\'s the job that\'s never started takes longest to finish.-- Tolkien

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,760

    Default

    The whole wood/wax vs. plastic issue can be complicated and everyone seems to have an opinion. I know that the first time I tried plastic, I hated it. Yet, a local beek uses it exclusively and loves it....won't use anything else. Sometimes bees don't like to get started on plastic for all sorts of reasons and there are many different types of plastic frames or foundation. Certainly, there are advantages and disadvantages. There's a lot less work using plastic frames/foundation than assembling wooden frames and putting wax foundation it. Plastic can be sturdier although I've seen heat warped frames here and there. Obviously, plastic can't be melted down but it can be pressure washed clean. When you're done with a plastic frame, it may or may not be recyclable.

    Wood can be more time consuming and may be more fragile. If you're extracting, wood, wax and wire will hold together fairly well but plastic is more durable...at least as far as the frame goes. Bees seem to draw on wax before plastic although, when a flow is on, they'll usually draw on anything that's in the hive.

    I have both but prefer wood and wax. Old frames make great kindling and I don't mind tossing old comb into the solar wax melter.

    I don't know a lot about foam hives but I've seen them here and there. Maybe I'll try them someday.

    8 frame hives are certainly lighter and easier to handle. If you're worried about lifting then 8 frame hives are a great alternative. I've seen ten frame hive bodies with 8 frame supers so that the honey boxes are more easily lifted. You have to cover the open space on the top 10 frame brood box if you're going to go this way.

    Hope this helps. You'll get lots more opinions I'm sure.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default

    I use Pierco plastic frames/foundation and have good luck using them. In fact, due to time restraints, I would not keep bees without them. I just don't have time to assemble all those frames and wax. I do sometimes add a little extra wax to the plastic foundation, mostly in winter when I have spare time, so the bees work them a little faster. As far as the polystyrene hives are concerned, I have several of them and they are great. The bees seem to stay warmer in winter, cooler in summer and they build up really well in the spring. I don't see as much condensation in cool weather with these hives.
    The BeeMax poly hives are the ones I use.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,599

    Default

    I use 8 frame deeps with wooden frames with plastic foundation.

    My neighbor got me started years ago, this is what he uses, so we can swap frames/boxes back and forth between ourselves if needed.

    You can fit an extra row of boxes on a truck for pollination transporing using 8frame boxes instead of 10's.

    8 frame boxes are lighter, and less massive/bulky, so are easier to lift/hoist/carry.

    The wooden frames don't warp in the heat, the plastic foundation won't break and tear in the extractor, and the plastic foundation can be stripped of wax and reused when the wax gets old on it.

    If you get wax moth damage in the frames, you can strip it clean and reuse the plastic foundation, pressure washing it if you like.

    All boxes and frames are the same size, for ease of hive management when needing to swap/move frames around.

    Using deeps, I can use standard deep division board feeders when feeding is needed.

    Everyone has their own kind/size of equipment they like, and that is fine, this is just what I use and some of the reasons I use it.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS, U.S.
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post

    8 frame boxes are lighter, and less massive/bulky, so are easier to lift/hoist/carry.

    Thanks you all, muchly for the info.

    Now when you say massive...How heavy is a regular one? This may be something to consider, since I told my DH that he wouldn't have to do anything on this project.

    I'm beginning to realize that the only way to really know is to just try it? I'm thinking maybe one hive with plastic and one traditional. I was thinking that anyway but didn't know if that was a good idea.




    Katy
    It\'s the job that\'s never started takes longest to finish.-- Tolkien

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,599

    Default

    BigFatHen...
    Check out this web page on Michael Bush's site, He's done alot of working with bees and has tons and tons of very useful information and insights on his webpage for us all.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

    This link gives some weights, but does not give the weight of 8 frame deeps. I am guessing here, I think 8 frame deeps probably weigh in on the order of close to 60 pounds. You'll probably like using 8 frame medium boxes the best, they weigh in at 48 pounds when full of honey.

    If I was just starting out, I would seriously consider the 8 frame medium sizes, because of the weight. There are 2 things that might keep me in the deeps. 1) I would run 3 boxes of mediums for brood nest instead of 2 that I use with deeps. That's one more box to remove and 8 more frames to look thru when doing hive inspections. 2) In my own opinion, I think bees would do better in deeper frames because giving more room for packing in nectar and pollen around the brood on each frame. Although... I have used medium boxes in the past and know several peoples personally that use mediums, and the bees seem to do just fine in them. So, my own opinion is just personal conjecture and may not be a valid opinion at all.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

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