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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    Posts
    150

    Default Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    We use primarily plastic frames or foundation. I am always in a discussion with people on the pro and cons on plastic foundation or frames. Even though we use the plastic frames on some of the hives, my first choice is wood frames and plastic foundation. The reason is that if a plastic frame breaks, it is not easily repaired, if at all. The wooden frames can be repaired or the plastic foundation can be put in another frame with the pulled comb and even brood. We always rub beeswax on the foundation prior to installing, whether the foundation is new or has been used previously...unless comb is already drawn. I have posted some pics so people can see what we get with our frames and foundation. Just an informational post with pics. Enjoy. https://picasaweb.google.com/1118636...dationInHives#

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I use pierco plastic foundation. I melt wax in a crock pot and use a 3" chip brush and brush on another coat. All I have available to me is the allready waxed foundation. I have found that when you put on another box, wether it us a super or a deep they will immediately start to form out the cell long before they actually will draw it out. Which tells me they like what I have given them. The pierco deep foundation comes black and it makes it much easier seeing the eggs. I have actually put wax foundation in the same hive with the pierco and they drew out the recoated foundation before they did the wax. Love my Pierco!!
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I use Pierco and foundation-less frames in a combo structure. The Pierco is used on between two foundation-less frames to provide guide. After working with 2000 foudation-less and over 1000 piercos, I see the bees like the foundation-less better. I also have a few with foundation, but the bees prefer the foundation-less over all others.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,196

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    If you give them a choice they clearly prefer foundationless, but if there is a flow on and you don't give them a choice they draw plastic just fine. I have plastic in some hives, and wax in others in my yard and it didn't seem to make a significant difference. If there isn't a flow on - that's another story - even then a crowded hive will draw plastic if they need the space.

    On the other hand they almost always chew out the bottom edge of the wax foundation, and then build drone comb in it next year, and it's more fragile during assembly, extraction and grafting. If it isn't carefully installed it will sag. If a plastic frame gets slimed by SHB you can scrape it off if it's bad, rinse it and put it into a strong hive and they will redraw it.

    I use a good bit of foundationless, but I think I'm done fooling with wax at all. Other than it being less expensive I don't see any advantage to it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,087

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    Strange how bees act differently in different areas of the country. My bees always have drawn the comb on pierco foundations faster than they have any foundationless frames. I have not had to add wax to Pierco foundations as long as the nuc or colony was strong in young bees and there is a good flow going or I feed. I no longer use wax foundations because the Pierco is convenient.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    2,116

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I just finished a case of white pierco (probably purchased a couple of years ago) (honey super frames) and was noticing that there were actual bare spots where there was no wax. I just got another case of the same white pierco and this new case had significantly more wax. Did I just get a "bad" case of pierco, or are they putting on a lot more wax now? Just opening the case you could easily see the wax on the frames.

    I have always tried to get Perma-dent foundation for my brood frames since it always had more wax, but it is harder to find. Honey supers are easier since they are usually drawing them during a flow and will pretty much use anything for comb at that time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    Anytime I noticed that the wax was bare on my Pierco foundation/frames, was when they have been stored in a hot location for a period of time, and that was my fault in how I stored them....and have learned from it. I have just made it a habit to rub beeswax from a bar, real heavy on the foundation prior to putting in the hive, whether it needed it or not. I don't know if the company is putting more wax on the foundation lately.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I have about an even mix of foundationless and plastic frames in my two hives.

    In both hives the bees drew out the plastic (pf-120) before they began to draw out the foundationless frames. One contributing factor might be that the pf-120s were waxed while my foundationless frames are of the unwaxed, Popsicle stick variety.

    What I don't like about the plastic is that every frame is heavily burr combed and propolized on the top and bottom while none of my wood frames have burr comb.
    Learning beekeeping one mistake at a time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,087

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    Yes, burr comb is one of my gripes with the plastic frame. It is a little more work to assemble the wood frames but they are a pleasure to use compared to the all plastic.

    okbees: I also noticed the wax being either heavier or more evenly applied to the last batch of Pierco foundations I bought. I think the whole problem with the reputation plastic has was caused by skimpy wax application by the manufacturer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I have also a mix of foundation less and plastic frames (PF125 these are the black ones). I see the same behavior the bees start drawing comb on them very quickly.
    I don't have an even mix, I more on the foundation less side.

    I have not seen a lot of burr comb around them.

    I am wondering about the plastic frames in regard of the use of an electric uncapping knife. My concern is that the knife is also melting the plastic.
    Did anybody run into this problem?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    8,884

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I spray the foundation and Pierco frames with sugar syrup, like the directions say. Of 27 cases I have never had a problem.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    5,096

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I'm not a fan of plastic anything but when I did use plastic frames, I never had a problem with a hot knife melting the plastic. I was worried about that myself but it turned out to be a non-issue.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I, rather my bees are not very happy with the all plastic (white) frames. If the bees use the plastic, at all, it is because there is nothing else to use. I have way less trouble with wood frmes and the plastic inserts or wax. A point; being flustrated with plastic frames, I cut the center out of a couple and put them in as foundationless and the bees pulled out perfect comb. Go figure? Also; I have been useing more and more foundationless frames, after figureing out they need to be started inbetween drawn frames. I can not attest to what the bees draw out first (not in the hives every day), but they seem to prefer the foundationless frames first. I have a neighbor beek that has experienced the same.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ravenna, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    326

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    One drawback of plastic frames, is that the voids give hive beetles more places to hide.

    Also, we find that the bees more readily draw out black than white. We even use black in our honey supers.
    Blue Sky Bee Supply
    Quality Bee Supplies, Bees and Containers!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,825

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I agree about the black frames. You can see if they've started drawing comb easier not to mention the eggs. I've been using the Mann Lake PF-125's 4.9 plastic black frames at $1.72 if you buy in bulk. (Free shipping over $100.) How does that compare with Pierco prices? I've heard good things about Pierco frames so I might want to try them. Anyone?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    630

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    I agree about the black frames. You can see if they've started drawing comb easier not to mention the eggs. I've been using the Mann Lake PF-125's 4.9 plastic black frames at $1.72 if you buy in bulk. (Free shipping over $100.) How does that compare with Pierco prices? I've heard good things about Pierco frames so I might want to try them. Anyone?
    I think the ears on the Piercos are tougher and slip less with the hive tool edge. I and the bees like the black better and the hives over the years seem to draw both ( black pierco and foundationless) about the same, as long as there is a flow on

  17. #17
    dr.buzz Guest

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    Has anyone had any experience with https://www.dadant.com/catalog/produ...roducts_id=614.
    I bought some mann lake plastic foundation for my supers last year, didn't have any trouble with the bees drawing it out( I did spray them with sugar syrup as directed). I think I'll be replacing my deep frames now as well.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    Quote Originally Posted by dr.buzz View Post
    Has anyone had any experience with https://www.dadant.com/catalog/produ...roducts_id=614.
    I bought some mann lake plastic foundation for my supers last year, didn't have any trouble with the bees drawing it out( I did spray them with sugar syrup as directed). I think I'll be replacing my deep frames now as well.
    I've used Mann Lake's stuff...think it's called rite cell - in wooden frames since my first hive and I've never had issues with comb being drawn funny, or not being drawn at all, or anything like that.

    I think in last year's catalog ML said they were starting to sell full plastic rite cell frames; I'm tempted to try a couple just for curiosity's sake. My biggest complaint about all-plastic frames is that they're so flimsy, they torque too much in propolis-heavy colonies and extractors when you try to manipulate them I think. The all-plastic rite cell stuff is supposed to be "more rigid", but don't all of them say that about their own brand?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Louisburg, NC
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    Dadant vs. Mann Lake vs Pierco - I have older Dadant and Pierco plastic frames and the Dadant's appear to be Chinese and cheap! Bad about breaking off ears and they flop around. The Piercos are superior. I had gone back to crimp wired but after a bunch of blow-outs extracting this year (with cross wires and careful speed control) I will go back to plastic. How about Duraguilt? Is anyone using it? I know you cant' recoat Duraguilt if the wax comes off the plastic. Has anyone compared Pierco to Mann Lake's plastic? i figure to be putting it into wooden frames. thanks

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Plastic foundation getting a bad rap?

    I have used Mann Lake and Pierco, and the quality is good on both. The biggest reason I don't use Mann Lake any longer is that the plastic is made in China, and then Chinese wax is put on the foundation. I know that Pierco is made in America and has a 10 year warranty on the frames. I haven't had any issues with the ears breaking off my Pierco. I too use the Pierco foundation in wooden frames, and also use the plastic frames. I like the "feel" of the wood frames.....it is an age thing I guess...lol, so I have more of the wood frames with plastic foundation.

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