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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Ogden Dunes, Indiana, USA
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    16

    Default switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    third year beekeeper here in the Indiana Dunes. I had lots of queen issues past summer and lost both (2/only) hives. So I am basically starting fresh but with my old equipment of 2 hives,10 frame, deeps and mediums with large cell plastic foundation. I've got 3 packages coming of 4.9 bees. I need to wrap my head around what I need to purchase, cut, remake etc. Ideally, I'd like to also have all 8 frame mediums. But since this is going to take some time/effort, I think I will wait another year to cut down to 8 frame. But I will cut down all to mediums since I have to get mew 4.9 foundation anyway.

    Tell me what you think, if i have forgotten something, haven't thought of something, if there's an easier way about this: I need one whole new hive set up, so Im thinking I will just buy that in 8 frame, all mediums, with the frames and small cell wax foundation. Im going to switch to PF 120s for my old hives...but the "all in one" set ups don't give that option. I was not planning to go with wax, but I think it'll be more expensive to piece out a whole hive set up just so I can use PF 120s across the board. ? I've never used wax foundation, and I am pretty new at this. I've read a lot about wired/not wired but can't decide. Since its all mediums I think I would be ok with unwired?

    For the old hives: I will have to cut down my deeps to medium. Order 5 new, 10 frame, medium boxes to assemble (as extras). Order 40 PF120 in black, 80 new PF120 in white (for the 4 old mediums, plus 4 of the new boxes...the last box i will cut down to an 8 frame before assembly to use as an extra for the new hive and get another 8 frames of PF120 white for that) sound right? It's painful to think about all the old wooden frames I will no longer need. I wish someone was making 4.9 plastic foundation. I figure I will keep some on hand in case the plastic frames break.

    I'm not sure about having 2 with plastic frames, and then the one with wooden/wax foundation. On the up side it will give me an opportunity to see for myself how the wax foundation is to work with. On the downside I won't be able to swap/borrow with the other 2. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    3,220

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    What is your thinking on going small cell. Small cell is not natural cell, btw. If you already have 10 frame equipment, don't get 8 frame for the new set up, or just sell off all your 10 frame stuff and get all 8 frame if you really want to do 8 frame. Mann Lake carries small cell wax foundation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Ogden Dunes, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    What is your thinking on going small cell. Small cell is not natural cell, btw. If you already have 10 frame equipment, don't get 8 frame for the new set up, or just sell off all your 10 frame stuff and get all 8 frame if you really want to do 8 frame. Mann Lake carries small cell wax foundation.
    going small cell thinking it won't hurt, may help. I used the term "natural" as more of a tag since some refer to it as such, for search purposes. 8 or 10 frame: I'm 5'3" and the less weight, easier maneuverability the better. But I may reconsider since they will be mediums. Mann Lake has the small cell wax, yes. But not plastic small cell foundation as far as I know...except for that which comes in the plastic frames (PF100's etc) ? Thanks for the feedback.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Crown Point, NY, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    I've been doing small cell since 2000-2002. I would recommend if your going to go to 8 frame mediums to do it now rather than later things get tougher the longer you put them off. That choice is yours. I personally don't like all the breaks in comb that going from one box to the next causes. But honey bees deal with what you give them anyways as they are quite able to adapt. Did you call Mann lake to see if they could substitute the sc frames in the all in one?

    >>I've never used wax foundation, and I am pretty new at this. I've read a lot about wired/not wired but can't decide. Since its all mediums I think I would be ok with unwired?

    reply:

    Plz wire them or you will have a mess. Here is Dee Lusby, leading small cell proponent showing how to wire frames and make and embed wax foundation
    http://www.beeuntoothers.com/index.p...e-and-ed-lusby

    >>I'm not sure about having 2 with plastic frames, and then the one with wooden/wax foundation. On the up side it will give me an opportunity to see for myself how the wax foundation is to >>work with. On the downside I won't be able to swap/borrow with the other 2. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    reply:

    If there all medium frames you can mix them among the hives.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,993

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by DunesGirl View Post
    Mann Lake has the small cell wax, yes. But not plastic small cell foundation as far as I know...except for that which comes in the plastic frames (PF100's etc) ? Thanks for the feedback.
    If you really want a high percent of sc, I'd be very cautious about using wax foundation. Bees can easily build lc on it, making it worse at times than just going with lc to begin with. I've liked the result of the plastic, but hate the plastic frames, so I cut the foundation out of the frames and put it into wood frames.
    Regards, Barry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,490

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    If you are concerned about cost cut your deeps down to mediums and just order pf120's for the broodnest. You can always switch to 8 frame boxes later , you can also use your normal cell frames for honey supers without effecting your bees so don't toss em

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Ogden Dunes, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton Huestis View Post
    Did you call Mann lake to see if they could substitute the sc frames in the all in one?


    If there all medium frames you can mix them among the hives.

    Yes I called, no go. But as it turns out, it was a lot cheaper to just piece it out through Kelley, so I ended up just ordering more of the PFs from Mann Lake since I didnt automatically get the frames/foundation with the deal. I thought I read that you shouldn't use 2 foundation types in a hive? It won't matter now since I have all plastic, but I'm curious. Thanks so much.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Ogden Dunes, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    If you really want a high percent of sc, I'd be very cautious about using wax foundation. Bees can easily build lc on it, making it worse at times than just going with lc to begin with. I've liked the result of the plastic, but hate the plastic frames, so I cut the foundation out of the frames and put it into wood frames.
    Barry, thanks for the input. I ended up with all PF since it was less expensive to piece out the new hive. The PFs were the same price as new wax sc foundation, go figure. But I am planning to cut some of the PF sc foundation out of the plastic frame for sure and put in wooden frames. I saw an interesting post here about cutting the sheets in 3, and only using 1/3 of the sheet running top to bottom, bookended between two full sheeted frames. Might be a good opportunity to try that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Ogden Dunes, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    If you are concerned about cost cut your deeps down to mediums and just order pf120's for the broodnest. You can always switch to 8 frame boxes later , you can also use your normal cell frames for honey supers without effecting your bees so don't toss em
    ah...I hadn't thought of being able to use the 5.4 for supers. thanks! Yes, Im going to have my hands full with assembling boxes and cutting down the PF frames to 1 1/4. As you said, I think I will just wait on the switch to all 8 frame, at least they'll all be Mediums and all SC.

    being that you loose a few inches not having deeps, how many medium boxes do the bees usually need to make up for that lost space? Do they typically use 2 mediums for brood? Thanks for your time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,490

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    I run 8 frame mediums here in IL and they will run brood in 3 sometimes 4 if I let them chimney up

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    West River, MD, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by DunesGirl View Post
    I thought I read that you shouldn't use 2 foundation types in a hive? It won't matter now since I have all plastic, but I'm curious. Thanks so much.
    True mixing different undrawn foundations in the same hive mixes the bees up and should be avoided, but once drawn out, the frames can be mixed in a hive. Just watch out for differences in beespacing...some space top and some space bottom, and when mixing can result in a lot of extra propolising or burr comb between boxes.
    '66-'69/ '06-present, 100 hives, II capability, VSH, Carniolan, Cordovan, 7a, not TF yet
    West River Apiary

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
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    1,490

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by rfgreenwell View Post
    True mixing different undrawn foundations in the same hive mixes the bees up and should be avoided, but once drawn out, the frames can be mixed in a hive. Just watch out for differences in beespacing...some space top and some space bottom, and when mixing can result in a lot of extra propolising or burr comb between boxes.
    Good call pointing out bur comb between boxes.The PF series of frames seem to be bad about causing that supposedly it's on purpose to allow room for drone comb. When I started giving them a foundationless on either side of the broodnest the drone comb between frames stopped and mostly just get little ladder burs to get them to the next frame

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    47,529

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    >Since its all mediums I think I would be ok with unwired?

    Wax is kind of hard to predict as it depends on how far in advance you put it in, and how hot the weather gets. Keeping the foundation flat and not buckled can be tricky if it gets hot.

    >For the old hives: I will have to cut down my deeps to medium. Order 5 new, 10 frame, medium boxes to assemble (as extras).


    If you want to end up with 8 frame boxes, then stop buying ten frame boxes. You can mix the two in the meantime. Put the eight frame on top of the ten frame and put a 20" long one by three over the gap.

    >Order 40 PF120 in black, 80 new PF120 in white (for the 4 old mediums, plus 4 of the new boxes...the last box i will cut down to an 8 frame before assembly to use as an extra for the new hive and get another 8 frames of PF120 white for that) sound right? It's painful to think about all the old wooden frames I will no longer need.

    You can feed them into the brood nest over time and get some nice natural comb.

    >I'm not sure about having 2 with plastic frames, and then the one with wooden/wax foundation.

    Not an issue.

    >On the up side it will give me an opportunity to see for myself how the wax foundation is to work with. On the downside I won't be able to swap/borrow with the other 2.

    Of course you can.

    >I thought I read that you shouldn't use 2 foundation types in a hive?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#waxplastic
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    802

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by DunesGirl View Post
    third year beekeeper here in the Indiana Dunes. I had lots of queen issues past summer and lost both (2/only) hives. So I am basically starting fresh but with my old equipment of 2 hives,10 frame, deeps and mediums with large cell plastic foundation. I've got 3 packages coming of 4.9 bees. I need to wrap my head around what I need to purchase, cut, remake etc. Ideally, I'd like to also have all 8 frame mediums. But since this is going to take some time/effort, I think I will wait another year to cut down to 8 frame. But I will cut down all to mediums since I have to get mew 4.9 foundation anyway.

    Tell me what you think, if i have forgotten something, haven't thought of something, if there's an easier way about this: I need one whole new hive set up, so Im thinking I will just buy that in 8 frame, all mediums, with the frames and small cell wax foundation. Im going to switch to PF 120s for my old hives...but the "all in one" set ups don't give that option. I was not planning to go with wax, but I think it'll be more expensive to piece out a whole hive set up just so I can use PF 120s across the board. ? I've never used wax foundation, and I am pretty new at this. I've read a lot about wired/not wired but can't decide. Since its all mediums I think I would be ok with unwired?

    For the old hives: I will have to cut down my deeps to medium. Order 5 new, 10 frame, medium boxes to assemble (as extras). Order 40 PF120 in black, 80 new PF120 in white (for the 4 old mediums, plus 4 of the new boxes...the last box i will cut down to an 8 frame before assembly to use as an extra for the new hive and get another 8 frames of PF120 white for that) sound right? It's painful to think about all the old wooden frames I will no longer need. I wish someone was making 4.9 plastic foundation. I figure I will keep some on hand in case the plastic frames break.

    I'm not sure about having 2 with plastic frames, and then the one with wooden/wax foundation. On the up side it will give me an opportunity to see for myself how the wax foundation is to work with. On the downside I won't be able to swap/borrow with the other 2. Thanks in advance for any feedback.
    If you haven't done so already get Michael Bush's "Practical Beekeeping" book. You sound like you are heading for his program anyway.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    802

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    If you really want a high percent of sc, I'd be very cautious about using wax foundation. Bees can easily build lc on it, making it worse at times than just going with lc to begin with. I've liked the result of the plastic, but hate the plastic frames, so I cut the foundation out of the frames and put it into wood frames.
    Mann Lake sells the wood frames with plastic inserts. A lot of beekeepers and a lot of bees really like the wax foundation. Jennifer Berry, at the NC-SC winter meeting said that the national wax supply is so polluted that the wax in the foundation sold is as bad as the old combs that it replaces.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    802

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by DunesGirl View Post
    Yes I called, no go. But as it turns out, it was a lot cheaper to just piece it out through Kelley, so I ended up just ordering more of the PFs from Mann Lake since I didnt automatically get the frames/foundation with the deal. I thought I read that you shouldn't use 2 foundation types in a hive? It won't matter now since I have all plastic, but I'm curious. Thanks so much.

    I have a lot of wax, that came when I bought hives or nucs, but I buy only wax-coated plasticell. The bees will draw it fine if there is no wax foundation that is undrawn. It's kind of like offering your kids baked rutabega or chocolate cake.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,993

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsegrest View Post
    Mann Lake sells the wood frames with plastic inserts. A lot of beekeepers and a lot of bees really like the wax foundation. Jennifer Berry, at the NC-SC winter meeting said that the national wax supply is so polluted that the wax in the foundation sold is as bad as the old combs that it replaces.
    Not with sc foundation.
    Regards, Barry

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,266

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Mann lake standard plastic frames the PF frames are 4.9
    All my brood frames are 4.9 or natural & I would recommend it.
    Had 14 of 14 survive winter without chemical treatment, just IPM & small cell
    Dan

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    3,220

    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Dan, out of curiosity, what are your cluster sizes at about now.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: switching to natural/ 4.9 cell size input?

    Jennifer Berry, at the NC-SC winter meeting said that the national wax supply is so polluted that the wax in the foundation sold is as bad as the old combs that it replaces.
    This could only be possible if the wax used for foundation was actually made from those old brood combs.
    But most wax comes from honey cappings which have a lot less pollution because they are not "old" as in having done many seasons in a brood nest, they are made from freshly bee made wax during a honey flow when there is normally no treatment in a hive.

    Having said that wax used for foundation is still polluted by both beekeeper applied chemicals and also chemicals the bees bring back from the outside environment.

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