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Thread: Weight of comb?

  1. #1
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    Default Weight of comb?

    I have read that about 8# of honey is used in making a pound of comb. How many frames would that cover in the brood nest? What about a foundationless frame? Thanks, I could not find this answer anywhere I looked.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weight of comb?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm#expenseofwax

    From Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse pg 35

    "Their degree of efficiency in wax production, that is how many pounds of honey or sugar syrup are required to produce one pound of wax, is not clear. It is difficult to demonstrate this experimentally because so many variables exist. The experiment most frequently cited is that by Whitcomb (1946). He fed four colonies a thin, dark, strong honey that he called unmarketable. The only fault that might be found with the test was that the bees had free flight, which was probably necessary so they could void fecal matter; it was stated that no honey flow was in progress. The production of a pound of beeswax required a mean of 8.4 pounds of honey (range 6.66 to 8.80). Whitcomb found a tendency for wax production to become more efficient as time progressed. This also emphasizes that a project intended to determine the ratio of sugar to wax, or one designed to produce wax from a cheap source of sugar, requires time for wax glands to develop and perhaps for bees to fall into the routine of both wax secretion and comb production."

    The problem with most of the estimates on what it takes to make a pound of wax is they don't take into account how much honey that pound of wax will support

    From Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse pg 41

    "A pound (0.4536 kg.) of beeswax, when made into comb, will hold 22 pounds (10 kg.) of honey. In an unsupported comb the stress on the topmost cells is the greatest; a comb one foot (30 cm.) deep supports 1320 times its own weight in honey."
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Weight of comb?

    So, if I read this right then, at 7 lbs of honey per deep frame, one pound of beeswax will make about 3 deep frames of drawn comb. Thanks, I was just trying to figure a value for drawn comb.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weight of comb?

    >So, if I read this right then, at 7 lbs of honey per deep frame, one pound of beeswax will make about 3 deep frames of drawn comb.

    That sounds about right.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Weight of comb?

    Thanks a lot. That would place a nice value on a drawn frame of comb and would make a 5 frame deep Nuc more of a premium over a package when figuring in the drawn comb that the person receives. That is what I was trying to figure out. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weight of comb?

    The wax vs. honey argument is too full of ambiguity to mean anything to me. In real terms, the purchase cost of any periodical is the paper, ink and delivery. Assembly and profit comes from advertisements. Since bee magazines advertise products, anything that suggests reduction of purchases is unlikely to get published, especially when a basic extractor costs three hundred bucks. Fortunately, we now have something called the internet that is not entirely driven by advertising.

    Like any growing individual or nursing mother, I doubt young bees decide to produce wax or how much they produce. I believe they can only decide what to do with it. From that very biased opinion, I don't consider comb production anything beyond an indicator of the health of the colony. I also feel beeswax candles can fetch more money at garage sales than honey at no risk.

    As far as package vs. nuc, I feel the nuc has a head start on packages for two reasons. First, a package is a collection of bees combined with an unfamiliar queen introduced to empty frames that must be built out before offspring are produced. Second, nucs are typically local and the girls are most likely adapted to your turf.

    For what it's worth, for my money and from my experience, I prefer a nuc split from my last surviving hive over a package.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Weight of comb?

    I don't think the "cost" has anything to do with honey being converted to wax. It has to do with having a place to store nectar. The sooner there is a place to store it the more honey they will make. Foundation, in theory, saves them making wax, but in my experience it slows them down drawing comb and that costs me honey. Drawn comb will make the most honey. Foundationless next. Wax foundation next. Plastic foundation next...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weight of comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I don't think the "cost" has anything to do with honey being converted to wax. It has to do with having a place to store nectar. The sooner there is a place to store it the more honey they will make. Foundation, in theory, saves them making wax, but in my experience it slows them down drawing comb and that costs me honey. Drawn comb will make the most honey. Foundationless next. Wax foundation next. Plastic foundation next...
    I'll buy that. Sounds like the attic principle. What your attic contains has nothing to do with value or meaning, only with the space available to fill.

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