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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    Hello all,
    I a wondering what the real differences are between plastic and beeswax cell cups for grafting. Is there better acceptance with one or the other? Thanks in advance for you input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,401

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    Differences? One's plastic and is a manufactured item purchased either from the manufacturer or a re-seller, the other you can make yourself or purchase, some companies do actually manufacture them as well. I've used both and haven't noticed any difference in acceptance. One of the major reasons I like the JZsBZs wide base cell cups, is because I have a little difficulty holding them gently, so if I handle them by their bases the JZsBZs plastic base keeps me from crushing them. You can also push them into the honeycomb, for placement, using the plastic bases, helps to keep the cells from being damaged in the process.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I've only used beeswax so far.

    It's helpful to put your cell bars in the hive for a few days to get them polished, I believe the same is true for plastic ones.

    I use wax because I want to be able to make them myself, recycle them, and because I don't need any more plastic to throw away. Perhaps the most important reason is that they are much cheaper, around half the price. You can get them from Rossman Apiaries or learn how to make them yourself.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I have had good results with both but now use plastic exclusively. They are easy to use and the bees love them! One major queen breeder who I talked to said that one of the reasons that he uses plastic is because he had commercialy available wax cell tested and was shocked at the levels of pesticide residues in the wax cells. Two weeks ago, Randy Oliver showed a slide of a swarm cell that was built naturally in a plastic cell that remained after the previous requeening. He said that it happens more often than one would expect. I don't think that for most people, the cost would be a major concern.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I use the JZBZ wide base cell cups along with the plastic cell bars they snap into. They are so easy to use. I snap they cups on and graft straight into them, no polishing. Still get 90%+ takes.

    Never used wax but always thought it would be neet to make my own. But just not worth the time and worry.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    881

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I started on plastic and hated it. I moved over to wax foundation shortly after that. Man, putting frames togther, running wire and melting foundation on to it was time consuming. Then when the first extractor I had could not spin slow enough and blew out the center of every frame I put in it, I was not happy. One day while at Mann Lake, one of the employees and I were talking. He asked me why I alway used wax? When I told him of the bad experience with plastic foundation, he gave me 5 frames and plastic foundation that ML sells and man, the bees didn't reject it at all like they did the other stuff. I now exclusively use Mann Lake plastic foundation and I am very happy with it.

    C2

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I don't have much experience other then this last Saturday when I did my first graft but I was very please with the results. The bees didn't have any issues with acceptance, I had about an 80% acceptance rate and I think the ones I lost could be attributed to my clumsy hands. I've been seeing lots of people mentioning putting the cell bars in a hive to get polished for a day or two, I skipped that process but think it has some merit so I'm going to try that before my next graft here in another ten days.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,060

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I heard in a video that at least one beekeeper dips the frames, with plastic cups and all in wax. anyone heard of this? tried it? what where the results?
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    Can you re-use the JZBZ cups? Does anyone do that?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ballard County, KY
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I put plastic cell cups in my starter last year for polishing and by the next day they had covered it with brace/burr comb. That was a mess to cleanup. I ended up just grafting on unpolished ones and they did fine.

    Adam - I cleaned up a bunch last year by boiling them in a pot of water and detergent. Had to scrape some of the residue off them, I havn't used them yet so can't say if they will accept them or not.

    Tim

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,060

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I read somewhere that the acceptance rate drops with re used cups. Not sure if boiling, polishing or other measures improves that.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    >Can you re-use the JZBZ cups? Does anyone do that?

    I reuse them. I have heard the research quoted, but I would say they are better accepted when they are used...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,401

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    I agree with Michael Bush about the reused JZsBZs plastic cell cups.

    I simply heat up a small amount of beeswax until it is well past the point of being liquefied, then using a pair of long handled hemostats, I grasp each used cell cup by its bottom pin, then swirl it around in the liquid beeswax until all the old wax has melted away and a thin new coating has been deposited. I lay the newly refreshed cups, pin side down, on a clean paper plate or paper towel until they cool, then collect them into a ziploc bag until reused.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    Nice. Thanks Joseph. Mike, do you clean them? Or just reuse as they are?

    Adam

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Default Re: Queen cell cup: Plastic vs. beeswax?

    >Mike, do you clean them? Or just reuse as they are?

    I used to put them in a #8 hardware cloth basket and swish them in boiling water (if you leave them very long they will melt). I didn't see any difference when I just used them. So now I just reuse them as they are.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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