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Thread: plastic frames

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    823

    Default plastic frames

    I good friend of mine recently dropped off about 100 plastic frames. They are medium frames. Last year I inserted a few plastic frames into a couple of hives, and the bees just neglected them. They did not build any comb on them, period. I removed the plastic frames and replaced them with wood frames with rite cell inserts. The bees immediately got to work on them. Have any of you had success with plastic frames, and if so, what did you do to get the bees started?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    954

    Default Re: plastic frames

    My bees work the Mann Lake PF-120's just fine. I didn't do anything special, just inserted them into the boxes and left.

    Shane

  3. #3

    Default Re: plastic frames

    I only have one 10-frame hive, two deeps and three medium supers, but all I have is plastic frames. Maybe because it's all they have, but they do ok with them.

    Give them a light spraying of 1:1 sugar water when you put them in.

    Here's one full of honey:

    frame.jpg
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: plastic frames

    When I used plastic, I had trouble with them too. It seemed like new ones were ok, but if they sat around too long the bee's didn't like them. I didn't like to use plastic anything so it was an easy choice for me to switch but I wonder if recoating with wax or spraying (as mentioned above) would have helped.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Troy, OH
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: plastic frames

    You will find that results vary. I got a bunch of plastic frames with some used equipment I bought. The frames had been cleared entirely by wax moth. I cleaned them and stuck them in there and I cannot, for the life of me, get them to draw things out correctly. I have tried coating them with wax. I've tried spraying them with sugar water. The bees will either cross comb them or build comb off the frame.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: plastic frames

    I only purchase plastic frames. The only wood frames I have are the ones from purchased nucs. I take burr comb and cross comb from inspections and put it in a small crock pot. I then use a foam brush to smear some extra wax on the plastic frames. Haven't had any problems, the bees do seem to draw it more slowly at first, but once they get started, they go gang busters.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: plastic frames

    Crock pot of beeswax. Roll it on the frames. They will work it from my experience. I had boxes of old Pierco frames that were given to me but time and insects had cleaned what little wax they have on them right off. Bees wouldn't touch em. A roll of fresh wax and popped back in the hive and they start building them out right away.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: plastic frames

    Didn't take them long to fill out these Mann Lake PF125 mediums. They already come wax coated. You don't do anything but put them in.

    MLPF125.jpg
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Wellston, OK USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: plastic frames

    I was told the largest beek in the country uses nothing but plastic. I use it all even though I'm trying to go completly foundationless it takes time. You'll hear everything from don't mix the different frames to my bee will never pull them. I've had some bee that just totally ignore them but once you get them started look out. I melt some wax in a crock and just brush it on the old ones and they pull it right away. Other times just like they said spray a little sugar water on there but I believe their needs plays a part in it also... other words if there is no real flow they just don't show as much interest. One piece of advice I can give though is I usually only put in 9 frames until I see how they pull it. Sometimes they pull them so wide you can't get them out without tearing them up.The girls know best!!!!

  10. #10

    Default Re: plastic frames

    The only thing I've noticed about the plastic frames are that they may be a little wider on the ends. I really had to mash to get the frame into the bottom holder of my extractor. I've ordered a few wooden medium frames so that I can compare. The plastic frames finally fit, but I really had to wiggle and mash and mutter under my breath.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Cole County, Missouri
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: plastic frames

    plastic did not work for me either. I pulled untouched frames off of my hives will never buy again

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,371

    Default Re: plastic frames

    In my hives that are all plastic they are drawn out great. In my hives where there is a mix the bees are slower to draw out the plastic frames.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    823

    Default Re: plastic frames

    Does anyone know what material is used to construct "rite cell" inserts in frames?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,030

    Default Re: plastic frames

    I love the plastic one-piece PF120s. If the bees ignore one, I mist it with light syrup as previously described, but the bees seem to dig them just fine. One benefit is the re-usability; if damaged by moths/bears or of the comb is wonky, scrape and reintroduce for a fresh start!
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Radford,Va
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: plastic frames

    I tried a few mediums with plastic frames this year. They jumped right on it and drew them out. I couldn't tell any difference. I find the plastic frames a little easier to break lose to pick up.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,561

    Default Re: plastic frames

    I strongly prefer wooden frames with plastic foundation. My preference has nothing to do with any difficulty of getting all plastic frames drawn out. My primary complaints with all plastic frames are as follows: 1) gaps around the frames are a safe haven for SHB, 2) frames can warp, 3) frames are fragile (just drop a full medium super 3 inches and see what happens to the top bar tabs), 4) frames can buckle in an extractor, and once damaged you just have to throw them away. That said, if someone gave me 100 plastic frames I'd put them in service, but I will not go out and buy more.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    733

    Default Re: plastic frames

    They would swarm on me rather than pull them out, even with 1:1 feeding and spray with HBH. Painted them with wax as said the thread and they are drawing them! I built about a 100 wax deeps but ran out and started using the plastic I swore I would not use again. I put all my bur comb in a crock pot, boil with water and vinegar, dump the brown goop through a nylon and when it cools, bingo wax for frames.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

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