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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Jemison, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    74

    Default Foundation plastic or wax ?

    I am brand new to this i have purchased some plastic foundation and considering wax is it ok to mix them in same hive,
    do bees seem to have a preference?

    I will be getting my nucs in a couple of weeks and would appreciate any advice
    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    Mix to your hearts content... no problems what so ever mixing and matching! Welcome!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    I was a proponent of plastics last year, especially Duragilt foundation (wax coated plastic). I will NEVER buy plastic again. I noticed during my recent inspection all of the wasted space that they didn't use because of the wax coming off due to the heat. They just don't seem to build perfect comb on it. Also, I know people that have used plastic frames. They hate them.

    As for a preference of the bees, they seem to thrive on wax foundation. I will be converting my deep brood frames over to foundationless this year. I will replace 1/3 each year. I have heard that the bees build comb faster. I will still use the sturdier foundation for honey extraction.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,379

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    Neither, let the bees do the work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    I started with plastic, and still have a bunch of it. I don't hesitate putting it in the hive and my bees have had no problems drawing it out. I will saw that I've made some splits where they have put the queen cells on plastic, which is basically impossible to cut off and put else where. I am not sure if I heard any one warn of that before, but this is a major draw back, especially once you start getting into expansion and splitting.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarkston, Michigan USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    This is one of those age-old questions. When I took beginning beekeeping with 5 different beekeepers they all recommended against it. This was of course well after a master beekeeper friend of mine had recommended it and I bought a complete hive's worth of plastic...
    I bought the Brushy Mountain food grade plastic that comes wax-coated.
    In my first year I found a LOT of crazy comb formation that I had to hive-tool out of it. However, I read about a beekeeper coating his plastic with more beeswax. I did this for two new hives - brood chambers and 3 supers each - and have had zero problems since. They've drawn out on it with no problem whatsoever. I simply melted the wax and used a foam craft brush to paint it on each sheet of plastic.
    To do this I had to buy 10 pounds of wax from Brushy Mountain and take over the kitchen from the missus for a time, so consider that in your cost benefit analysis. Not to mention the time and mess involved.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Jemison, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. since I have plastic now I think I will buy wax next time and see which the bees seem to like best.
    hope you all have a great honey flow

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,960

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    How it is drawn depends most on the bees need for more room. They don't draw comb unless they need room. The only way to subvert that in a small way is to put a frame of foundation between capped brood frames. Then the bees basically abandon outer space to repair the integrity of the nest and draw your foundation. If they are entering a dearth or the end of a season, they won't even do that~!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    I say use what you feel is best and what you're comfortable with. For me, I hate plastic. I think that it ultimately is a contaminant of sorts. That said, it's all around us and if you as a beekeper is comfortable with using it then you're probably going to be a better beekeeper for it. I love wood and wax so that's what I use. I have found that mixed foundation in a hive gets pulled at different rates with wax typically (but not always) getting drawn out first and the the plastic. Comb is different. When I used plastic foundation, I had the best success when I put plastic foundation into a hive that had already drawn comb on wax. I used to have boxes where the wax was drawn out but not the plastic and then the colony got tight so I added a box of wax and they went up and still ignored the plastic. Re-coating it with wax helped but it seemed too much work for me.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    One piece plastic frames are easy and cheap no assembly required. Bees like these the least and will often make other frames fatter so they don’t have to work the plastic, add extra wax to them helps. I use them for small cell bees. No long regresion process.

    Foundation can be a no brainer.

    Foundationless can save on the cost of foundation, bees build these the fastest. They should be places between two good frames. Need to keep an eye on them. And the hive needs to be level.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    I left out my comments, and just stated you can mix.. I have done all 3, and done all three in the same hives, on a large scale experiment. Yes they do work faster on foundationless. But all my supers are plastic for extracting reasons, and they will build "partials" in late season on plastic....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    Plastic is a huge time saver--I just inserted foundation into 80 frames in about 15 minutes-it pops right in. Compared to wiring adding eyelets inserting and removing the wooden wedge--hours of wasted time for no huge benefit.

    Best combination is Wood frame with pierco/mann lake/whoever is cheapest insert plastic foundation. If you want it drawn out correctly you need to either install it during a flow or feed 1:1 sugar syrup to stimulate a nectar flow.

    If they really are not drawing it out, or if you are reusing scraped plastic foundations, paint on some wax with a foam brush (a tag sale crock pot is great for heating the wax) and with this additional wax the bees will draw it out fine. The time to coat each side of a foundation is negligible.
    I do not like the one piece plastic foundations, as they are flimsy and have a tendancy to warp when pried and man handled.
    http://www.peekskillnurseries.com
    Specialists in Ground Cover plants since 1937. Talk to me about ground-covers!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#waxplastic

    Myth: Can't mix wax and plastic.

    This is not so much a myth as an over simplification. Putting undrawn plastic in with undrawn wax is like putting a piece of cherry pie and a bowl of broccoli in front of your kids at the same time. If you want them to eat the broccoli, you should wait to put out the cherry pie.

    If you mix wax and plastic foundation, the bees will jump on the wax and ignore the plastic. If you put in all plastic they will use it when they need comb.

    There is no great impending disaster if you mix them. They just have their preferences and if you want them to follow your preferences you should limit their choices. Once it is drawn comb or comb that is being used, you can mix it freely with everything with no problems.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Jemison, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Foundation plastic or wax ?

    Thank you that clarifies it for me.
    I am waiting for my nucs to be ready, can hardly wait to get aquainted with the girls.

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