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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,118

    Default buying chemical free foundation

    In using purchased foundation we are introducing chemicals into our hives that other beekeepers have been using. I have been told that if we send wax to be worked into foundation that we will not be sent only our wax foundation in return.

    Short of not using foundation, is there a solution? What do you guys do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,490

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    I use foundationless and plastic. I guess you could make your own foundation, but that seems to be a lot of work.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    I have too much plastic and don't like it: difficult to cut out queen cells, they often don't draw it out correctly, etc. Foundationless is good, of course, but they make so much drone comb and it's often not drawn correctly either.

    I have about 10 or so bricks of cappings wax that should be very free from chemicals. It seems a waste to not be able to use it as chemical free foundation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Buderim, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by heaflaw View Post
    In using purchased foundation we are introducing chemicals into our hives that other beekeepers have been using. I have been told that if we send wax to be worked into foundation that we will not be sent only our wax foundation in return.

    Short of not using foundation, is there a solution? What do you guys do?
    You could buy foundation from an Australian Company, but the mailing costs may prohibitive.

    Our wax is mostly unadulterated due to not having Varroa.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    195

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Western Australian is even better as we don't have small hive beetle or varroa or a few other diseases (that is until some stupid beekeeper imports something like a guy in January bought a used capping knife from the US).

    Too hard to make your own. The foundation only forms a small part of the comb.

    Good luck

    Geoff

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,145

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    For my small cell TF hives I use treatment free wax for the foundation and consider this very important. In fact I think TF guys in the US using treated wax for their foundation may be losing more hives than they have to. Luckily I have a friend with his own 4.9 foundation mill.

    If I was in the US and did not have access to untreated foundation, I would buy plastic uncoated, and coat it myself with my own wax.

    M Bush has now led a move to foundationless. OK, you'll get untreated wax comb. But it won't all be 4.9, which is critical according to Dee Lusby. I'm hearing reports of people getting an average of around 5.2, for worker comb, I'm waiting, to see how this goes for people.

    If you do not subscribe to small cell, then yes, foundationless is the way to go. Just, it's thinner than man made foundation so not as robust at extracting time so be careful.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,319

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Oldtimer,
    4 or 5 years ago, at a state beekeepers meeting, Marla Spivak was asked if the trace amounts of chemicals found in foundations damaged the brood. She said there was no data that showed brood damage. Have there been studies in the last 5 years that have proved brood damage?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,145

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Not that I know of, like many things treatment free, it's conjecture.

    The claim is often heard that miticides in wax slows the brood development time by one to two days. However I don't know where this claim originated. It's claimed from a study, although I've never seen it.

    If anybody else can shed any light on this I'd be interested.

    What I can say, is drones raised in the presence of fluvenate have a reduced sperm count, and queens raised in the presence of fluvenate have a lower mating percentage. I have seen a properly done study on that, but cannot link it for you.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by heaflaw View Post
    is there a solution?
    Is there a problem?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    The problem is not being able to have one's own wax pressed into foundation and returned to them without being mixed with another's beekeeper's wax. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
    Last edited by heaflaw; 05-20-2013 at 08:30 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    Oldtimer,
    4 or 5 years ago, at a state beekeepers meeting, Marla Spivak was asked if the trace amounts of chemicals found in foundations damaged the brood. She said there was no data that showed brood damage. Have there been studies in the last 5 years that have proved brood damage?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044129/

    This study is the first to demonstrate sub-lethal effects on worker honey bees from pesticide residue exposure from contaminated brood comb. Sub-lethal effects, including delayed larval development and adult emergence or shortened adult longevity, can have indirect effects on the colony such as premature shifts in hive roles and foraging activity. In addition, longer development time for bees may provide a reproductive advantage for parasitic Varroa destructor mites. The impact of delayed development in bees on Varroa mite fecundity should be examined further
    However, I should point out that this was not a matter of trace amounts in foundation, but brood comb that had been used in migratory colonies that were treated for mites, so the comb had fairly heavy contamination. Still, to me this is another nail in the treatment coffin.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,145

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Well there you go. My problem is I read stuff but always forget to keep the reference.

    Don't know about the nail in the treatment coffin though, bees are going to be treated into the foreseeable future, that's a fact.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Short of not using foundation, is there a solution?
    Is it a problem to not use foundation?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by heaflaw View Post
    The problem is not being able to have one's own wax pressed into foundation and returned to them without being mixed with another's beekeeper's wax. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
    Granted, but it's usually impossible to obtain a service that's not offered. Perhaps you could bribe...er I mean offer more money for them to shut down their usual operation and run your wax through by itself. Everybody has a price right? Or perhaps you could build your own book style foundation mold, or maybe you could purchase your own foundation mill. They cost a couple thousand dollars and I imagine they last forever. Think of all the foundation you could make.

    Personally, I don't worry about it. Foundation is made primarily of cappings wax, which should be the least contaminated of all wax in the hive. I've been using it for ten years in a treatment-free regime and it does not seem to have caused any problems.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Coopersville, Michigan
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Treatment free wax would lower the amount of contaminants though not all treatments leave residues, but it also depends on where the bees forage. If you're in an Ag area you'll likely have other pesticides in your wax as well, the older the comb the more junk in it, but like others said foundation is a small portion of the total wax used. Cappings wax would definately be the way to go, though I don't know where you could have it processed by itself, your best bet might be checking with local beekeepers to see if anyone mills their own, but I don't think it's a terribly common practice.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    In her email list, Dee Lusby often speaks highly of Dadant's wax decontamination methods, though I am sure they are not getting everything out.

    Plastic frames and foundationless seem easier overall and the direction I am going. If only there was a more reasonably priced way to get PF120's to Canada...
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Solomon is right. One would have to purchase his own wax mill to be sure. Big investment, maybe a club investment?
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Baden Wurtemburg Germany
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    There are alternatives. You can make your own unembossed foundation, ie without the cell imprint. Just dip a piece of wet wood ,cut to the right size, into melted wax 3 or 4 times.
    Google "DIY foundation wax presses" making your own press is not that hard and quite cheep too. Only good for a small operation though.
    Search ebay.de for a water cooled foundation press from poland. "Wassergekühlte Mittelwandgußform-Wachspresse Deutsh.norm Größe 350 x200 mm"

    Stephen

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: buying chemical free foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
    Is it a problem to not use foundation?
    I have been foundationless for 9 of my 10 years in beekeeping. There are still a few frames with foundation in my operation from my original starter kit and a couple nucs I bought along the way. No there isn't a problem going foundationless if you follow the rules (no different than having to use foundation properly to get a good result). I have a video on youtube where I go into quite a bit of detail about the do's and don'ts, see my link in my signature. From time to time you will get wonky frames from foundationless, but I see threads on here quite often of people complaining of foundation that got messed up so it's not limited to just foundationless. Too many drone cells, then move that frame to the outside edge and put a new one it (they will fill with honey when they don't want drones). Cell size not close enough to 4.9 to suit you, then same thing move it over and up and put in fresh frames for them to draw. Keep in mind that cell size is also location dependant, northern bees left to their own devices(foundationless) will draw a certain size comb VS southern bees, and the same for higher elevations VS lower elevations.

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