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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pope, AR, USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Can someone who has used plastic foundation tell me the pros & cons of it? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Strafford, NH, USA
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I use plastic in wood frames.

    Pros:
    Easy
    Quick
    Comes in black, white, or green (I cut out sheets from plastic frames)
    No worries about blowouts when extracting

    Cons:
    Can't cut out queen cells to transfer to multiple hives
    Costs a bit more
    Once plugged with brood castings they suck to clean (almost not worth it for me)
    Can pull the drawn comb away from the foundation when uncapping if not careful with a too cold knife

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,335

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Moccasin View Post
    Can someone who has used plastic foundation tell me the pros & cons of it? Thanks.

    As someone who used to spend every summer evening and basically all winter hand wiring frames and and putting in "real" foundation there is nothing I regret about use of the new plastic foundation.

    Just about done putting the finishing touches on 9000 new wood frames with plastic foundation built this winter to throw on the bees this summer. The speed of assembly and the durability of the finished product in all aspects of beekeeping keep me from even thinking about the "good ol days."

    Only drawback might be that the "free time" and increased productivity caused by its usage makes the MRS. think I'm available for a bigger Honey-do-list than I would really like.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,859

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    >new wood frames with plastic foundation built this winter to throw on the bees this summer.

    Will hives draw plastic foundation this late in Solano? Or most places?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,335

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    >new wood frames with plastic foundation built this winter to throw on the bees this summer.

    Will hives draw plastic foundation this late in Solano? Or most places?

    Very good question Frank. Simple answer is: Some yards YES. Some yards No. With the poor rain situation this year I do have to admit its main the reason over a 1000 gallons a week of syrup is going on each week and the tank levels are dropping like a rock over Vernal falls. No one is more glad that syrup is down 25% since last year than myself. If the dead bees before almond bloom don't kill as guy the current syrup bill will surely finish someone off on a year like this. Thank God we had killer mating weather and the rest of the springs chore accomplishment list gets an A- for the spring of 2013 in Nor Cal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,673

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Some of us like to waste time with real wax and wood. The bees seem to like it better, and everything can be re-cycled when it gets damaged. We are still working on cheap ways to reuse 20 year old plastic foundation. The current pressure washer takes too long, and rewaxing is just as bad.

    Crazy Roland

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,794

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I've seen chemical bath, but you'd have to pull it from the frame I'm thinking or the wood might dissolve too.... I've inherited some plastic foundation frames, if the bees draw them out well, they get two thumbs up. If they don't draw them out well they really suck.

    I do like how they seem more solid and rigid in hand. They are a little heavier tho and the bees can't create pathways through them like they want too but they do seem to keep comb more level and even as well. Only cons is some bees just hate plastic and if they don't get drawn properly it's tough to get them to do any rework. I'm sure there's tricks to getting them to draw them quicker but it starts making it more time consuming than it's worth. Another pro, is if you don't set them in the heat somewhere, they won't warp like wax or sag in the hive before the bees can attach everything.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I have used some plastic comb and frames all given to me or acquired thru nucs. The bees will use them just fine and it is quicker on the keeper. But aren't bees exposed to enough man made-chemicals as it is. Between tainted HFCS , hard chemical treatments, antibiotics, agricultural sprays and other contaminates isn't it time beekeepers give the bees a break somewhere down the line?

    Humans (my mother included) are having more and more allergies to all the above chemicals, and why is does not kill, it can surely weaken an immune system. Sure they can take it but where is the fine line, and when do we change? When the bees start dying?..........

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I started with the all plastic frames and foundation (1 piece), but have come to love the wood frame / plastic foundation combo. I have one super that had wax foundation that I got last year and put on a hive, the bees never touched it. I put it on a hive a few weeks ago, giving it another chance, checked it today, still nothing. If they haven't started drawing it by next week, I'll pull it and probably never use wax foundation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,362

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Bees will only draw out plastic when fed or during a flow.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Sorry, don't want to step on toes, but I find, from experience, Charlie B's statement to be completely false. If they will draw wax, then they will draw plastic. And in my case, they won't draw wax at all. (See my earlier post)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Sorry, that last post of mine may sound weird, so needed correcting. I started with plastic, and one wax box. Have had complete success with plastic, but as of today, still haven't had the girls draw my wax foundation. Maybe it is regional, but if they haven't started my wax foundation by next week, after two years, I'm giving up on wax foundation. I've had no luk with it. Only had success with plastic foundation. But to each his own.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    Casinoken if the wax is too dried out they wont use it well or at all. I am completely foundationless, so it has been a while since I used wax or plastic but wax was 3 times easier to get drawn if fresh and a decent flow o feeding was taking place.

    Honeybees draw combs just fine and just as quick or quicker without either. It is free, in my experiments queens seek out to lay in foundationless over foundation or plastic, its 100% pure from chemical treatments and after a while is very sturdy and durable. To many drones in the frames are never a problem.

    I am not just foundationless on a few hives I am using this method on over 100 hives, It works for any keepers who wishes to save and keep his bees healthier.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I've noticed ancedotally that in a box with mixed frames (some with plastic foundation some foundationless) that the bees will draw out the foundationless a little faster than the foundation. That said, it only matters the year they draw them. After that it's pretty nice having solid plastic foundation frames come extraction time.
    It's mid-June so I don't expect (at least out here in northern california) that the bees will draw much of anything now.

    Don't let anyone ever take you down the bad path of using plastic frames. I had 6 of these that came with a nuc I bought last year. Being that they had nice dark comb, this year I used them a bottom brood box. Wouldn't you know it every time I lifted the box above it, those 6 frames would also come up attached underneath. One time I this happened I was inspecting on a hot day in shorts. Those plastic frames got banged around and instantly I had non-friendly bees fly straight up my shorts!

    I haven't dealt with duragilt, never plan too. You'll hear more beeks cursing about Duragilt than plastic frames!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I don't buy into the scare of plastic foundation containing large amounts of toxic wax from treated hives. It's such a small coat of wax that's on the plastic so I don't see how any contamination on it could move the needle much.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    834

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I like how easy the plastic foundation is to work with.

    I have one hive that will go through all sorts of complicated gymnastic to avoid building comb on plastic, though.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Apopka, Florida
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    LOL Shinbone, I think we share the same bees! Wood/Plastic is what we use, been pretty good. But Plastic/Plastic is terrible, they seem to hate it. I've had some for almost a year that came in a nuc and some of it still isnt fully drawn!

    What I find to be best is just a wood frame and no foundation. They draw that out super fast but many times its mostly drone comb. I left a frame that I was raising queens on in a hive (only 2 cells were left, I took the others out already) and forgot about it, came back a week later and it was fully drawn!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,673

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    But the question is: After 30years, does the plastic start to decompose? and what are the by-products? Wax I can remelt and HOPEFULLY cleanse to make new foundation.

    Crazy Roland

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    572

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    I use Pierco foundation in wooden frames and complete Pierco plastic frames. When put together in slotted top, bottom, and side frame wood frames, it is solid as a rock and sturdy.

    My main problem is that when you order it pre waxed, it should receive more than a light misting. The bees pretty well ignore the pre wax stuff unless you paint on a coat of melted wax yourself. For a beginner it is a pain, you either have to buy extra wax or bum some off a fellow beekeeper.

    And then you have to figure the extra time for melting wax and painting the foundation.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Pros & Cons of Plastic Foundation

    plastic photodegrades. Do you keep your frames out in the sun?

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