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Thread: Frame Choice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Thomas County, Georgia
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    37

    Default Frame Choice

    After working with my new hive, which was purchased as two medium boxes with foundation-less frames, I'm now expanding and have the option for different frames in the new boxes. I like the foundation-less frames for when I get ready to extract because I like cut comb and wouldn't mind crushing and straining, especially for the small amount that I will be processing.

    If I plan to keep my operation small in the coming years, less than 10 colonies, would it be easier to just stay foundation-less and crush and cut, or would it be much easier to buy frames that I can uncap and put in an extractor? Seems like either way it's still a good bit of work. Plus I'd really like to get my wife and kids into using the wax for projects and seems that cut comb would provide a lot more vs extracting from caps and letting the bees clean up the foundation-ed frames.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
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    386

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    I can't imagine doing crush and strain for more than a few frames, seems like it would be terribly messy, and getting 2-3 boxes per hive...I'd much rather use an extractor. For cut-comb I use a thin foundation, last year I tried doing some foundationless too, by putting empty frames between frames of foundation- it worked out fine. The empty frames were just the standard grooved top and bottom bars, no starter strip/guide at all.
    Zone 4a/b

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    2,511

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    I believe you will find that crush and strain extraction for 2 hives is far too labor intensive to be sustainable. With 10 it is imposable. There is a big difference between 2 and 10 hives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Thomas County, Georgia
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    Default Re: Frame Choice

    That answers my question on that part, thank you for that information.

    Now as far as what foundation-ed frames to use - plastic coated with wax, wire frame - does it just really gravitate around personal preference? I've even seen some that are solid plastic, foundation and frame.

    Any experience with Ross Rounds? They look pretty attractive for packaging of comb and honey for selling and giving as gifts. Any experience with these?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Allen County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Jafar View Post
    That answers my question on that part, thank you for that information.

    Now as far as what foundation-ed frames to use - plastic coated with wax, wire frame - does it just really gravitate around personal preference? I've even seen some that are solid plastic, foundation and frame.
    In my limited experience, it really seems to just be personal preference. Some people will swear that A is better than B, and then the next person will say the B worked better than A. That leads me to believe that most are probably viable options. My personal preference is wood frames with Mann Lake Ritecell foundation, mostly because its what I used last year and the bees seemed to draw it out pretty good. Bee spacing may be an issue if you mix up the brands on wood frames. Barry wrote up a great review that talks about the bee spacing issue with different vendors etc...
    http://www.beesource.com/product-reviews/wood-frames/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    49,269

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    > would it be much easier to buy frames that I can uncap and put in an extractor?

    You have frames you can upcap and put int he extractor. Uncap the foundationless frames, and put them in the extractor. Not a problem. I extract them all the time.

    >I can't imagine doing crush and strain for more than a few frames, seems like it would be terribly messy, and getting 2-3 boxes per hive...
    >I believe you will find that crush and strain extraction for 2 hives is far too labor intensive to be sustainable. With 10 it is imposable.

    I can crush and strain faster than I can extract and it's not a bit more or less messy. I'd rather extract just to have the drawn comb available, but not because it's less work or less mess, because it's not.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Thomas County, Georgia
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    37

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    You have frames you can upcap and put int he extractor. Uncap the foundationless frames, and put them in the extractor. Not a problem. I extract them all the time.
    And I was told by my local supplier that foundationless frames would fly apart in an extractor. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

    I can crush and strain faster than I can extract and it's not a bit more or less messy. I'd rather extract just to have the drawn comb available, but not because it's less work or less mess, because it's not.
    So if I had mind to use the comb for wax products, (soap, candles, etc), would crush and strain be a viable method in extracting my honey and have these resources strained and ready to use?

    Honestly, I don't want to have to buy different frames, an extractor, uncapper/station, etc if I can just extract all my honey through one method and use the wax. The less I can spend on extraneous equipment the more I can plow back into my bees. Is it better for the bees if I uncap and extract, returning comb back to them that they can clean up and reuse? Thank you for your time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Thomas County, Georgia
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    I bought two large boxes today with foundation-less frame. If I start another hive I will try a different style of frame and try to compare, I may want to use different ones for different purposes. Thanks everyone for your time and input.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Roscommon Mi USA
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    43

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Jafar View Post
    And I was told by my local supplier that foundationless frames would fly apart in an extractor. Thank you for clearing that up for me.



    So if I had mind to use the comb for wax products, (soap, candles, etc), would crush and strain be a viable method in extracting my honey and have these resources strained and ready to use?

    Honestly, I don't want to have to buy different frames, an extractor, uncapper/station, etc if I can just extract all my honey through one method and use the wax. The less I can spend on extraneous equipment the more I can plow back into my bees. Is it better for the bees if I uncap and extract, returning comb back to them that they can clean up and reuse? Thank you for your time.
    I have three hives and I use crush and strain exclusively. It is not a great deal of work and I like the wax for candles and such. I use plastic frames and take the wax and honey off them with a heavy steal spatula.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,269

    Default Re: Frame Choice

    >And I was told by my local supplier that foundationless frames would fly apart in an extractor. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

    Any frames will fly apart in an extractor if you uncap heavy new comb and crank it all the way up right off the bat. Any combs can be extracted if you start gently and work your way up. It's no more difficult to extract a foundationless frame than a wired wax foundation frame. Plastic is a bit stronger but even that can blow out if you get carried away.

    >So if I had mind to use the comb for wax products, (soap, candles, etc), would crush and strain be a viable method in extracting my honey and have these resources strained and ready to use?

    If you want wax, then I would do crush and strain to maximize the wax. If you want honey and have access to an extractor, I would extract. If you have to buy an extractor and you have less than a dozen hives, I would do crush and strain unless you can find a cheap used extractor.

    >Honestly, I don't want to have to buy different frames, an extractor, uncapper/station, etc if I can just extract all my honey through one method and use the wax.

    Then I would do crush and strain.

    >The less I can spend on extraneous equipment the more I can plow back into my bees. Is it better for the bees if I uncap and extract, returning comb back to them that they can clean up and reuse? Thank you for your time.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm

    "A comb honey beekeeper really needs, in addition to his bees and the usual apiary equipment and tools, only one other thing, and that is a pocket knife. The day you go into producing extracted honey, on the other hand, you must begin to think not only of an extractor, which is a costly machine used only a relatively minute part of the year, but also of uncapping equipment, strainers, settling tanks, wax melters, bottle filling equipment, pails and utensils galore and endless things. Besides this you must have a place to store supers of combs, subject to damage by moths and rodents and, given the nature of beeswax, very subject to destruction by fire. And still more: You must begin to think in terms of a whole new building, namely, a honey house, suitably constructed, supplied with power, and equipped....

    "All this seems obvious enough, and yet time after time I have seen novice beekeepers, as soon as they had built their apiaries up to a half dozen or so hives, begin to look around for an extractor. It is as if one were to establish a small garden by the kitchen door, and then at once begin looking for a tractor to till it with. Unless then, you have, or plan eventually to have, perhaps fifty or more colonies of bees, you should try to resist looking in bee catalogs at the extractors and other enchanting and tempting tools that are offered and instead look with renewed fondness at your little pocket knife, so symbolic of the simplicity that is the mark of every truly good life..."

    "The opinion of experts once was that the production of beeswax in a colony required great quantities of nectar which, since it was turned into wax, would never be turned into honey. Until quite recently it was thought that bees could store seven pounds of honey for every pound of beeswax that they needed to manufacture for the construction of their combs--a figure which seems never to have been given any scientific basis, and which is in any case quite certainly wrong. The widespread view that if the combs were used over and over, through the use of the honey extractor, then the bees would be saved the trouble of building them and could convert the nectar thus saved into honey, was only minimally correct. A strong colony of bees will make almost as much comb honey as extracted honey on a strong honey flow. The advantage of the extractor, in increasing harvests, is that honey stored from minor flows, or gathered by the bees over many weeks of the summer, can easily be extracted, but comb honey cannot be easily produced under those conditions."--Richard Taylor, The Comb Honey Book
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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