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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania/Florida
    Posts
    340

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    I use two kettles set up as a double boiler over a LP gas burner, just hot enough to liquefy everything. Dip a 6" paint roller into melted wax, apply to frame fast and furious, need not be neat. The roller needs to be left in the melted wax while not rolling, else it will cool and not roll properly.

    Just don't put too much that the bees can't see the hex pattern below it. If you put too much burr comb may be prevalent.

    We also used our dark wax for this job. Once the bees draw it out it's hard to tell it was dark to begin with.

    Aaron

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    1,851

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    There's no need to go crazy. The other beeks around here do and I've looked at their hives and compared to mine. The rate it gets pulled is no different. Am using foundations that are already waxed then waxing them more.

    Wax is a precious resource. Have 7 pounds today and it will do 700 frames adequately. Sorry for disagreeing but it's my opinion and am sticking with it. Have stacks of new deeps with already double-waxed foundations ready to go. Getting anxious.

    Using a chip brush like missybee but no water is involved.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,136

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    Quote Originally Posted by BCB View Post
    I read they need painted with bee’s wax…

    The ones I have do have a smell of bee’s wax…

    Any thoughts?...
    A few years back I read the same thing. The rage then was, add wax to plastic, but if you want comb drawn in a hurry, use foundationless, so I did a test. I started with a plain plastic frame, slightly modified, one half just as it came out of the box, the other half converted to foundationless:



    A few days later, I lifted that frame out and found this, and if you look carefully, the side that is plastic has just as much, possibly slightly more comb than the side cut out to be foundationless:



    A week later, lifted it again, the whole frame was drawn. I seem to have misplaced that photo. When all was said and done, I learned a few things from that experiment.

    a) The bees drew both sides in the same amount of time
    b) One side was nice worker cells, the side without foundation was all drone cells.

    I did similar experiments puttting freshly waxed frames in with 'strait out of the box' frame and got a similar result, no measureable difference in how much comb they drew, and how fast they drew it out. During all of these experiments, I learned there are a few ways to ensure the bees dont draw much comb at all. The most effective way is to create an artificial brood break so that you get a 3 week period with no young freshly emerged bees in the colony. A colony without wax makers wont draw frames effectively at all. This is an easy experiment to reproduce, shake an entire colony onto new equipment creating an artificial swarm. They will draw comb like crazy for the first 10 days or so, then fill it all with brood. At that point, comb production will stop for roughly 4 weeks as they replenish the population. After the first round of brood has emerged and those cells are all filled with larvae again, then they will start producing more comb. Last summer I was trying to get comb onto non-standard size frames in a split box to be used as mating nucs and I did just that. To initially draw it out I shook an entire colony into the box with half size frames. I used bare frames without foundation for making up my 4 way mating nucs. The configuration was 10 half size frames on each side. 4 days after I shook the colony into that box this is what I found:-



    They drew out 8 of them in the first 10 days, then stopped drawing comb altogether. It took about 4 weeks before they started drawing again, I had a feeder with light syrup on the whole time. Once they started into drawing more comb, in a couple of weeks they had most of the box (20 half size frames) fleshed out.

    I've done a significant amount of experimenting with this subject, and have my own conclusions from it. If you want the bees to draw comb, there is a set of conditions that must be reached.

    a - You need a good healthy population of young bees in the colony
    b - You need a flow happening, natural or artificial, they need nectar coming in
    c - The bees need to perceive a need for comb, either in the brood nest or for storage
    d - The bees must not be pre-disposed to swarming

    If the conditions meet all of these requirements, the bees will draw comb like crazy, and it doesn't really matter how frames have been prepared. If any one of the 4 is missng, little / no comb will be produced. In the early season this can be a bit tricky because the bees tend to be pre-disposed to swarming, so feeding them a lot doesn't end up with the bees drawing comb for storage, instead they will backfill a brood nest and swarm out. Once we are past that time of year where swarming is the goal, well fed bees will draw out everything you put in the boxes. The other thing we have learned, fresh new frames in a honey super between two drawn often result in the two frames on either side of it being drawn out fat, and the new frame essentially ignored. But a new frame centered in the brood nest violates bees space, and they wont extend the cells like they do in the honey supers, that new frame will be drawn quickly if the population is strong with a good batch of healthy young bees. If I put a brand new plastic frame between two frames of emerging brood then check it 10 days later, invariably it will be combed out on both sides with open brood in most of the cells. Put that same frame out at the edge of the nest, 10 days later it may or may not be touched at all, and as often as not, the honey frame beside it has been 'fattened out' to store more honey. If the bees are not in the mode of expansion, they aren't going to draw more brood comb outside of the brood nest. If you want brood comb, the frame needs to be placed into a location where the bees want brood.

    If you watch the videos by Michael Palmer on using nucleus colonies as resource factories, pay careful attention to the piece where he is placing new foundation into the nucs as they grow. When it's first made up, the honey frame goes against the divider where the bees will ultimately want the brood nest centered. This gets them moving honey, and if necessary they will build comb where they want to move the honey. Later when the second box goes on, again a foundation is placed into a spot where they want brood. The circumstances are carefully contrived to get the bees building new brood comb.

    The devil is in the details. If you want the bees building comb, you have to create circumstances that prompt them to build comb. Adding extra wax to a plastic frame may help if conditions are marginal, but you will have far more success if you create optimal conditions that take advantage of the bees instincts rather than try force them to do it differently.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    @dynemd> Thanks for the tip to coat the paint roller and let it cool a bit to prevent getting wax on the bottom of the cells.

    Phil

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    2,596

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    Quote Originally Posted by aunt betty View Post
    There's no need to go crazy. The other beeks around here do and I've looked at their hives and compared to mine. The rate it gets pulled is no different. Am using foundations that are already waxed then waxing them more.

    Wax is a precious resource. Have 7 pounds today and it will do 700 frames adequately. Sorry for disagreeing but it's my opinion and am sticking with it. Have stacks of new deeps with already double-waxed foundations ready to go. Getting anxious.

    Using a chip brush like missybee but no water is involved.
    I wasn't disagreeing with you, I just don't see how you're stretching the wax that far. I wasn't trying to put a heavy coat on, it's just how it's gone. You using the chip brush must be the difference.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know, but the tide is turning.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
    Posts
    582

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    I went through wax a lot faster when using the foam roller. And the bottom of the cells did get full, some of them, the bees still drew it out.
    The chip brush the wax coats nicely and it takes less.

    I use the crock pot with water, I dip the brush deeper to warm it, then up through the wax. We keep our house cool in the winter, the wax hardens fast on the brush.
    Zone 6b: 10 hives in Maryland, 8 Carniolan 2 swarm mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    A few years back I read the same thing. The rage then was, add wax to plastic, but if you want comb drawn in a hurry, use foundationless, so I did a test. I started with a plain plastic frame, slightly modified, one half just as it came out of the box, the other half converted to foundationless:



    A few days later, I lifted that frame out and found this, and if you look carefully, the side that is plastic has just as much, possibly slightly more comb than the side cut out to be foundationless:



    A week later, lifted it again, the whole frame was drawn. I seem to have misplaced that photo. When all was said and done, I learned a few things from that experiment.

    a) The bees drew both sides in the same amount of time
    b) One side was nice worker cells, the side without foundation was all drone cells.

    I did similar experiments puttting freshly waxed frames in with 'strait out of the box' frame and got a similar result, no measureable difference in how much comb they drew, and how fast they drew it out. During all of these experiments, I learned there are a few ways to ensure the bees dont draw much comb at all. The most effective way is to create an artificial brood break so that you get a 3 week period with no young freshly emerged bees in the colony. A colony without wax makers wont draw frames effectively at all. This is an easy experiment to reproduce, shake an entire colony onto new equipment creating an artificial swarm. They will draw comb like crazy for the first 10 days or so, then fill it all with brood. At that point, comb production will stop for roughly 4 weeks as they replenish the population. After the first round of brood has emerged and those cells are all filled with larvae again, then they will start producing more comb. Last summer I was trying to get comb onto non-standard size frames in a split box to be used as mating nucs and I did just that. To initially draw it out I shook an entire colony into the box with half size frames. I used bare frames without foundation for making up my 4 way mating nucs. The configuration was 10 half size frames on each side. 4 days after I shook the colony into that box this is what I found:-



    They drew out 8 of them in the first 10 days, then stopped drawing comb altogether. It took about 4 weeks before they started drawing again, I had a feeder with light syrup on the whole time. Once they started into drawing more comb, in a couple of weeks they had most of the box (20 half size frames) fleshed out.

    I've done a significant amount of experimenting with this subject, and have my own conclusions from it. If you want the bees to draw comb, there is a set of conditions that must be reached.

    a - You need a good healthy population of young bees in the colony
    b - You need a flow happening, natural or artificial, they need nectar coming in
    c - The bees need to perceive a need for comb, either in the brood nest or for storage
    d - The bees must not be pre-disposed to swarming

    If the conditions meet all of these requirements, the bees will draw comb like crazy, and it doesn't really matter how frames have been prepared. If any one of the 4 is missng, little / no comb will be produced. In the early season this can be a bit tricky because the bees tend to be pre-disposed to swarming, so feeding them a lot doesn't end up with the bees drawing comb for storage, instead they will backfill a brood nest and swarm out. Once we are past that time of year where swarming is the goal, well fed bees will draw out everything you put in the boxes. The other thing we have learned, fresh new frames in a honey super between two drawn often result in the two frames on either side of it being drawn out fat, and the new frame essentially ignored. But a new frame centered in the brood nest violates bees space, and they wont extend the cells like they do in the honey supers, that new frame will be drawn quickly if the population is strong with a good batch of healthy young bees. If I put a brand new plastic frame between two frames of emerging brood then check it 10 days later, invariably it will be combed out on both sides with open brood in most of the cells. Put that same frame out at the edge of the nest, 10 days later it may or may not be touched at all, and as often as not, the honey frame beside it has been 'fattened out' to store more honey. If the bees are not in the mode of expansion, they aren't going to draw more brood comb outside of the brood nest. If you want brood comb, the frame needs to be placed into a location where the bees want brood.

    If you watch the videos by Michael Palmer on using nucleus colonies as resource factories, pay careful attention to the piece where he is placing new foundation into the nucs as they grow. When it's first made up, the honey frame goes against the divider where the bees will ultimately want the brood nest centered. This gets them moving honey, and if necessary they will build comb where they want to move the honey. Later when the second box goes on, again a foundation is placed into a spot where they want brood. The circumstances are carefully contrived to get the bees building new brood comb.

    The devil is in the details. If you want the bees building comb, you have to create circumstances that prompt them to build comb. Adding extra wax to a plastic frame may help if conditions are marginal, but you will have far more success if you create optimal conditions that take advantage of the bees instincts rather than try force them to do it differently.
    Thanks for your info...
    I am having the syrup backfilling issue in the brood comb now... So I stopped feeding them and added plastic with extra wax on top of my 2 deeps for now. I have 3 frams where the queen in laying now about a salad plate size each in the middle deep. When you had the back filling going on what was the best thing to do to get the brood frames emptied out and ready for brood again. I think I started feeding too early. Thanks again.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Franklin, Tennessee
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    I've seen people mention adding the extra to "freshen" up the wax smell (for the bees).
    I'd like to do mine this weekend. Our bees are coming in 3-4 weeks.
    Is it too far ahead to do this now? (If so, what time frame do you all recommend?)
    My plan was to keep them in clear lidded storage totes (to keep them "fresher" until then). The ground's too wet for garden/yard work, so it's a great day to get it out of the way.
    Just not sure the timing's good. Thanks!

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    5,413

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    Quote Originally Posted by MissMollyTN View Post
    I've seen people mention adding the extra to "freshen" up the wax smell (for the bees).
    I'd like to do mine this weekend. Our bees are coming in 3-4 weeks.
    Is it too far ahead to do this now? (If so, what time frame do you all recommend?)
    My plan was to keep them in clear lidded storage totes (to keep them "fresher" until then). The ground's too wet for garden/yard work, so it's a great day to get it out of the way.
    Just not sure the timing's good. Thanks!
    I don't think it''s too far out. I'd get the task out of the way now!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,136

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1617 View Post
    Thanks for your info...
    I am having the syrup backfilling issue in the brood comb now... So I stopped feeding them and added plastic with extra wax on top of my 2 deeps for now. I have 3 frams where the queen in laying now about a salad plate size each in the middle deep. When you had the back filling going on what was the best thing to do to get the brood frames emptied out and ready for brood again. I think I started feeding too early.
    A little thread drift, but this is the crux of the problem for folks with a limited supply of drawn comb. In the spring they will start backfilling when we want them to build more comb. If you are feeding, the first step is to remove the feed. Backfilling in the brood nest is a sure sign they are headed into swarm preparations, or they are being overfed if you have feed on. Overfeeding in the spring will surely result in swarms rather than more drawn comb.

    When we had a limited number of colonies, only 2 and then after a couple years up to 6, we approached each and every colony with the attitude that they were a 'precious commodity' and we would work endlessly to try 'fix' whatever was thought was wrong. Over time, we found that we always had one or more that just refused to build comb early and would head into swarm preparations no matter what we did. Particularly in our first couple of years when we didn't really understand the flows in our area, we would overfeed a lot in the early spring, then in May and June end up chasing swarms almost endlessly. The net result, more bee colonies, not much honey. From all that, what we learned was this. From any given colony in any given year you can get

    a) More bees
    b) More drawn comb
    c) Honey

    Pick two, you wont likely get all three in a year. Later as the colony counts increased and we started to understand this better we started taking a completely different approach. Our philosophy now is to watch what the bees in each colony are telling us and manage accordingly. Our philosophy is to manage the space for nectar storage and the nest as two separate and independent items. We start by putting on a honey super (drawn) rather early, we want them on by the start of the maple bloom, typically the fourth week of March around here. After the first super goes on, we check about once a week, and any time we see nectar (not capped, just nectar) in 7 of the frames, another super goes on. The goal is to make sure there is always space for storing fresh nectar above the brood nest.

    In the brood nest we do things differently. Any time we check a colony and find there are no empty cells in the nest where the queen can lay, we place a drawn brood comb into the center of the nest. The goal is to ensure there is always space for the queen to lay. We will keep doing this until we see new wax in the hive. If we see new wax, then instead of a drawn frame, a fresh new one and I place it between two frames of capped, preferably one of them emerging. On the next go around, if that one is drawn and full of brood, they get another new frame, otherwise they may get another drawn frame.

    We will start raising new queens by the second week of May, that's when our overnight temperatures stop taking a big plunge every night. The period between mid April and when we have cells ready is the difficult part of the year. Some colonies are just intent on swarming. When we look at a colony and find swarm cells, the checklist changes. At the first sign of swarm cells, usually a cup with larvae, the first thing is to make sure there is empty space in the nest to lay, and there is space above for nectar storage. Next is find the queen to confirm a swarm has not already left. Add frames and/or supers as appropriate. I will scrape all the cells we find at that point, and make sure the nest has an empty frame for the queen to lay, then mark that colony as swarmy. On the next inspection we look again carefully in that colony. If we find cells again, even tho there is room for the queen to lay and there is storage space above, then we consider that colony bent on swarming and approach it very differently. I hate swarmy bees, they always swarm at the most inopportune time, and it's a huge interruption to go chasing swarms, worse if we dont see it leaving and then get the call that a swarm is hanging off a tree or eave of a neighbors house. A colony that swarms is not going to give us a decent honey crop, so, just admit it early and work accordingly. A swarm is good for one thing, and one thing only, they draw comb like crazy.

    Reference the 'pick two' philosophy above. The big 'light bulb' moment for us was when we realized that not all colonies will be effective honey producers, so we would work with them instead of against them. A colony that is insistent on swarming today gets handled this way. I take the boxes off the bottom board and set them to the side. Set a fresh box on that bottom board, then go thru the originals and find the frame with the queen, it goes into the new box. Next we put 9 brand new frames into that box. The last step, shake ALL the bees off the rest of the frames in the original boxes into the new box. This colony has made it clear, they are bent on swarming, so we force the issue and swarm them artificially. Once all the bees are in the new box, scrape all the queen cells on the brood frames and go place them in other colonies to give other colonies a brood boost.

    Three weeks later the expected result will be 6 or more frames drawn in the new box, and most of them full of brood. By then we will have cells ready, the box can be broken down to populate two nucs after dispatching the queen, give each of them a cell. This way we have done the 'pick two', the colony has given us more drawn comb, and now we have two colonies. Note also, we did NOT allow those swarm cells to be raised as new queens. Did I mention, I HATE swarmy bees. We have plenty of colonies that dont get into swarm mode early, I want to draw from those for our new queens this summer. I do NOT want to raise queens from stock that is pre-disposed to swarm early.

    This will be our fourth year managing the bees in this manner thru the early season. Over the last 3 years we have had two swarms that we know of, from 15 to 20 colonies each season. In both cases, those were colonies marked early as swarmy, but we were out of drawn comb for adding to brood nests, and I delayed the process of shaking them into new equipment. We had just taken our supers off that had maple honey from the first early flow, and were planning to extract it on Saturday, then give both of those colonies a box of empty comb from the stack of extracted boxes later in the day on Saturday. I went out to the bee yard (it's about 200 feet behind the house) on Friday afternoon to do a couple checks, and watched the first swarm come out. They landed in a tree that was nicely accessible, so I was busy hiving them when the second one swarmed. That swarm was up and way, gone. It was our first year working this way, and was another 'lesson learned'. If we find swarm cells a second time, do not delay, just pull the trigger and swarm them artificially. Get fresh new comb and two nucs out of the deal, they aren't going to make any significant amount of honey if they swarm.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Hubert, North Carolina
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    My commercial beek friend uses a turkey fryer. Dips half the frame, puts it aside, dips another one, etc. Then comes back and dips the other half. Works for him.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,253

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    Quote Originally Posted by DeepCreek View Post
    My commercial beek friend uses a turkey fryer. Dips half the frame, puts it aside, dips another one, etc. Then comes back and dips the other half. Works for him.
    Here is a link to a demonstration. Note he uses just a 1" layer of molten wax floating on top of gently boiling water. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuKM24t3r6M
    Frank

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    2,596

    Default Re: Wax Coating Plastic Frames...

    crofter, that's pretty slick.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know, but the tide is turning.

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