Plastic frame rant
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 38
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    1,601

    Default Plastic frame rant

    Ok, I don't have experience and will take 75 percent of the issue, but my bees apparently don't like plastic foundation.

    Bought this stuff last spring, and install 5 frames into building hives during the flow, in between frames of brood. Had bees build some small nickel to quarter sized patches of wax about 1/8 inch tall and then the bees left it along. Moved 2 frames into Nucs. one in each nuc, as there are interested in expanding. Nothing was built.

    Read this spring that they needed to have fresh wax. So melted some wax and coated 5 sheets lightly. Added these and the ones I tried last year into different hives. Well one hive is partly using the stuff, both fresh melted and frames bees started on last year. But only build up the center of the foundation covering 1/2 of the frame at most and stopping. But they did lay eggs in it.

    I assumed since they started on the stuff another hive would use it. So have been sort of checker boarding in frames with the plastic and moving the frames with eggs to other hives/nuc. It has been less than successful.

    Placed one frame into a 5x5 nuc. No more expansion of more comb building. Capped the brood, emerged and filled it with honey in the middle of 4 frames of brood, plus started building out from the stuff with not quite attached drone brood.

    Place another single frame in a 5 frame nuc. No more comb building, patch of brood emerged and stacked with honey.

    Placed several frames into full sized hives from this one hive and 2 hives are laying brood on the plastic, but not expanding across the prior unused part of the frame much. One hive just filled with honey and capped the original drawn portion, seem to be ignoring the undrawn part.

    Have a 3 stack 5 frame nuc that is exploding. Building about 4 or 5 frames of non-foundation comb a week. Pulling stuff like Wildman, setting up nucs and adding to hives. So added 2 partial drawn frames of plastic with brood to bottom box, with 3 frames of 90% drawn comb filled with brood. They capped the brood on the plastic with about 60% of frame drawn. 3 days later, I added another 2 frames of plastic, one partial drawn, one in middle box and one in top box, (all three boxes full of mostly brood). And slid a foundationless frame between the two plastic on the bottom. They have just skipped the top box's undrawn plastic, ignored it. They filled the second box plastic with honey after it emerged and are building the uglest drone comb across this piece. Cells are not normal sized, not even sized, with smaller and larger side by side, and they stuff is tilled. And they just filled the 2 bottom frames with honey and ignored the foudationless frame. So there is a huge empty spot in bottom box.

    And now with all this space not available they went into supercede gear with at least 11 queen cells. Yanked out 2 frames in the top and dropped in foundationless. Bam 2 days they got frames of comb replacing it.

    Plan to bust this thing into 3 nucs tomorrow if queens have not hatched.

    But any ideas as to how to get these bees to use this stuff. I am assuming I am doing something wrong. Maybe should just use the one hive to drawn this stuff.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, not trying the no treatment anymore

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hopkins, South Carolina
    Posts
    640

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    My girls don't like it eather, would rather swarm than build on them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    I bought 60 frames of this stuff last fall/winter when Mann Lake had a good deal on it. I'm hoping my bees like it better than yours, I haven't used any yet... completely foundationless at the moment. :/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    I use Pierco plastic frames (black for brood areas, white for honey) and my bees seem to think they're just fine. I have no trouble with them. I also use plastic foundation (Pierco) and also foundationless frames and I don't see much difference. I bought some extra-waxed-added Pierco plastic frames from Betterbee, but I haven't installed them yet. Sometimes I rub warm wax bricks over sun-warmed black frames (careful - not too warm or they warp), if I'm feeling too lazy to melt and brush on more wax. But mostly I use them just as they come from the box. If my girls need 'em, they'll use 'em.

    Do you think that there is a difference between brands of plastic ware from different vendors?

    Enj.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    I have the most luck with fresh frames of plastic foundation (still have that nice wax smell) or if I have foundation that has sat out and for a year I'll add wax and they seem to take that ok.

    I have had no luck getting the bees to CONTINUE drawing a partially drawn frame of foundation from last year or pa partially drawn frame switched to another hive.

    It seems like I either get them to draw the whole thing or I get stuck with a partially drawn frame.

    Of course I only have 4 hive so take it with a grain of salt!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    I don't like plastic much, they burr and bridge comb it up, often will make other comb twice as thick so they don't have to work the plastic. seems they time they work it is during a strong flow, have had swarms when they have plenty of plastic in the hive with plenty of time to draw it. All these problems only get worse if you don't put an extra coat of wax on you plastic.

    I use mostly foundationless frames now. bee will work these quicker than anything else, they will even draw them with small flow. they are almost always perfect when placed between two brood frames. You can instantly open up the brood nest (swarm prevention) by putting an empty in the brood. It's also cheaper.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,694

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Bees of SC View Post
    My girls don't like it eather, would rather swarm than build on them.
    I have had similar problems and blamed it on the plastic. I have learned from experience that you can put plastic and wax side by side and the bees will choose the wax. I have tried to slide a wax frame into one of these boxes where the bees just won't draw the plastic. They won't draw the wax either. Sometimes (not always) when I put a frame in with nothing they will draw comb on that.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Ooltewah, Tennessee
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    I bought 60 frames of this stuff last fall/winter when Mann Lake had a good deal on it. I'm hoping my bees like it better than yours, I haven't used any yet... completely foundationless at the moment. :/
    Somewhat related:

    I am in process of moving to foundationless frames. I have changed out about 40% of the foundation frames. I had read the bees would become smaller over time. It seems the bees are getting bigger.

    Any thoughts?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,694

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Cellorider View Post
    Somewhat related:

    I am in process of moving to foundationless frames. I have changed out about 40% of the foundation frames. I had read the bees would become smaller over time. It seems the bees are getting bigger.

    Any thoughts?
    Americans have been breeding for bigger bees for about 100 years. What is important is not to have smaller bees but to have "natural" sized bees. Your bees will probably get smaller over a few generations, but we need some Michael Bush input on this thread.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    >I am in process of moving to foundationless frames. I have changed out about 40% of the foundation frames. I had read the bees would become smaller over time. It seems the bees are getting bigger

    If you are regressing your bees to small or natural size then plastic small cell is the quickest one step way (PF 100s from mann lake), you can skip the 5.1 stage and go straight from 5.4 to 4.9, once your there you can use foundationless all day long and not worry about it being drawn the wrong size.
    That's one advantage I see with plastic.

    Large bees 5.4 will draw foundationless at around 5.1, then those 5.1 bees will draw foundationless around 4.9. You can force bee to make big cell but when left on their own they will regress back to natural size cell.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,866

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Bees draw comb when they are expanding and a nectar source is available. I have put bees on plastic frames with no wax, fed heavily and they drew it. Spacing has to be tight and it needs to be drawn with other plastic frames/foundation for best results. My bees have drawn thousands of the various plastic frames. I guess I must be a genius if so many others can't get it drawn. But I know better.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,713

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I guess I must be a genius if so many others can't get it drawn. But I know better.
    Me, too

    I found another interesting application for plastic frames - a thin strip of wood on top, & a couple ~3/8" pieces on the ends, and you have a double nuc divider that they can draw out . I use metal 9 frame spacers & just hang it in the middle slot.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    2,095

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Are these plastic frames or just plastic foundation?

    I personally love wood frames with plastic foundation. Straight all plastic frames are for the birds ( vultures at that)

    Even beyond regular wax foundation the issue of flow and placement is of utmost importance with plastic.

    Want success? Your best bet is as follows: Place the new frames ABOVE capped brood on a hot flow and they will slay it like its free money on the side of the freeway.

    I think your issues have more to do with skipping on making sure the two items above are both happening when the new frames are inserted.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Cellorider View Post
    Somewhat related:

    I am in process of moving to foundationless frames. I have changed out about 40% of the foundation frames. I had read the bees would become smaller over time. It seems the bees are getting bigger.

    Any thoughts?
    I'm not too concerned with what size comb the bees make truthfully. If you're putting foundationless in... do you mean that they're drawing lots of drone comb? That's not abnormal this time of year.
    I just started last year so my hives (except possibly the swarms I caught) were young queens. One swarm didn't lay a single drone and might have made a small amount of drone sized comb in their first year. Then while expanding the broodnest (a la Matt Davey) they drew out about 2.5-3 drone sized combs before finally deciding they have enough and started drawing worker again. All foundationless. While I can agree that it would probably be much nicer to just have all worker sized combs on foundation for guys with boatloads of hives, it doesn't affect me enough (at this point) to worry if I have an extra comb of drone sized stuff. They are just storing honey in them at this point anyway. And worst case I can cut the comb out and have them re-try... One frame of "wasted" wax isn't going to make or break me or my bees.

    If you mean your bees are getting bigger... does that matter to you for some reason? On average my bees are drawing out cells slightly smaller than what you can get with most standard foundations. I will admit that the smaller size of Mann Lake's plastic frames was somewhat of a draw, but only because I shave my frames to 1.25" wide and put 11 of them in a 10 frame box. Think of how much more brood that is packed into the same sized box. I couldn't tell you if it makes one bit of difference with mites and honestly don't really care at this point. Maybe I have just been extremely lucky, but every one of my foundationless frames looks every bit as good as pictures/videos of foundation frames I've seen. And to be honest, they look much better in many cases.

    If I had to assign one added benefit (and I think Lauri talks about this when she went to those half sheets of foundation)... they don't built any burr comb between frames from box to box. Probably because they have better, more convenient places to put the drone brood they crave.

    Just my newbie opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colobee View Post
    Me, too

    I found another interesting application for plastic frames - a thin strip of wood on top, & a couple ~3/8" pieces on the ends, and you have a double nuc divider that they can draw out . I use metal 9 frame spacers & just hang it in the middle slot.
    That's a great idea, honestly. Might have to give that a shot at some point in the future.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    I don't Know I use Plastic frames and have for years, no warping , no broken tabs, no problems getting bees to draw them, they don't break apart in the extractor. I must be living right.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Hobbie, PA, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Since I am brand new, I will tell you that the woodenware and foundation decisions gave me the biggest headache. I was so afraid that I'd pick something 'wrong.' I have a Mann-Lake store very close to me, so I bought what the store recommended. I have plastic foundation in wood frames (lang 10 deep) lightly coated in wax. I don't think they are PF 100's - but I'd have to check my records. The gentleman who talked to me about what equipment told me the plastic foundation would be easier for my first year. (Probably true.)

    They took right to it - I have just added another 10 frames last weekend. All drawn except for 1 outside frame and half of the opposite outside frame. So far, so good.

    I have read (a lot) that I don't want to mix plastic foundation with natural wax frames, because they will be loving the wax and ignoring the plastic. I may experiment next year on another colony - when I have a year under my belt and don't feel like such a knucklehead about, well, pretty much everything. I have really started getting interested in the cell size conversations, so there may be some changes in my future.

    Maybe your girls are just more discerning than mine.
    I remember when I was the only queen in my family. . .
    Northeast PA

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Rutherfordton, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    I have a fairly large inventory of plastic frames from Mann Lake. I have had a mixed reaction. Some bees love it and draw out the whole frame, some draw out a strange pattern, and others hate it. For instance, instead of drawing out the plastic frames to store honey in, the bees filled the whole 2nd deep with honey. ...grumble, grumble...
    Keep you hive tool sharp, your smoker lit, and your veil tight ... It's Bee Time!

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    1,221

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    I've had the best success with plastic foundation using the black, triple-waxed stuff. A week or two ago I added white and yellow, lightly waxed plastic foundation in 2nd deep brood boxes to some new hives, they didn't seem to like it (even though I had painted some extra wax on some of them) and opted instead to build on the tops of the frames in the lower box, and go up sideways through the top box. I ripped it all out and told them to start again (like Gordon Ramsey chucking back food in Hell's Kitchen).

    I'm planning on looking at them today or tomorrow to see if they got it right this time.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  20. #19
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Wax coated rite cell

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Plastic frame rant

    Used plastic frame with old comb scraped off...


    Same frame about 3 weeks later...


    No wax, honey-bee-healthy or anything added - just scraped off the spooge with a putty knife and put it in a reasonably strong hive that needs comb and a good flow. It takes all 3.

    Not crazy about the all plastic frames, but I use plastic foundation (rite cell) in wooden frames pretty exclusively now - other than the ones I still have from trying it a few years ago. If PF-125 came in foundation I would use it - you can see that I have it mixed in at this point, but it really seems like they prefer to raise brood on the small cell when both are in the same hive.

    Notice in the bottom picture the wax on the top of the plastic frames? THAT is what I hate about them - if you stack two boxes of it they will stick it together so bad you have a heck of a time getting it loose. Yes you can reach in there with your hive tool and pop them apart - and hopefully you don't mangle the queen in the blind process - but it is a fair PITA as far as I'm concerned. No such issue with wooden frames. If it is in nucs you can use a feed bag inner cover and it keeps it from being an issue as long as you don't super them.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •