Not drawing comb on plastic foundations
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Kingston, NY, USA
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    11

    Default Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    Hello and thank you for providing feedback for new beekeepers like myself.
    I installed my first package last week. After 5 days, I checked the hive - queen was out of her cage but I couldn't see her. Bees seemed happy so I assume she is in there somewhere. No eggs yet, but I was told if there is no sufficient nectar she may delay the egg laying. I was also told to check in a week. One thing that I noticed is that bees do not drink much of the sugar water that I left them (it is in an inside feeder, covered by an empty super, 1-1). They are drawing comb, but some of it is hanging from the frames and not attached to the platforms - should I remove that or leave it? Is that called burr comb? Any feedback is helpful. I read plenty of posts and a few books and nothing prepares you for the real thing.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
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    1,770

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    If they are not drawing on plastic right, it's probably because there's not enough wax on them to accept it well. Remove any comb that's not right. It should be drawn right off the plastic following the cell imprints on it. There are plenty of posts where single coated wax foundation isn't accepted well a lot of times. I went with heavy wax Acorn plastic and they are drawing it well. You may need to add wax to the foundation if they are not drawing off the face like they should. Also, have the frames all pushed together tight.
    A package can take up to a couple weeks for a queen to start laying. Also, if there's a sufficient flow for their need, they may ignore the sugar. If they are not drawing the wax well, maybe they don't see a need for it.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,381

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    Was going to reply but Daniel has said it all!

    Only thing I'd add is there may be some issue with the feeder. Could you take a pic of it and post it here? If the bees are not getting enough syrup they will not draw comb.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Elkton, Maryland, USA
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    29

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    To add to Daniels comments: Get a used slow cooker at a yard sale or Goodwill; buy a couple of cheap foam paint brushes; melt some wax in the slow cooker; paint the plastic foundation with wax; don't forget to unplug the cooker.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
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    4,130

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    Slow cooker and roller is great for when you are doing a bunch of them, but here is a great way to do small quantities and field repairs right in the hive if you get spots that they are not drawing comb

    https://youtu.be/HR76j-4GMYY

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Kingston, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations


  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Kingston, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations


  9. #8
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    Apr 2017
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    Kingston, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    Here is a pic of the feeder and the comb. I removed the burr comb. The foundations have beewax cover. Thanks al

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    If your screen continues under your feeder jars it makes it difficult for the bees to access. that can hamper wax drawing. As will too few holes to access the jar. ( bout 2 dozen is good )
    In addition when your syrup drops below 50f. It is too cold for the bees to consume. On the bright side they have started to draw your foundation suggesting thay will continue when conditions are rite

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    Exactly right, I suspect that is the problem.

    You can make a simple board, just a piece of board cut to the size of the top of the super and cut 2 holes in it the jars can sit on and give the bees direct access to the jars feeder holes, not through a piece of mesh.

    If the bees had good access to those jars they should have them empty in a day or so, there is something stopping them doing that.

    The other problem that sometimes crops up is people making the holes in the jar lid too small for the bees to get their tongue in. Fix these issues and you will find comb building will go surprisingly well. They actually make wax out of sugar. No sugar, no wax, no comb.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Kingston, NY, USA
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    11

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    Cut round holes in the mesh so bees have direct access to jar lids. Made extra holes in each lid, the size of a push-pin. Pushed frames as close to each other as possble. Will report in a few days and if needed, will re-apply wax where needed. Thanks again. Cheers

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    2,269

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    bigger holes!!!
    try Five to six 6 penny nail holes in the lid

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
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    335

    Default Re: Not drawing comb on plastic foundations

    Quote Originally Posted by svetlight View Post
    This looks excellent, just what you want to see

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