Cleaning plastic foundation
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Port Angeles, WA, USA
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    469

    Default Cleaning plastic foundation

    Went to buy some used extraction equipment, and the gentlemen wouldnt sell it without me taking everything.

    So now I have a ton of used frames with plastic foundation. I removed the wax, the frames are soaking in bleach. I may burn the frames, depends how they come out looking. The hives boxes are hitting the bon fire this week.

    How do I clean the plastic foundation? I've soaked it all in bleach but I dont really want to scrub it. Perhaps weight them down and pressure wash them? Its several hundred dollars worth of plastic foundation, I would love to save it and I dont mind rewaxing it.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Hotlanta, GA
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    764

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    I used a pressure washer and rewaxed
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Port Angeles, WA, USA
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    469

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Branman View Post
    I used a pressure washer and rewaxed
    Thanks, hoping your signature holds true, pressurewasher isnt what I wanted to do, but that is the current plan

  5. #4
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    >. I removed the wax, the frames are soaking in bleach. I may burn the frames, depends how they come out looking. The hives boxes are hitting the bon fire this week.

    Depending on the conditions of this equipment, I might have done the opposite. Save the boxes, trash the frames.
    Any frame renovations are of questionable monetary value with a frame and foundation at about a buck a piece. Unless you attach no monetary value to your time.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Port Angeles, WA, USA
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    469

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    >. I removed the wax, the frames are soaking in bleach. I may burn the frames, depends how they come out looking. The hives boxes are hitting the bon fire this week.

    Depending on the conditions of this equipment, I might have done the opposite. Save the boxes, trash the frames.
    Any frame renovations are of questionable monetary value with a frame and foundation at about a buck a piece. Unless you attach no monetary value to your time.
    Both are well used, I can clean and repair a frame in under a minute, frames cost me ~$1.25, so thats $12.50 per box. Box costs me $8 and are far more difficult to soak in bleach. I may find a larger tub and do it.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
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    2,221

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    Just did this. The old dark comb is a bear to get off. I soaked in a bleach and water solution then hit it with a scrub brush like you use in the bathroom. They don't have to be perfect the bees will either clean or just build on it. I don't see the sense in pressure washing. In the time you set it up in the holding jig, take few steps back, blast, turn around and repeat you'd be done just scrubbing.
    Terrence

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    2,539

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    First thing - DO NOT put the plastic foundation in the wax melter to clean it. Warp city.

    Next - the sequence is pressure wash, bleach, rinse, re-wax.

    You'll want to make a holder for the foundation while pressure washing. Make one that holds several frames, enough to afford and easy sweep of the wand, holds securely, allows good access, possibly flips to wash both sides in one clamping, and releases easily.

    I've been re-waxing with a paint brush when the wax is liquid, low viscosity, so it goes on thin and gets back into crevices all by itself. I tap it lightly on the corner of the plastic tub to remove excess.

    A friend mentioned having sprayed beeswax, and that it went much quicker, but I have not yet gotten that down to a science.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
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    254

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    How many boxes?

  10. #9
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    Jan 2014
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    Sandpoint, ID, USA
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    1,138

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    If you have a weed burning torch or propane burner just stack the boxes and torch the inside good. That would kill allot of bad juju.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
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    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    What temperatures will plastic foundation and one-piece plastic frames stand before warping?

  12. #11
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    That depends on how evenly the heat is applied and how well supported the foundation is. I warped some attempting to dip them in melted wax. They can be distorted with pressure washer using hot water if the foundation is unsupported.
    Frank

  13. #12
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    Jul 2013
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    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
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    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    That depends on how evenly the heat is applied and how well supported the foundation is. I warped some attempting to dip them in melted wax. They can be distorted with pressure washer using hot water if the foundation is unsupported.
    What about leaving them in a solar melter (basically designed as a long lang)? Heat distribution should be pretty uniform, I guess, though the top of the bars might receive direct sunlight (I haven't seen warping due to leaving only the tops exposed to sunlight though).
    www.apisrustica.com Bee Breeding: Canadian nuclei & queens
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  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    I recently dug into an old bin of wax-moth trashed frames, and pulled out one with plastic foundation. The rascals had cleaned it down to bare plastic!

    I could use it again, although the frame came from Someplace Else, age unknown, history unknown, and we'll retire it based on our policy of no frames over 4 years.

  15. #14
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    > we'll retire it based on our policy of no frames over 4 years.

    What is bad about a frame over 4 years old?

  16. #15
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    > we'll retire it based on our policy of no frames over 4 years.

    What is bad about a frame over 4 years old?
    It was a recommendation in our bee school. I believe the reason is supposed to be the possible buildup of things like pesticide residue in the comb, which, of course, the wax moths ate. But that rule is one of the things my wife remembers, and it is easier to replace frames than argue.

    Plus, we're not all that fond of plastic foundation, and our bees less so.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebee View Post
    Plus, we're not all that fond of plastic foundation, and our bees less so.
    Who is the 'we' you keep referring to?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
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    2,461

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    The man that got me re-started into bees has given me lots of mothed up supers and quite a few deeps. Sold me a big pile for $5 a super. They were pretty ragged. Supers not any good but the frames and foundations still have a lot of use left.
    At first I was cleaning them really well by dipping them quickly into boiling water in a big canning pot on top of a turkey fryer.
    I warped quite a few. It's tricky. The black plastic heats up faster than the yellow. Dunking them and pulling them out repeatedly one foundation at a time then slinging the water and wax off. It's work. Have recycled hundreds and hundreds of foundations.
    Watch out for where mice chewed the pattern off. Bees will work around that and tend to avoid attaching comb.

    After a while I figured out I could simply scrape the old comb off with my hive tool then paint it heavy with bees wax. Good to go. You're not going to get them new clean and you have to settle for good enough.
    Still have about 200 mothed up frames in my barn. This winter I'll tackle them. Cold makes the wax crack right off.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  19. #18
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    May 2015
    Location
    Campbell County, Va
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    507

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebee View Post
    I recently dug into an old bin of wax-moth trashed frames, and pulled out one with plastic foundation. The rascals had cleaned it down to bare plastic!

    I could use it again, although the frame came from Someplace Else, age unknown, history unknown, and we'll retire it based on our policy of no frames over 4 years.
    I'll gladly take any of your frames over 4 years old. I still have A.I. Root frames in some of my hives (prob 30 years old now).

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Union City, Ohio
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Cleaning plastic foundation

    You can use a solution of Potassium hydroxide (start with a 10 to 20% solution may have to increase strength) and soak frames and foundation, time is dependent on how heavy and old residue is and in most cases a strong garden hose will spray off remaining residue. You need to be cautious as the solution is caustic, gloves and eye protection and old clothing required. It is inexpensive to buy in dry flake from places like essential depot or make your own from wood ash.

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