Re: QUESTION: Plastic Foundation, Wire or Wax Foundation added to frames?
Greetings George ... You are "way up in Ct" and I am" way down" in Alabama.
I do not know how many hives you plan to have, or how much time you plan to put into this activity.
I started, intending to be a hobbyist with only a couple of hives.
When I started , I tried the plastic because it was supposed to be "easier".
I got some plastic foundation from Mann Lake, and some from Dadant. both products looked pretty much the same to my eyes, but while my bees ( deep 5 frame nucs, in Italian strain) did draw some of it out ok, a lot of it they made a layer of comb between the frames, not touching the plastic. At that time the "(Acorn brand)" was unknown, unavailable, folks here on Beesource said I should have rewaxed the plastic stuff ( I was a new bee keeper, did not know where to get wax ), should have used wax foundation, should have gone foundationless, blah blah.
Since that first year, I have also seen my bees make this "unatached " layer of comb between wax foundations as well.
It sounds like most folks are advising you to go with plastic because it worked so great for them.
I am pleased for their success.
I have about gotten rid of most of my deep hives, & keep bees ( more mutt, less Italian) in mostly medium frames. ( I am not physically strong any more, & only getting weaker with age.)
I have some frames with half plastic inserts, as lauri has shared photo's of, and some frames with wax , with wires, and some with wax with or without wires, with the wax sandwiched between fishing line in an "X" on both sides, and some foundationless, with just a wax starter strip, and wire or fishing line for support, some with bamboo skewers for support.( And some with no wire or fishing line for support at all, but I don't recommend this.) ( also, some times the bees avoid attaching the comb to the skewers, too. ) If I hear of another Idea tomorrow, I will probably try that too.
Everything works "some". The bees almost always draw the foundationless first. most noticeable on my lauri style half-sheets, but they usually come back & fill in the plastic foundation if I had re-waxed it.
The foundationless space is so small they can't get too crazy, & i can usually straighten it up before it gets too bad, , or just remove the crazy stuff. you need some wax to learn to render wax with anyway.
I have issues with the bees not connecting the combs to the sides & bottoms of the frames, which is one of the reasons that I went to the x-supports of fishing line. ( this also helps avoid the wax sagging so badly in the summer heat when I have given the bees more than they can draw.)
I guess if you had asked me how to get straight comb, (which you didn't), I would have suggested placing well supported foundationless, or wax foundation frames between straight drawn frames you got in your nuc hive, or between the plastic foundations if you are starting with package bees.
( if you are starting with nucs, do not spread out the brood nest too much at a time! bee sure they can keep the brood warm. )
Then when the bees have drawn some nice combs, you can decide what to do next, remove the offending frames, or load them up with wax to get the bees to use them or whatever.
Again to those of you whom have had great success with plastic, ... great!
I am sharing my personal experiences, and of course, i probably did it wrong.
George, good luck with your bees ! CE
I do not have an extractor, when I get & use one, my opinions may change.
Last edited by tech.35058; 02-17-2018 at 10:03 PM.
Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.