getting bees to work plastic
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 31
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Pembina, ND USA
    Posts
    37

    Default getting bees to work plastic

    I inherited some hives, drawn comb etc. I didn't have enough drawn comb for all the packages I got this year, so I split the drawn comb and then filled each hive with 4 plastic frames w plastic foundation that had supposedly been sprayed with beeswax and such.
    It has been a month and not one of the plastic in any of the 11 hives has been worked yet. After 3 weeks I saw the queens had no more laying space and the workers were on strike with plastic, so as I had medium boxes of drawn comb from honey boxes last year, I gave every hive drawn comb and queens went crazy on that. They have repaired the problems in the drawn comb (a lot were messed up and simply old) but won't otuch plastic.
    But i still have 4 empty plastic frames in every deep - do I give up and buy foundation and frames for the deeps? I read so many people saying the bees don't seem to have a preference, but all of my bees seem to hate the plastic and I am just waiting for bees to make a nasty mess drawing out their preferred frames too deep to fill in gaps by the plastic.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    752

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    Im not a fan of plastic either. Im just restarting keeping bees myself. Mine are slow to start on plastic too. What I've done so far, and working is ... stagger my frames of drawn comb, with frames of starter strips, and add a plastic frame in the mix with foundation. Thank goodness I don't have but a few. I like to let them draw natural comb out on starter strips best. But they need to go in between a drawn frame I'd think. As they would draw em out fonky... plastic is not fantastic in my book. Good luck, mabye someone has better ideas on plastic, I just mix one in where I can to get rid of em. They will draw em eventually, just too darn slow for me someone told me to melt some of my wax, and brush it on them real good. They said they had a little better results that way. Mabye the smell of fresh wax?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,533

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    The beeswax coating on the plastic foundation is not thick enough. Most suppliers are very skimpy on it. If you use a paint brush or roller and add on a good layer of beeswax they'll draw them out quickly and beautifully.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Milford, Michigan USA
    Posts
    288

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    I have used ritecell plastic for five years and never had a problem with the bees drawing it out. This year I started stripping off old comb and reapplying wax with a roller and they have been accepted as well. I added three honey supers with new frames that I also painted with extra wax and they jumped right on them. The added wax seems to speed things up but I never had a problem before. Perhaps the reason they work for me is I never gave my bees an alternative.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Douglassville Pa
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    I use plastic and won’t look Back I put a heavy coat of wax on with a 4in foam roller and the bees will draw it out faster then wax foundation

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    York County, VA, USA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    I'm curious: did you folks having problems getting plastic drawn put a frame in the middle of the brood box? I've read that tends to get them going on it. But I don't know.

    And for those of us who are still beginners, where do you get your wax to add to the frames? Purchase from other keepers, maybe those who crush/strain? from equipment suppliers? I don't have much wax not on frames.

    Michael
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,522

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    Michael,

    I buy mine at my supplier (Betterbee) in heavy bricks (Costs about $170 for the 23-lb box). I use the less-expensive yellow wax. JRecently I bought a Lyson solar wax melter and for a week I have been dumping my daily haul of burr comb in it on the way out of the apiary. The next day I have a lovely slab of wax, all clean and rendered.

    I could use that for waxing frames, but because I am not separating out the burr comb from the formerly sick-with-EFB colonies, with much more to come as I work to purge all my drawn comb over the next year, or so, I will have it irradiated over the winter to clean it up. After that, I hope to be wax self-sufficient here to avoid bringing anything else in.

    If I had realized how neat a solar wax melter can be, I'd have gotten one sooner. There are plans here on BeeSource for a DIY one. I can't DIY anything more complicated than screwing together pre-drilled shims, but if you can, I'd move that project to the top of the list. It's my current most-fave beekeeping thing, eclipsing my former most-faves: my Varrox and Snelgrove boards.

    Nancy

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,533

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    Quote Originally Posted by DerTiefster View Post
    ...And for those of us who are still beginners, where do you get your wax to add to the frames? ...
    Michael
    I got some when I was short of my own from Ron Householder, a person here in the BeeSource forums...

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...PPING!!!!-2018

    He has his own webpage where beeswax and honey can be purchased here...

    http://www.adropofhoney.net/fullstore.html

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    764

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    Yeah, if you inherited it, the beeswax is probably all gone on the plastic and it won't work properly. Use a foam paint roller and roll on a very thin layer of wax. They'll draw it out in no time.
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    Quote Originally Posted by Cjj View Post
    I use plastic and won’t look Back I put a heavy coat of wax on with a 4in foam roller and the bees will draw it out faster then wax foundation
    Same here; I bought the more expensive wax foundation when I started my hives 2 years ago. A waste of time and $$$. The bees took to plastic just as quickly, I could re-use the plastic w/o cutting away all the foundation, wax maggots/SHB maggots didn't destroy the [plastic] foundation when they invaded, etc. All wax sounds nice and natural, but.... Maybe it's an individual thing ....

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    764

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    Quote Originally Posted by mlanden View Post
    Same here; I bought the more expensive wax foundation when I started my hives 2 years ago. A waste of time and $$$. The bees took to plastic just as quickly, I could re-use the plastic w/o cutting away all the foundation, wax maggots/SHB maggots didn't destroy the [plastic] foundation when they invaded, etc. All wax sounds nice and natural, but.... Maybe it's an individual thing ....
    There is a reason nearly every commercial beekeeper uses plastic.
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    616

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    I take my burr and brace comb and squish it into a ball. It may have some pollen or honey in it but that doesn't matter. If I have the time, I'll rub this onto the plastic foundation so that it leaves some on the edges of the cells. The bees clean this up and process it into the start of a cell all across the sheet. If I am short on time, I just chunk the frames in a box. I do like to take a frame of drawn comb from the lower box and replace it with new plastic. I put the drawn frame over the new so that the bees get the hint that they should move up.
    On a strong flow, I do not see any difference between adding extra wax or not.
    Working to propagate my survivors and staying treatment free USDA Zone 7b

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Elmira, OR
    Posts
    2,136

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    I've had problems with most plastic foundation, but found that PermaDent foundation works great. Our local bee supply store had it at one time and then went to Pierco. I ordered it from a place in Webster SD.
    Bruce

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,407

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    When I first started, I saved every scrap of wax I scraped off. Finally had enough to coat a few frames but by then the bees were done drawing new comb. This year I put about 10 frames in the various hives. Most had not been touched after one week. Will see at the next inspection.

    Am I the only one that sees the irony of someone with a screen name of simplynatural asking about plastic foundation?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,753

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    I have seen some plastic foundation someone bought that had no wax on it. I am thinking the buyer didn't know what he was buying. Plastic needs enough wax for the bees to take to it. I am repeating from other threads, but 700+ frames with Acorn foundation were drawn last year with no issues at all. It has 'extra wax' which is probably double dipped, that I didn't have to spend time adding wax or buying extra wax, and there's no question it has a lot of wax on it. The extra wax is used to start drawing out the cells. So far it's working the same this year.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    431

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    $5 yard sale crockpot, my kids, and a paintbrush. I find it makes a major difference. Those with absolutely no wax end up with comb drawn just off the surface and has to be scraped off.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    I always have an idea what I shouldn't have done after the fact.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,393

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    We apply extra wax on ours with a roller and it works great. Since we order them by the pallet I think we will go with double coated next time and be done with it.

    With a strong colony and a good flow the single coat is fine. Smaller colonies have a harder time with the thin wax though.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,032

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    Acorn.
    Or roll it on yourself. But Acorn saves me so much time (money) that it's a bargain compared to doing it myself.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Green Ridge, Missouri
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    I am using Acorn triple waxed. They pull out the brood frames pretty well. Slower on the medium honey supers.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: getting bees to work plastic

    [QUOTE=Hickory Point Hollow;1639807]I am using Acorn triple waxed. They pull out the brood frames pretty well. Slower on the medium honey supers.[/QUOT

    Betterbee has Acorn as their plastic foundation now. I paid the extra to try Extra heavy waxed out but don't believe its sufficient. I put a super of both on my hives and they didnt touch it. I put a super of hand rolled wax on both hives and 4 days later 8 of the 10 combs were drawn and filled 60-90% depending on location. the 2 outside were even about 25-3-% drawn.

    It comes down to if you roll wax frames they can pretty much chew up cells to about 75% depth w/o having to create their own wax. If your conditions aren't optimal for wax production they still can draw the wax out on them and fill.

    The deeps from Acorn with heavy wax were not super encouraging as the wax was heavy in places and absent in others on the frames.

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
  •