Cleaning old foundation
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Kirkland, WA
    Posts
    83

    Default Cleaning old foundation

    I have a couple of questions about this. First, has anyone found a good way to clean old black foundation. Also, I've heard that bees won't take to old foundation no matter what. But it seems to me if they were clean and then was was brushed on it would work. I hate to throw away foundation that could be reusable.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- CIEIO

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ardnamurchan and Fife, Scotland
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    If you mean old black drawn comb then you're better throwing it out, using it for firelighters or as the lure in a bait hive. Pathogen build up means it's not worth saving. There's also little wax left in it so extracting is hardly worthwhile.

    If you're meaning black plastic foundation, not drawn out, then someone else will know.
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Kirkland, WA
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    Yea, I'm talking about the black plastic.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- CIEIO

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    1,655

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    I have seen a youtube video recently called Soak and save. The guy scrapes off all the old wax then soaks the plastic foundation in a tub filled with 50 quarts of water, add 2 cups of chlorox and 1 cup of dawn detergent soap. Let this stuff soak the foundation for at least 2 weeks then pressure wash the foundation on a flat board starting in the middle of the foundation working outwards, The foundation he did in this way ended up clean. It will then need to be dried and re waxed.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    543

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    I started with wax foundation and when plastic was more available switched to that.Then when it came time to burn a couple of AFB colonies it became a problem.The first one looked and smelled like burning a tire.The second got double bagged and into the trash.I still wonder if any honey leaked out and spread the AFB.
    When it comes to comb renewal,plastic is a real pain in the rear.Any time saved in installation is lost in scraping,dipping or pressure washing.Scraping causes the cell depressions to fill and I noticed a larger percentage of drone cells the second time around.I think most people just trash it and add new plastic foundation.Not very environmentally friendly.The best results I have seen in cleaning plastic are wax moths.
    I am now back to wax foundation.I built a solar melter that holds a box of frames and a few days bake removes all the wax and the cocoons go on the compost heap.Not much wax produced but enough to save.Nice bright yellow if strained through paper towels.
    About 10 min per box to remove the cleats and give a quick scrape and maybe 15 min or less per box for new foundation.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Kirkland, WA
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    Sounds like more trouble than it's worth. Too bad.

    Unless you sell foundation.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- CIEIO

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,262

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    Slightly off the topic but still on subject, I have stopped using foundation, wax or plastic for my brood chambers (other than what I already have in service). Plastic Acorn for the honey supers. Plan is that there will be no scraping of old brood foundation, just melt and go. Supers should last a long time before I need to worry about dark comb, if at all.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,063

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    When I used plastic and I HAD to clean the black foundation, I scraped and pressure washed. Rubbed wax onto the (fairly) clean foundation and I was done. I expected the bees to accept it more slowly and I wasn't wrong. They didn't prefer plastic to wax but ultimately they accepted it once they really needed the space. I don't think I ever had a colony that refused to pull wax on old, black plastic. They just didn't want plastic unless they had no choice. Me neither.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,233

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    anybody use a heat source where it might loosen it and peel off the plastic?
    Terrence

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    1,655

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    i built brushes and a water heater element into a plastic container, the brushes were bolted into the vessel bristle to bristle and covered with water when the water got pretty hot the dirty foundation was pushed into the brushes and scrubbed a little then the foundation was reversed and scrubbed. This cleaned up the foundation well enough for me to roll on new wax when all had dried off but it was not really as clean as I would like. I will try this soaking method and pressure wash and see how that turns out. I have heard of guys pressure washing with hot water and may take a look at that some time.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,550

    Default Re: Cleaning old foundation

    I just hit old plastic once over with a scrub brush and then dip it in beeswax.

    http://bushfarms.com/images/BeeCamp2...ingFrames3.jpg
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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