BetterComb Experience, Anyone?
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 59
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    https://www.betterbee.com/frames/adf...deep-frame.asp

    I have had good experiences with Better Bee as a vendor. I have some colonies which have been slow to build up or draw comb. This is my first year, and I'd just like to get them to survive winter. So, when I saw this email from Betterbee, the product they're now offering of synthetic fully drawn frames of comb, sure did appeal to me...However, when I asked them what the "plant & mineral sources" their site vaguely states the synthetic wax is made of, and if said plant sources are organic to guarantee a pesticide free product, I was not answered with specifics. This is the response I got:

    "Hi Wendy,
    I'm not able to share the exact ingredients, but I can tell you the material groups used in the production of the wax. The wax blend includes the following material groups: fatty acids, fatty alcohols, fatty acid monesters, diesters, and triesters, and hydrocarbons. I will inquire about whether the plant based ingredients were derived from organic or conventional plants.

    Best Regards,"

    I don't really know what any of that means, other than they don't want their formulation emulated, hence the vagueness. Can anyone with a better head for chemical compositions tell me if testing this product may be a good idea for me? Or, has anyone on here tried this product yet???
    Last edited by BumblingBeek; 07-03-2019 at 04:37 PM.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    654

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I saw that comb as well. Not sure how well it works but it's very expensive. I think of BetterBee as a very reputable company.

    For your weaker colonies that aren't building up comb, I would try to determine if they need more comb than they already have. If they really need more, I'd focus on why they haven't drawn sufficient comb instead of trying to augment them with already drawn comb.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,380

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    $59 without the frame. Not sure what it means when they say "after the bees get used to it".
    would give late splits a jump on life.

    Curious about actual experience.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,822

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Wendy, I would file this under "that's interesting", and move on. Bees do three things really well, make bees, make honey, and make bees wax. To do these things, they need a cavity to call home, a prolific queen with healthy bees, and resources in the form of carbohydrates and protein. They will take it from there. If you are not seeing a lot of comb in your hives yet, it is because the bees do not need it. Adding in synthetic comb is unliky to have any effect except to lighten your wallet. Spend the money on a good feeder, I like the styrofoam one that Betterbee sells, get a feeding shim for each hive and a package of Ultrabee pollen patties. Feed the bees syrup, and patty if they will take it, and they will reward you with more bees and drawn comb. I prefer foundationless frames for the brood nest so somebody else's potentially contaminated wax is not a concern.

    As Brother Adam said, "listen to the bees and let them guide you".

    The lack of new comb is telling you something.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I do have low nurse bee/aging nurse bee population issues. That's probably what the lack of new comb is trying to tell me. I just thought the product may help, as every time I read a book about installing a new colony, or watch a youtube video on it, the author/videographer usually refers to the lack of already drawn comb as a disadvantage to the new colonies. At any rate, I did ask Frederick Dunn on Youtube, and he said he'd do a product review soon. I will post a link to it if he puts up a review.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Wimer, Oregon
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    IMO It would be cheaper to buy a nuc or some frames of brood from someone.
    DavidZ

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apis Natural View Post
    IMO It would be cheaper to buy a nuc or some frames of brood from someone.
    When you buy a nuc, do you worry about the old, dark comb that comes in it having a pesticide/chemical build up & needing to be rotated out ASAP? I bought my first nuc this spring, and the comb was U-G-L-Y! The owner of my favorite local beekeeeping store told me he has stopped buying nucs because of the chemical build up in the old comb he kept getting sold, and he also worried about diseases present in that comb. He only does packages now because of that concern...I did ask him if he'd sell me any drawn comb but he said he didn't have any available for sale.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Its excellent. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to try a box. Bees take to it with no problem. It takes a little finesse getting the comb into the frames but very easy if you gently use the edge of your hive tool to get it started in. The comb feels and looks exactly like fresh beeswax with no odor. Just like freshly drawn comb you have to be careful handling it. The cells are pitched so make sure you look at the edge before you press it into the frames and stick the toothpicks in. The only drawbacks is it may blow apart if you try extracting from it, and of course the price. Not sure if I will purchase more, but I may on occasion. It has all the advantages of having drawn comb like making up late nucs or maybe saving a late swarm with the bonus of no chance of spreading disease. If the price doesn't turn you off then go for it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by MJC417 View Post
    Its excellent. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to try a box. Bees take to it with no problem. It takes a little finesse getting the comb into the frames but very easy if you gently use the edge of your hive tool to get it started in. The comb feels and looks exactly like fresh beeswax with no odor. Just like freshly drawn comb you have to be careful handling it. The cells are pitched so make sure you look at the edge before you press it into the frames and stick the toothpicks in. The only drawbacks is it may blow apart if you try extracting from it, and of course the price. Not sure if I will purchase more, but I may on occasion. It has all the advantages of having drawn comb like making up late nucs or maybe saving a late swarm with the bonus of no chance of spreading disease. If the price doesn't turn you off then go for it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
    I'm glad you had a positive experience with it. Do you mind if I ask a few more questions?

    How long have you had it in your hive?
    How long after installation did it take for your bees to use it?
    Are your bees using it for brood rearing and resource storing?
    Did you install it in your brood box or in a super?

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by BumblingBeek View Post
    I'm glad you had a positive experience with it. Do you mind if I ask a few more questions?

    How long have you had it in your hive?
    How long after installation did it take for your bees to use it?
    Are your bees using it for brood rearing and resource storing?
    Did you install it in your brood box or in a super?

    Thank you for sharing your experience.
    I've had them in for 3 weeks. Most of the hives started storing nectar 2 days after install because we are on a strong flow now. As far as whether they use the frame for brood or stores has to do with the time of year not the frames. The frames are in brood boxes (deeps). I don't think they come in mediums, you would have to cut them down.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,642

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by BumblingBeek View Post
    I bought my first nuc this spring, and the comb was U-G-L-Y!
    That goes directly to the quality of the nucs being produced, and how they are produced. I know a lot of folks look at selling a spring nuc as a way to cycle out old ratty comb, but that's not how an operation built on quality nucleus development works. Example, there is one local outfit that runs about 400 colonies for honey in the summer flows. All of those boxes get a deep with new frames for the honey flow. Those frame get built out with fresh new comb, then after the flow they are extracted and stored. Come next spring he will start packages on those boxes of comb, and 6 weeks later those packages are split into multiple nucs. They produce on the order of a thousand 4 framers every year this way, and the vast majority of them are on fresh new comb from the prior summer.

    I was at a talk by Randy Oliver a couple years ago focussed around the business model for various ways of keeping bees. He summarized his own business model in one succinct sentence. He buys assembled frames from Mann Lake for a buck and change. Those frames go into hives in the summer, get built out and full of brood. That box of bees will be rented for almond pollination, then split up into nucs, keeping enough behind to lather, rinse and repeat the following year. His succinct sentence, buy a frame for a buck, grow it full of comb, bees and brood, rent it out for 10 bucks, then sell it for 10 bucks.

    I think folks that do nucs as an afterthought are indeed using it as a way to cycle out ratty old combs. Folks who have a business built around selling nucs dont have any ratty old comb to put in them because they sell it every year and get the bees to build new.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Wimer, Oregon
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I don't buy nucs, never have. I started with several swarms and cutouts to get where I am today. Bought the genetic's I wanted to have in my op. Then went from there.
    I sell nucs and don't have old dark comb. I followed Michael Palmer's advise using his sustainable apiary model for setting up my aparies. My resource yard used to make nuc's and make my own bee's to use and sell has helped me grow.
    Right now I have 35 double nuc resource hives that make comb and brood for the nucs I overwinter sell next season, and for the nucs I will overwinter for my next seasons increase. Things are busy here for me, queen rearing, constant checking and moving/adding foundation in the resource producers, pulling brood, creating the nucs, building the nucs, making cell starting and finishing hives. I'm really busy with this and my business. Plus there is the production apiary out in the hills I check every weekend. I have a small op, with my 2 young boys to help.
    For real, all my colonies and nucs have nice comb. Right now I'm working on queens for the nucs, and putting resources into nucs for next season.
    I evaluate each queen's laying, and brood performance, as Michael suggests, then eliminate those queens I don't like, and the combine those queenless nucs with my production yard colonies. The nucs that pass evaluation overwinter for next season.
    Thing is, the resource producers get big fast they are 3-4 boxes high, and those extra boxes become nucs.

    Buying packages is a waste of money imo. Failure rate is to high, you have better odds gambling on slot machines.
    Worrying about trivial chemicals in dark combs, to me...no biggie, you can cycle those out quickly, plus it's a bit over exaggerated hype since the save the bee movement started a few years ago.
    Yes there's some chemmies in the comb, but not enough to harm. it's just not worth this omg the comb is contaminated attitude. Your combs that your bee make will have chemmies from all the flowers they have access to, you can not control where they collect their resources, no matter what one thinks that's the truth
    You gotta start somewhere. Have you ever seen the inside of a wild beehive or a barn hive, or cutout, comb is thick and dark, that's due to all the bee cocoons layered over each other, the bees crawling over the comb. you'll see the longer you keep bee's.


    Do you belong to a local WA bee club yet? Check out your wasba education programlink you really should get involved. If you're a urban beek, or working towards sidelining with bees joining a club and getting involved will help you immensely. plus they will have members you might be able to aquire decent local survivor bees.

    Don't try to force them to do your will, just guide them on the path you want them to follow, like everyone says bee know what they do best. We are just stewards in partnership with them.
    IDK maybe I'm deluded but so far this gig is working out for me. Mr Palmer's model works for me.
    DavidZ

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apis Natural View Post
    Yes there's some chemmies in the comb, but not enough to harm. it's just not worth this omg the comb is contaminated attitude. Your combs that your bee make will have chemmies from all the flowers they have access to, you can not control where they collect their resources, no matter what one thinks that's the truth
    I don't think most worry about chemicals as much as disease that is in the comb.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,822

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    I just hate to see someone waste their money on a product that is not going to fix their problem. A hive that is healthy but not vigorous does not need more comb, it needs more bees. And bees take time. The queen will not lay in comb if there are not enough nurse bees to tend the brood. As the population increases she can lay more. As she does, there will be a need for comb and there will be young wax producing bees to build it. I have plenty of hives with nice deep drawn out comb that the bees are not using. I have other, much stronger hives, that are drawing me a comb or part of a comb every couple of days. As an example, end of April I caught a small swarm. It was 2 frames of comb and the flow was on. I left it in the nuc it was in and gave it foundationless frames. A month later I put it in a single deep box. That was towards the end of May. Two weeks later I added a second deep, brought up two of the brood frames, and most importantly, started feeding. This hive now has 16 drawn frames out of 20 and is rapidly expanding. Extra drawn frames would have not done me any good early on because the bees were not ready for them. This expansion is not unique. It's what bees do.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 07-05-2019 at 06:53 PM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,380

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    It's just a tool for the tool box. I have a couple of hammers, doesn' t mean I'm not going to look at another
    Foundationless works, foundation works better. Full comb, maybe at the right time.

    What is the theory? Takes ten? lbs of lost honey production to draw a frame. Do that math.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,822

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    My math says you have very large frames,. I think it is more like 10# of honey for the 1# of wax it takes to draw out a medium 10 frame box. No matter, I agree it is a tool for the tool box, but right now, my opinion is that it is the wrong tool for the job.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Cecil County, MD
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    There was a thread recently about wax (foundation, I believe) coming from China, which seemed to be rather inferior. It looked like beeswax, but didn't perform like beeswax. Contamination of the wax supply was another issue that was discussed.

    Performance issues aside, this still appears to have the same possibility of tainting the wax supply as does the manmade Chinese wax. Fortunately, it seems to be so cost prohibitive as to not be much of a problem.

    From the link in post #1:

    What do I do with the wax at end of life?

    At the end of a frame’s useful life, the combs can be melted down. The resulting wax can be used for candles, but is not beeswax. We have found that the BetterComb wax, as well as mixtures with beeswax, burns in a similar manner to pure beeswax.
    This might be a non-issue, but I figured at the very least it was worth posing the question.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by BumblingBeek View Post

    This is my first year, and I'd just like to get them to survive winter. ................. Can anyone with a better head for chemical compositions tell me if testing this product may be a good idea for me? Or, has anyone on here tried this product yet???
    So...
    From your other posts, you seem to be trying to be a "natural" type beekeeper.
    But now this post...
    This is going completely counter to any "natural" type beekeeping.

    I say, save your money for some other projects or spend it on good bee stock for your location.

    IF anything - get pure 100% beeswax foundation, I guess.
    In my project, even pure natural foundation is still money wasted and is going counter to "natural" type beekeeping.

    So, BumblingBeek, what is you really want?

    Any kind of fancy-shmancy product will not help your bees winter (especially the one in the question - for the cost and all).
    Fake foundations are not good or even outright harmful to the bees (case by case).
    Fake comb is any better?
    I don't think so.

    You need to focus on your bees and somehow obtain good stock that can survive well in any equipment in your area (catch them or buy them).
    No need to be buying some "magic", expensive equipment (pretty much useless) - this will end up as just another case of an expensive disappointment.
    No need to try to winter your bees at ANY cost.
    They should pretty much do it on their own - just be sure they have enough stores - all else is up to the bees, if they are worth anything.

    Not long ago I had to give some cold shower to a neighbor who was all too excited to get himself bees (just because I am doing it already and my log hives look, OH SO very cool).
    I am not sure how appreciative he was but I gave him an honest assessment about those seemingly cheap "starter-kits" that are nothing but hooks into your wallet.
    Resist spending money on any "magical" beekeeping stuff - there is none.
    Last edited by GregV; 07-06-2019 at 09:58 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,380

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    My math says you have very large frames,. I think it is more like 10# of honey for the 1# of wax it takes to draw out a medium 10 frame box. No matter, I agree it is a tool for the tool box, but right now, my opinion is that it is the wrong tool for the job.
    Here's an old thread about how many LBs. Your probably closer but I'll stick to my point that comb is not cheap, neither is simple foundation. https://www.beesource.com/forums/arc.../t-260700.html
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,822

    Default Re: BetterComb Experience, Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    I'll stick to my point that comb is not cheap, neither is simple foundation.

    Agreed. Whether bought pre-made or using the the resources of the bees to make it, a frame of comb represents a significant cost. Killed me when I had to render down some comb that had been newly drawn this year due to wax moth damage. Fortunately it was mostly drone comb so not needed for the rest of this year. The five deep frames yielded 11.4 oz of rendered wax.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

Page 1 of 3 123 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
  •