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Discussion Starter #1
I am currently a sidliner operating aobut 75 hives for production. we are in two grocery stores and sell our remaining honey out the door and at craft fairs, county fairs and farmers markets. I would love to make the leap in 5 years and go full time. Just have a few questions that I will explore here. My first question is this............what type of foundation do most of you commercial guys run? Wax, or plastic............one piece plastic frames or wood with plastic?
 

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Moving to all one piece plastic. Cheaper, easier to maintain, bees take it well. Peirco wax coated.
 

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There was a similar question asked in a thread a while ago. We use wood and wax. What do you think will happen to the plastic in a few years when it starts to decompose? Where will the decomposition products go? How do you dispose of the plastic when it breaks, etc? To each his own. Choose what will work best for you.

Roland
Linden Apiary
 

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I left an all plastic frame out in the sun from the morning to late afternoon and it is so twisted I cannot use it. As I am growing, I plan to use Wood and Plastic. That is what Blake Shook in the Dallas area uses.

Kingfisher
 

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I should have said that i am NOT a commercial beekeeper, but rather a full time beekeeper. I have tried it all and either wood and wax or wood and plastic seems the best.

Kingfisher
 

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Decompose? We have plastic frames running on 8 to 9 years now with no problems. They can be recycled I guess if you wanted to. It's not that I don't like wood frames, I would say over half our frames are still wood but as they wear out and as we expand we are replacing them with plastic. Moving hives, switching bodies, deeps full of honey for feeding are really rough on frames and we get lots of wood ones that fall apart. This isn't a problem with plastic. Plus...no work involved in assembly which is a huge time saver.

If I was a hobbiest and had all the time in the world I would go with wood and wax foundation but for my situation it's not really feasible.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Currently I have a mix.......I like the one piece plastic for ease of use but they seem to be narrower and leave more space for bur in the hive..........the wood with plastic i am using is doing ok but after 6 years they start to fall apart.........I guess not bad considering 6 years of use though.....and I could scrape the plastic, and re coat and use again. As I expand I am looking for the best alternitive to balance full time job and growing bee business.

How many of you do retail or wholesale to stores yourselves?
 

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Only 6 years before your wood frames start to fall apart? I have wood frames that were my dad's (who stopped beekeeping in the early 70's. I have used them from the middle 90's to now. I can tell them because they were scorched and have wax moth marks on them.

I do break one now and then but it is pretty rare. Most I can fix.

I have plastic also, but I have never had luck scraping the wax and getting them to rebuild. I have only scraped old black comb though and it didn't come off well. They weren't thrilled about redrawing comb on them and I finally threw them away. I think that if I scraped the comb off every 3-4 years (not 12-15) it might work better.
 

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I'm with you on reusing the plastic ones. I saw an article in Sweden I believe where a guy had a business cleaning up peoples frames. It was quite impressive...I will try and find the article. Not sure if it would work here in the US since we are all so spread out...but maybe in concentrated areas like FL or CA where there are lots of commercial beeks it would be a worthwhile thing.
 

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Honeyshack- you may be right, I may be wrong. It sure seems to me that all things plastic seem to get brittle in time. What changed? Did the "flexibility" leak out? I do not know, but i do NOT want to eat it. We have a large number of plastic frames from 92-93 (inherited?) that the bees seem to only like for pollen storage. My sons says they can read the P-92 on the topbar, and think the P is for pollen. I have tried to clean them off, using various techniques, and have not found a good method yet.

I may have seen an article of some one in Denmark or Northern Germany, where for a fee, they cleaned up the frames, but I thought they where all wood and wax.

Roland
 

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the one piece plastic frames make a very nice home for beetles to live. they like to hide around the edges of the frames where the bees can't see them. we have a few hundred of these frames and i don't like them. very flimsy and don't work very well with our automatic extracting system. they like to fall of the conveyor chains.
 

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>>type of foundation do most of you commercial guys run? Wax, or plastic............one piece plastic frames or wood with plastic?

It all comes down to how much money you wnat to spend, and time you have avaliable.
There is no wrong answer to your question
 

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>>What do you think will happen to the plastic in a few years when it starts to decompose? Where will the decomposition products go

Its sealed with wax
 

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Ian - true, sealed in wax, but if plastic decomposes, the products would be soluble in wax, like fluvinate and coumophous. I do not know, and I wish some one at a University could research and find out.

Roland
 

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Plastic decomposing is not the issue but there is the possibility of chemical outgassing like what is happening with other plastics we use for food consumption.
 
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